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    Chuck (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 21st, 2017

    My name is Chuck Wepner. You don’t know me…well, you do know me, but you don’t know you know me.”

    Unless you’re a hardcore boxing fan (or a Jersey boy/girl), chances are you don’t know the name Chuck Wepner. On the other hand, you don’t have to be a sports buff or a movie buff to know the name Rocky Balboa. Wepner is a former heavyweight boxer, and his 1975 title bout with Muhammad Ali served as the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Oscar-winning classic. Originally titled The Bleeder (my two cents…they should’ve stuck with that title), Chuck is the story of “The Real Rocky.”
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    Queen of Katwe (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 3rd, 2017

    In chess, the small one can become the big one.”

    It’s hard to stand out in the Disney family when your big brothers and sisters are Star Wars, Marvel, and the studio’s own blockbuster animated offerings. (Not to mention live-action re-imaginings of its own classic animated offerings.) While those properties have been making a racket at the box office, the Mouse House has also been quietly cranking out family-friendly, multi-cultural sports dramas in recent years, including 2014’s Million Dollar Arm, and 2015’s McFarland U.S.A. I’m not sure if Queen of Katwe is the best of that bunch (I really enjoyed McFarland) but it certainly has the most unlikely hero.
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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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    Knuckleball!

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

    “Nobody grows up wanting to be a knuckleball pitcher. It’s born of desperation; it’s born of necessity.”

    By the start of the 2011 season, there were only two active knuckleballers in Major League Baseball. One was a failed power-hitting 1B/3B, while the other had been cut by his team at the start of the previous year’s spring training. Knuckleball! — an engaging documentary dedicated to the kookiest pitch in baseball history — illustrates how that desperation extends beyond the few brave souls who have attempted to make a living in the big leagues by throwing very softly.
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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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    Undefeated (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 17th, 2013

    “You think football builds character? It does not; football reveals character.”

    The open secret about sports movies is that they’re not really about sports. Most of the great ones use the games people play as a dynamic arena to tell universal stories about struggle, underdogs overcoming impossible odds, greatness and redemption. You don’t have to know a nose guard from a mouth guard to enjoy a football movie. By that same token, Undefeated may chronicle a grueling real-life high school football season, but I wasn’t surprised to see it play out like a lot of fictional sports flicks.
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    Brawler (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 20th, 2012

    They say blood is thicker than water. Both of those substances are on display in Brawler, which cannily stages its bloody, illegal fights on a New Orleans riverboat. The film’s plot was inspired by a real-life pair of feuding brothers who infamously came to blows, but the Big Easy practically shares top billing with the squabbling siblings.
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    Touchback (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 30th, 2012

    It’s impossible for me to discuss what I feel didn’t work in Touchback without talking about the movie’s big plot twist. I’m not even sure it’s accurate to refer to it as a “twist” since it comes in the first half hour and is an essential component of the film. On the other hand, the movie’s official plot description is intentionally vague — for the record, the film’s trailer is considerably more forthcoming — and seems designed to conceal a major part of the story. Having considered all that, I’m only issuing a Mild Spoiler Alert.
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    The Essential Games of the Chicago Cubs

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 12th, 2012

    Any compilation of the greatest moments in Chicago Cubs history has the potential to come off as a cruel joke. After all, we’re talking about a franchise that hasn’t been to the World Series since 1945. On top of that, Roosevelt was in office the last time they won it all…Teddy Roosevelt in 1908! As a result, The Essential Games of the Chicago Cubs obviously doesn’t feature any moments from the Fall Classic.
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    The Miracle Match – White Squall – Prefontaine

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 15th, 2012

    In ranking the popularity of sports in America, there’s football and then there’s everything else. The hierarchy for sports movies, however, is a little more competitive. I’ve got boxing edging out baseball for the top spot due to two Best Picture wins (Rocky, Million Dollar Baby) that should’ve been three (Raging Bull), and the fact that even a recent movie like The Fighter can bank almost $100 million at the domestic box office while snagging a couple of Oscars despite boxing’s profile currently being in the toilet in this country. Boxing and baseball are probably followed by football, hockey and basketball, in some order.
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    Houston Astros 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on May 9th, 2012

    The 2012 baseball season has started and this might be what we call a rough year. My team, the Phillies are 14-16 and 5 games out of first. What is worse is that going up and down the roster, I do not see too many familiar faces. Sure, there are injuries and sure there are over 130 games left, but I do not see it improving any time soon. But today is not about the Phillies, today is about a team that has been around for 50 years and is full of history. I present to you, the Houston Astros.
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    Baseball’s Greatest Games – 2011 World Series Game 6 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 2nd, 2012

    They came back to tie the game five different times. They were down by two runs in the bottom of the ninth and facing a closer who had been a perfect 6 for 6 in save situations during that postseason. They were down to the last strike of their entire season two different times. I guess what I’m trying to say is, at a certain point, it became obvious — painfully obvious, if you happen to be a fan of the Texas Rangers — that there was no effing way the St. Louis Cardinals were losing Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
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    Senna

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 12th, 2012

    I like to think I know more than a little bit about sports. I wake up to Mike and Mike in the Morning, drive to work while listening to The Dan Patrick Show and rush home to catch Pardon the Interruption. I’ve played organized football, baseball, basketball and soccer throughout my life, and I always make the playoffs in my fantasy football leagues. (Let’s skip the part where I’ve never actually won.) Unfortunately, I have somewhat of a blind spot for sports that are more popular outside the United States. As a result, I know very little about Formula One racing and I knew absolutely nothing about Brazilian F1 champion Ayrton Senna until I watched the engrossing and spectacularly thrilling documentary about his life.
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    All Things Fall Apart

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on February 2nd, 2012

    Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson plays a hotshot college football player is at the cusp of making a big move to the NFL and riches when he collapses in the locker room due to a tumor growing in his chest, near his heart. Having to undergo cancer treatments, he loses his ability to play and must start again without all the advantages being a star came with.
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    Warrior, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on December 23rd, 2011

    Most people know me to be a pretty big fight fan (with the exception of boxing which has gone tremendously downhill since the eighties). I love wrestling (even though it is scripted) and watch a great deal of Mixed martial arts, better known as MMA. The thrill of combat, the fascination of pure athleticism and talent is what straps me to my seat and never lets me go. I had the immense pleasure to catch the movie Warrior before it hit theaters and now I get to visit it a second time on DVD.

