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    Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 21st, 2016

    Due to the explicit sexual nature of the following National Lampoon Radio Hour, it’s featured as adult entertainment and not recommended for children’s ears without parental supervision.”

    Even if you had no idea it originated as a magazine, the name “National Lampoon” instantly conjures images of raunchy, subversive, anti-establishment humor. That’s how strongly the iconic comedy brand managed to embed itself into pop culture. (In addition to the magazine, there were stage and radio shows along with at least two classic movies.) This dynamic, uproarious, and aptly-titled documentary does a very good job of illustrating how that happened.
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    Pretty Little Liars: Season 6

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 20th, 2016

    “Two can keep a secret as long as one of them is dead.”

    When it comes to Pretty Little Liars, it seems making the fans crazy is what they do best. The fifth season of the show is out on DVD, and this is no place for beginners. If you don’t know who Aria, Spencer, Emily, Hannah, and Alison are, it’s time for you to head back to the beginning and catch up. You can find our reviews from those seasons here. For the rest of you, let’s talk Pretty Little Liars, shall we?
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    The Bible Stories: David

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 20th, 2016

    I am by no means an expert on the Bible. That is why I am always anxious to see filmed representations of the stories, since most of my knowledge comes from other people. It’s always an interesting topic, and so many people have their own interpretations. I think that is the point. I think discussion of the Bible allows people to express their own inner thoughts about their relationship to God. But I long ago gave up on the idea of ever getting a clear picture of the meanings of the stories. There will be plenty of people who will tell you they know all the answers, but I sincerely doubt anyone has any such thing. I previously reviewed Abraham from this series, which was an earlier story in the history of the Jewish and Christian faiths.
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    The Revenant (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 20th, 2016

    America was once a primitive expanse where only very small groups of hardy hopefuls ever tried to venture across. It was a vast and endless wilderness that was mostly a mystery. This was the land of roving Indian tribes and undiscovered species of animals. This was a land of all kinds of danger. Life was one long hunt and endless battle against every kind of predator and natural enemy. There are so many remarkable moments in The Revenant that I will start with the bear attack. It is an unbelievably harrowing event that cannot be described in words that will in any way convey what you see on the screen. That one sequence alone is worth the price of admission
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    Silicon Valley: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

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

    Billionaires are people too.”

    HBO’s Silicon Valley, which takes merciless aim at the tech capital of the U.S., was impressive right out of the gate. The series struck comedy gold in its debut season by making fun of both self-important, aggressively eccentric billionaires and the bumbling “guys in a garage” who are trying to get to their level. Season 2 is both nerdier and more confident in its skewering of corporate soullessness and the scrappy underdogs who often can’t get out of their own way. (I’m not sure there’s another show on TV that would use a SWOT analysis to decide whether a douche-y stuntman lives or dies.) The result is a very funny sitcom that has gotten even better.
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    Episodes: Season 4

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 15th, 2016

    David Crane struck television gold after creating not just one of the biggest comedies of the 90’s but one of the biggest shows of all time when he created Friends.  Love it or hate it, Friends was a series you just couldn’t escape while it dominated the ratings through its 10-season run.  Well over a decade since the show has gone off the air; it’s a show that continues to thrive in syndication.  And that is where Episodes picks up, the show from Friends creator David Crane and starring Matt LeBlanc, who plays himself in a show that parodies the life of a fading celebrity who is struggling to find his next big hit.
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    Grace and Frankie: Season One

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

    Am I irrelevant? I refuse to be irrelevant.”

    Outside of The Golden Girls, there haven’t been too many TV shows where the entire main cast is eligible for social security. Then again, chasing the 18-49 demo that advertisers covet isn’t much of a concern for a subscription-based service like Netflix, which debuted Grace and Frankie last year. Naturally, the series — whose four main actors are each 75 and older — has its share of geriatric humor. (Although the broken hip doesn’t occur till Ep. 5/“The Fall”.) More importantly, it also has some genuinely funny things to say about companionship and reinvention.
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    The Last Witch Hunter (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 13th, 2016

    “Witches live among us. Their magic passed from an ancient race, diluted, half-forgotten, but dangerously powerful. After centuries of conflict, a truce was forged. Witches would be allowed to live and govern themselves if they followed one strict rule: that magic never be used against humans. But a truce is a fragile thing…”

    Vin Diesel has made the Fast and Furious franchise into a massive global behemoth, but Diesel is not a global behemoth on his own. He has had successes and failures. He is someone who seems to be an unlikely star. He tried to make Riddick (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick) into a multi-film franchise and accomplished it through sheer force of will
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    The Nanny: The Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 12th, 2016

