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    The Night Manager – Uncensored Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 7th, 2016

    “Anyone can betray anyone.”

    The word “spy” tends to conjure images of international intrigue and attractive people getting into exotic adventures. But don’t blame John le Carre. Despite being one of the most successful and prolific spy novelists of the past century, le Carre’s stories tend to be aggressively un-sexy, morally murky tales that focus on the psychological toll of intelligence work. That’s why it’s interesting to find that The Night Manager — a British miniseries that also aired on AMC — manages to straddle both sides of the spy fiction fence.
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    DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 1st, 2016

    “In 2166 an immortal tyrant named Vandal Savage conquered the world and murdered my wife and child. I’ve assembled an elite team to hunt him throughout time and stop his rise to power. Unfortunately, my plan was opposed by the body I had sworn my allegiance to: The Time Masters. In the future my friends might not be heroes, but if we succeed, they will be remembered as legends.” 

    Marvel may have beaten DC to the superhero team-up film. But while Marvel continues to blow away the DC filmatic universe, DC has had its best and most brilliant successes here on television. DC Legends of Tomorrow is pretty much the first television comic book team-up, and it’s a direct spinoff from both Arrow and The Flash shows.
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    Gotham: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 31st, 2016

    “The bad guys in this town are changing. They’re not playing by the old rules, or any rules. We need every measure at our disposal, and I’m not just talking more guns…”

    The first season of Gotham was pretty much a straight criminal story told in a film noir environment where just a hint of the future comic book heroics is uncovered. The bad guys were pretty much standard mob guys. Were they eccentric? Yes. There were really no meta-humans or gadgets to speak of. This season we get a flood of the more familiar kinds of villains you know so well from this universe.
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    The Affair: Season Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 26th, 2016

    Your memory’s very impressive.”

    The first season of The Affair — Showtime’s sensual, POV-shifting drama — was built on the notion that there are two sides to every story. The show’s hook was that it depicted the beginnings of the same adulterous relationship from two different perspectives. Season 2 doubles down on that idea by offering four different viewpoints. So what this sophomore season lacks in sizzle compared to its predecessor, it makes up for by offering a more expansive view at complicated, messy relationship dynamics.
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    Ash vs Evil Dead – The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 24th, 2016

    For years (at this point we can say decades), fans have been holding out hope for a new installment in the Evil Dead franchise. Over the years there have been rumors of a fourth film, even talks of doing a crossover involving Ash (Bruce Campbell) taking on various horror icons.  In the end these talks seemed to be nothing more than pipe dreams, but then in 2013 something special happened.  A remake/sequel occurred for the series that actually was pretty awesome and gory while also being a financial success…but it was the stinger at the end of the credits that got people excited, the brief appearance of the man with the chainsaw hand himself.
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    The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Seventh Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 22nd, 2016

    The Vampire Diaries is finally living up to its name. Elena is asleep until Bonnie dies, so the characters have promised to keep a record of all the goings on in Mystic Falls and with their lives. And there’s a lot to write about. Mystic Falls has been evacuated so that Lily and her family of heretics won’t kill everybody in town. They’re living in the Salvatore mansion, and Carolyn is carrying twins that don’t really belong to her. And Damon…he’s just being…Damon. All of them are either trying to steal or running away from something called The Phoenix Stone. Elena’s going to have a lot of catching up to do, and so do you if you haven’t been watching all along.
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    Once Upon A Time: Season 5 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 22nd, 2016

    “We’ve been on the sidelines too long, missed too many adventures. Now it’s embarrassing. How do you think it feels when everyone asks you how the adventure was, and you gotta say that no one asked you to go along?”

    Well, you’re invited, now gather up your Disney Fastpass and get in line for more television adventures in Storybrooke. Ah, but before you get on the boat for this year’s ride you might want to be sure you’re all caught up on the adventures of these characters. This is not the place to start.
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    Jack Irish: Season 1

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

    He’s just got a knack for being in the wrong spot at exactly the right time.”

    Jack Irish, the disheveled former lawyer-turned-debt collector with a nose for trouble, is at it again. The character is the creation of novelist Peter Temple, but Australian TV audiences got to know Jack thanks to a trio of TV movies starring the great Guy Pearce. The movies were successful enough that Jack Irish returned as a six-episode series that brings the entire gang back together.
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    The Knick: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 16th, 2016

    There has been no shortage of medical dramas dating back to the infancy of television. Many have become classics. Most have dealt with the use of modern (at least for that time) advances and cutting-edge science. That’s exactly what you get with The Knick. You get cutting-edge medical advancement… for 1902. The Knick is the fictional Knickerbocker hotel in 1900’s New York. The hospital exists in a poverty-stricken neighborhood where few of the patients can pay for their care. This has been a problem the board has been trying to turn around. Now ground is being broken on a new location in a much more affluent part of New York City. It’ll be an opportunity to finally turn a profit and also one of corruption for the man handling the new construction. But what of Dr. Thackery, played by Clive Owens?
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    Jack Irish: The Movies (Blu-ray)

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

    Who do you think I am? Miss Marple?”

    Despite his knack for becoming entangled in byzantine plots and conspiracies, no one would confuse Jack Irish for an Agatha Christie character. Instead, Jack is the creation of novelist Peter Temple, and the character’s rumpled charm and general aversion to violence means he has more in common with Jim Rockford than Hercule Poirot. The character has been adapted for Australian television and brought to life thanks to a winning performance by the great Guy Pearce. You can now get to know Jack yourself since Acorn Media was nice enough to put three Jack Irish TV movies on Blu-ray.
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    Supergirl: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 12th, 2016

    “When people see that red cape, they expect to see a certain someone. Someone they know. But this isn’t his story. It’s mine.” 

