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    Blindspot: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

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

    “Everything just feels so out of control. I don’t remember who I am. Who I was. Whatever life I had is gone. Shattered into a million tiny pieces. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe.”

    I have to credit Blindspot’s creator Martin Gero with providing one of the more memorable moments on television with the opening minutes of the series. Unfortunately, by the time we saw the pilot that image was already ruined by the countless spots used to promote the show’s premiere. We see a police officer in Times Square approach a bag with a sign on it that asks the FBI be alerted. The cop approaches the bag a bit frightened it might be a bomb and blow up on him at any time.
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    I Am Wrath (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 1st, 2016

    Don’t let the artwork scare you off. Yes, the cover design for this disc may be the worst I’ve seen this year, but the movie actually isn’t half bad.  John Travolta has hit a bump in his career, and it seems the big blockbuster projects just don’t seem to want to reach out to him.  Sure, he has a habit of going over the top in roles, but for the most part he’s still one of the few personalities I still enjoy seeing on the screen who’s been around since before I was a kid.  Then you’ve got Chuck Russell (Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Warriors and The Blob remake) dusting off his director’s chair to helm a film again, and, well, I Am Wrath quickly starts to become a film I can be excited about.
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    The Dark Horse

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

    You talk dreams to those kids, you better follow through.”

    There’s a (not-so) grand cinematic tradition of white knights riding into rough neighborhoods and inspiring the disadvantaged kids who are seemingly stuck there. We’ve seen this plot applied in everything from Hardball and McFarland USA to Sister Act 2. (Hey…no one said the white knight *has* to be white). For the most part, these movies are as formulaic as they are enjoyable. So one of the many wonderful things about New Zealand chess drama The Dark Horse is that its white knight hero is a complex, damaged, well-meaning figure who’s actually in worse shape than the kids he’s trying to help.
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    My Golden Days

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

    I remember…”

    On the surface, there’s nothing particularly remarkable about Paul Dedalus, the French anthropologist at the center of My Golden Days. As he prepares to return to France after an extended work stint in Tajikstan, Paul reflects on a trio of key moments from his childhood and young adulthood. Much of what Paul recalls — the death of a parent, his first love, and the aching of a long-distance relationship — is completely relatable. Yet filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin aims to present Paul’s life as the most romantic, tragic story ever told.
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    Green Room (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 15th, 2016

    Ever since writer/director Jeremy Saulnier came out with his gripping revenge film Blue Ruin, fans have been patiently waiting to see what he’d do next.  If you have not had the chance to see Blue Ruin and you are a fan of the revenge genre, it’s a film that is certainly a must see and is one of the few films that lives up to the hype that surrounds it.  The problem with doing such a strong and powerful film so early in your career is that expectations seem to just skyrocket, and it seems there is just no way you can make everyone happy.  As a fan first and critic second, I know I’ve been guilty of doing this in the past, and it’s almost impossible to not get excited, and at the screening for this film, I know I was not the only one with high expectations.
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    Eddie The Eagle (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

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

    When I was a kid in the 1970’s there was a weekend sports show on ABC called The Wide World Of Sports. It was a catch-all for those sports that don’t have the kind of national branding of football or baseball. It was the kind of show for boxing, gymnastics, or skiing. I don’t remember a single episode that I saw. What I do remember along with anyone who has ever watched it is the opening sequence. We were promised the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat. With that last line we saw the image of a ski jumper taking a horrible wreck as he comes off the jump. In the 40 years since I still often wonder about the guy whose legacy will always be the very definition of unmitigated failure, and painful failure at that.
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    Vigilante Diaries (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 7th, 2016

    “That’s me, Mike Hanover, and I just killed a man in a taco shop bathroom. Hey, he started it. I been hiding near the border looking for The Vigilante…” 

    You’ve found him. Anchor Bay’s The Vigilante actually started life as a web series. The web episodes followed the exploits of The Vigilante, played by Paul Sloan and his sidekick The Kid, played by Kevin L. Walker. It was pretty much a hyper-superhero kind of series with ramped-up action on a limited budget. Now we have a feature film version that is quite the mixture of genre films. You get a little grindhouse mixed with some Leone Spaghetti Western with extra sauce
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    Knight of Cups (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 29th, 2016

    After a tidy, 20-year gap between making 1978’s Days of Heaven and 1998’s The Thin Red Line, director Terrence Malick has morphed into a regular workaholic. Since 2005, the enigmatic filmmaker has cranked out a whopping (for him) four movies, including 2015’s Knight of Cups. Malick’s most recent effort strikes many of the same lyrical, dazzling, and confounding notes as Tree of Life, which is the best-received film from the director’s surprisingly prolific recent run. But while Knight of Cups undeniably has glimmers of grand beauty and ambition, it mostly plays as if someone made a spot-on parody of a Terrence Malick film.
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    The Wave (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 22nd, 2016

