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    La Vie de Jean-Marie

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on July 26th, 2017

    La Vie de Jean-Marie (The Life of Jean-Marie) is a documentary that pitches itself as an “excellent example of cinema verité,” leaving it exposed to the tremendous legacy that specific film movement left upon cinema history. For those that don’t know, “cinema verité,” or “truth cinema,” is a style of documentary invented by French filmmaker Jean Rouch around the late 1950’s. The idea behind this style of cinema is “reveal the truth” through the use of the camera and the spontaneity of the film’s subjects. La Vie de Jean-Marie does indeed wear the shoes of cinema verité quite well; however, it does so in an exhausting fashion.
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    The 100: Season 4

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 20th, 2017

    “We’ll figure something out. We always do.”

    You should know the setup by now. If not, you can check out our previous reviews: The 100 Reviews. You’ll discover a series that changes quite substantially with each new season. In fact, the title itself was no longer relevant to the series after the first episode. The originally 100 was quickly whittled down in size. Then the rest of the Ark came down, and in Season 4 there are about 500 of the Ark’s inhabitants on the planet.
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    Alive and Kicking

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 20th, 2017

    We here at UpcomingDiscs strive to provide our beloved readers with the most informative and well-thought-out reviews, regardless of the movie or TV show genre that comes flying through the door. Collectively, our awesome little staff covers a wide range of interests. But when swing dancing documentary Alive and Kicking arrived at UpcomingDiscs HQ…there was only one man for the job. The toe-tapping doc is equal parts enlightening and entertaining, whether you’re a swing dancing novice (like my wife/occasional movie-watching partner) or — like me — a guy who’s been into this stuff for the last 15 years.
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    Kong: Skull Island (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 19th, 2017

    Every year it seems the “summer” movie season seems to start sooner than the year before.  Here we are, the second Friday of March, and already we’ve seen the huge box office weekend for Logan, and now this weekend we have the release of Kong: Skull Island.  Ever since Kong first graced the big screen back in 1933, every film that followed was a mega-event. Personally it wasn’t till 2005 that theatergoers got to fully experience the massive beast in all his glory as he became worthy of the title “the 8th wonder of the world”.  Now we have Legendary Entertainment playing in the giant monster movie sandbox with plans to set up a series of monster films.  All this leads up to the inevitable clash of the kaiju monsters where we will finally see the showdown of Godzilla vs. King Kong.  Before we begin to get too excited, how does our current trip to Skull Island fare?
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    Game Changers

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on July 19th, 2017

    Over the last eight years or so, the abstract concept of nostalgia has become a commodity. Film, television, and videogames have been adjusting their aesthetic to incorporate stylistic visuals that are intended to draw in what seems to be a relatively specific demographic: “80’s kids.” Whether it be Stranger Things, Kung Fury, or Turbo Kid, these films have succeeded (and failed) to create a new style out of this “nostalgia aesthetic.” However, being a child of the 90’s, I have noticed that these “nostalgia aesthetics” have shifted toward my decade.
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    Prison Break: Event Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 14th, 2017

    “Freedom has a price. I died 7 years ago. Left behind a brother, a wife, a son, but the dead talk if you listen. They’re there with you. Reaching out. Trying to tell us something. Because not all deaths are the same. Some are real. Some are a story. Question is: do you believe the story? Was the man who died who you thought he was? The dead talk. If you listen…”

    The same can be said for dead series. Fox has been riding a wave of series revivals that have brought shows back from the dead in a limited-run event series format, and it has actually been doing well for the network
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    Behind the Mask — The Batman: Dead End Story

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 13th, 2017

    In 2003, a commercial director named Sandy Collora made an 8-minute short film called Batman: Dead End, in which the Caped Crusader does battle with the Joker…along with Alien and Predator! While this sounds like a heavy dose of fanboy wish-granting, the film was Collora’s very serious attempt to show Hollywood big wigs what he could do. The mini-movie turned heads among the Comic Con crowd due to its gritty tone and impressive production values on a shoestring budget. Not surprisingly, this overlong Behind the Mask documentary is at its very best when it chronicles the making of what is widely-regarded as one of the best fan films ever made.
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    The Fate of the Furious (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on July 12th, 2017

    Family is everything to Dominic Toretto. He has said as much in Furious 7, “I don’t have friends, I have family.” Over the course of seven films, we have seen him undertake impossible tasks including driving a car off a plane or through a building in order to rescue or avenge a member of said family. So what would make him make him betray that very family? In The Fate of the Furious, the team will face the biggest challenge they have ever faced when they find themselves working against their very leader. The long-running film franchise continues to up the ante with the action, producing its most action-packed film to date. Every time I think that there is no way the series can top itself, they add a tank or drive off a plane. This time, they got a submarine, y’all.
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    The Strain: Season 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 11th, 2017

