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    Criminal Minds: Season 11

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 3rd, 2016

    Things are really going to change over at Criminal Minds. Season 11 is going to be your last chance to see the team as it’s been for several years. I’d say it’s in for the biggest change since Mandy left early in the show’s run. Now two more of the show’s original actors will be leaving. One of the changes was totally planned. After 11 years on the series, Shemar Moore decided it was time to try something else. Derek’s exit is part of the show’s finale, and there’s room for him to return if he wishes. The second exit was not quite so planned. Thomas Gibson has had a history of violent outbursts on the series in the past. He’s been known to push people around…literally.
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    The Interior

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on September 3rd, 2016

    I have seen an incredible number of independent horror films that are either shot in or around the woods. The setting makes sense for budget purposes: you are able to create a mysterious, brooding atmosphere for absolutely no cost. These films were produced even before The Blair Witch Project made the aesthetic popular in 1999. Even I hear the call of the woods as an amateur filmmaker, but I’m careful not to give into temptation and create a guaranteed flop just so that I can have a film set “in the woods.” I may seem pessimistic, but I have been disappointed by too many of these films to understand that it is not just being “in the woods” that makes the film. For these films to succeed, you need excellent writing and an unsettling/uncanny presence of which to be afraid. As is the case with The Interior.
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    Clown (Blu-ray)

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

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I have a fear of clowns, but more of the people beneath the paint. I’m not sure if anyone has recently seen in the news, but there are reports of people dressing up as clowns behind an apartment complex in South Carolina attempting to lure children into the woods.  First off I immediately think this is a prank, but also there is the side of me that is curious as to there being something more sinister at play; after all, it seems like a good start to a horror film. Going back through my childhood, I can’t think of any one moment that caused me to despise clowns, but I do remember a trip to Circus World that left me convinced all the clowns there were bad.
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    Elementary: Season 4

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

    Modernizing Sherlock Holmes has been a popular trend in film and television lately. We have seen two slick action film adaptations courtesy of Guy Ritchie, a contemporary BBC adaptation (Sherlock), and now there is Elementary, which transplants Sherlock Holmes and his loyal companion Watson from Victorian Era England to modern New York. We might be a long way from Doyle here, but the possibilities are very intriguing. This is the season that Elementary really finds its legs.
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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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    Lucifer: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 31st, 2016

    It seems there is no end in sight for comic book properties being bought and turned into movies or television series. Lucifer is one of the newest additions getting the television treatment, and personally this was a title I was looking forward to.  With Tom Kapinos (Californication and Dawson’s Creek) at the helm, this seemed like it would be a good fit, though one thing did nag at me.  When you have a show called Lucifer, and it is about the devil taking a vacation on Earth, is standard television really the proper outlet for broadcast?  As a fan of Californication, I was excited to see what Kapinos would do with the material, and for the most part the show doesn’t disappoint.
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    The Nice Guys (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 31st, 2016

    Writer/Director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3) has a way of writing flawed characters who manage to leave more lasting impressions than the films they populate. But where he shines is when he can thrust these flawed individuals into the confines of a detective story.  Most people grew their fondness for Black and his quick-witted dialog when he first penned Lethal Weapon, but for me it goes back to The Monster Squad and The Last Boy Scout, where I found myself becoming a fan even in my early years of film watching.  So is the fanboy in me excited to see what Black brings to the table this time around?  You betcha. In a summer popcorn season filled with comic book movies, sequels, and other films targeting the teenage demographic, it’s nice to have an action film that harkens back to the good old days (the 80’s and early 90’s) for a fun comedy/action romp that has a foul-mouthed edge.
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    The First Monday in May

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on August 31st, 2016

    The First Monday in May is a documentary that traverses many worlds. It caters to mass culture but also explores the inner sanctums of high art. What is art? This is one of the questions the movie asks. In this case, it examines the ignored stepchild of high art, which is fashion and costume design. The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art languished in the basement for many years, never truly respected. Something called the Met Gala has changed all that. It is one of the most important social events of the New York City social scene. The invitation list is ruthlessly trimmed every year to only include the most glamorous and relevant celebrities.
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    Shameless: The Complete Sixth Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 31st, 2016

    You think your home life is screwed up? I can almost promise you that the Gallagher family has you beat in spades. If not, perhaps watching them will help you feel better about your situation. Fiona, Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl, Liam, and of course Frank are back with Season Six of Shameless, and it’s like they never left. That is the good thing about the series; it always feels like you can pick up right where you left off despite the several-month hiatus. This year is filled plenty of the same antics you are used to seeing by one of my favorite dysfunctional families, including illegal marriages, teenage pregnancy, and criminal mischief. After indulging in Season Six, the only thing you can say is in the words of Steve Howey, “F$8#ing Gallaghers.”
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    The Duel (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 30th, 2016

    You’re about to witness a Helena duel…a most noble affair of character and honor.”

