• Forum
  • Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

    Amistad (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 13th, 2014

    “Whoever tells the best story wins.”

    This bit of lawyerly wisdom is given by John Quincy Adams in Amistad, Steven Spielberg’s account of a real-life 19th century slave revolt. President Adams is offering advice on how to mount the most effective case on the slaves’ behalf, but his words ring true well beyond the courtroom. Spielberg has been telling some of the best stories since the 1970s. Amistad may not be top-tier Spielberg, but the film — making its Blu-ray debut — is an absorbing historical drama in its own right.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Her (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on May 13th, 2014

    Her is someone you could fall in love with. Her is full of wonderful qualities. Her is elusive and unattainable as well as enticing and satisfying. Her is the awkward title of the new Spike Jonze film starring Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson (though not all of her), Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde and Chris Pratt. It does not star Samantha Morton, Carey Mulligan or Chris Cooper. It might have, but the project evolved so much that they dropped by the wayside. It grew out of the third collaboration between Jonze and Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) but Charlie Kaufman also dropped out, and this became a written-by-Spike Jonze project.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    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.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Godfather Part III (Blu-ray)

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

    If anything, the third part of the Godfather series of films is symbolic of when too many sequels are greenlighted, and consequently, the film is doomed to fail. More often than not, the reason why these films crash and burn is because of major studios acting like Adelphia executives and wanting more money, and in using the previous films’ successes as leverage, they lose sight of things like quality. It’s happened to other trilogies. And if you put together previous films with the reputation that the first two Godfather films have, the only question left to answer is whether or not the third film would be a minor or major letdown.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    The Veronica Mars Movie (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 7th, 2014

    It was 2007 when Veronica Mars concluded its three-season run on the CW.  The door was left open for more seasons, and the season three set came with a bonus that showed us the direction things could have gone.  But after one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns and seven years later, fans of the show will finally get to see their favorite little marshmallow, Veronica Mars, on one last investigation.  I’m going to come out and say it; I was a big fan of the show. The high school noir series was more than just your standard teen melodrama
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Still Mine (Blu-ray)

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

    Craig Morrison was in his late 80’s the first time he got in trouble with the law. Still Mine tells the real-life story of the Canadian octogenarian who found himself in court facing the prospect of jail time. In case you’re wondering, Morrison didn’t rob a bank or cheat on his taxes. He merely wanted to build a modest house on his own property that could better accommodate his ailing wife. And he insisted on doing it himself.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Neighbors From Hell

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

    Following the live performance of Madea’s Neighbors From Hell captured on this DVD, Tyler Perry joins his fellow cast members on stage after they’ve all taken their bows. Perry has ditched his Madea drag and takes to the microphone to thank his fervent, loyal fans for their support. You probably know Perry because of the phenomenal success he has enjoyed in TV and movies. (And because he puts his name on practically everything he does.) However, Perry is quick to remind his audience that it all started on the stage.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Great Expectations (2012) (Blu-ray)

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

    I do wish I could be content, but…”

    You cannot.”

    There’s a reason “Great Expectations” continues to be adapted for the stage and screen more than 150 years after its publication. Charles Dickens wrote — and set — his novel during Britain’s Victorian era, but the classic coming-of-age story is thick with ideas about social status and all-consuming ambition that easily transcend its original time and place. So how does this new version, first released in the U.K. in 2012, stack up?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Escape From Tomorrow (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 5th, 2014

    It’s been a while since a movie has been released that broke the rules on how we expected a film to be made.  Avatar was the last game changer, I would say, considering it gave audiences a new way to see films in 3D.  Sure, hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in that film, and the reward for bringing audiences something different is it being the highest box office grosser ever.  Escape From Tomorrow goes in the opposite direction, and to be matter of fact about it, the film shouldn’t even exist.  But writer/director Randy Moore pulled off something that is an achievement that deserves praise for filming his sci-fi satire on location at Disney, without their permission.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Labor Day (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 29th, 2014

    There have been complaints that there are not enough films that have decent lead roles for women. There are those that say that Hollywood does not make enough movies for women. Then when they do, critics tend to dismiss them as “Lifetime” movies (a term that is dismissive because of the cable channel that churns out generic movies for women). It seems far easier to accept excessive violence or male-oriented films with sexual content. If a movie tries to legitimately capture real situations from a woman’s point of view, it can be patronizingly categorized as pap and schmaltz.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 21st, 2014

    “Have you done anything noteworthy or mentionable?”

    It’s the sort of question that can easily apply to either your workday or your life as a whole. It’s also the question actor/producer/director Ben Stiller chose as the basis of his inspirational adaptation of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The original short story by James Thurber is less than five pages long, so a filmmaker has the option of going to any number of fascinating places in bringing Thurber’s tale to the big screen. Stiller, in essence, decided to take the scenic route.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    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.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

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

    The majority of murders committed on television are presented from the perspective of the people trying to solve them. It’s a smart, gratifying strategy because it allows us viewers to play detective from the safety of our couches one hour at a time. Far fewer shows are interested in doing the more difficult/less glamorous work of dramatizing the way a death can shatter a family, along with an entire community. Broadchurch is one of the most outstanding cop dramas I’ve seen in a long time because it’s willing to do that difficult work while also delivering the goods as a satisfying whodunnit.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Norma Rae (Blu-ray)

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

    “I’m Norma Rae. You know me.”

    Chances are you’ve at least heard of Norma Rae, even if you haven’t actually seen the Oscar-winning film that bears her name. You might know it as the granddaddymomma of underdog stories centered on feisty female crusaders; Norma Rae begat Silkwood, Erin Brockovich, North Country and others. Or you might know it as the movie that made Sally Field a serious movie star, although it’d be another five years until she really believed that people liked her.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    At Middleton (Blu-ray)

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

    “Sometimes a day can be an eternity.”