    From creator Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Blade 2) based off a book he co-wrote, The Strain has been a horror series that has continued to impress as it revs up to begin its fourth season on FX.  It’s a show that centers around a vampire outbreak that began at JFK airport when a plane arrived with all its passengers and crew “dead”, and then things quickly spiraled out of hand.  If your eyes rolled at the thought of simply another vampire story, let me take a moment to explain. What del Toro and Chuck Hogan created is a very unique take on the vampire lore, having their creature of the night more a victim of a wormlike parasite that creates a mutation in the body, and as we discover in Season Three, in the brain as well.
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    Absolutely Anything

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 11th, 2017

    The Monty Python comedy group has been a staple of British comedy for decades; personally my favorite film of theirs will always be Life of Brian.  For director Terry Jones, it’s been a while since he has stepped behind the camera to helm a picture, and it’s been even longer since he directed the 1983 classic The Meaning of Life. It’s not uncommon for directors to step away for years only to come back and return with some kind of passion project. Add into this mix Simon Pegg, whose comedic timing I would have figured would make him a perfect fit for a Monty Python film / revival; it just seemed that Absolutely Anything had everything in place to be a success.
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    Money

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 6th, 2017

    There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.”

    This devastatingly simple yet endlessly revealing quote by poet Charles Bukowski appears at the start of Money, a lean, mean, low-budget thriller filled with well-to-do characters who nevertheless feel the need to steal millions of dollars. To be clear, there are more than two things wrong with Money — particularly in the movie’s latter half, after the promising set-up starts to unravel — but the film still works as a brisk and entertaining game of cat-and-mouse mice.
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    The Belko Experiment (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 5th, 2017

    When a film like The Belko Experiment comes along there is a part of me that wonders, how far off is the film from reality? Films like Death Race 2000, The Running Man, The Purge, and Battle Royale have all flirted with the idea of the government using murder as a form of entertainment while also using it as a way to control the public. You look at the violence in the world and how numb we’ve all seemed to have gotten towards violence in the news and our favorite TV shows. I can’t help but wonder, would it be so crazy to see murder on our television screens?  Looking back at history and the gladiator times, there was murder for entertainment, where families would cheer on the bloodshed and carnage.
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    The Zookeeper’s Wife (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 3rd, 2017

    “What have you been up to in your little zoo?”

    It appears that we have been due for one of those untold stories amid the many tales of courage and bravery both fact and fiction, real and imagined, that have been told of the World War II era. There have been plenty of the battlefield hero films that include last year’s exceptional Hacksaw Ridge from Mel Gibson. Then there are the quiet and unlikely heroes. These are people who did incredible things that were often unknown during the war and often even after it was all over. Schindler’s List has become the gold standard for these kinds of emotional war movies. The Zookeeper’s Wife is set in the mold of that kind of a film, telling essentially that very kind of tale.
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    The Unholy (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 30th, 2017

    From the vaults of Vestron Video has unleashed The Unholy for horror fans to indulge in for the first time on Blu-ray.  Growing up and going to a Catholic school, films like The Exorcist and The Unholy managed to be all the more terrifying to me because the prospect of demons coming from hell was thought to be a possibility.  Sure, Freddy and Jason could get the young me nervous at night, but what films like The Unholy presented were the kind of thoughts that had me afraid to keep the lights off at night. But does the film hold up decades later? That’s a tough call, but with the new digitally restored version of the film now hitting the shelves, it’s worth grabbing a little holy water and checking out.
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    Trespass

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 29th, 2017

    When it comes to Writer, Director, Producer, Walter Hill is simply one of the best at doing the traditional tough-guy movies.  Films like The Warriors and 48 Hours are simply staples of my childhood; he even was involved with Alien, which I believe is one of the best sci-fi/horror films ever made, yet his star has seemed to fade as the years have passed. His work on the underappreciated Bullet to the Head I felt was a nice throwback to the features he made back in his heyday and had me realize how much his voice is missed in today’s cinema. This week, Shout Factory rolls out a blast from the past with the 1992 film Trespass.
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    Bones Season 12

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 28th, 2017

    “I believe you. Trust me. Listen, you know what, we’re gonna help you. You understand? You’ve served your time.” 

    We’ve all served 12 years together. Bones has proven itself to be the little show that could. While it has never been exactly a ratings superstar, the show pulled in quite a loyal fanbase that kept it on the air for a surprising 12-year run. There were few years the show didn’t finish on the bubble, and they were starting to wrap up everything last year in what was going to be the last. The characters actually went different ways but were brought back together for a shortened Season 12 encore.
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    T2 Trainspotting (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 28th, 2017

    “First, there is an opportunity.  Then…there’s a betrayal.”

