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    75 Years of WWII

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 1st, 2014

    75 Years Of WWII is a collection of episodes from A&E/History’s various war programs that have aired on the networks and have already been released in full sets of their own. It’s intended to be somewhat of a greatest-hits DVD collection. If you’re not inclined to pick up any of the full sets, this might make a nice addition to your collection, but I believe the full sets are far more worth your time.
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    Portlandia – Season Four

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 1st, 2014

    Oregon may have been the 33rd state to join our union — and Portland may be its most populous city — but Portlandia is a (beet-eating, Bigot Parade-hosting, 3D printer-buying) state of mind. And four seasons into lovingly mocking upper middle class indulgence along with the denizens of the Pacific Northwest, the show — created by stars Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and director Jonathan Krisel — continues to feel more like a fully-realized destination than ever.
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    The Walking Dead: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 29th, 2014

    The first thing you should know about The Walking Dead is that it’s unlike any television series you have ever seen before. The images here are intense, and the crew has been given a blank check to create this vision without the burden of censors looking over their shoulders. There are plenty of blood-and-gore effects that rival any of the Hollywood zombie films you’ve seen in the last few years. The makeup effects are handled by the very capable hands of KNB and supervised personally by Greg Nicotero (the N from KNB).
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    Haven: Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 29th, 2014

    “You were always such a clever troublemaker.”

    When Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) entered the barn in the conclusion of season 3 of Haven, all “the Troubles” were supposed to come to an end for the small seaside town of Haven, Maine.  Sure everything seemed to go as planned, that is until Duke (Eric Balfour) took the plunge into the barn before it disappeared, leaving Sheriff Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) behind.
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    Aftermath (Blu-ray)

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

    Considering the state the world is in, I’m a little surprised there isn’t more talk about a possible World War 3 scenario being played out.  This isn’t something I want, but watching the news, it is certainly something that resonates in the back of my mind and gives a moment of reflection.  Aftermath is the film that preys upon that fear of what a possible World War 3 could be. The results are far from promising, and it succeeds in telling the inevitable fate of the world, despite how bleak the outcome may be.
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    High School Confidential! (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 28th, 2014

    “You have just seen an authentic disclosure of conditions which unfortunately exist in some of our high schools today. The job of policemen will not be finished until this insidious menace to the schools of our country is exposed and destroyed.”

    “Authentic” is probably a stretch, but High School Confidential! is certainly fascinating for a variety of reasons. Every generation has an alleged scourge that invades high schools and threatens to rip apart the very fabric of society. (Cue masterpiece eye roll.) In 1958, that menace went by the name “Mary Jane.”
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    The Possession of Michael King (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 27th, 2014

    Here is a film that delves into a subject not many people care to openly discuss but poses a question that everyone who’s lost someone they love can relate to.  When prayer and faith don’t seem to deliver the answers you want for those that need closure that therapy can’t seem to provide, where does one turn?  It’s this hopeless feeling of loss that seems to be what attracts Michael King (Shane Johnson) to investigate the possibility of the supernatural.
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    William Shatner’s Get a Life!

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 27th, 2014

    Is there anyone out there who hasn’t noticed that William Shatner the actor has become William Shatner the character over the years?  Give the man some credit for finding ways to reinvent himself. After Star Trek he was the only actor to find himself another regular television character and shakes the typecasting that most actors in the franchise have been victimized by. When TJ Hooker was gone, he found a few other shows and ways to take advantage of what could have been fleeting fame. By the time he did Boston Legal, he had completely reinvented himself as a somewhat humorous character and wonderful mate for James Spader
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    Blended (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 27th, 2014

    Adam Sandler took a bit of a beating with Blended. His previous, non-Grown Ups outing (That’s My Boy) was Sandler’s first comedy in a while to severely underperform at the box office, suggesting audiences might be tiring of the comic’s (critic-proof) brand of humor. Then came Sandler’s pre-release admission that he makes movies based on where he’d like to get paid to vacation. Blended went on to underwhelm at the box office, at least by the reliable standards of Sandler comedies. (It brought in $123 million worldwide on a reported $40 million budget, though only $46 million of that came from the U.S.) Maybe it was the lowered expectations, but I kinda liked Blended.
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    Boardwalk Empire: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 27th, 2014

    “It’s like Prohibition never happened but for one thing. Prices will increase twenty-fold. We got a product a fellah’s gotta have. Even better is that, we got a product he ain’t allowed to have.”

