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    Everybody Wants Some (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 12th, 2016

    For the Gasparilla International Film Festival, to nab the latest film from writer/director Richard Linklater is kind of a big deal. GIFF was the second festival to show Everybody Wants Some after its debut at the acclaimed South by Southwest festival.  With the film being lauded as a spiritual sequel to Linklater’s cult hit Dazed and Confused, I had to admit I was a bit skeptical about this film and its ability to even match up to its predecessor, after all it was the indie darling that helped launched the careers of Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, and many others.  This ensemble of talented up-and-comers managed to capture this cinematic lightning in a bottle about high school
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    Shrek: Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 7th, 2016

    Oh…you were expecting Prince Charming?”

    Shrek really did pick the absolute perfect time to emerge from his swamp. The 2001 computer animated sensation from Dreamworks arrived just as rival studio Disney was winding down its decade-long hot streak of hand-drawn new classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. In other words, it was the ideal moment for someone to come along and take shots at cartoon musicals and fairy tales that end with “Happily Ever After.” (Shrek‘s biggest target, however, was probably the Mouse House itself.) But how does the movie play 15 years later? Fortunately, Fox and Dreamworks have released a new Anniversary Edition to help us figure out the answer.
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    Ballers: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 26th, 2016

    American football has been making the news of late, and not just in the sports pages. For the last couple of years there has been an increasing concern for players’ safety. From our president declaring he wouldn’t let his fictional son play the game to the hard-hitting Will Smith film Concussion, football has taken some heat over its violent nature. Players are retiring early, and the subject of life after football becomes more of a social question than ever before. That’s where HBO’s Ballers comes in. It’s a half-hour look at the NFL from the player perspective, both current and retired. It’s intended as a light bit of dramedy, and it certainly is that. Even so, the series doesn’t hide from some of the brutal realities of the sport, from the trappings of fame and fortune to the realities of its eventual end.
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    The Confirmation (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 10th, 2016

    I don’t know what kind of trouble he can get into in a day.”

    At first glance, those words — spoken by a father in the midst of a particularly eventful weekend with his estranged son — sound like a filmmaker giving himself permission to put his characters in the most outrageous situations possible. But The Confirmation actually shines by keeping things simple. The movie is a low-key, thoroughly affecting story of a father and son forging an unexpected connection.
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    Ghostbusters (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 8th, 2016

    “Who you gonna call?”

    By now everyone knows the answer. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson are the Ghostbusters. As their ad proclaims, they’re ready to believe you. Ghostbusters was originally conceived by Aykroyd as a vehicle for John Belushi and himself. When Belushi died, reportedly from a drug overdose, the project sat on the shelf a few years. Harold Ramis would eventually team up with Aykroyd and finish the script. It’s been said that “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard
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    Ghostbusters II (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 8th, 2016

    “Who you gonna call?”

    This time?

    It took over five years to put together a sequel to Ghostbusters. Apparently there were dozens of story ideas that came and went before the second film finally began production. It was a promising project. All of the original cast returned along with a few of the supporting cast members.
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    Zoolander No. 2: The Magnum Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 31st, 2016

    Hi…it’s been a long time.”

    If Project Runway has taught us anything, it’s that “in fashion, one day you’re in and the next day you’re out.” To a lesser extent, that adage can also be applied to comedy stars, since audiences’ tastes seem to shift almost as often as style trends. (There was a point in time when Pauly Shore was a movie star…that really happened!) As a result, any sequel to 2001’s Zoolander — Ben Stiller’s really, really, really, ridiculously good looking absurd fashion satire —had the odds stacked against it.
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    Dirty Grandpa: Unrated (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 25th, 2016

    Robert De Niro and Zac Efron have a combined seven Academy Award nominations and a pair of Oscar wins to their names. So it was only a matter of time until these titans of cinema joined forces on the big screen. All joking aside, none of us were expecting Dirty Grandpa to pump up De Niro’s Oscar tally. What *is* a bit surprising — other than how truly bad this charmless, dimwitted, mean-spirited “comedy” turned out to be — is that Efron kind of outclasses his legendary counterpart.
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    Hot in Cleveland: Season Six

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 4th, 2016

    Oh crap…I’m going back to Cleveland.”

