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    Awkward – Seasons 1 & 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on October 12th, 2013

    Jenna Hamiton (played by Ashley Rickards) is looking to make a great impression in high school but things get off to a dreadful start. After breaking her arm in a bathroom accident (sounds less gross than it is), rumors spread throughout her new school that she attempted to commit suicide. She has plenty of attention but not the sort she wanted. Now her quest is to take the misunderstanding and turn into an opportunity to shine. Cris-attunity! (as Simpsons fans would say).
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    On the Riviera (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 10th, 2013

    During his mid-20th century prime, Danny Kaye was one of the greatest entertainers in the world. He was a terrific actor, singer, comedian and dancer. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t read a note of music and never took a single dance class. On the Riviera is not Kaye’s best (nor his best-known) movie; that title belongs to White Christmas, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or Hans Christian Andersen. However, this soufflé-light musical comedy — now making its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Fox — is a nice showcase for Kaye’s considerable talents.
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    Modern Family: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 2nd, 2013

    We all remember Ed O’Neill as Al Bundy from Married With Children. It’s an iconic role that he’ll never be able to shake no matter what he does for the rest of his life. After that series ended its 11-year run, he even attempted to get out of comedy and take more dramatic roles. I’m sure there was a deliberate intent to try to distance himself from Al. It’s not that he likely didn’t love playing the role. He just wanted to avoid getting forever typecast in the mold. Those efforts weren’t all that successful. But now he’s back where he belongs again in a pretty solid sit-com
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    South Park: The Sixteenth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 1st, 2013

    “Toilet time is the last bastion of American freedom.”

    In this case it’s toilet humor. I often have trouble believing that South Park has been around for as long as it has. It’s not just the passing of 16 years, but the sheer brilliance in the face of an increasingly politically correct society. It’s like watching old episodes of All In The Family. Who believes that Archie Bunker would have any chance of survival in the 21st century? It’s no wonder that Norman Lear has become involved in the series. It’s the last remaining vestige of a once great freedom to be ridiculous and offend
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    The Neighbors: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 30th, 2013

    Suburbia has always been presented as an otherworldly place to city folk. In The Neighbors — ABC’s underrated gem of a sci-fi sitcom — a New Jersey family moves from the city to the suburbs and discovers their new community is comprised entirely of placid, color-coordinated aliens. Each episode delivers fish-out-of-water planet laughs and a lesson in what it means to be human, in all our imperfect glory.
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    2 Broke Girls: The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 25th, 2013

    Everyone on TV has nicer clothes and a bigger house than you do. And I’m not just talking about fictional doctors or lawyers. Even small-screen characters with relatively modest incomes manage to live in palatial apartments. Need proof? The 2 Allegedly Broke Girls in CBS’s hit sitcom live in an apartment that is literally big enough to fit a horse. (Hi, Chestnut.) Of course, the show isn’t exactly going for gritty realism. The most important thing here is the terrific comedic chemistry between stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, which continues to carry this uneven show.
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    A Letter to Three Wives (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 23rd, 2013

    “To begin with, all the incidents and characters in this story might be fictitious, and any resemblance to you or me might be purely coincidental.”

    Right off the bat, the unseen, all-knowing narrator of A Letter to Three Wives lets her audience know the characters in the film aren’t the only ones who are about to have their heads profoundly messed with. That sort of smart playfulness is one of the many reasons you should check out this terrific romantic dramedy from legendary writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz now that it’s on Blu-ray for the first time.
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    Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 11th, 2013

    Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is an acquired taste. For me, I’ve really got to be in that certain mood to watch it. The idea is pretty whacked. Depending on the season you’ve got, Joel or Mike is trapped in space on the “Satellite of Love”. Doomed to spend his life watching very bad films, our hero makes the best of a bad situation. He uses his resources to construct a couple of robot pals. Together they watch the films from the front row, constantly riffing on them. If you’re like me, you’ve invited a few friends over to watch a schlock festival.
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    Starbuck

