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    Need for Speed (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on August 11th, 2014

    Need for Speed is based on a video game. It caters to people who love the experience of speed. There is a huge audience for this sort of thing. To their credit, the writer and director makes every effort to create an actual story and real characters in this presentation. It is easy to compare it to Fast and Furious, but why bother. That gives these sorts of films too much credit. Fast and Furious and Need for Speed are designed to give people a thrill. If anything, Need for Speed takes things more seriously than the Fast and Furious series.
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    Low Winter Sun

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 11th, 2014

    Many would agree that we are in the golden age of television, where the pedigree of the television drama has never been equaled in talent or scope of the stories we are seeing projected on our television sets night after night.  As these stories have gotten bigger and bigger with every following year and season, it would also seem that drama TV has also fallen into its grimmest time.  Not to mean that there is anything wrong with seeing these tales of survival like The Walking Dead or rooting for the ultimate anti-hero like Walter White.
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    Muppets Most Wanted (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 11th, 2014

    The Muppets debuted in 1955, and the late great Jim Henson’s creations have been delighting audiences (and fellow entertainers) of all ages ever since. They’ve made their mark on the small screen — most notably with The Muppet Show (1976-81) — and at the movies, starring in eight feature films across four different decades. However, 2011’s The Muppets was their first big-screen outing in a dozen years, and the movie spent most of its time wondering if the Muppets’ old-fashioned, irreverent charm still had a place in a more jaded pop culture landscape.
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    Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 11th, 2014

    I never knew just how many incarnations of Transformers actually existed; with this review of the Cybertron series, this will be my third take on the series, and for better or worse, they still manage to deliver a good time. Known originally in Japan as Transformers: Galaxy Force, this series had its run from 2005-2007.  Cybertron does appear to be a sequel in the line of the previous series Energon, though some of the changes that were made unfortunately left me a little disappointed.
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    Ironclad: Battle for Blood (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 7th, 2014

    In the wake of the success of Game of Thrones, many companies are trying to ride on that bandwagon and produce films that will hopefully capture the same audience. Unfortunately, it would seem so few come close to capturing the magic that the HBO series brings to the small screen. To be upfront, I haven’t seen the first Ironclad film, though upon looking it up on IMDB I see that it boasts a solid cast. (And after watching a trailer for the film, it is something I’d like to check out.) Fortunately in the case of Ironclad: Battle For Blood, it is a sequel that stands alone from its predecessor.
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    Cell 213

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Normandy D. Piccolo on August 7th, 2014

    “In this prison your soul will do time.”

    What’s not to love about an arrogant defense attorney being sent off to prison, where good and evil are going to battle it out for possession of his soul? Eric Balfour (24, Saving Grace, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) plays the unlucky attorney, Michael Gray, who spends his time screwing the legal system in more ways then one. He’s not exactly a choir boy.
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    The Birthday Boys: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 7th, 2014

    It seems to me, if your ultimate goal is to get on television, there’s never been a better time to be a sketch comedian. Thanks to sites like YouTube — which thrive on the sort of bite-size videos that line up nicely with the rhythms of sketch comedy — funny folks can hone their craft online while building a big enough fan base to maybe compel a network to offer them a show. Comedy Central is the most obvious basic cable landing spot, but IFC has emerged in recent years as a haven for offbeat humor. That includes The Birthday Boys, which is characteristically uneven, but boasts an impeccable TV sketch comedy pedigree.
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    Grace Kelly Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 6th, 2014

    “Few screenwriters could’ve invented the story of Grace Kelly.”

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say there’s never been a movie star quite like Grace Kelly. Within the space of just 11 films, the actress won an Oscar and starred in a handful of bona fide classics on her way to becoming Hollywood royalty. Of course, the reason Kelly made less than a dozen films and retired from acting at the ripe old age of 26 is because she became *actual* royalty after marrying Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
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    Divergent (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 5th, 2014

    “You’re different. You don’t fit into a category. They can’t control you. They call it Divergent.”