    It’s been 20 years since the release of Trainspotting, and it’s fair to say a lot has changed in the past two decades.  I remember going out to the United Artists Mission Bell Cinemas to see Trainspotting the weekend it came out.  I was with my best friend at the time, and neither of us was old enough to buy tickets for the film, so we ended up having to sneak into the film.  We’d seen the trailers, and in a time before the internet there just wasn’t much we could find out about it aside from reading articles in the entertainment magazines.
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    All Nighter

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 28th, 2017

    “Dad, this is my boyfriend Martin…”

    The tension generated by the first meeting between a young man and the father of the woman he loves has always been a reliable source of conflict. I mean, Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro managed to squeeze three(!) Focker movies out of that stressful dynamic. All-Nighter fits snugly into that familiar sub-genre while managing to carve out low-key moments of character development and male bonding in between all the noise that comes with this sort of whacky situation.
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    Workaholics: The Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 25th, 2017

    Since 2011, the trio of Blake, Adam, and Ders have been reporting to their telemarketing job and bringing the laughs to Comedy Central on Workaholics.  With the final season now released, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to the trio that has shown us the joys of pranking, slacking, and pot in the work place. Does the show go out with a bang, or does it fizzle before reaching that last episode? I was a little concerned how things would end up because of the years I’ve gotten to really like the show and everyone involved. It’s time to punch in that time card and check out what this final season is all about.
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    Life of Significant Soil

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on June 25th, 2017

    The concept of eternal recurrence was (arguably) brought to the mainstream in 1993 with the release of Groundhog Day (1993). Certain films such as Run Lola Run (1998) and even an episode from The X-Files, “Monday” (1999), have managed to capture the strange, yet sad, philosophical nature behind repeating a single day. Since then, many variations of the concept began to meld with time travel, adding more distractions from the concept itself, only borrowing the basic premise: Just as space and time are infinite, so are our collective existences (in theory). Life of Significant Soil is closer in relation to the former films mentioned; however, it allows the raw emotion of experiencing a traumatic event to helm the ship.
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    The Andy Griffith Show: Return to Mayberry

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 23rd, 2017

    If there is a television series in the history of the industry as American or timeless as The Andy Griffith Show, I haven’t seen it. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone with strong negative feelings about the series. It was one of those organic and comfortable productions that reached deep into the core of rural America. Even if we lived in a bustling city, there were aspects of the show that still rang true. It was populated with the kind of familiar faces so that it wasn’t hard for anyone in the audience to smile in remembrance of a character they’ve known in real life. And even after 50 years, the series still speaks to that certain aspect of the friendly small southern town. A lot of the credit for that peaceful easy feeling must be credited to the titular star Andy Griffith himself.
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    John Wick: Chapter 2 (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 22nd, 2017

    “You wanted me back. I’m back.”

    Keanu Reeves has enjoyed somewhat of a career renaissance thanks in no small part to the success of John Wick in 2014. There he teamed up with some stunt friends of his going back to The Matrix, and together they brought a new action hero to the screen that was as much graphic novel as it was action film. It would become the directing debut of the stunt team of Stahelski and David Leitch. Along with their action star, everyone stuck to what they knew and refused to overcomplicate the whole thing.
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    A United Kingdom (Blu-ray)

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

    “We should not be fighting for segregation, we should be fighting for equality.”

    That’s the sort of rousing statement any random politician on the campaign trail might use to rile up a crowd of supporters at a pep rally. And even though those words are spoken here by a man in the midst of heavy political turmoil, the beauty of A United Kingdom — a straightforward but nevertheless impactful fact-based drama about forbidden love — is that they are actually born out of an intensely personal conflict.
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    South Park: The Complete Twentieth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 21st, 2017

    “Going on down to South Park and meet some friends of mine.”

    After 20 years or more, they really do feel like friends. I’ve known Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny longer than most real people in my life. Only the Simpsons have been around longer these days. Over those years, South Park has always been a series of stories that rarely connect with each other in any significant way. There have been multi-part episodes, and certain experiences have come back up over the years. Still, we’re talking about a universe where killing Kenny had become a running joke and happened pretty much in every episode.
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    Aaron’s Blood

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 20th, 2017

    When it comes to vampire films, I’m not so much a fan of the romanticized fantasy depiction that we see in Ann Rice novels.  Personally, I like my monsters to be grounded in reality; films like Near Dark and Let Me In seem to have a more vicious bite to them. Why do I prefer these darker and more grim depictions? Well, I believe if vampires have had to kill to survive, whether it be for a month or generations, they should be handled as some scary bad guys, not pretty, sparkly, cuddle-bunnies.  When an indie film comes along like Aaron’s Blood and it decides to go the more ground with reality horror route, it gives me hope, and it’s something I’m actually looking forward to seeing. But does the film deliver the goods?
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