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    Meet The Blacks

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 11th, 2016

    I fear our acceptance of A Haunted House has opened a door that we may never be able to close, as it would cause the disaster that is Meet the Blacks to be born. Parody films have the potential to be extraordinarily funny or incredibly bad. Can you guess what side of the scale this film falls on? Whether it be through overacting or jokes that attempted to play on every stereotype known to man, Meet the Blacks never really manages to get off the ground and make me laugh, which is equally disappointing given the sheer talent pool of comedians in the film: Mike Epps, Charlie Murphy, DeRay Davis, Lavell Crawford, Michael Blackson, Lil Duval, Paul Mooney, and the list goes on. As I said, this was a clear waste of talent.
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    Blindspot: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 9th, 2016

    “Everything just feels so out of control. I don’t remember who I am. Who I was. Whatever life I had is gone. Shattered into a million tiny pieces. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe.”

    I have to credit Blindspot’s creator Martin Gero with providing one of the more memorable moments on television with the opening minutes of the series. Unfortunately, by the time we saw the pilot that image was already ruined by the countless spots used to promote the show’s premiere. We see a police officer in Times Square approach a bag with a sign on it that asks the FBI be alerted. The cop approaches the bag a bit frightened it might be a bomb and blow up on him at any time.
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    Keanu (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 8th, 2016

    When I first saw the trailer for Keanu I wasn’t sure if what I was watching was a real trailer or simply a sketch from the Key and Peele Show. Thankfully this turned out to their first starring foray in taking their talents to the big screen.  With one look at the trailer, I felt they were attempting to capture the over-the-top stylish action we got in most 90’s action films, Face/Off is the first that comes to mind, but really there are countless examples.  But the real star of the film is little Keanu himself, the ball of feline cuteness that will either have you embracing the film from the start or have you rolling your eyes (yeah, I’m talking about those cat haters out there).  Grab your Glock, and don’t forget the catnip, as we scratch a little deeper into Keanu.
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    Viral

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 7th, 2016

    The setup for Viral is promising enough. Throughout the early part of the film, we get subtle yet effective hints at the escalating catastrophe that is about to infect the story. (We hear about someone’s mom coughing uncontrollably, plus a video of a bloody, unexplained elevator attack goes, well, “viral.”) So it’s a shame that this sci-fi/horror thriller is limited by both its micro-budget and (more importantly) a filmmaking team that only sporadically delivers the goods.
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    Humpback Whales (UHD Bluray) (4K)

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

    “Our planet holds a kind of parallel universe. A place of wonder where giants roam free. For thousands of years, we could only wonder about humpback whales. Now, by exploring their world, we’re getting surprising glimpses into their lives.”

    In 1986, Leonard Nimoy led Kirk, Spock and their mates back in time to collect a couple of humpback whales and bring them to the 23rd century where they are extinct. If the whales aren’t there to communicate with a deadly probe, Earth is in deep trouble.
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    I Am Wrath (Blu-ray)

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

    Don’t let the artwork scare you off. Yes, the cover design for this disc may be the worst I’ve seen this year, but the movie actually isn’t half bad.  John Travolta has hit a bump in his career, and it seems the big blockbuster projects just don’t seem to want to reach out to him.  Sure, he has a habit of going over the top in roles, but for the most part he’s still one of the few personalities I still enjoy seeing on the screen who’s been around since before I was a kid.  Then you’ve got Chuck Russell (Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Warriors and The Blob remake) dusting off his director’s chair to helm a film again, and, well, I Am Wrath quickly starts to become a film I can be excited about.
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    The Invitation (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 29th, 2016

    It seems there have been a lot of horror films involving dinner parties that have gone wrong.  You’re Next may be the best example to take on this idea, and I have to admit to being a fan of the film. It was a fun hipster horror film that kept the story moving forward and delivered more than a fair share of violence and gore.  Then there was last year’s creepy gem The Gift, a film that captured the horror of the past coming back to haunt you.  When it comes to The Invitation, it’s a film that seems like a hodgepodge of both You’re Next and The Gift, but also a handful of other films.  It’s a film that feels so familiar, but as you watch it manages to avoid many of the stereotypical film tropes viewers have grown used to over the years.
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    The 100: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

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

    “We were born in space. They told us the ground was uninhabited, but they were wrong, and we’ve been fighting for our lives since the moment we landed. Some of us have been broken by it, but most of us are still here, trying to build something real and lasting out of the wilderness… a home.”

    You should know the setup by now. If not, you can check out our previous reviews: Season 1 & Season 2. The show is based on a new series of books from writer Kass Morgan. The crew here has a little bit more room to operate than do most shows based on book series.
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    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on July 28th, 2016

    “It’s time for the biggest gladiator match of all time. Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham.” 