    In the wake of Hunger Games and Twilight studios have been snatching up the rights to young adult fiction and gearing up for franchises, all in the name of capturing the hearts and wallets of the legions of fans of these book series.  Though there have been a few hits, the failures have been plentiful i.e.: City of Bones, The Host, and The Vampire Academy.  As a guy approaching his mid-thirties, it’s safe to say I’m nowhere near being the target audience for this film, but call me crazy, I actually dug it.
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    Legendary

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 4th, 2014

    When it comes to films with Dolph Lundgren, let’s face it: you know before it even starts there is no chance of this movie having what anyone would call an “inspiring performance.” Thankfully Lundgren seems to understand the limits of his abilities and tends to stick with the run-of-the-mill action/adventure films that seem to go direct to DVD.
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    Hell on Wheels: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 31st, 2014

    “Make no mistake. Blood will be spilled. Lives will be lost. Fortunes will be made. Men will be ruined. There will be betrayal and scandal and perfidy of epic proportions.”

    With a statement like that, how can you not want to check out AMC’s newest drama series Hell On Wheels? I’ve been told the title sounds like it’s about motorcycle gangs, and I couldn’t agree more. The term refers to the mobile tent city that housed the workers on the Union Pacific Railroad and the support entourage the camp attracted. It was a virtual tent city that had all of the essentials: a church, bar, and whorehouse.
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    Lullaby

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 31st, 2014

    The impending death of a loved one tends to dredge up a complex mix of emotions. (Unfortunately, I speak from relatively recent personal experience.) In addition to the obvious sadness, there can be guilt, resentment, anger, relief, and other sentiments that combine to create a messy stew of feelings. Putting those feelings on the page or on a screen is an emotional minefield, since you risk veering jarringly from one tone to the next. The task becomes even trickier when you attempt to introduce humor into the equation. Lullaby stumbles over a few of those mines, but is otherwise a well-acted, modestly-affecting dramedy.
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    Noah (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 30th, 2014

    No matter how far removed you may be from Sunday school — or even if you never attended in the first place — chances are you know that God spoke to Noah. You also know He told him to build an ark in anticipation of a catastrophic flood meant to wipe out mankind. What you may not have realized (or remembered) is that, in the Bible, Noah himself doesn’t speak at all until well after that rain starts. So in adapting the famous Book of Genesis story to the screen, any filmmaker is going to have to take a certain amount of liberties. And when that filmmaker is Darren Aronofsky, the result is a strange, uncommonly thoughtful blockbuster that is as flawed as the hero it presents.
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    The Legend of Billie Jean: Special “Fair is Fair” Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 29th, 2014

    Don’t you ever get tired of vanilla?”

    There’s a special breed of ’80s movie that appears hopelessly dated on the surface yet remains impulsively watchable. (Insert your own, “So you mean *every* ’80s movie?!” joke.) The Legend of Billie Jean — with its hilarious-in-hindsight fashion and Pat Benatar theme song — certainly fits the “trapped in the ’80s” bill. However, the 1985 film — now making its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Mill Creek Entertainment — still manages to entertain by tapping into the timeless spirit of teenage rebellion.
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    Smithsonian Channel: Shark Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Normandy D. Piccolo on July 29th, 2014

    “The shark is an evolutionary marvel that should be respected and revered.”

    You will definitely need a bigger boat for this adventurous “Sharkathon”, featuring three separate documentaries about sharks all packed onto one DVD like sardines in a can. Everything you could possibly want to know about sharks, from their feeding habits, to the deterioration of their population due to overfishing, to mercury levels consumed by humans, to what makes sharks tick can all be found on, Smithsonian Channel Shark Collection.
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    Angriest Man in Brooklyn (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 28th, 2014

    Robin Williams is one of those actors that I just wonder what happened to them.  Through the 80’s and 90’s Williams was simply box office gold with his comedic timing and great impressions, but I’ve always been more drawn to the more serious roles Williams delivered.  Awakenings, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, One Hour Photo, these are just a few of his roles that have stuck with me over the years that made it easy to look past his cinematic missteps.
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    All Cheerleaders Die

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on July 24th, 2014

    There are people who love horror films and only horror films. For these people, they can never get enough. They will look at anything and everything. There are the people who like movies about high school and sports. Then there are people who like to see hot chicks. All Cheerleaders Die wants to make everybody happy. It starts out with a girl making a student movie about the cheerleading squad. The girls on the squad show off what cool witches with a B they are since they look out for their dogs on the football team.
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    Aerial America: Southwest Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 24th, 2014