    The fourth season of Boardwalk Empire began pretty much the only way it could have after the bloodbath that ended the previous season. It was an explosive season that delivered the best gangland war in television history. Now there has to be some kind of peace or at least status quo after the end of the violence. Nucky is making his peace with Arnold Rothstein and his people. He also owes Chalky White for saving his behind when war broke out.
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    Regular Show: Rigby Pack

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 27th, 2014

    Cartoon Network has just released yet another collection of episodes of Regular Show, only this time they are all based around Rigby.  For those new to the show who want in on the obsession that kids, friends, and other cartoon addicts have for this show, here is a little need-to-know info about the Regular Show.  The show centers on Mordecai (a blue jay) and Rigby (a raccoon) and the crazy adventures they find themselves stuck in the middle of.
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    The Normal Heart (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 26th, 2014

    “Could you please reduce your level of hysteria?”

    There is a lot of yelling and a lot of outrage in The Normal Heart. The film chronicles the confusing, terrifying onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in the early 1980s and how a group of gay men (and one intrepid doctor) in New York fought to draw attention to the deadly disease. Their efforts are alternately frustrating and futile, which leads to a higher decibel level for much of the movie’s second half. Thankfully, The Normal Heart is shrewd enough to note that there’s more than one way to make a point.
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    Boredom

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on August 26th, 2014

    Are you bored? Then Boredom may be the most important thing you ever watch. You should know, boredom kills. Many riots occur because people are bored. People jump off mountains with parachutes because they are bored. People engage in unprotected sex because they are bored. People even kill themselves because they are bored. I personally think there are worse things to be than bored, but maybe I’m wrong. After all, things are always rosier on the other side of the fence.
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    Bee People

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on August 26th, 2014

    The outside of the DVD box says, ”Warning: The information you are about to see will result in hives.” It is true that the documentary Bee People is a very passionate polemic meant to get people excited about the idea of having their own backyard beehives. Bees are one of the most important parts of the ecological network, because they pollinate most of the foods and flowers across the planet, and bees are disappearing. It is actually a very alarming fact that bees are disappearing, because we don’t know why, nor what the eventual outcome will be if they cease to exist.
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    Aerial America: Southeast Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 25th, 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. Now, Smithsonian Channel and Inception Media Group have released another batch of episodes on Blu-ray.
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    Revolution: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

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

    “Welcome to the SyFy Channel.”

    OK, not really. Revolution aired on sister network NBC, both part of the Universal family. Usually the sibling resemblances are not very visible. Revolution, however has all the elements of a typical SyFy Channel series. These shows almost always start with strong source material or a crazy but clever idea.
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    The Sacrament (Blu-ray)

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

    Horror doesn’t necessarily need to be about the supernatural or have an axe-wielding maniac to be terrifying.  Jump scares and gore effects are also some nice devices directors rely on to scare their audiences.  But for me, what really gets beneath my skin is the possibility of what I see projected up on the screen can become a reality in my day to day life.  The Sacrament attempts to show how quickly faith and love can quickly be turned and used as a weapon that can lead to the demise of the fragile and the faithful.
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    Project Wild Thing

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 20th, 2014

    “The generational shift to an indoor existence has been strongly linked to a sharp decline in children’s well-being.”