    Disaster films are something that for me screams American cinema of the 90’s.  I know there were films before that had come out, but a good portion of my teen years of the 90’s were of the mega-blockbuster variety like Twister, Dante’s Peak, The Perfect Storm, and so forth.  Now we have The Wave, the first disaster film to come out of Norway, and from the looks of the trailers they were going for something BIG.  This is a film that comes out with so much potential and is a film that could even possibly find an American audience that could look past the fact that subtitles may be involved.  With the way technology has come along over the years, smaller countries have been able to produce films as big as anything released in our cinemas here in the states.  Now here’s the question: is it any good, though?
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    A War (Blu-ray)

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

    It’s ok to be upset. We’re all upset.”

    A War is about a Danish commander and his weary, overwhelmed young soldiers fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. But besides finding a fresh angle to explore a conflict that has essentially been going on for the entire 21st century — Denmark sent nearly 10,000 military personnel to Afghanistan between 2002 and 2013 — this morally complex movie succeeds because it fully explores the toll war takes on everyone involved. In this case, that also includes the unfortunate civilians caught in between the gunfire and at least one weary, overwhelmed wife/mother back home with three young children.
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    The Martian: Extended Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 13th, 2016

    In 1979, Ridley Scott taught us that in space no one can hear you scream. More than 35 years after Alien established him as a top directorial talent, Scott has slightly amended that statement to read “in space no one can hear you…blast disco music and binge watch Happy Days.” These lighthearted coping mechanisms — used here to deal with a truly horrifying and hopeless situation — are strong indicators of what you’re in for with The Martian, which is both brainier and much funnier than your average space epic. Now the sci-fi blockbuster returns to home video with an Extended Edition.
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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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    Roots: The Complete Original Series (Blu-ray)

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

    “Roots: The Saga of an American Family literally blazed across this nation’s screens.”

    In 1977 the entire country became Africans for eight consecutive nights. The name Kunta Kinte would become a household name. It was unprecedented on so many levels that even the ABC executives that made the decision to air it believed it was going to be a ratings disaster. The decision to run it on so many consecutive nights was made to avoid the ratings collapse from lasting more than a week. But by the time the final episode aired, Roots had become the most-watched television mini-series of all time.
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    Vinyl: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

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

    “I started at the bottom working every club in New York City. I mopped floors. Swabbed ashtrays. Hauled kegs. You think you work hard? Try scraping Chubby Checker’s vomit off the inside of a toilet stall.” 

    Martin Scorsese is a man who has worked very hard over the years. His list of film accomplishments is too big to list here. On television his recent teaming with Terrance Winter produced Boardwalk Empire. It’s not much of a surprise the two would team up again for another HBO series.
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    Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season — Limited Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 6th, 2016

    “All men must die.”

    The official tagline for Season 4 of HBO’s Game of Thrones also doubles as a helpful reminder of author George R.R. Martin’s no-character-is-safe philosophy. But even plastering that quote all over posters and promos isn’t likely to prepare you for the most devastating and thrilling season of a show that specializes in “devastating and thrilling.” Those thrills have now been given an extra kick: Game of Thrones is the first TV show to be offered in all-encompassing Dolby Atmos. After re-releasing seasons 1 and 2 in a pair of handsome Steelbook cases late last year, HBO has given the next two chapters in Martin’s saga the same treatment.
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    Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season — Limited Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 6th, 2016

    Even if Game of Thrones had inexplicably wrapped its run after two stellar seasons, the fantasy series would’ve gone down as a landmark in television history because of its unprecedented scale and audacious storytelling. Those qualities have been brought to thrilling life in each of the show’s Blu-ray releases, but HBO still decided to kick it up a notch. Game of Thrones is the first TV show to be offered in all-encompassing Dolby Atmos. After re-releasing seasons 1 and 2 in a pair of handsome Steelbook cases late last year, HBO has given the next two chapters in George R.R. Martin’s saga the same treatment.
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    The Finest Hours (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on May 26th, 2016

    There are many films that depict the ferocity and cataclysmic power of the vast ocean. It is a fearsome display that cannot be imagined in any way that compares to the reality of the experience. The Perfect Storm, Life of Pi, The Guardian, and Titanic are just a few examples of disasters at sea. It is the United States Coast Guard’s job to rescue distressed people under severe emergencies at sea. The Finest Hours is a depiction of a true-life sea rescue under the most challenging and horrifying conditions. It is known as the most successful small boat rescue ever recorded. When I say small boat, it is the rescue boat I’m talking about, but the ship they were singlehandedly sent to rescue was a gigantic T2 tanker Pendleton, which had split in half on open seas.
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    Remember (Bluray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 10th, 2016

