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    Tracers (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 11th, 2015

    “It’s like being kids again. The streets are our playground.”

    The above quote refers to parkour, the art and discipline of moving through urban spaces that was popularized in France. French practitioners of parkour are called “traceurs,” which gives this totally clichéd, consistently ridiculous, but occasionally breathtaking action flick its title. You’ve seen the plot before (many times), but Tracers still vaults itself above the straight-to-DVD pack thanks to its freewheeling free-running sequences.
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    The Vatican Exorcisms

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on May 10th, 2015

    “Have we heard from the devil yet?” 

    Perhaps we have, given the cunning deception of the DVD’s front cover. I take joy in walking into films relatively blind, only having seen the attention-grabbing image that prompted me to pick it up. Let it be known that the cover of the DVD I received differs greatly from the one that is advertised on Amazon; however, both covers are severely misleading as to what the film actually entails. That being said, knowing absolutely nothing about this film may not be the best way to approach it.
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    Bar Rescue: Toughest Rescues

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Deborah Bostock-Kelley on May 10th, 2015

    “When you have a formula, you work it. You work it to death.”

    Cue obnoxious New York bar expert who reminds me of a Mafia hit man, insert a cute mixologist, an experienced chef, and four different sets of confrontational failing bar owners being gifted with five days with Jon Taffer and his longevity in the industry, experience with over 800 bars, and you have Bar Rescue – Toughest Rescues.
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    50 To 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 8th, 2015

    I will be the first to admit that I never watched a horse race prior this film. Just never interested me; however, it did not take long to see that 50 to 1 is more of a story about unwavering friendship; friendship between two men who had a chance encounter years before becoming a team and a friendship between a trainer and a horse that everyone has all but given up on. As cheesy as that may sound in theory, it was actually a very warm concept, and the production team manages to unfold the story in a way that makes it easy to watch.
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    Apparition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 8th, 2015

    “Too much time alone, you get stuck up in your head. Your brain becomes a maze.”

    The most important thing you need to know about Apparition is that it’s not a horror movie. (The second most important thing you should know is that this is a different film from The Apparition, which is one of the worst movies I’ve seen during my three-year stint writing for this site.) Yes, there’s a haunted house, cranky spirits, and an abnormally high number of jump scares. But at its heart, this low-budget thriller is a drama about dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.
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    American Interior

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on May 7th, 2015

    Who was John Evans? That is one of the many questions that American Interior addresses that you never knew you wanted to be answered. The more you learn about John Evans and his story, the more you will come to appreciate the beautiful intricacies woven into the tapestry that is our country’s history. In addition to a unique history lesson, the film also treats you to very stylized images and color schemes, keeping spectators engaged in both story and screen. Part narrative documentary, part concert film, part animation, and part music video: this charming film is a surprisingly pleasant ride with a Welsh musician and a dead-eyed puppet. 
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    Halt and Catch Fire (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 7th, 2015

    “An early computer command that sent the machine into a race condition, forcing all instructions to compete for superiority at once. Control of the computer could not be regained.”

    That command? It’s Halt And Catch Fire. Television is very much like that. So many shows out there are competing for your attention. Even on the same network there’s often competition for the resources of the studios and the sponsors who provide the paydays. Now AMC has added another original series to compete for your attention…and precious time. You guessed it. Halt And Catch Fire. Does it work? Let’s find out. 
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    Bedlam

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 7th, 2015

    “You will be severely punished for your disobedience.”

    Yeah, there is plenty of that going on in this film. What a fragile construct the mind can be, or at least that is how it appears in Bedlam. As the movie progresses, it becomes harder to tell who is more mad, the patients or the people in charge. However, the film does teeter between the line of real insanity and comical insanity.
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    The Book of Negroes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 6th, 2015

    Prior to picking up this title from UpcomingDiscs headquarters, The Book of Negroes was a complete unknown to me on several levels. I wasn’t aware of the six-episode miniseries that aired on BET earlier this year, nor had I ever heard of the book of the same name by Canadian novelist Lawrence Hill. Even worse, I was completely unaware of the real-life historical document that served as the inspiration for Hill’s book and this miniseries. So while The Book of Negroes is buoyed by solid storytelling and capable performances, my favorite thing about it is that it shone a light on a part of history that hasn’t totally gotten its due in pop culture.
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    The Simon Wiesenthal Film Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 4th, 2015

    “When history looks back, I want people to know the Nazis weren’t able to kill millions of people and get away with it.”