    I had never seen a single episode of Hot in Cleveland before I sat down to review season 5. So why did it feel like I’d been watching this show my entire life? Turns out, it’s entirely by design. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like I’m the target audience for Hot in Cleveland: I’m under 50 years old, and I’m a man. But if you look beyond the plastic surgery jokes and geriatric humor, you’ll find a show that aggressively channels (and ultimately appeals to fans of) many of the classic, multi-camera sitcoms of the past. In other words, Hot in Cleveland — which wrapped up last year after six seasons and 128 episodes — feels like you’re watching re-runs of a show you’ve already seen…and still enjoy plenty.
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    Veep: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 25th, 2016

    We’re making history with the first woman president.”

    That statement may or may not become a reality in a matter of months, but HBO has real-life politics beat either way. Season 3 of Veep, the caustic, constantly-cussing comedy series, concluded with U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer ascending to the highest office in the land. But lest you think the show jumped the shark by having VP Meyer outgrow the show’s title, there’s more than enough sharp-tongued mayhem to go around once Selina and her staff — referred to as “an infection of mediocrity” in season 4 — have their finger on the button.
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    Silicon Valley: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 20th, 2016

    Billionaires are people too.”

    HBO’s Silicon Valley, which takes merciless aim at the tech capital of the U.S., was impressive right out of the gate. The series struck comedy gold in its debut season by making fun of both self-important, aggressively eccentric billionaires and the bumbling “guys in a garage” who are trying to get to their level. Season 2 is both nerdier and more confident in its skewering of corporate soullessness and the scrappy underdogs who often can’t get out of their own way. (I’m not sure there’s another show on TV that would use a SWOT analysis to decide whether a douche-y stuntman lives or dies.) The result is a very funny sitcom that has gotten even better.
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    Grace and Frankie: Season One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 15th, 2016

    Am I irrelevant? I refuse to be irrelevant.”

    Outside of The Golden Girls, there haven’t been too many TV shows where the entire main cast is eligible for social security. Then again, chasing the 18-49 demo that advertisers covet isn’t much of a concern for a subscription-based service like Netflix, which debuted Grace and Frankie last year. Naturally, the series — whose four main actors are each 75 and older — has its share of geriatric humor. (Although the broken hip doesn’t occur till Ep. 5/“The Fall”.) More importantly, it also has some genuinely funny things to say about companionship and reinvention.
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    Sisters (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 23rd, 2016

    Between their stints on Saturday Night Live and their subsequent sitcom hits, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the most successful comedic voices of the new millennium. (I happen to think Fey’s 30 Rock and Poehler’s Parks and Recreation are both among the five best comedies to debut in the last 10 years.) The longtime friends — dating back to their Chicago improv days in the early ‘90s — have also proven to be funny together, most notably during their well-received gigs hosting the Golden Globes. I’m telling you all of that to tell you this…I can’t believe how bad their new movie is.
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    The Big Short (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 14th, 2016

    I’m guessing most of you still don’t really know what happened.”

    There is absolutely nothing funny about the financial crisis of 2008. Besides the fact that the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble led to the failure of countless businesses and a disastrous decline in consumer wealth, the crisis involved key phrases like “credit default swap” and “collateralized debt obligation.” Those terms are much more likely to make your eyes glaze over in boredom or confusion than they are to inspire laughs. The Big Short cannily recognizes this challenge and crafts a farcical, incisive narrative about a small group of outcasts who saw the whole thing coming.
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    Entertainment (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 28th, 2016

    Life on the road as a comic always seemed like it would be the bachelors dream lifestyle: a new town every other night, getting to meet new people and see new sites while getting paid to tell jokes. Well, for the most part I still think it’s a pretty sweet deal, but in the new existential comedy Entertainment, we get a glimpse into what the road life would be if you just happened to be one of the worst comedians to take the stage.  This slow, depressing look at The (unnamed) Comedian (Gregg Turkington) as he attempts to mend his relationship with his daughter doesn’t go for laughs but instead attempts to take an introspective look at its star, and just seems to go nowhere.
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    Girls: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 24th, 2016

    Taking the next step in a series of random steps.”

    Those words are part of a toast near the start of this season, as chronically neurotic and self-absorbed writer Hannah Horvath prepares to embark on a mini-adventure that will temporarily take her away from her natural habitat of New York City. They also double as a tidy summary of the entertaining (and appropriately messy) fourth season of HBO’s Girls, while simultaneously capturing what it’s like to progress through your 20’s.
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    Togetherness: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 19th, 2016

    “…Be like we were when we were 28. I think that would be awesome, right?”