    A “Helena duel” is also a brutal, bloody ritual where two combatants are joined at the wrist before engaging in a knife fight to the death. That combination of genteelness and barbarity is at the heart of The Duel, a Texas-set Western that reaches for grandiosity and doesn’t quite get there, but is nevertheless thoroughly entertaining.
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    The Jungle Book (2016) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 29th, 2016

    “This is the law of the jungle…”

    Disney appears to have a law that all of its classic cartoon features must now be made into live-action films. As I’ve mentioned in my review of the original classic The Jungle Book, the animated feature was the end of an important era at Walt Disney Studios. It was released about a year after Walt’s death and was the last film he supervised from beginning to end. In the wake of Walt’s death the studio experienced a sharp turnover and complete retooling of the animation department. With only the nine old men to carry the traditions of Walt into the future, The Jungle Book would forever mark a distinct milestone in the history of animated feature films.
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    NCIS: Season 13

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

    NCIS continues to be one of the top dramas on television. After 13 years, that’s a hard trick to pull off. With two spinoffs enjoying a pretty nice run, there are nearly 500 episodes of the franchise. The show just received a rare two-year extension and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The show has seen a lot of changes over the years. Cast members have come and gone, but a strong core has remained for the long haul. More changes are on the horizon. Michael Weatherly leaves after this season. He’s certainly been one of the more beloved members of the original cast. It will be a tough road, but something tells me the show is going to be just fine. If Season 13 is any indication, NCIS is a long way from slowing down.
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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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    The Huntsman: Winter’s War (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 24th, 2016

    There is another story. One that comes long before…happily ever after.”

    An unseen narrator — an uncredited Liam Neeson, wisely choosing not to show his face in this film — intones these words at the start of The Huntsman: Winter’s War. He’s talking about the saga involving a certain magic mirror and Ravenna (a still-captivating Charlize Theron), the wicked antagonist from 2012’s Snow White and The Huntsman. But as this flat, uninspired prequel/sequel hybrid unfolds, it becomes clear that this “other story” is essentially an unimaginative mish-mash of Disney (shades of Frozen and Brave are added to the Snow White framework) and Tolkien.
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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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    Bad Moon (Blu-ray)

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

    I think for the most part we can all agree that the 90’s were not so kind to horror fans.  Sure, you can find a few gems sprinkled throughout the decade, but as a whole the theater was not where you’d find the good stuff.  In the 90’s you’d end up having to go to your local video store to check out the straight-to-video titles and the independent films  that had just been released.  Unless you lived in LA or New York, there were so many titles you’d be missing out on, but the video store brought films like Carnosaur (1993) to your attention.  This was pretty much how I first stumbled upon Bad Moon, while cruising the titles in the horror section and this cool box art called out to me.
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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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    NCIS: New Orleans: Season 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 17th, 2016

    “Put your game face on.”

    When you have the highest-rated drama on television, there is a temptation to milk it for all that you can. We’ve seen it happen with both the Law & Order and CSI franchises. The results tend to be mixed, with some capturing and even exceeding the popularity of the original. Others never quite seem to connect and are gone while their mother ship is still on the air. It’s too early to tell if NCIS: New Orleans will fall in the former or latter category. There’s certainly plenty of the tight writing and production value that the NCIS label is known for.
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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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    The Perfect Match

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 15th, 2016

    Charlie “Charlie Mac” McIntyre (Terrence “Terrence J” Jenkins) is a modern lothario (not much call for that world nowadays) with a seamless ability to remain romantically unattached to the many women that he meets and sleeps with. Now before you begin to hate him, let me clarify that he is not callous, and he does have scruples. He does not date anyone that shares a connection to any of his circle of friends in order to preserve their friendship. Despite him respecting that relationship, his friends wish for him to reform his ways and settle down, something he has no intention of ever doing. Believing his actions are emotionally unhealthy, his two best friends Rick and Victor (Donald Faison and Robert Christopher) take it upon themselves to propose a bet: he must commit to one person until Victor‘s wedding, in order to prove that a prolonged period of time with one woman will not fundamentally change his perspective on relationships.  Charlie accepts.
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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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