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    Bonnie & Clyde (2013) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 5th, 2014

    “Sometimes I like to think that fever of an unexpected origin, that I never came out of the other side. And that the rest of my life, none of it ever happened, especially that part where I got shot 37 times, giving my Bonnie Parker her big ending.”

    When you’re telling the story of Bonnie and Clyde, it’s very hard to say anything new. The exploits of the pair were followed closely by the entire nation. Newspaper accounts and silver screen newsreels took advantage of every turn of events in the case
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    The White Queen (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 4th, 2014

    “I’m match for any man.”

    The idea that “behind every great man, there’s a great woman rolling her eyes” far predates its adoption as a feminist slogan in the middle of the previous century. The White Queen — a sumptuous, rushed combination of Game of Thrones-style high-stakes scheming and Tudors-style regal bodice ripping — uses Britain’s late medieval history as a jumping off point for pushing a number of notable women to the forefront.
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    Afternoon Delight (Blu-ray)

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

    How did the stripper get in the maid’s room?”

    That question sounds like the set up for some juvenile, profane joke, but it also tidily encapsulates the plot of Afternoon Delight. The film is about the plight of an affluent, quietly desperate housewife who takes it upon herself to “rescue” a young, down-on-her-luck stripper. What the quote doesn’t quite capture is how this funny and frank outing from first-time feature filmmaker Jill Soloway is really about the universal quest for intimacy.
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    Treme: Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 29th, 2014

    Creator David Simon (The Wire and Generation Kill) has never been a show runner concerned about cliffhangers or plot twists; instead he thrusts his viewers into the day-to-day life of the everyday Joe and shows that real life generates more conflict than most fiction can ever deliver.  Ever since I first watched The Wire I’ve considered myself a fan of Simon’s work, and I feel it could be argued that what Simon did with The Wire is a large factor in why we have the quality of television that we do today
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    The Fifth Estate (Blu-ray)

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

    Journalism today is in disarray. I say that not because there aren’t many, many passionate journalists who want to do the best job possible. I say it because there are just many, many, many more bloggers who don’t know how live up to those standards or why it’s even important. The internet changes everything in the music industry, the movie industry, and the media industry. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. It just means that it’s chaotic, and it often seems like no one is in control
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    Crossing Lines: Season One (Blu-ray)

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

    Location, location, location! The notion that a desirable geographic spot can make a huge difference isn’t exclusive to the world of real estate. Take, for instance, Crossing Lines. At first glance, the show fits comfortably alongside any number of American police procedurals that feature curiously attractive cops and a fresh set of dead bodies each week. It’s a formula that’s worked for decades, so it’s hard to argue for a complete overhaul. The best fans can hope for are clever tweaks to help new shows stand out from the crowded cop show lineup. Crossing Lines accomplishes this by taking all the fake corpses you’ve seen on New York and L.A. streets and scattering them across Europe.
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    Sunrise (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 16th, 2014

    This song of the Man and his Wife is of no place; you might hear it anywhere at any time.”

    The aching simplicity of the story in Sunrise is the reason the silent film remains thoroughly watchable almost 90 years after its release. It’s also why the movie will remain thoroughly watchable another 90 years from now. Then again, the reason F.W. Murnau’s 1927 effort goes beyond simply remaining watchable — and enters masterpiece territory — has less to do with what the story is and much more to do with how it’s told.
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    Last Love

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

    We’ve been conditioned to expect certain things when it comes to movies about love. The genre has become synonymous with chance encounters, kisses in the rain, and last-second declarations of love. (A tragic/downer ending is purely optional.) The most interesting thing about Last Love is how it explores the sort of deep connection between a man and a woman that isn’t necessarily tied to physicality or even romance. It’s such a refreshing change from the love story norm that it made the parts of the film that don’t quite work more palatable.
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    Sweetwater (Blu-ray)

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

    “Violence is never the answer.”