    In a summer chock full of blockbusters that are expected to defy box office records, dare I say this may be the most anticipated one of them all? When news about this film was first released, opposition rang out on both sides of the spectrum. Some argued that films that feature two characters facing off rarely work, especially when it comes to two heroes. I have to admit that I found myself agreeing with this argument. In my defense, this appeared to me as a clear strategic ploy to fast-track the introduction of the much-anticipated Justice League franchise.
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    Hellhole

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on July 28th, 2016

    They really don’t make horror films like they used to. I understand that each decade graces us with new, unique genre mechanics, but there is just something to be said about the horror elements found in 1980’s cinema. While Hellhole does not have any supernatural or modern science fiction qualities, it does carry the classic “mad scientist” narrative quite well. The film also boasts one of the silliest, yet terrifying, villains I have seen to date. Hellhole is a film that gracefully slips below the radar, but for the cult cinema connoisseur, the strong writing is really what makes this film a great find.
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    Person of Interest: The Complete Fifth and Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 27th, 2016

    If there was a show I could recommend to someone who is looking for a smart thriller that doesn’t talk down to its audience, I couldn’t point to Person of Interest fast enough.  It’s a show that may be labeled sci-fi for some, yet its science and technology may not be so far off.  The idea of our government or private agencies using security cameras or our phones to monitor us is no longer just a rumor muttered around in circles of conspiracy theorists, but is quickly becoming a reality of day-to-day life. I kind of saw the show as a riff on the Batman story, subtract the cape and cowl and exchange it for a suit, then throw in a dash of George Orwell’s 1984, and you can see where the show got its start.
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    The Dark Horse

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 25th, 2016

    You talk dreams to those kids, you better follow through.”

    There’s a (not-so) grand cinematic tradition of white knights riding into rough neighborhoods and inspiring the disadvantaged kids who are seemingly stuck there. We’ve seen this plot applied in everything from Hardball and McFarland USA to Sister Act 2. (Hey…no one said the white knight *has* to be white). For the most part, these movies are as formulaic as they are enjoyable. So one of the many wonderful things about New Zealand chess drama The Dark Horse is that its white knight hero is a complex, damaged, well-meaning figure who’s actually in worse shape than the kids he’s trying to help.
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    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on July 19th, 2016

    “It’s time for the biggest gladiator match of all time. Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham”

    In a summer chock full of blockbusters that are expected to defy box office records, dare I say this may be the most anticipated one of them all? When news about this film was first released, opposition rang out on both sides of the spectrum. Some argued that films that feature two characters facing off rarely work, especially when it comes to two heroes. I have to admit that I found myself agreeing with this argument.
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    My Golden Days

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 19th, 2016

    I remember…”

    On the surface, there’s nothing particularly remarkable about Paul Dedalus, the French anthropologist at the center of My Golden Days. As he prepares to return to France after an extended work stint in Tajikstan, Paul reflects on a trio of key moments from his childhood and young adulthood. Much of what Paul recalls — the death of a parent, his first love, and the aching of a long-distance relationship — is completely relatable. Yet filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin aims to present Paul’s life as the most romantic, tragic story ever told.
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    Joseph & Mary

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on July 19th, 2016

    For a film called Joseph and Mary, the titular characters are little more than a footnote in the overall film in my opinion. Jesus has an even smaller role, which is a notable first for film when it comes to films that reference the character. I give it points for it focusing on less notable people rather than the big three. However, that said, execution of the project was a failure to launch due to predictable storyline and lackluster performances.
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    Bitten: The Final Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 18th, 2016

    From the very beginning one can see there was great potential here. The show was based on a collection of books that appear to be quite popular. They’re called The Outworld series, written by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong. The show avoided most of the standard clichés. No full moon reference at all here. The werewolves “change” at will or when emotionally charged (“you won’t like me when I’m angry”). There are no silver bullets. These guys might be stronger and harder to kill than a human, but severe body trauma or blood loss kills them just like anyone else. No pentagrams or wolfbane to be found in the show. Such potential. After three years, the ride comes to an end with all of that potential unfulfilled. The werewolves might have been hard to kill. Alas, the show was not. 
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    The Bible Stories: Joseph

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on July 18th, 2016

    I have just reviewed The Bible Stories: Jacob in which I may have left people hanging, because I teased the end of the story. Of course that only applies to people who have never read the Bible. The Bible Stories: Joseph will give you some of those answers if you never got to the Good Book. Jacob indeed survives and thrives, so God was good on his word. Jacob had many sons, but in this film he is older and played by Martin Landau, not Matthew Modine. Jacob had 12 sons with two wives and two handmaids who were all involved with the births. Jacob (also known as Israel) entered into a covenant with God to create a new nation of plenty and prosperity.
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    Green Room (Blu-ray)

