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    The Dog (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 18th, 2014

    “If anybody gets up, they’re dead. Anybody moves, they’re dead. Anybody makes a sound before I leave this movie, …”

    You get the idea. These are the words of one John Wojtowicz, better known as The Dog. On August 22, 1972 he attempted to rob a Chase Manhattan bank in order to finance his male lover’s sex change operation so that he could become a woman. The heist was about as amateur as the come and went horribly wrong from the start. In a matter of minutes the bank was surrounded by a swarm of police units and a growing mob of bystanders.
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    Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 29th, 2014

    “It was the gang that ran amok. You have people who were being extorted, who talked of having a shotgun barrel stuck in their mouths or machine guns pointed at their groin. Body bags were shown by Bulger as he shakes them down. It was absolute terror.”

    It amazes me that I really had very little idea who James J. Bulger was before I watched this film by director Joe Berlinger. How could I have missed this guy? On the run for over 16 years, Bulger was once #2 on the FBI’s most wanted list. Who was #1? That was Osama Bin Laden. So who was this man that came in second only to the world’s most infamous terrorist?
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    Ancient Aliens: Season 6 – Vol 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 8th, 2014

    “Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings. What if it were true?

    Ever since Eric von Daniken released his speculative book and its subsequent 1970 film Chariots of the Gods, there has been an entire field of study created around something commonly called Ancient Astronaut Theory. The idea is that extraterrestrials have visited many of our ancient civilizations. The theory continues that these visitors had a hand in shaping our development, whether it be through technology or even manipulation of our very DNA.
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    “31 Nights of Terror” The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 2nd, 2014

    Despite its found-footage conceit and similar-sounding title, The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill is somewhat of a different demon animal than a certain recent horror franchise. Given that found-footage fatigue seems to be setting in among critics and audiences, any sort of deviation from the norm should be welcome. The problem is this film ultimately doesn’t deviate far enough and hedges its bets with a climax that seems transplanted in from a handful of other movies. More importantly, viewers will probably be too bored to even care by the time movie gets around to being scary.
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    The World Wars (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 11th, 2014

    “One must regard the 30 years of strife, turmoil and suffering in Europe as part of one story. One story of a 30 years war.” – Winston Churchill

    He was exactly correct, and one of only a few people of the time who had the vision to understand that concept. Before the end of World War II the first world war was known as The Great War. The idea of two separate world wars came later.
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    Richard Lewis: Bundle of Nerves

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

    Some of the most iconic stand-up comics of all time have famously wrestled with personal demons while simultaneously mining them for material on stage. Few have done so more successfully — and for a longer period of time — than Richard Lewis. His neurotic, self-flagellating act earned Lewis his “Prince of Pain” nickname, but his longevity is just as impressive. The fact is a lot of great comics don’t last as long as Lewis because they lose that battle with their demons too soon. So it’s great to see that, at age 67, Lewis finally gets his due with a DVD set that covers some of his most seminal work.
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    Aerial America: Southeast Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 25th, 2014

    One of the miracles of modern technology is its ability to shrink the world down so you can practically (well, proverbially) hold it in the palm of your hand. The cheerily square Smithsonian Channel series Aerial America goes the other way. In fact, the best thing about the show is how it uses technology to fill every inch of your screen with some of the most famous — along with some of the more underappreciated — U.S. landmarks, employing a larger-than-life/bird’s-eye point of view most of us wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy. Now, Smithsonian Channel and Inception Media Group have released another batch of episodes on Blu-ray.
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    Project Wild Thing

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

    “The generational shift to an indoor existence has been strongly linked to a sharp decline in children’s well-being.”

    That’s just a fancier, more eloquent version of the familiar lament that (these darn) “kids today just don’t play outside anymore!” It’s also the jumping-off point for Project Wild Thing, an inventive and engaging documentary that explores the apparent disconnect between today’s youth and the natural world they seem intent on ignoring.
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    Disneynature: Bears (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 11th, 2014

    “Hi, little guys.”