    That statement is said unironically by a character in Sweetwater, but we know better; in the movies, violence is pretty much always the answer. This is especially true when it comes to the revenge genre which, the films of Quentin Tarantino notwithstanding, is largely a man’s game. (Risk-averse Hollywood studios are much less likely to greenlight WoMan on Fire.) This bloody, straightforward Western from twin filmmakers Logan and Noah Miller is not terribly original, but it does try to put its own spin on the hallowed tradition of cinematic payback.
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    The Ultimate Life (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 24th, 2013

    “You gotta be grateful for the little things in life, otherwise you’ll never be grateful for nothing.”

    I’m not so sure the same fans who made 2007’s The Ultimate Gift a hit on the home video market — and spurred the creation of this sequel — will be very grateful for this tepid follow-up. The Ultimate Life stiffly and earnestly re-iterates the first film’s emphasis on appreciating non-material delights, and sprinkles in a worthwhile message about the importance of leaving a strong legacy behind. Unfortunately, this film’s own legacy places it with the long list of sequels that don’t live up to the original.
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    The Hunt (Blu-ray)

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

    “People always work from the assumption that children are telling the truth.”

    Kids really do say the darndest things! Popular kindergarten teacher Lucas finds this out the hard way after his life is shattered in The Hunt, an outstanding and indelible Danish drama that will almost surely pick up a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination when the nods are announced in about a month. The film tackles a touchy (no pun intended) subject with great care. It also raises a number of provocative points about perception versus reality.
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    Jayne Mansfield’s Car (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 11th, 2013

    Before Billy Bob Thornton became best known for icky PDA and wearing his wife’s blood around his neck, he burst onto the moviemaking scene as an Academy Award-winning triple-threat with Sling Blade, which he directed, wrote and starred in. (I feel like it’s finally safe to bring up Billy Bob’s acting career again.) Despite working steadily as an actor — and even directing a few other films — the Thornton who won an Oscar for writing Sling Blade has been largely absent from moviegoers’ lives. That’s why it was such a delight to see him return to southern-fried form as a filmmaker with the terrific ensemble drama Jayne Mansfield’s Car.
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    Pain & Gain: Special Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)

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

    People have used a lot of different words to describe Michael Bay and his films: “loud”, “blockbusters”, “mindless”, “soulless”, “Hitler” and, of course, “awesome.” One of the words you don’t normally associate with Bay’s undeniably successful output is “clever.” I daresay Pain & Gain is the most interesting movie the action auteur has ever made; the film is both seriously silly and surprisingly smart in how it presents its stupid characters
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    Getaway (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on November 28th, 2013

    What makes a bad movie? What makes a good movie? The standards are getting lost in murky waters, because many of the critics have no interest in film history and the clear record of what is great and what is garbage. That goes for many filmmakers too. Their standards are what works in the last 12 months and how to try out the latest technology. Unfortunately they often forget the tried and true basics like good writing and good acting. Ethan Hawke gets a lot of these small movies
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    All the Presidents Men (Blu-ray)

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

    This is a film that has become a significant contribution to the very the timeline it depicts, which is that of US President Nixon being forced into resignation after the Watergate scandal. This film is an engrossing depiction of the actual reporters who used anonymous tips to help uncover a scandal so big that it rocked the entire US nation. This film was released only four years after the infamous attempt to bug the Democratic offices in Watergate, which spurred the entire course of events in this film.
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    Paranoia (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on November 25th, 2013

    It’s nice to see two Spielberg veterans in the same movie. It’s been a long time since American Graffiti when Harrison Ford and Richard Dreyfuss last appeared together. It’s been a long time since Hooper in Jaws and Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but Dreyfuss and Ford don’t appear together in this movie either. It’s like they are in two different movies. Paranoia is a corporate espionage thriller with two CEO’s played by Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman, who have strong ties and stronger hates. There is lots to like about the movie, but many, many missed opportunities too.
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    Treme: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 21st, 2013

    Creator David Simon (The Wire and Generation Kill) has never been a show runner concerned about cliffhangers or plot twists; instead he thrusts his viewers into the day-to-day life of the everyday Joe and shows that real life generates more conflict than most fiction can ever deliver.  Ever since I first watched The Wire I’ve considered myself a fan of Simon’s work, and I feel it could be argued that what Simon did with The Wire is a large factor in why we have the quality of television that we do today.
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    Kenny Rogers: The Gambler (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 18th, 2013

    Kenny Rogers…chances are that is a name you have heard throughout your life regardless of whether you are a fan or not; regardless whether you have ever heard any of his music, which happens to be the case when it comes to me. His name just has a way of sticking with you, and that can be doubly said of his song “The Gambler.” See, even now I bet the mere mention of the song’s name has the chorus of “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,” playing in your head. Well, here is the film version for Rogers’ most infamous song; however, I doubt that the movie will have the same effect on you as the song.
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    Parkland (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 18th, 2013

    On November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, made a political trip to Dallas, Texas with his wife, Jacqueline, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.”