    With every day that passes we lose those who survived the horrors of World War 2, and eventually there will no longer be those with memories to share from the past, and all that will be left are the films and newspapers from another era.  As these survivors grow older, their memories fade, and all that is left are fragments pieced together from what they can remember.  In the new film Remember from Atom Egoyan, he delivers an intimate tale about a man suffering from dementia who is seeking revenge for atrocities committed in the past.  Considering Egoyan’s last film left me a little underwhelmed I went into this film with caution, and the result is that I think this may be Egoyan’s best work.
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    Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 25th, 2016

    Besides the fact that The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun has one of the most excessive titles that I’ve seen since Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, the film just might be one of the most bonkers I’ve seen as well.  Not only was the film a remake from back in 1976, but it is also based off the novel from author Sebastien Japrisot.  I’ve never seen the first film, nor have I read the book, so when I came into viewing this film I came into it with few to no expectations.  Going by the trailer I had figured this would be just a simple straightforward thriller; I couldn’t have been any more mistaken.
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    The Revenant (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 20th, 2016

    America was once a primitive expanse where only very small groups of hardy hopefuls ever tried to venture across. It was a vast and endless wilderness that was mostly a mystery. This was the land of roving Indian tribes and undiscovered species of animals. This was a land of all kinds of danger. Life was one long hunt and endless battle against every kind of predator and natural enemy. There are so many remarkable moments in The Revenant that I will start with the bear attack. It is an unbelievably harrowing event that cannot be described in words that will in any way convey what you see on the screen. That one sequence alone is worth the price of admission
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    The von Trapp Family: A Life of Music

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 11th, 2016

    Thanks to The Sound of Music, millions of people around the world are familiar with the von Trapp family saga. (They probably have the second most popular Austrian name among movie fans, behind some guy named Schwarzenegger.) Given that The Sound of Music is one of the most popular movies of all time, any filmmaker would be wise to offer a fresh perspective in telling a von Trapp story. Enter The von Trapp Family: A Life of Music, which puts eldest von Trapp daughter Liesl Agathe in the center of the action.
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    Mojave (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 8th, 2016

    Look at where the world is because of solitary dudes going mental in the desert.”

    Depressed, deplorable artist Tom heads to the Mojave Desert, where he unexpectedly meets his match in crazed, charismatic drifter Jack. The fact that their tense encounter results in a death is one of the least surprising things about Mojave. What initially appears to be a cat-and-mouse game set in the desert turns out to be an interesting, uneven meditation on perception vs. reality that spills over into the vapid world of Hollywood.
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    Banshee: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 7th, 2016

    “There’s always room for improvement.”

    Banshee is one of those improbable plots that finds a way to pull us into the action all the while ignoring how unlikely any of this might really be. Of course, we do that all the time. It’s certainly unlikely we’re going to face a zombie apocalypse or run into a super-powered hero. That’s a different kind of unlikely. This kind of real-world fantastic is usually a bit harder to accept. Credit folks like Allan Ball for keeping us engaged with some of the most entertaining sleight of hand on television.
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    Exposed (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 3rd, 2016

    Keanu Reeves is a guy who I don’t think anyone would be crazy enough to say is a “great actor”, but instead he’s a guy who has been in some pretty great films.  For me he’s an actor I grew up with from his days doing the Bill and Ted movies and Point Break. (Seriously, how dare they attempt to remake that gem?)  Between Speed and The Matrix, those are the two movies I’ve held onto for so long as his career took a more interesting turn; that is until John Wick came along and blew my mind with all the insane coolness that was up on the screen.  Finally it seemed I was on track to getting the Keanu Reeves that I grew up watching.  I know, so what’s the point of all this?  Well, until now, none of the Reeves films that I’ve liked could I really say it was because of his performance, and Exposed is finally the film he’s needed where he can show he’s more than just a brooding action star.
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    The Hateful Eight (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 30th, 2016

    The name Quentin Tarantino carries the weight of legacy as such directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, and more recently Christopher Nolan.  I’m not saying one is better than the other, but simply by name recognition alone Tarantino is in the company of directors that when you hear that his name is attached there will be a loyal fan base flocking to the theaters to see what they have to dazzle us with.  This time around Tarantino returns to the cinema in his biggest release to date; in glorious 70mm we have The Hateful Eight
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