    There was a time, decades ago when Walt Disney Studios was doing quality documentaries on a pretty regular schedule. Many of them appeared on the television show The Wonderful World Of Disney, and more than a few were released as feature films. And while that tradition has continued somewhat, it’s been a while since I was truly impressed by a Disney documentary. That all changes with the release of Bears.
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    Aerial America: Southwest Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 24th, 2014

    One of the miracles of modern technology is its ability to shrink the world down so you can practically (well, proverbially) hold it in the palm of your hand. The cheerily square Smithsonian Channel series Aerial America goes the other way. In fact, the best thing about the show is how it uses technology to fill every inch of your screen with some of the most famous — along with some of the more underappreciated — U.S. landmarks, employing a larger-than-life/bird’s-eye point of view most of us wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy.
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    Watermark (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 8th, 2014

    Anyone who ever sat through an elementary school science class knows that about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. We’ve all heard the spiel, but I don’t imagine most of us spend much time contemplating how truly staggering that figure really is. Watermark seeks to convey the many different ways humans and the planet’s water supply affect one another. The documentary is maddeningly scattered, but it also manages to capture and convey a small part of the world’s awe-inspiring bigness.
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    Civil War 360

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 26th, 2014

    I’m as excited as you are to (finally!) have a three-day weekend. But between scarfing down hot dogs or hopping from one pool party to the next, it can’t hurt to take a few moments to acknowledge why we observe Memorial Day in the first place. You probably know the annual holiday pays tribute to the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S Armed Forces. What you may not know is that Memorial Day originated shortly after the U.S. Civil War. This three-part documentary miniseries strives to examine “America’s Bloodiest War” from every angle.
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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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    Generation Iron

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 15th, 2014

    Bodybuilders present a series of fascinating contradictions. They objectively embody the ideal physical form, but there are also people who can’t even stand looking at them. They’re in tip-top shape, but instead of running, jumping or hitting each other, their competitions involve…posing. Pumping Iron, the 1977 documentary that turned Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno into stars, was the first film to shine a light on the world of bodybuilding. Generation Iron stylishly and thoughtfully explores how the sport — and its participants — have grown immensely in the ensuing decades despite remaining a somewhat peculiar part of popular culture.
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    One Direction: Reaching for the Stars Part 2 — The Next Chapter

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 15th, 2014

    As soon as you saw the title of this review or caught a glimpse of the DVD cover art to the right of this paragraph, chances are you either rolled your eyes or squealed with delight. In less than five years, One Direction has become a worldwide boy band behemoth. The group’s devoted fans call themselves “Directioners” and serve as a helpful reminder that “fan” is short for “fanatic.” This DVD is purportedly aimed at those same fans, but I imagine there’s not much here a true Directioner hasn’t already seen on Twitter or YouTube.
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    Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 10th, 2014

    Today, Miami is considered one of the most glamorous cities in the world. But long before it became the place where some of the biggest stars in sports and entertainment took their talents, Miami was dubbed the drug, murder, and cash capital of the United States. (Resulting in a drastically different “Big 3” than what locals are accustomed to these days.) Cocaine Cowboys already chronicled this shockingly violent stretch of the city’s history and featured recollections from some of the people who helped Miami achieve its dubious status. Now an extended version of Billy Corben’s 2006 documentary arrives on Blu-ray.
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    Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 28th, 2014

    “One … two… Freddy’s coming for you, three… four… better lock the door, five… six… grab your crucifix, seven… eight better stay up late, nine….ten … Never Sleep Again.”

    Freddy is one of the more memorable monsters from the slasher era that also brought us the Halloween and Jason films. Freddy might have been born in the mind of Wes Craven, but he grew and developed in the knife-wielding hands of Robert Englund. Granted, not all of these films are equal in quality. The first and third are the best story-wise, while the last might be the most unpredictable and original.
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    Murph: The Protector (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 10th, 2014

    “Put it this way– Mikey was the best officer I ever knew; An iron-souled warrior of colossal and almost unbelievable courage in the face of the enemy.”