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 9th, 2013

    High concepts don’t come much loftier than the one behind Starbuck. An underachieving slacker learns he has fathered 533 children thanks to frequent deposits at a sperm bank 20 years earlier. In fact, the premise was so nice, writer/director Ken Scott decided to do it twice. Vince Vaughn will star in an American remake later this year called Delivery Man. Whether you’re excited for the new film or you think it looks stupid, I highly recommend you give the funny and touching French-Canadian original a look.
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    Family Ties: The Seventh and Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on August 17th, 2013

    Best known as the launch point for Michael J Fox’s career (along with a major booster from the Back to the Future films), Family Ties was a decently delightful series that may now be mostly remembered via the many references placed into Family Guy (creator Seth MacFarlane has noted it as one of his all time favourites). It has been previously covered very well on this site, which can be found at this link: http://upcomingdiscs.com/?s=family+ties 
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    The Hot Flashes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 14th, 2013

    “Men around here’ll write you off after 40, so I know they’ll bet against us. All we have to do is bet on ourselves to win.”

    The conventional wisdom in Hollywood is that meaty roles for women quickly dry up when actresses reach a certain age. So director Susan Seidelman (She-Devil, Desperately Seeking Susan) and the stars of The Hot Flashes — a well-meaning, by-the-numbers sports comedy — deserve credit for at least trying to take their cinematic destinies into their own hands.
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    The Dick Van Dyke Show: Season 5 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 14th, 2013

    When the show ended in 1966 it was still one of the most popular shows on television. Both Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore wanted to do something else. Both were made confident by the huge stardom the show provided them, but neither was ever able to reproduce the magic here. Of course, Mary Tyler Moore found great success with a different kind of show in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. That one would go on to become a classic in its own right.
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    Girls: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 13th, 2013

    “Well, when you love someone you don’t have to be nice all the time.”

    In this current age of message boards and morning-after recaps, the pressure is on to make your voice the loudest if you want to be heard in the wilderness of the Internet. For snarky TV critics, that often means declaring something is either the “Best ____ Ever” or the “Worst ____ Ever”, with little room for anything in-between. But even within these sharply-divided times, I believe HBO’s Girls — which is brilliant just as often as it is maddening — stands out as the most polarizing show on TV.
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    Kumail Nanjiani: Beta Male

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 5th, 2013

    The fact that Kumail Nanjiani decided to call his first Comedy Central special Beta Male immediately gives you a sense of his self-deprecating style. Fortunately, the ability to laugh at himself is merely one of many comedic gifts this on-the-rise comic possesses. This consistently funny, frequently hilarious hour-long set — filmed in Austin’s Moody Theater — touches on a wide range of topics, including his Muslim upbringing, cats disguised as pizza delivery men, and outdated rollercoasters.
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    Portlandia – Season Three

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 10th, 2013

    Oregon may have been the 33rd state to join our union — and Portland may be its most populous city — but Portlandia is a (dog-dressing, raw milk-drinking, Seattle-hating) state of mind. And after three seasons of lovingly mocking upper middle class indulgence along with the denizens of the Pacific Northwest, Portlandia — created by stars Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and director Jonathan Krisel — feels more like a fully-realized destination than ever.
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    The Dick Van Dyke Show: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 9th, 2013

    When one thinks of The Dick Van Dyke Show it’s hard not to think of its star Dick Van Dyke. After all, it’s his name on the opening credits, and he does play the lead character in this groundbreaking television comedy. There’s little question that the show became a wonderful vehicle for his many comedic talents. But the genius behind the show wasn’t really Dick Van Dyke at all. It was Carl Reiner (yes, Meathead’s father) who is the true brains behind the show.
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    Workaholics – Season Three (Blu Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on June 25th, 2013

    Every generation since “X” has lionized its slackers and frat boys with films (perhaps earlier if you look to Animal House as the beginning). Workaholics dances between this honouring of the stoner/slacker lifestyle and satirizing it. This show’s third season is just like the previous two. Three best friends, Adam, Anders and Blake, spend their work days with pranks, pot and parties on their minds, and each episode showcases their adventures therein.
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    The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 24th, 2013

    “Welcome to the wonderful world of magic.”

