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    They Came Together (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 3rd, 2014

    “It’s kind of a corny, romantic comedy-type story.”

    Even those of us who actually enjoy a good romantic comedy have rolled our eyes or groaned about some overused cliche in the genre. Well David Wain and Michael Showalter — who last teamed up to satirize summer camp movies in 2001′s Wet Hot American Summer — have gathered many of their famous, funny friends to make They Came Together, an alternately hilarious and uneven spoof that lovingly skewers rom-com tropes.
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    Portlandia – Season Four

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 1st, 2014

    Oregon may have been the 33rd state to join our union — and Portland may be its most populous city — but Portlandia is a (beet-eating, Bigot Parade-hosting, 3D printer-buying) state of mind. And four seasons into lovingly mocking upper middle class indulgence along with the denizens of the Pacific Northwest, the show — created by stars Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and director Jonathan Krisel — continues to feel more like a fully-realized destination than ever.
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    Blended (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 27th, 2014

    Adam Sandler took a bit of a beating with Blended. His previous, non-Grown Ups outing (That’s My Boy) was Sandler’s first comedy in a while to severely underperform at the box office, suggesting audiences might be tiring of the comic’s (critic-proof) brand of humor. Then came Sandler’s pre-release admission that he makes movies based on where he’d like to get paid to vacation. Blended went on to underwhelm at the box office, at least by the reliable standards of Sandler comedies. (It brought in $123 million worldwide on a reported $40 million budget, though only $46 million of that came from the U.S.) Maybe it was the lowered expectations, but I kinda liked Blended.
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    Muppets Most Wanted (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 11th, 2014

    The Muppets debuted in 1955, and the late great Jim Henson’s creations have been delighting audiences (and fellow entertainers) of all ages ever since. They’ve made their mark on the small screen — most notably with The Muppet Show (1976-81) — and at the movies, starring in eight feature films across four different decades. However, 2011’s The Muppets was their first big-screen outing in a dozen years, and the movie spent most of its time wondering if the Muppets’ old-fashioned, irreverent charm still had a place in a more jaded pop culture landscape.
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    The Birthday Boys: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 7th, 2014

    It seems to me, if your ultimate goal is to get on television, there’s never been a better time to be a sketch comedian. Thanks to sites like YouTube — which thrive on the sort of bite-size videos that line up nicely with the rhythms of sketch comedy — funny folks can hone their craft online while building a big enough fan base to maybe compel a network to offer them a show. Comedy Central is the most obvious basic cable landing spot, but IFC has emerged in recent years as a haven for offbeat humor. That includes The Birthday Boys, which is characteristically uneven, but boasts an impeccable TV sketch comedy pedigree.
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    Lullaby

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 31st, 2014

    The impending death of a loved one tends to dredge up a complex mix of emotions. (Unfortunately, I speak from relatively recent personal experience.) In addition to the obvious sadness, there can be guilt, resentment, anger, relief, and other sentiments that combine to create a messy stew of feelings. Putting those feelings on the page or on a screen is an emotional minefield, since you risk veering jarringly from one tone to the next. The task becomes even trickier when you attempt to introduce humor into the equation. Lullaby stumbles over a few of those mines, but is otherwise a well-acted, modestly-affecting dramedy.
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    The Legend of Billie Jean: Special “Fair is Fair” Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 29th, 2014

    Don’t you ever get tired of vanilla?”

    There’s a special breed of ’80s movie that appears hopelessly dated on the surface yet remains impulsively watchable. (Insert your own, “So you mean *every* ’80s movie?!” joke.) The Legend of Billie Jean — with its hilarious-in-hindsight fashion and Pat Benatar theme song — certainly fits the “trapped in the ’80s” bill. However, the 1985 film — now making its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Mill Creek Entertainment — still manages to entertain by tapping into the timeless spirit of teenage rebellion.
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    Angriest Man in Brooklyn (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 28th, 2014

    Robin Williams is one of those actors that I just wonder what happened to them.  Through the 80’s and 90’s Williams was simply box office gold with his comedic timing and great impressions, but I’ve always been more drawn to the more serious roles Williams delivered.  Awakenings, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, One Hour Photo, these are just a few of his roles that have stuck with me over the years that made it easy to look past his cinematic missteps.
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    Tosh.O – Collas plus Exposed Arms

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on July 19th, 2014

    Here comes Volume four of this clip commentary comedy show (CCC could catch on as a sub-genre title couldn’t it?). This time we get two seasons worth of episodes; the “Collas” and “Exposed Arms” entitled seasons, as it were. Very little is different as far as format or new segments are concerned since the last time I wrote about this show.
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    Sinbad: Make Me Wanna Holla

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 3rd, 2014

    He’s old! How he gonna relate to me?!”