    It certainly seems awesome to the four main characters in Togetherness, who are each dealing with their own set of anxieties as they hover around 40. If that previous sentence doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for laugh-out-loud comedy, then you’re on the same wavelength as this impressive HBO dramedy. Togetherness takes a bittersweet, refreshingly humane approach to portraying marriage and friendship.
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    Grandma (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 18th, 2016

    I was a little hesitant with picking up this film.  I wasn’t sure if a film about a grandmother spending the day raising money to pay for her granddaughter’s abortion was a film I could find the humor in.  Well, I’m glad I took a chance on this film; not only does this film have so many layers beneath its overall plot, but it never once attempts to have an agenda towards its audience.  Considering the potentially heavy subject matter, the film instead keeps its attention on what matters most, the people who come in and out of our lives whether they are friends or family; in the end it’s how we treat them that make us who we are.
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    Paulette (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 17th, 2016

    I earn money…I meet people…I can pay my debts…I can buy nice things for myself.”

    Taken at face value, all of those pursuits sound totally admirable, especially when you consider that the person earning that money, meeting those new people, and buying those nice things is a bitter old woman who slowly comes out of her caustic shell. I mean, the only minor hiccup here is that Paulette — the title character in this wacky, soufflé-light French comedy — turns her miserable life around by selling drugs.
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    Love the Coopers (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on February 11th, 2016

    “Ah, the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year. And so begins my tale…” 

    Love the Coopers seems to be a holiday title that arrived a little later than expected at the Upcoming Discs hub. Within the first five to ten minutes, you come to realize that it is a family-oriented holiday film with a rather impressive A-list cast, consisting of Steve Martin, John Goodman, Diane Keaton, Alan Arkin, Ed Helms, and Olivia Wilde. If you aren’t already a fan of any of these actors and actresses, the film’s story is endearing, as are most holiday films. However, what sets this film apart from other holiday titles (for me, anyway) is the hauntingly accurate idea of a “family” being a bleak entity, as well as atmosphere, that we all must learn to love in our own ways.
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    The New Girlfriend (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 27th, 2016

    Being a woman’s hard work.”

    Femininity — the quality and essence of being a woman — is at the forefront of The New Girlfriend, a gender-bending and genre-bending offering from French director Francois Ozon. The film is a curious mix of farce, rom-com hijinks, frank sexuality, and serious drama about loss. The formula isn’t always cohesive, but it makes for an intriguing twist on the old “boy meets girl” story.
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    The Intern (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on January 19th, 2016

    The Intern tackles a pretty important issue. Age gaps are the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. The issue is confusing to address, because a lot of people don’t even know what age group they belong to or don’t care. But the differences are very real, and they cause enormous alienation and division. Baby Boomers and Millennials are two examples which are represented here by Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, who has a daughter starting the first grade, so another age group is represented. To be clearer, Baby Boomers are born between 1946 to 1964, Generation X 1965 to 1980, Generation Y/Millennial 1981 to 2000 and Generation Z/Boomlets after 2001.
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    Cooties (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 9th, 2016

    “I’m under some medication for a medical condition so I may not be seeing this correctly. But I’m pretty sure I might be seeing some of your students possibly eating Mr. Peterson. Again it could be the medication.” 

    Cooties starts out with the grossest sequence in the entire film. You might not want to start this film if you’re eating, particularly if you’re eating chicken nuggets. Ben Franklin once warned us that there were two things one should never see made: laws and sausages. He might just as well have been talking chicken nuggets.
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    Some Kind of Beautiful (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 9th, 2015

    “Why are the Romantics relevant today?”

    Some Kind of Beautiful shamelessly embraces every rom-com cliché in the book. The utterly nonsensical title, the main characters’ impossibly-posh digs, and the film’s exceedingly contrived and predictable plotting are probably enough to send jaded moviegoers running to the airport exit. So why am I not kicking this film to the curb? Well it helps that this particular group of attractive stars shares a relaxed, mature chemistry that carries the story through its more outlandish shenanigans.
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    American Ultra (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 30th, 2015

    Why are people trying to stab you?”

    People in action movies aren’t usually inclined to stop and ask that question out loud. In American Ultra, a small army of CIA operatives repeatedly try to stab, shoot, gas, and blow up an underachieving slacker and his girlfriend. Seems like a lot of trouble for a panic attack-prone convenience store clerk who sketches a goofy graphic novel about an adventurous ape on his downtime. American Ultra is funny, violent, and tonally-jarring at times. However, it’s also a fun subversion of the action genre and (more specifically) “supersoldier” movies.
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