    One of the miracles of modern technology is its ability to shrink the world down so you can practically (well, proverbially) hold it in the palm of your hand. The cheerily square Smithsonian Channel series Aerial America goes the other way. In fact, the best thing about the show is how it uses technology to fill every inch of your screen with some of the most famous — along with some of the more underappreciated — U.S. landmarks, employing a larger-than-life/bird’s-eye point of view most of us wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy.
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    Gangster

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 23rd, 2014

    When I first picked up this title to review it was a film I knew nothing about other than what the DVD cover revealed, which as it turns out was very little.  I like going into most films cold so there is no room for expectations to get in the way.  With such a generic title and a cast that had a few names that rang a bell and knowing nothing about the story, I figured the film had equal chances to be good or simply a stinker I’d forget by the weekend.  As it turns out, Gangster is a gritty little drama that not so much took me by surprise but instead left me wanting so much more.
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    Cesar Chavez (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 23rd, 2014

    The fact that we haven’t gotten a movie about Cesar Chavez until now is both surprising and not all that shocking. It’s surprising because the Mexican American labor leader was arguably as big of a civil rights icon to Latino workers as Martin Luther King, Jr. was to the country’s black community in the 1960s. On the other hand, the extended wait for a Chavez movie isn’t all that shocking when you consider his efforts took place in the largely un-cinematic realm of grape boycotts. The bland, well-meaning Cesar Chavez makes the case for his impactful deeds, even if it doesn’t totally present him as a vibrant, complex man worthy of the biopic treatment.
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    Open Grave (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 22nd, 2014

    It happens all the time. It’s just as common on large-budget films as it is on the small films. Someone comes up with a great hook. It’s a clever idea with all of the potential to be very good. It might even start off that way. Too many times the road traveled is a road to nowhere, and potential was lost somewhere along the path. That’s exactly the issue with Open Grave. The opening sequence is one of those scenes that really sticks with you. A guy wakes up in a huge pit filled with dead and rotting human beings.
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    Gridiron Gang (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 22nd, 2014

    “There are over 120,000 juveniles incarcerated in detection centers across the United States. Upon release 75% will either return to prison or die in the street. What follows is based on the true story of Camp Kilpatrick and the people there who tried to make a difference.”

    The Rock — sorry, Dwayne Johnson, sure has come a long way from his melodramatic days as a WWE superstar.
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    The Junior Spy Agency

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Normandy D. Piccolo on July 22nd, 2014

    “Magnum, Rockford and Marlowe never had to rake leaves before a case.” 

    ~ Sam Steele Junior

    Whoever said homework can’t be fun never met Writer/Director Tom Whitus. Mr. Whitus has donned the fedora once more and penned another adventurous Sam Steele detective movie aimed at children. The Junior Spy Agency (2014) (aka: Sam Steele and the Crystal Chalice (2011)) follows in the gumshoes of Mr Whitus’ previous work, Sam Steele and the Junior Detective Agency (2009).
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    Sabotage (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 22nd, 2014

    - “Are you some kind of big deal?”

    - “Yeah, I’ve been around.”

    The box office has not been kind to Arnold Schwarzenegger ever since he stopped being “The Governator” and started headlining movies again. Not counting his Expendable glorified cameos, Ahnuld’s three movies — The Last Stand, Escape Plan, and Sabotage — are among the lowest domestic grossers of his career. It’s clear that not a lot of people are seeing these movies, which is kind of a shame.
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    Transcendence (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 21st, 2014

    “Maybe it was all inevitable. An unavoidable collision between mankind and technology.”

    Just about any project that Christopher Nolan has any attachment to is going to get my attention.  And from the first glimpses of the film in the early teasers, Transcendence always felt like a film Nolan would seem right at home making.  Instead, taking the helm for the first time as director is Wally Pfister.  Though this may be his first time in the director’s chair, Pfister is no stranger to working on pictures of large scale; after all, he’s been Nolan’s director of photography since Memento back in 2000.
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