    For a good portion of his latest stand-up special, Sinbad playfully berates a 15-year-old audience member named Cory. It’s mostly standard-issue, old man, “back in my day” ribbing. But the most incisive observation comes when Sinbad points out that Cory would probably much rather be in the audience for a Kevin Hart show. The feeling that Sinbad is no longer the hot comic of the moment — and hasn’t been for a while — informs much of this inoffensive, baby boomer-friendly set.
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    Scavenger Killers

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 30th, 2014

    What happens when you splice together the killer-couple kicks of Bonnie and Clyde and Natural Born Killers with the ritualistic depravity of torture porn offerings like Hostel and Saw? I’m not really sure who — if anyone — was looking for an answer to that particular question, but that didn’t stop Scavenger Killers from going to extreme lengths to provide one. Unfortunately, this low-budget slasher flick/wannabe satire is entirely too clumsy and non-committal in its tone to pull it off.
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    Comedy Bang! Bang! The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 27th, 2014

    I like the fact that there’s no desk. I like the fact that he’s not wearing a suit and tie. And I like the fact that there’s not some over-hyped studio audience being prompted to laugh at topical jokes that we’re all gonna forget about in the next few days.”

    For its second season, IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! got bigger and bolder in the way it manically skewered decades of talk show and pop culture conventions. Not surprisingly, the show also got even weirder.
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    Louie: Season 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 19th, 2014

    “I got kids and I work, and it’s hard sometimes. But, you know, boilerplate misery…alone in the world…might as well be a maggot sucking a dead cat’s face. What’s the point?”

    That’s how Louis C.K. describes his life during a season 3 episode of Louie. And since the FX comedy series — that is only nominally a comedy series — stubbornly and brilliantly defies any sort of easy categorization, the sad-sack declaration is also the best description you’re likely to get of what the show is about.
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    The Lego Movie: Everything is Awesome Edition (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 17th, 2014

    “You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things.”

    There’s a worthwhile message in The LEGO Movie about the importance of deviating from life’s instruction book and indulging your imagination. But for me, the biggest thrill came from the way it became the first film without Toy Story in its title to tap into the anarchic (and anachronistic) spirit of playing with toys.
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    Alan Partridge (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 12th, 2014

    There have been more than a few films that have revolved around radio DJ’s. Good Morning Vietnam, Talk Radio, and Private Parts: these are just a few films that explore the world of the character behind the microphone, who speaks through our radios through the day-to-day grind.  Now, following in the success of the Oscar nominated film Philomena, Steve Coogan steps into the radio DJ world as Alan Partridge. Most of us are used to listening to our local DJ’s who come on between songs and blast us with their obnoxious personalities, silly games and pop culture news of the day on our morning drive to work
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    Kissing Jessica Stein (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 9th, 2014

    After dating an endless string of duds and dolts, Jessica Stein has finally found someone smart, funny, kind, compassionate and attractive enough to meet her impossibly high standards. Much to Jessica’s chagrin, however, it turns out her ideal match is a woman. Kissing Jessica Stein, the 2001 independent romantic comedy created by stars Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen, is equal parts insightful and frustrating. You have a new chance to see for yourself now that the film has made its Blu-ray debut.
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    The Birdcage (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 5th, 2014

    Did you know The Birdcage is the all-time, highest-grossing movie in the U.S. that features a gay lead character? It’s true! Given the drastically increased pop culture visibility of the LGBT community in the 18 years since its release, it’s a bit of a surprise the film still holds that distinction. On the other hand, I’m not too shocked because I’ve been laughing at this funny farce since it first came out in 1996. So I was delighted to see it finally make its long-overdue Blu-ray debut.
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    Crocodile Dundee / Crocodile Dundee II (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 4th, 2014