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

    Ever since writer/director Jeremy Saulnier came out with his gripping revenge film Blue Ruin, fans have been patiently waiting to see what he’d do next.  If you have not had the chance to see Blue Ruin and you are a fan of the revenge genre, it’s a film that is certainly a must see and is one of the few films that lives up to the hype that surrounds it.  The problem with doing such a strong and powerful film so early in your career is that expectations seem to just skyrocket, and it seems there is just no way you can make everyone happy.  As a fan first and critic second, I know I’ve been guilty of doing this in the past, and it’s almost impossible to not get excited, and at the screening for this film, I know I was not the only one with high expectations.
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    Code of Honor (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 14th, 2016

    Are you a good guy or are you a bad guy?”

    I honestly try to be a good guy whenever I sit down to write a review because the fact is I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t have a deep love for movies. Heck, I can usually even derive enjoyment and find the charm in films that obviously have limited resources. Unfortunately, it’s hard to stay positive whenever Steven Seagal pops up on a Blu-ray cover, always with the same neutral expression and always brandishing a firearm. Code of Honor, Seagal’s latest offering, is no exception. If the question is, “Is this a good movie or a bad movie?”…I think you know the answer.
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    Everybody Wants Some (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 12th, 2016

    For the Gasparilla International Film Festival, to nab the latest film from writer/director Richard Linklater is kind of a big deal. GIFF was the second festival to show Everybody Wants Some after its debut at the acclaimed South by Southwest festival.  With the film being lauded as a spiritual sequel to Linklater’s cult hit Dazed and Confused, I had to admit I was a bit skeptical about this film and its ability to even match up to its predecessor, after all it was the indie darling that helped launched the careers of Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, and many others.  This ensemble of talented up-and-comers managed to capture this cinematic lightning in a bottle about high school
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    iZombie: The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 12th, 2016

    For years I’ve been hearing about how “hot” vampires were on television and in the movies. It all appeared to start with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it actually goes back a lot longer ago. Zombies, on the other hand, were the sole property of feature films, usually extreme low-budget affairs. AMC’s The Walking Dead has changed all of that. Suddenly zombies are very hot and populating one of the highest rated shows on television. Add a spin-off, and the domination continues. It wasn’t going to take long for someone else to join the field. Enter iZombie, and we’re off and running.
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    The Bible Stories: Jacob

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

    I have previously reviewed movies from the Bible Stories collection including Samson and Delilah and David. I also reviewed Abraham, which was one of the earliest stories in the Bible but not as early as Noah or, of course, Adam and Eve. The Bible Stories: Jacob (or The Bible Collection: Jacob) follows up on the story of Abraham, since Jacob is his grandson. I have also just watched The Bible Stories: Joseph which I will review later, but I mention it because Joseph is Jacob’s son.
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    Rocky Mountain Express (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 12th, 2016

    “They once roamed the earth by the tens of thousands. Their whistles spoke of distant places, of adventure and romance.”

    No, we’re not talking about dinosaurs or some other extinct animal. Of course, we’re talking about the steam-engine train. I’m old enough to have ridden them myself. I had a grandfather who realized in the early 1970’s that these steam trains were about to disappear. He made it a point to explain this to me and made sure I appreciated my rides from Reading, Pennsylvania (literally a train city) to Philadelphia, where my Mom was sure he was a bagman for the mob and was using me as a cover.
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    The Levenger Tapes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on July 11th, 2016

    “I’m too young and too pretty to die in the f*&$ing woods.”

    Those sound like famous last words if I ever heard them. The Levenger Tapes is without a doubt one of the more intriguing thriller films that I have seen this season, featuring not only a found-footage technique but a subplot involving the authorities investigating a kidnapping case simultaneously. The thing that ties it all the together, the discovered footage, is the only tangible link to solving the other crime.
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    Eddie The Eagle (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 9th, 2016

    When I was a kid in the 1970’s there was a weekend sports show on ABC called The Wide World Of Sports. It was a catch-all for those sports that don’t have the kind of national branding of football or baseball. It was the kind of show for boxing, gymnastics, or skiing. I don’t remember a single episode that I saw. What I do remember along with anyone who has ever watched it is the opening sequence. We were promised the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat. With that last line we saw the image of a ski jumper taking a horrible wreck as he comes off the jump. In the 40 years since I still often wonder about the guy whose legacy will always be the very definition of unmitigated failure, and painful failure at that.
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