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    Angels Memories: The Greatest Moments in Angels Baseball History

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on October 28th, 2011

    After reviewing the magical 2002 World Series of the Anaheim Angels, it was only appropriate to review a half century of highlights and lowlights from the team’s history. The Angels are not a flashy team, they win with raw talent and a ton of heart. Their success in the 2000’s only came after many years where they floundered and did not meet expectations. Let’s explore the team the Autry’s built. Here are the Los Angeles Angels, now known as the Anaheim Angels.
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    Baseballs Greatest Games

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 27th, 2011

    A while back we ran a contest where we gave away several discs that contained some of the most exciting games in baseball history. These games were released individually as full broadcasts on one DVD. Now A&E has decided to put the collection together in one special sweet baseball collection. Just in time for the dramatic end of this year’s World Series, you now have a chance to stretch more than that seventh inning. You can keep the baseball season going for as long as you like with these classic games.
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    Anaheim Angels 2002 World Series Collector’s Edition, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on October 25th, 2011

    Even though I love the game, I have not watched too much baseball in the last few years. This goes double for games not involving the Philadelphia Phillies. I still keep up with it, still analyze the standings and box scores but for some reason I do not watch as many games as I wish too. The odd thing is when I get sets like the one I’m reviewing today, I am 100% excited. Perhaps it is because I have nothing vested in it. The games are already played, the result is already known, I can simply appreciate the game that way it is supposed to be. The magical game of baseball.
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    Fall Classic at Fenway Park (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on October 14th, 2011

    For those who do not know, I am not a typical sports fan. I primarily watch three sports, none of which are football. I love me some wrestling, hockey, and the legendary sport of baseball. The Phillies have been my team for over 30 years and even though they took it hard this year in the playoffs, I look forward to more baseball in the years to come. I also appreciate the history of baseball so I was certainly curious to see a couple of great Red Sox teams come to Blu-Ray in this A&E presentation.
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    Cutting Edge, The (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on August 7th, 2011

    Hockey is one of my favorite sports. Unfortunately, figure skating is not. This actually paints an interesting parallel. How can two sports that both share skating on the ice cause love on one side and distaste in the other? It most likely stems from upbringing and society’s mainstream views on the two subjects. But what would happen if a hockey player came to the world of figure skating, would I feel different about the sport? Perhaps, but I would be more interested to see a film about it. Enter: The Cutting Edge.
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    The Fighter

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on April 25th, 2011

    Dicky Eklund was the pride of Lowell, Massachusetts. While he constantly reminds the neighbourhood of his glorious fight against Sugar Ray Leonard, he has descended into a crack addiction that is breaking his family apart, and hindering the training of his up-and-coming brother, Mickey. As Micky inches closer to big opportunities in the fighting world, he must also battle the demons his family place upon him.
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    The Rocket

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on February 15th, 2010

    This film chronicles the career of Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, an NHL player for the Montreal Canadians, from his childhood days in a Junior hockey league, to the season in 1955 where his suspension from playing for the remainder of that season led to violent riots in Montreal. This film is more than just an examination of Richard as a French-Canadian citizen and legendary hockey player (many still argue as the greatest ever to play) but also a look at his impact as an icon and living legend to the people of Quebec.
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    American Gladiators (The Original Series) — The Battle Begins

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on August 5th, 2009

    I, of all people, should know that one person’s cultural detritus is another’s fond nostalgia, and what better example of that can there be than this release. A strange mix of athletic contest, pro-wrestling posturing and silly gimmick game show, this series (which has recently been reborn) pitted hard-bodied contestants against the even-more-hard-bodied (at least in appearance) Gladiators of the title. Some contests involve knocking each off a beam, or dodging tennis balls fired from a gun while trying to get in a shot of one’s own. Or then there’s swinging in on a rope in the attempt to knock the Gladiator off a pedestal. It’s all pretty silly, made even more so by the straight-faced colour commentary. If the intent was to satirize sports broadcast generally, then this is quite brilliantly funny, at least at first, but the joke can’t sustain itself over multiple seasons.
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    Miracle (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 29th, 2009

    “Do you believe in miracles?”

    Al Michaels’ famous coda to the 1980 Olympic Hockey Championship Game provides the title of this Walt Disney film based on the incredible feat. I have to admit that I’ve never been a big fan of the Olympic games. I’ve more times than not been annoyed at how much television time is preempted, and it dominates the headlines for over 2 weeks each time the games are played. Still, it was hard not to feel a little excited about this particular game. As Americans, we love those underdog stories.
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    The Greatest Game Ever Played (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 17th, 2009

    I’m not sure that this one benefits tremendously from the high definition treatment of a Blu-ray release. It’s certainly a good looking film, and the level of detail is welcome, but I don’t imagine that’s what fans of this kind of film really care about. It’s an early role for LeBeouf, and I still don’t get what the fuss is all about. Still, he works well for this kind of part. He might have been best to stay in this lane. He appears to be a favorite action/genre actor, but this is his true calling.
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