    We first came to know Paul Hogan as the “Shrimp On The Barbie” guy. He was doing television and radio ads for Australian tourism. A smart fellow, he saw that the ad character was popular and rode an enormous wave of an Australian fad that hit America in the 1980′s.. Suddenly there were Australian bands like Men At Work teaching us about vegemite sandwiches on the top of the music charts. We got steak, not shrimp, on our barbie with a chain of Australian-themed steakhouses appropriately called Outback “no rules, just right” started up by a Florida group.
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    Workaholics: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 4th, 2014

    Before getting this season to review, my exposure to the show was fairly limited; I had seen a few episodes on Comedy Central, but that was about it.  Now that I’ve had a chance to kick back and take in the shenanigans of Blake (Blake Anderson), Adam (Adam DeVine) and Anders (Anders Holm) I can say it was a disservice to myself to hold out for so long.  For those that are unaware of the show, I see it as a bit of a hybrid between It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Office Space, as it follows three friends who live together and work together at a telemarketing company.
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    Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 22nd, 2014

    Jackie Mabley, the trailblazing subject of this HBO Films documentary, earned plenty of superlatives during a comedy career that spanned more than 50 years. She was touted as “the funniest woman in the world.” The DVD cover art crowns her as “the Original Queen of Comedy”, and one of the film’s interview subjects calls her “the original cougar” thanks to her on-stage predilection toward younger men. Of course, Mabley would probably prefer it if you just called her “Moms.”
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    The Right Kind of Wrong (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 20th, 2014

    The line between romance and stalking is much blurrier at the movies. Behavior that routinely leads to restraining orders or arrests in real life tends to elicit “awws” from moviegoers and earns the romantic hero a kiss in the end. The Right Kind of Wrong is one of the more egregious examples I can remember, which is a shame because the Canadian romantic comedy has a likable lead and dares to give its characters multiple dimensions.
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    Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 19th, 2014

    If we act like we belong, they’ll think we belong.”

    You never know who could be watching when you post something online. Sophia Grace Brownlee is a perfect example of how to become a “star” in this decade. In 2011, the 8-year-old Brit starred in a video of herself singing Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” alongside her silent, hype man cousin Rosie McClelland. The clip went viral and caught the eye of Ellen DeGeneres, who has repeatedly featured the diminutive duo on her daytime talk show over the last few years. I suppose it was only a matter of time before Sophia Grace and Rosie jumped to the big screen; well, the straight-to-DVD screen anyway.
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    Eastbound & Down: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 15th, 2014

    “This is the story of a man who won by choosing love over fame, fortune and countless adventures…”

    Danny McBride managed in inhabit the role of Kenny Powers to such an extent I do appear to have trouble keeping them separate. Now the countless adventures continue for McBride who is going to have to get us all to see him in a new light as he leaves troubled Powers behind and moves on to other things. For fans it’s a bittersweet goodbye to Eastbound & Down. The final episodes have aired and now they are available on this 2-disc Blu-ray swansong.
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    The Terminal (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 12th, 2014

    You are not to leave this building. America is closed.”

    That’s certainly a far cry from “give me your tired, your poor…your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It’s also the predicament faced by Viktor Navorski, an accidental refugee who falls through a proverbial crack in the system and winds up trapped at JFK International Airport. The harsh, sobering command comes early on in The Terminal, a large-scale, feel-good parable. Even 10 years ago, a tonally-tricky studio movie like this one could only find its way to multiplexes if someone with the clout of a Steven Spielberg or Tom Hanks decided to make it.
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    Weekend at Bernie’s (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 8th, 2014

    Well, considering that there were so many different strange film ideas in the 1980s, it was only a matter of time before someone would write and produce a film about a dead guy, right? Well, you’re in luck, as two names from the period (Andrew McCarthy, St. Elmo’s Fire, and Jonathan Silverman, Brighton Beach Memoirs) fulfill your wish as Weekend at Bernie’s returns to Blu-ray.
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