    Of course, you don’t have to be an American History buff to know what happened next. The circumstances surrounding President Kennedy’s assassination instantly seared themselves into the country’s collective consciousness. This month marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death, which has brought along the expected number of tributes, TV specials and movies breaking down the crime and its corresponding conspiracy theories. Parkland, however, serves as a microcosm of how Kennedy’s assassination affected an entire nation.
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    Prince Avalanche (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 15th, 2013

    On paper, the premise of Prince Avalanche sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry. The film follows a pair of squabbling workers whose job it is to paint yellow lines in the middle of a country road in the aftermath of a devastating wildfire. They’re basically the only two characters in the movie, and the story never moves away from their desolate surroundings. Although his film is occasionally self-indulgent (by design, I suspect), director David Gordon Green finds the strange beauty in that desolate landscape. He’s also armed with stars who bring this meandering character study to life.
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    Ambushed (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 11th, 2013

    The most surprising thing about Ambushed is that it’s not quite as generic as its completely uninspired title might suggest. (Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 15 movies that could credibly be re-titled Ambushed; I’m sure you can too.) This particular straight-to-DVD action thriller is being sold as The Expendables-lite, with tough guy supporting players (and Ambushed producers) Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture — along with Vinnie Jones, who really should’ve been in an Expendables movie by now — glowering from the Blu-ray cover. But this stylish L.A. drama — which liberally borrows from superior crime flicks — has a few tricks of its own.
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    Magic City: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 6th, 2013

    Ike Evans (Morgan) owns the most swank hotel in Miami. It’s the Miramar Playa. He bought the land at a song from his deceased wife’s family, and he’s turned it into a luxury city where the likes of Frank Sinatra call home. He’s determined to make it without caving to the influence of his minority partner, who happens to go by the name of The Butcher. He’s Ben Diamond (Huston), and he wants the hotel to become a kingdom of gambling and other profitable vices. Sure, Ike allows a little prostitution and backroom bookie action, but he wants to keep the hotel pretty much legit. That’s hard with a bank nut that runs $65,000 a month.
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    Bonnie & Clyde: Justified

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

    Although they were brutally gunned down almost 80 years ago, everyone knows the names “Bonnie & Clyde”, even if they’re only familiar with the bank-robbing basics. Don’t look now, but Arthur Penn’s landmark, definitive Bonnie & Clyde film — with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in the title roles — came out 46 years ago, so I imagine there’s a large segment of younger movie fans who haven’t seen the story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow play out on screen. The ultra low-budget Bonnie & Clyde: Justified arrives just in time to capitalize coincide with December’s star-studded, multi-network miniseries that will surely raise the notorious duo’s pop culture profile once again.
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    Vikings: Season One (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 30th, 2013

    When Vikings Season 1 first arrived, I have to admit I was pretty excited. I was particularly eager to see footage from their very first game. Fran Tarkenton came off the bench, and the Vikings went on to become the first expansion team ever to win their very first game. OK, as Baby, our Shepherd/Chow mix dog film reviewer would say: I made that last part up. You’d have to have been living under a pretty isolated rock to have missed all of the buzz over The History Channel’s epic new drama series Vikings.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Kindred: The Embraced – The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on October 30th, 2013

    There are five clans of Vampires that are secretly living amongst humans. Said secret is maintained by a code of conduct called the “Masquerade” which states that vampires can never reveal themselves to a human; nor can they “embrace” (bite and convert) a human without approval from the highest council. Defying this means that your lengthy life is forfeit. A detective discovers the truth about the Masquerade when his girlfriend loses her life after defying these very rules, and he sets out to reveal the entire realm of vampires in San Francisco.
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