    It’s hard to tell a convincing love story, period. It’s even harder to tell a convincing love story when we’re supposed to believe the two characters fall for each other within the space of a single day. The good news is At Middleton somewhat manages to pull this off in a little over an hour. The bad news is the film is actually 1 hour and 40 minutes long.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    The Wolf of Wall Street (Blu-ray)

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

    Besides the fact that it stars Leonardo DiCaprio and that it’s essentially a white collar gloss on Goodfellas, you’d be forgiven for thinking somebody other than Martin Scorsese directed The Wolf of Wall Street. I don’t mean to suggest Scorsese has lost his masterful touch or his passion for filmmaking, both of which were on display as recently as two years ago in the wonderful Hugo. It’s more that after spending the better part of the 21st century making strong, serious dramas, I didn’t necessarily expect Scorsese to make his funniest, loosest and most audacious picture in decades.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Devious Maids: The Complete First Season

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

    “In my experience, people just aren’t that interested in what happens to the help.”

    Lifetime viewers and Devious Maids creator Marc Cherry beg to differ. After debuting to modest ratings last summer, the show steadily gained viewers and hit a series high in viewership with its finale. (Not surprisingly, it was promptly renewed for a second season.) Cherry previously struck eight seasons worth of gold with Desperate Housewives on ABC. As someone who enjoyed watched more Housewives episodes than I care to admit, I can appreciate both the positive and negative ways this show echoes Cherry’s previous smash success.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Kill Your Darlings (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on March 21st, 2014

    For some reason, I have themes that I keep reviewing time in and time again (regardless of whether I enjoy the subject matter or not). One of those themes or rather people is Allen Ginsberg, one of the most important poets of the 20th century and symbol of the Beat Generation. A few years ago, I reviewed Howl which was more about his 1957 obscenity trial. This film, Kill Your Darlings deals with the relationship between Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr. Let us see how well this one turns out.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Reasonable Doubt (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 21st, 2014

    “The problem is you don’t know my pain or emptiness. But now you’re going to know how it feels to be me.”

    Mitch Brockden (Cooper) is an ambitious up and comer in the Chicago prosecutor’s office. He has a reputation for being aggressive, and he doesn’t lose cases. He’s respected and liked by his colleagues. That’s the man we first meet. But after a night of some power drinking with his buds, we are introduced to another Mitch Brockden. This Mitch is selfish and a coward.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Kingdom of Conquerors

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

    “So long as my enemies are alive, I will not die.”

    During his lifetime, Genghis Khan reigned over one of the biggest empires the world has ever seen. There are literally dozens of action-packed epics that could be made about his various battles as head of the Mongol Empire, which included portions of China, Russia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. But Kingdom of Conquerors curiously focuses on the one adversary Khan couldn’t vanquish: death.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Flashpoint: The Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on March 16th, 2014

    It is true what they say, every time you think you are done, you get pulled back in. I had been working on cleaning up my house and trying by any means necessary to get it on the market (42 gallon trash bags are your friend). But the big boss of Upcomingdiscs.com asked if I would like to review the final season of Flashpoint. I looked at my movie spinner and saw nestled between the Flash (the short lived TV series) and Freakazoid Season 1(okay, I’m odd, I get it), the first 5 volumes of Flashpoint. At that point, it was pretty much a done deal.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    The Book Thief (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 14th, 2014

    “One small fact: you are going to die. Despite every effort, no one lives forever.”

    The Book Thief is narrated by Death, who opens the film with these sobering words. It is also set in Germany during the years leading up to World War II. On paper, the best-case scenario for this film appears to be “well-executed, watchable downer”, while the worst-case scenario is “do we really need *another* movie about WWII?!” But fans of Aussie author Markus Zusak’s 2005 best-seller know better. The Book Thief uses the silky specter of death to tell a beautifully affecting story that celebrates life.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    300 Spartans (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 13th, 2014

    “Greece, that hard and timeless land, where even the stones speak of man’s courage, of his endurance, of his glory. And none more eloquently than this lonely pillar in a desolate pass, some 200 miles north of modern Athens. Across the hush of 24 centuries, this is the story of a turning point in history, of a blazing day when 300 Greek warriors fought here to hold with their lives their freedom and ours.”

    From that introduction you might guess that this is a review of Zack Snyder’s 300 or the newly minted follow-up 300: Rise Of An Empire. That guess would be wrong.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    12 Years a Slave (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 10th, 2014

    Gone With The Wind is the most popular film of all time still to this day if you talk about adjusted dollars. The Birth of a Nation was the most popular film of all time for a considerable time prior to that. Both films could be said to have a benign view of slavery and white supremacy, although it would be easy to use much stronger language than that. In most circles, both films have been considerably discredited due to this myopic view. Both films almost completely ignore or disregard the incredible cruelty of using human beings as a commodity for commerce.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Hours

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

    Paul Walker built his career on playing tarnished golden boys (Varsity Blues, The Skulls) before breaking out with the Fast & Furious franchise. He wasn’t as decorated as fellow recently-departed colleagues like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Peter O’Toole, James Gandolfini and Harold Ramis, but Walker was unequivocally a Hollywood success. Hours is one of the last films the actor completed before his November death in a single-car accident. The film quickly loses its way after a promising start, but Walker is easily the best thing in it. His work here is a bittersweet glimpse at the sort of roles he might’ve taken on as he progressed through his 40’s.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)
    CSS Template by RamblingSoul | Tomodachi theme by Theme Lab