    When we last saw Miss Fine (or should I say Mrs. Sheffield), she fell off her husband’s yacht on her honeymoon. I have previously written about The Nanny: Season 5 in January and Season 4 in September of last year, so go back and look up all the previous shenanigans. The first episode of the final season has the newly married couple stranded on a deserted island, and Fran Drescher is up to her usual ridiculous antics as Fran Fine. You can expect a lot of silly and moderately racy sexual innuendo. As usual, there are lots of celebrity cameos. In one Hollywood Squares episode alone, there are nine celebrities interacting with Max Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) who is one of the squares.
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    The von Trapp Family: A Life of Music

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 11th, 2016

    Thanks to The Sound of Music, millions of people around the world are familiar with the von Trapp family saga. (They probably have the second most popular Austrian name among movie fans, behind some guy named Schwarzenegger.) Given that The Sound of Music is one of the most popular movies of all time, any filmmaker would be wise to offer a fresh perspective in telling a von Trapp story. Enter The von Trapp Family: A Life of Music, which puts eldest von Trapp daughter Liesl Agathe in the center of the action.
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    Stealing Cars

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 10th, 2016

    It comes as no surprise that even in 2016 we continue to have issues with how we handle and discipline criminals while they are incarcerated.  We have a system that pulls in troubled youths that seem to come and go through the judicial system and seem to spend a majority of their lives behind bars.  Hollywood has seemed have an eye on this problem and has churned out many films about misunderstood inmates that are incarcerated and are unfairly treated by the system and those who are in control of the inmates.  Cool Hand Luke, Sleepers, and The Shawshank Redemption are a couple films that jump out at me, and today it’s Stealing Cars that dares to explore this problem.
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    Curveball

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 10th, 2016

    From the opening credits I knew this was movie intended to be a hard-hitting examination on how drugs could compromise a promising future. In most respects Curveball hits the mark; even the inclusion of the unorthodox methods which the lead character’s mother utilizes in order to help him is a welcome addition. However, there is a disconnect between the film’s introduction and conclusion that does some pretty considerable damage to the story overall.
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    Mojave (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 8th, 2016

    Look at where the world is because of solitary dudes going mental in the desert.”

    Depressed, deplorable artist Tom heads to the Mojave Desert, where he unexpectedly meets his match in crazed, charismatic drifter Jack. The fact that their tense encounter results in a death is one of the least surprising things about Mojave. What initially appears to be a cat-and-mouse game set in the desert turns out to be an interesting, uneven meditation on perception vs. reality that spills over into the vapid world of Hollywood.
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    Banshee: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 7th, 2016

    “There’s always room for improvement.”

    Banshee is one of those improbable plots that finds a way to pull us into the action all the while ignoring how unlikely any of this might really be. Of course, we do that all the time. It’s certainly unlikely we’re going to face a zombie apocalypse or run into a super-powered hero. That’s a different kind of unlikely. This kind of real-world fantastic is usually a bit harder to accept. Credit folks like Allan Ball for keeping us engaged with some of the most entertaining sleight of hand on television.
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    Pay Back

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on April 7th, 2016

    After screening Payback, I did a decent amount of research to find information about the director in an effort to better understand the film from a production standpoint. After searching on the web for a bit, I discovered that there is really not much information about the film outside the fact that it is a Hong Kong production, written and directed by first timer Fu Xi. This is a bit strange, considering the fame of the lead actors Francis Ng and Fan Siu-Wong. Anyone who has a mild interest in the action cinema of Hong Kong would recognize Fan Siu-Wong from Ip Man, Ip Man 2, or my personal favorite, the gore-filled Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky.
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    The Hoarder

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 7th, 2016

    Any time I would catch the show Storage Wars, I always would watch with this morbid curiosity with the hopes that one day they’d open a storage unit and discover something more than a few lost boxes.  With the millions of storage units that are spread throughout the country, you’d have to imagine that hidden away in a couple of these units are some pretty awful things that would turn the stomachs of most.  Is this simply a thought I have from watching too many horror films? Most likely, but I can’t be the only one out there; after all it would seem this line of thinking is what brought The Hoarder to the screen.  In the new horror release we get to discover there is more to fear than a few old dust bunnies when venturing out to the local storage unit; in fact it can possibly turn into a trip you may never return from.
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    Expendables 3 (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 6th, 2016

    Welcome to the 21st century!”

    Welcome to the world of 4K UHD Blu-ray. This is our first 4k review. It won’t be the last.

    Sylvester Stallone has dedicated the better part of the last decade to giving moviegoers what they wanted 20 years ago. It started with 2006’s Rocky Balboa, which closed out Stallone’s signature franchise in the satisfying manner fans have been craving since 1990’s Rocky V debacle. We’ve also gotten another Rambo sequel, as well as long-awaited team ups with icons both real (Schwarzenegger in Escape Plan) and cinematic (Grudge Match was “Rocky vs. Raging Bull”). But Stallone’s biggest recent success is the veritable fantasy team of action stars he’s assembled for the Expendables films.
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    NYPD Blue: Season 9

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 5th, 2016

    “NYPD BLUE wishes to dedicate its season to the memory of the New York City police and firefighters who sacrificed their lives on September 11th, 2001. Their heroism will never be forgotten, and we extend our deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones.” 