    Those words were spoken by Simon Wiesenthal. Wiesenthal was an architect living in Poland in the 1930′s. He was witness to the systematic persecution, isolation and eventual slaughter of the Jewish population of which he was a member when Germany’s Nazi troops invaded Poland. He and his family ended up in a concentration camp and into forced labor. When Hitler instituted his “Final Solution” most of his family members were killed. He barely survived after an unsuccessful escape attempt; he would have surely been killed if not for a sudden turn in the Nazi forces
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    Inside Amy Schumer: Seasons One & Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 4th, 2015

    Well, it looks like Comedy Central is still searching for a viable replacement for the loss of The Chappelle Show almost a decade ago. The newest attempt to recapture the former fan base has to be Inside Amy Schumer. I must confess a blissful ignorance to Mrs. Schumer’s rise to fame; I had no knowledge of her existence in recent years, never glimpsing a cameo of her in a television series or movie (or least one that I was aware of), and then all of a sudden it was like she was everywhere.
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    The Comedian

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on May 4th, 2015

    If I were to tell you The Comedian is a dramatic character study, you would expect it to have some comedic elements, right? Unfortunately, that is the exact mindset I entered the film with. While the film does provide characters and concepts, it left me feeling disappointed. Written and directed by Tom Shkolnik, The Comedian tells the story of Ed (Edward Hogg), a middle-aged man who feels himself slipping away at his dead-end job. In order to cope with his unfulfilling lifestyle, he performs stand-up comedy at his local nightclub.
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    The Gambler (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 30th, 2015

    “I need to know what you are worth when I leave you nothing.”

    These are the parting words that Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is left with from his dying grandfather.  At first these words may seem a bit harsh, but the more time we spend with Bennett we start to understand the grandfather’s intentions.  The Gambler, a remake of the 1974 film with same title, follows Bennett along his downward spiral as his gambling addiction drags him down to the point where death is imminent, yet death seems to be the escape Bennett so desperately craves.  In other words, this is not exactly the film you watch to get into the holly jolly spirit of the holidays. 
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    The Mentalist: Season 7

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 30th, 2015

    The Mentalist was once the highest rated drama on television. There was a lot to like here, as I’ll discuss throughout this review. But I think most of us had gotten a little sick and tired of the Red John story. The show milked the single case for over five years, and the fan base had dissolved to the point that the once #1 show has been on the bubble for the last two seasons. Fans’ patience had worn thin, but at long last the show’s producers discovered what we’ve known since the second season.
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    Taken 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 29th, 2015

    “You do know the combination, don’t you?”

    It’s a Taken film, and the third one in the series. You should have the ingredients down by now. Let’s run through the checklist, shall we? You’ve got your daring escapes, check. You have some awesome car chases with a lot of mashed-up metal, check. You’ve got some torture, of course. Waterboarding is in these days. You have the standard carnage level, check. And check. It’s all there, but credit the folks behind the franchise for finding ways to deliver every last drop of the expected stuff and still turn the third part of a trilogy on its head enough to make it more interesting than the previous two films.
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    Inherent Vice (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 29th, 2015

    Inherent Vice is the kind of movie I personally love to watch over and over again, partly because it is always tantalizing you with content that you can’t quite get your head wrapped around. Almost anyone would want to see this more than once, even if only to make sure they weren’t stupid for not connecting all the dots. The film has a classy, fun pedigree combing the talents of Paul Thomas Anderson and Thomas Pynchon. Paul is the beloved director of modern classics like Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and There Will Be Blood. Thomas is the novelist of unfathomable masterpieces
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    Cake (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 28th, 2015

    Despite being one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood for the better part of 20 years — Friends premiered in 1994 — it’s been all too easy to dismiss Jennifer Aniston’s big screen resume. Until recent sexpot roles in broad comedies (We’re The Millers, the Horrible Bosses two-logy), most of her hits (Bruce Almighty, Along Came Polly, The Break-Up, Marley and Me) were girlfriend/wife roles that didn’t stray too far from the Rachel Green mold. Cake made less than $2 million at the box office, but it’s also the first movie that made me excited about Aniston’s movie career.
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    The Ides of March: Last Band Standing