    That’s just a fancier, more eloquent version of the familiar lament that (these darn) “kids today just don’t play outside anymore!” It’s also the jumping-off point for Project Wild Thing, an inventive and engaging documentary that explores the apparent disconnect between today’s youth and the natural world they seem intent on ignoring.
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    The Quiet Ones (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 20th, 2014

    Under the revamped Hammer production company, The Quiet Ones is the new release from the legendary UK company that was known throughout the 50-70’s for its Gothic horror.  In this new resurgence of Hammer, no longer do we have Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee to look forward to gracing the screen, but what we do seem to be getting is a respect for what horror can be.  Horror seems to have bottomed out as of late.  Where horror seems to be delving into cheaper budgets and going the direction of found footage, which isn’t so much a bad thing, but as we all know the market is just saturated with this style of filmmaking.
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    Rosemary’s Baby (2014) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 19th, 2014

    It’s kind of astounding that it took this long for somebody to revisit Rosemary’s Baby. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting Roman Polanski’s indelible 1968 adaptation of Ira Levin’s 1967 novel was crying out for a remake. It’s just that at this point you’d be hard pressed to find any horror classic — or any horror film, period — that hasn’t been re-done. (Stay strong, Exorcist!) And you probably wouldn’t expect said horror classic to be re-imagined as a bloody network TV miniseries.
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    The Blacklist: Season 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 17th, 2014

    “He’s dangerous, amoral, he pathologically flaunts authority. He’s reckless to the point of suicidal. But all of this… everything we’ve done. None of it would have been possible if it weren’t for him.”

    Him, of course is James Spader as the enigmatic Raymond “Red” Reddington. The show is NBC’s break-out hit The Blacklist created by first-time show-runner Jon Bokenkamp. Bokenkamp is truly a newcomer to the business. He has literally only a couple of very minor writing credits to his name. Perhaps that’s why The Blacklist is able to contain quite a few of the cliché elements running through television today and still feel like one of the freshest shows in a long while.
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    Only Lovers Left Alive

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on August 17th, 2014

    Vampires have been popular since Bram Stoker and Sheridan Le Fanu started writing about them nearly 200 years ago, but vampires have been around much longer than that. That seems to be how the story goes. That’s part of the problem. In Only Lovers Left Alive, it’s difficult for a vampire to overcome his boredom and disappointment with “zombies”, as he calls the human mortals. These vampires try to subsist on blood banks. Not only is it more humane, but that way they know the blood is tested. They don’t like blood-borne pathogens.
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    Bitten: Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 14th, 2014

    The television landscape has been flooded with shows about the supernatural. Vampires have been particularly hot topics in recent years, but werewolves are starting to get their own sub-genre going. MTV’s Teen Wolf manages to pull the theme off quite well. It’s no surprise that pretty much every network out there wants to throw their own hats into the supernatural ring. It’s getting quite crowded, but the popularity appears to have no end. Of course, with such a crowded field you have to find a way to stand out from the rest.
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    Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 14th, 2014

    One look at the DVD cover art for this film and I somewhat had an idea of what to expect.  A science fiction B movie that would have made Roger Corman smile with delight, and surprise surprise, that is exactly what we get with Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising.  This is actually the sequel to an earlier film Dark Rising: Bring Your Battle Axe. It isn’t necessary to watch the previous film to enjoy Agency of Vengeance. The film jumps into the action as we see a group of Rising Dark agents pursuing a large sandworm that is tearing up the streets of a suburban neighborhood.
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    Ja’mie: Private School Girl

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Normandy D. Piccolo on August 14th, 2014

    When I first saw the title, Ja’mie: Private School Girl, I thought, “Cue the bow chicka wow wow music.” Did I have it wrong. What came to mind after looking at the DVD cover instead was more, “Dude Looks Like A Lady.”  To some Ja’mie may be the hottest, funniest chick to prance across the screen since Divine or Candy Darling. To others, she may be an unbearable, annoying train wreck to watch.  Ja’mie: Private School Girl is a spinoff show based on a character created by popular Australian comedian, Chris Lilley.
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