    That is a direct quote from the novel Lone Survivor and redelivered from the lips of the former president of the United States of America, George Bush. Lt. Michael P. Murphy: that is a name that has been heard more and more with the passing weeks. Surely by now we all have a moderate idea (though I hope it is more than moderate) of the man behind the name. If not, allow me the privilege of enlightening you a bit.
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    Good Ol’ Freda (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 4th, 2013

    We’re about 50 years removed from the Beatles taking the entire world by storm, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that everything anyone could possibly say about the Fab Four has already been said. Fortunately, the success of Good Ol’ Freda — a Beatles documentary that doubles as a loving tribute to its subject and the famous band she adored — doesn’t hinge on any heretofore unknown/shocking revelations. In other words, the film’s charm doesn’t so much come from what Freda Kelly says; instead, it comes from the delighted, no-fuss way she recounts her time with, arguably, the most famous band of all time.
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    Galactic Adventures Double Feature: 3D Sun / Mars 3D (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 4th, 2013

    Galactic Adventures from Image Entertainment is a nifty little collection of two Solar System IMAX films both running just under a half hour. The two short documentaries off a 3D ride to both the Sun and Mars. The films were produced in 2007 with 3D Sun opening at The Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum. Both films have made the circuit of science museums throughout the country and come to you now through the modern milestone of home 3D for the first time ever
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    Blackfish (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 12th, 2013

    To this day, there’s no record of an orca doing any harm to any human…in the wild.”

    Orcas are sometimes referred to as “blackfish,” but Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s thrilling, thought-provoking documentary examines why they’re most commonly known as “killer whales.” The movie’s obvious standout moments involve breathtaking footage of these massive animals violently turning on their trainers. Although some viewers will undoubtedly make the leap to wondering whether it’s ok to keep any animal in captivity, the thing that elevates this film is that it serves as an eloquent argument against keeping this particularly majestic, highly-social beast in a concrete pool.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History Of Friday The 13th (Blu-ray)

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

    What a great time it was to be a teen in the late 1970’s. No, I’m not referring to disco music. It was a great time to go to the movies. It was the culmination of the perfect date, and Hollywood was riding the beginning of a trend that remains alive and healthy today. I’m talking, of course, about the slasher film. You could argue that Hitchcock started the ball rolling in 1961 with Psycho, but it would be decades before that film would find its true audience and plethora of imitators. Although The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween came before Friday The 13th, can it be argued that any horror film franchise is as widely known?
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    Space Junk 3D (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 19th, 2013

    “After a half century of space exploration we’re now being faced with what’s long been a staple of science fiction: an orbiting junkyard of space debris.”

    There’s an old saying that what goes up must come down. For most of human history that has been a pretty steadfast axiom. Of course any kid who has ever had a kite or a football stuck in a tree knows there are exceptions to every rule. But in the 1950’s we began to place objects in orbit about the Earth. In recent decades the practice has almost become a frenzy. We have all of those cell phones, television networks and GPS devices that require more and more satellite support.
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    Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 16th, 2013

    I have a prediction about reality shows: with a new one seemingly sprouting up like a weed every few minutes, the number of people on television will eventually be greater than the number of people watching at home. Granted, some of these shows are amusing, educational and even inspirational. But too many of them reward negative, repulsive behavior with fleeting fame. Speaking of rewarding negative, repulsive behavior with fleeting fame, The Morton Downey Jr. Show was on the air for less than two years, yet that was long enough to earn its host the title of “Father of Trash Television.”
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    Wild Deep (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 16th, 2013

    “The Earth. A world of water. Nearly three-quarters of our planet is covered in a massive blue patchwork of seas and oceans. What lies beneath the surface is an alien realm we’ve barely begun to explore. Within these depths mysterious and amazing life forms live in a beautiful but fragile world of immeasurable variety and environmental extremes. This is a journey into the Wild Deep.”

    Wild Deep is a seven-part nature series that takes us on a journey to the underwater worlds of each of the Earth’s continents.
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