    Of course, that “someone” they know is Superman. This is the story of Supergirl. We’ve seen her story on both the big and small screen, as well. Helen Slater put on the tights and skirt in the Richard Donner film made during the Christopher Reeves Superman years and meant to tie into that filmactic universe. When television told the story of a young Clark Kent in Smallville, it was only natural that his famous cuz would show up there. This time it was Laura Vandervoort who played the Kryptonian.
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    The Blacklist: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 12th, 2016

    James Spader is Raymond “Red” Reddington. If you have not yet watched an episode of The Blacklist I will tell you from the beginning that you just can’t start here. Season 3 hits the ground running as the consequences of some major storylines from the previous year start to play out. I found myself having to take the time and catch up on Season 2 because we didn’t get that year to review. It was clear to me from the start that there was no way to truly enjoy this release if I wasn’t caught up. The trouble I go through to keep you guys informed. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. So, if you’re not up to speed this is your chance to pick up all three seasons and do some serious binge watching.
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    11.22.63 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 12th, 2016

    What if you were given the chance to step back in time; would you take this opportunity to change the world, even if it meant having to kill someone for the “greater good”?  This is the question that kicks off the story that is 11.22.63, from the novel written by Stephen King.  Sure, merely mention Stephen King and many automatically people think of the man as the master of contemporary horror.  Yet some of his prolific works that have made their way to the big screen and have gone on to be classic pieces of cinema are less about horror and more about friendship and the deepest bonds we can share with another
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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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    The 100: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 28th, 2016

    “We were born in space. They told us the ground was uninhabited, but they were wrong, and we’ve been fighting for our lives since the moment we landed. Some of us have been broken by it, but most of us are still here, trying to build something real and lasting out of the wilderness… a home.”

    You should know the setup by now. If not, you can check out our previous reviews: Season 1 & Season 2. The show is based on a new series of books from writer Kass Morgan. The crew here has a little bit more room to operate than do most shows based on book series.
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    Person of Interest: The Complete Fifth and Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 27th, 2016

    If there was a show I could recommend to someone who is looking for a smart thriller that doesn’t talk down to its audience, I couldn’t point to Person of Interest fast enough.  It’s a show that may be labeled sci-fi for some, yet its science and technology may not be so far off.  The idea of our government or private agencies using security cameras or our phones to monitor us is no longer just a rumor muttered around in circles of conspiracy theorists, but is quickly becoming a reality of day-to-day life. I kind of saw the show as a riff on the Batman story, subtract the cape and cowl and exchange it for a suit, then throw in a dash of George Orwell’s 1984, and you can see where the show got its start.
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    Ballers: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 26th, 2016

    American football has been making the news of late, and not just in the sports pages. For the last couple of years there has been an increasing concern for players’ safety. From our president declaring he wouldn’t let his fictional son play the game to the hard-hitting Will Smith film Concussion, football has taken some heat over its violent nature. Players are retiring early, and the subject of life after football becomes more of a social question than ever before. That’s where HBO’s Ballers comes in. It’s a half-hour look at the NFL from the player perspective, both current and retired. It’s intended as a light bit of dramedy, and it certainly is that. Even so, the series doesn’t hide from some of the brutal realities of the sport, from the trappings of fame and fortune to the realities of its eventual end.
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    Star Trek: The Original Series: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 23rd, 2016

    “Space…The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!”

    Paramount was bold indeed when they undertook the remaster project of the original series. Not only did they clean up the prints, but they took the decidedly risky option of redoing most of the f/x shots from the original prints.
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    X-Files: The Event Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 23rd, 2016

    “My name is Fox Mulder. Since my childhood, I have been obsessed by a controversial global phenomenon. Since my sister disappeared when I was 12 years old in what I believe was an alien abduction. My obsession took me to the FBI, where I investigated paranormal science cases through the auspices of a unit known as the X-Files. Through this unit, I could continue my work on the alien phenomenon, and the search for my missing sister. In 1993, the FBI sought to impugn my work, bringing in a scientist and medical doctor to debunk it… which only deepened my obsession for the better part of a decade, during which time that agent, Dana Scully, had her own faith tested. In 2002, in a change of direction and policy, the FBI closed the X-Files, and our investigation ceased. But my personal obsession did not.”

    Just in case you don’t know what the heck we’re talking about here.
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    Shark Week: Jawsome Encounters

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 20th, 2016

    Pop quiz! Which of the following titles belong to Shark Week specials, and which of them are the names of SyFy original movies? Zombie Sharks, Sharkageddon, Monster Hammerhead, Lair of the Mega Shark, and Sharksanity. (I’ll give you a few seconds to mull it over…ok, ready to guess?) The answer, of course, is that *all* of those titles belong to Shark Week, Discovery Channel’s long-running, wildly popular, and increasingly ludicrous summertime ritual.
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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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    Hot in Cleveland: Season Six

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 4th, 2016

    Oh crap…I’m going back to Cleveland.”

    I had never seen a single episode of Hot in Cleveland before I sat down to review season 5. So why did it feel like I’d been watching this show my entire life? Turns out, it’s entirely by design. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like I’m the target audience for Hot in Cleveland: I’m under 50 years old, and I’m a man. But if you look beyond the plastic surgery jokes and geriatric humor, you’ll find a show that aggressively channels (and ultimately appeals to fans of) many of the classic, multi-camera sitcoms of the past. In other words, Hot in Cleveland — which wrapped up last year after six seasons and 128 episodes — feels like you’re watching re-runs of a show you’ve already seen…and still enjoy plenty.
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