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 27th, 2015

    Beware The Ides Of March! For Julius Caesar it was a dire prophesy of death. For Bob Bergland (bass), Mike Borch (drums), Larry Millas (keys/guitars) and Jim Peterik, it was more like a harbinger of 50 years of rock and roll fame. The band started out as the Shon-Dels in Berwyn just outside of Chicago. The name turned out to be a conflict with another group, and it was changed to BattMann And The Boy Wonders. Of course, that didn’t stick, but Bergland’s penchant for paying attention in literature classes led them to The Ides Of March
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    The Walking Deceased

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 27th, 2015

    “That’s exactly what a zombie would say.”

    It has been some time since I’ve been able to watch a parody film and speak about it fondly afterwards. If memory serves, the last time that occurred was A Haunted House. (The sequel was an obvious money grab.) Now, I wouldn’t quite put The Walking Deceased in the same caliber of that film, but it does manage to deliver enough crowd-pleasing hijinks to entertain.
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    Black Sheep

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on April 24th, 2015

    When picking up a copy of Jonathan King’s Black Sheep, you know exactly what you are getting into: a lot of bloodthirsty sheep. For about 83 minutes, the film delivers exactly what is promised on the front cover. That being said, the film is definitely catered to a rather specific audience, consisting of people who would actually want to watch Black Sheep. However, hiding under the implied lunacy, is a rather intelligent pastiche of the genre tropes put forth by its many predecessors.
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    John Doe: Vigilante

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 22nd, 2015

    “A vigilante is simply somebody who violates the law in order to punish a criminal for what they believe is right, for what they believe is justice.”

    It’s easy to understand the appeal of big screen vigilante justice. We’ve all gotten tangled up in red tape, which is why it’s so gratifying to watch somebody tear through it. (And often spray some red elsewhere.) John Doe: Vigilante ends up being as ludicrous as any of the 17 Death Wish movies, but it also goes beyond putting the entire blame on “the system.” There are some interesting ideas at play here, including the notion that there’s a little Vigilante in all of us.
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    Echoes (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 20th, 2015

    Imagine the horror of being asleep and then suddenly you wake up, paralyzed.  Your eyes flutter frantically about as you struggle to move, but nothing will budge.  From the corner of your eye you see movement.  You’re not alone, and the person who is in the room with you is ready to kill you. This is the hook Echoes attempts to use to suck the viewers in.  As a psychological thriller about sleep paralysis, it’s unfortunate that the only suspense the film manages to deliver on is just when the film will finally come to its painfully boring conclusion.
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    Housekeeping

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 17th, 2015

    This film did not hold my interest at all. I know, I know…kind of a crude way to start off a review. However, I just don’t see the point in sugarcoating my feelings about this film. I had envisioned a completely different movie in my head before popping the disc into the Blu-ray player, and the idea in my head and what was displayed did not match up in the slightest. Perhaps that is my fault; I know better than to go into a film with expectations. And on that front, I will accept my role in my displeasure with the overall product. However, Housekeeping did nothing to help its case, in my opinion.
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    The Missing (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 14th, 2015

    The longest-running crime dramas tend to be “case of the week” mysteries where the perp is comfortably caught within the hour. It’s a formula for sure, but it’s one that’s easy to replicate and works quite well if you have the right talent and personalities involved. In reality, of course, there are many cases when the crook isn’t captured before the end credits…or ever. The accompanying anger and uncertainty is much trickier (and messier) to convey dramatically. The Missing — a limited series from England that aired on Starz — isn’t the first show to tackle that territory, but it’s certainly a compelling recent example.
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    Manhattan: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 10th, 2015

    “There’s something I need to tell you. We’re building a weapon. It’s not like any weapon the world’s ever seen. It draws its energy from a fast-neutron chain reaction. It releases the power of an ancient star. If it works, and it’s going to work, it will be the more destructive than all the bombs dropped in all the wars in history put together. It’ll bring armies to their knees. Cities will disappear in the blink of an eye. The world will be united in peace by the most just and noble country in the history of mankind or it will burn to the ground. Whoever builds it first, there’s the endgame. So it has to be us, whatever it costs.”

    It’s one of those dramatic stories where mankind is altered forever.
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