    They say that the hand is quicker than the eye. Through the art of misdirection and skillful manipulation we have been awed by magicians ever since Glog made Ooof’s club disappear somewhere in Mesopotamia circa 20,000 BC. It’s not all skill, really. The truth is we’ve always wanted to be fooled. We’re begging for “magicians” to tamper with our sense of reality. I don’t know how fast the hand happens to be, but today we’re fooled at the speed of 24 frames per second (unless you happen to be Peter Jackson)
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    Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie! (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 30th, 2013

    Before Jay & Silent Bob, Harold & Kumar, and Seth Rogen, James Franco and their current band of merry stoners, there was Cheech & Chong. In terms of pot humor, they were the trailblazers who happily blazed on screen and on stage. The comedy duo’s popularity hit its apex with the release of 1978’s Up in Smoke, which became the year’s highest-grossing comedy. Still, Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong’s roots were always in music.
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    The Sandlot: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 1st, 2013

    When The Sandlot first came out 20 years ago, I connected to the coming-of-age baseball story as strongly as Babe Ruth connected with one of his titanic, 400-foot homers. I grew up in baseball-obsessed Puerto Rico and I happened to be the exact same age as dorky protagonist Scotty Smalls. Though I’ve kept in touch with the film over the years, Fox’s new 20th Anniversary Blu-ray re-release of The Sandlot marked my first time watching it from start to finish in a long while. It surely won’t be the last.
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    Veep: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 25th, 2013

    The great, central joke of Veep — HBO’s sharp, profane political comedy — is that no self-respecting politician aspires to become the Vice President of the United States. (Just like no self-respecting kid dresses up as Robin for Halloween.) It’s no accident the POTUS is completely MIA from the show, leaving his second-in-command and her beleaguered staff to deal with the countless indignities of a job described on “The Making of Veep” featurette as “so close to being important.”
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    Bachelorette (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jonathan Foster on March 25th, 2013

    It’s tradition. The night before a wedding, the groomsmen throw a party for the groom and the bridesmaids do the same for the bride. Usually, the bachelorette parties are tamer than their male counterparts. Unless, of course, the bride has the absolute worst bridesmaids in the history of weddings; like the ones Becky (Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect, Bridesmaids) chooses for her bridal party in Bachelorette.
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    House Arrest

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 20th, 2013

    Sometimes you really can judge a book terrible movie by its cover. Beyond the awful Photoshopped shot of the film’s stars, the cover art for House Arrest boasts that the movie comes “From a Producer of You Got Served.” That set off a bunch of questions in my curious mind. Why just one producer? Is this really something a person would brag about? Most importantly, where are all the hip hop dance battles?! Worse than all that, the film itself completely muddles a worthwhile message about faith and the importance of family with shoddy storytelling and a steady stream of substandard performances.
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    Lay the Favorite (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 5th, 2013

    If a movie starring Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vince Vaughn and a few other notable names only grosses slightly more than $20,000 — BoxOfficeMojo.com assures us that’s not a typo — does it make a sound? The natural assumption is any film boasting that kind of star power must be pretty bad to be completely ignored by distributors and the movie-going public. Lay the Favorite is a disappointing, low-energy effort, but it certainly deserved to make more money than what A Good Day to Die Hard will probably earn in the time it takes you to finish reading this sentence.
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    To Rome with Love (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 7th, 2013

    You don’t usually get too many legendary (and wildly polarizing) filmmakers coming off the biggest hit of their careers — unadjusted for inflation, of course — at age 77. Yet that’s exactly where Woody Allen found himself with To Rome with Love, his pleasant, witty, not-at-all-groundbreaking follow-up to Midnight in Paris. The writer-director originally named this film The Bop Decameron before changing it to Nero Fiddled. I’m guessing somebody (smartly) figured the suddenly buzzworthy director’s next film should have a less esoteric title; and if there was a way to incorporate a European city into the name, even better.
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