    As NYPD Blue entered its ninth season, there were tragic circumstances both on the screen and in real life. On the show Andy’s former partner Danny Sorenson ends up dead, and in the real world New York City experiences the devastating events of 9/11. Both are addressed as the season opens.
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    Forsaken (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 4th, 2016

    When you see the name Kiefer Sutherland and Jon Cassar together, you might well expect that you’re going to get another helping of the popular television series 24. There Sutherland made a pretty big name for himself in the television landscape as the gritty and “get it done” cop Jack Bauer. In the director’s chair for a good many of those episodes was Jon Cassar, who also shared executive producer duties on the long-running show. But you won’t find the ticking-clock-modern world of Jack Bauer here. Instead you’ll find a thoughtful western that actually avoids a lot of the genre-typical violence and delivers one of the better westerns I’ve seen in many years.
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    Exposed (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 3rd, 2016

    Keanu Reeves is a guy who I don’t think anyone would be crazy enough to say is a “great actor”, but instead he’s a guy who has been in some pretty great films.  For me he’s an actor I grew up with from his days doing the Bill and Ted movies and Point Break. (Seriously, how dare they attempt to remake that gem?)  Between Speed and The Matrix, those are the two movies I’ve held onto for so long as his career took a more interesting turn; that is until John Wick came along and blew my mind with all the insane coolness that was up on the screen.  Finally it seemed I was on track to getting the Keanu Reeves that I grew up watching.  I know, so what’s the point of all this?  Well, until now, none of the Reeves films that I’ve liked could I really say it was because of his performance, and Exposed is finally the film he’s needed where he can show he’s more than just a brooding action star.
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    The Royals: Season 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 3rd, 2016

    In season 1, The Royals showed us that depravity and royalty went hand in hand. This time around, it’s all about anarchy in the monarchy. When we last looked in on the ruling family of Britain, King Simon was assassinated, and within seconds of his death, his opportunistic brother literally pried the royal seal off his fingers. I mean, his body wasn’t even cold yet, and there is Cyrus grave-robbing.  Liam had the opportunity to walk away from the all the pressures of being the heir apparent and be with the girl of his dreams, but chose duty and familial obligations (yeah, because that always ends well). Helena’s reputation was in ruins; however, there was light at the end of the tunnel after a powerful interview. Finally, Eleanor discovered that her older brother, like her father, was assassinated. Needless to say, their entire world turned upside down. I was excited to see what came next.
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    The Hateful Eight (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 30th, 2016

    The name Quentin Tarantino carries the weight of legacy as such directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, and more recently Christopher Nolan.  I’m not saying one is better than the other, but simply by name recognition alone Tarantino is in the company of directors that when you hear that his name is attached there will be a loyal fan base flocking to the theaters to see what they have to dazzle us with.  This time around Tarantino returns to the cinema in his biggest release to date; in glorious 70mm we have The Hateful Eight
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    Noma: My Perfect Storm (Blu-ray)

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

    It was as if all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place since what was being discussed here was a matter of creating something unique: a cuisine based exclusively on raw Nordic ingredients.”

    That pull quote, which appears at the start of Noma: My Perfect Storm, accidentally serves as a microcosm for the film as a whole. The excitement that builds at the prospect of witnessing something special quickly gives way to a chilly, undercooked experience.
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    House of Lies: Season 4

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 30th, 2016

    I don’t find House of Lies funny. In fairness, I don’t think it’s supposed to be funny, or it’s trying to be funny in the most cynical and unpalatable way possible. It’s a half-hour format airing on Showtime, which would normally suggest a sitcom. It’s not a sitcom, but a brash dramedy. Our main characters all have MBA’s but frequently act like teenagers on drugs. They are smart enough to analyze things brilliantly but are so corrupt that they will do the absolutely worst thing possible if it satisfies their personal interests. House of Lies should not be confused with House of Cards, which also features high-level leaders with horrendous morals. It seems to promote undiluted self-interest at all costs.
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    Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Blu-ray)

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

    “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…”

    It sure does seem like it was a long time ago since Star Wars was actually very good. It doesn’t matter if you thought Empire or Jedi was the last good film; few people that I’ve encountered mentioned the more recent trilogy in the same sacred breath as those original films. Star Wars gave us swashbuckler adventure in the spirit of the early serials. Then it was about a mythical epic story that swept a generation into its colorful universe. What George Lucas created in the late 1970’s will never die. But before long it became more about the creator and less about engaging the fans. The attitude turned into “this is my franchise and I’ll do whatever the heck I want to do with it.”
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