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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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    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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    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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    Comedy Bang! Bang! The Complete Second Season

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

    I like the fact that there’s no desk. I like the fact that he’s not wearing a suit and tie. And I like the fact that there’s not some over-hyped studio audience being prompted to laugh at topical jokes that we’re all gonna forget about in the next few days.”

    For its second season, IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! got bigger and bolder in the way it manically skewered decades of talk show and pop culture conventions. Not surprisingly, the show also got even weirder.
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    13 Sins (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 23rd, 2014

    “Congratulations! You have been selected to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime game show. Of a long list of candidates in financial need, you have been chosen to compete for a fantastic cash prize.”

    Elliot Brindle (Webber) is having a tough patch in life. He wants to marry the woman who is about to have their baby, but his financial situation isn’t going to support a new family.
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    In the Blood (Blu-ray)

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

    Following in the footsteps of Taken Gina Carano (Haywire) goes on a revenge rampage in order to discover what has happened to her injured and missing husband in a foreign land.  It’s not the most original jumping off point for a revenge film, but as is the case with most revenge films, the motivation is usually always the same, but it’s the journey to the fulfillment of their blood-lust that keeps us in our seats.  Coming off of the latest installment in the Fast and the Furious series, Carano has started to make a name for herself ever since she emerged in Steven Soderbergh’s action/thriller Haywire.
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    Generation Iron

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 15th, 2014

    Bodybuilders present a series of fascinating contradictions. They objectively embody the ideal physical form, but there are also people who can’t even stand looking at them. They’re in tip-top shape, but instead of running, jumping or hitting each other, their competitions involve…posing. Pumping Iron, the 1977 documentary that turned Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno into stars, was the first film to shine a light on the world of bodybuilding. Generation Iron stylishly and thoughtfully explores how the sport — and its participants — have grown immensely in the ensuing decades despite remaining a somewhat peculiar part of popular culture.
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    Death Do Us Part

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 21st, 2014

    “Bad things happen in the woods, especially to pretty girls like you.”

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a smallish group of friends head to a remote location for what they think will be a sex-and-booze-fueled romp. Instead, they find themselves getting picked off by a mysterious killer. If you’ve ever seen a slasher movie, you’re painfully familiar with this scenario. Thankfully, it seems like the people who made the low-budget Death Do Us Part are also well-acquainted with the way this sort of movie is supposed to work. And they’ve decided to have some fun with it.
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    At Middleton (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 2nd, 2014

    “Sometimes a day can be an eternity.”

    It’s hard to tell a convincing love story, period. It’s even harder to tell a convincing love story when we’re supposed to believe the two characters fall for each other within the space of a single day. The good news is At Middleton somewhat manages to pull this off in a little over an hour. The bad news is the film is actually 1 hour and 40 minutes long.
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    Return to Nuke ‘Em High 1, Vol. 1 (Blu-ray)

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

    When you get a film from Troma to watch, you have to view it differently than you would view just about any other film.  After all, Troma is the VHS and DVD equivalent to the days of Roger Corman and the B-movie fanfare he could travel from one Cineplex to the next.  Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman has been writing and directing B-cinema schlock for 40 years and has managed to make money off it, so for those naysayers out there, keep in mind he still is responsible for The Toxic Avenger as well as Tromeo & Juliet.
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    In Fear (Blu-ray)

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

    When you are first getting into a relationship those first few weeks can be pretty awkward at times as the two of you get to know one another.  The decision to go on a road trip early on in a relationship is simply one of those gambles that can go either way, but if the trip goes well, then of course the future of this budding romance is all the more promising.  In Fear follows a couple that bravely decides to take a road trip together so they can see a concert; unfortunately for them, it’s the road trip from hell.
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    Battle of the Damned (Blu-ray)

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

    “Zombies…killer robots…nice town you got here.”

    If nothing else, filmmaker Christopher Hatton definitely thought outside the box in his attempt to spice up the lumbering zombie genre. The random appearance of killer robots about halfway through the film is such an out-of-leftfield move — assuming you started watching this movie without looking at its Blu-ray cover (and, no…Dolph Lundgren is *not* one of the robots) — that I actually found it to be inspired. It’s a good thing too because the rest of Battle of the Damned is essentially a low-budget, paint splatter-by-numbers survival flick.
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    Scorned (Blu-ray)

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

    Don’t try to figure this out…I’m just a crazy, horny bitch.”

    This column strongly opposes cheating on your significant other. But if you absolutely can’t help yourself, you’ve got to be smarter about it than the numbskull played by Billy Zane in this film. In Scorned — a junky, over-the-top cross between Fatal Attraction and Misery — his girlfriend is an admitted manic-depressive who regularly takes as much medication as she can stuff in her purse. So what exactly did this dolt think would happen when she found out that he was sleeping with her best friend?
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    The White Queen (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 4th, 2014

    “I’m match for any man.”

    The idea that “behind every great man, there’s a great woman rolling her eyes” far predates its adoption as a feminist slogan in the middle of the previous century. The White Queen — a sumptuous, rushed combination of Game of Thrones-style high-stakes scheming and Tudors-style regal bodice ripping — uses Britain’s late medieval history as a jumping off point for pushing a number of notable women to the forefront.
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    Comedy Bang! Bang! The Complete First Season

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

    - “We at Comedy Bang! Bang! love random humor.”

    - “Next to ‘offbeat,’ it’s my favorite.”

    IFC’s irreverent talk show spoof has more than its share of bizarre moments involving robotic crows and imaginary dogs that stubbornly refuse to speak. But you shouldn’t be fooled by its anarchic tone; Comedy Bang! Bang! takes very specific aim at decades of inane talk show conventions and gleefully skewers them with a straight face. In other words, it’s not just a funny show; it’s a funny show made by comedy nerds for comedy nerds.
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    Jayne Mansfield’s Car (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 11th, 2013

    Before Billy Bob Thornton became best known for icky PDA and wearing his wife’s blood around his neck, he burst onto the moviemaking scene as an Academy Award-winning triple-threat with Sling Blade, which he directed, wrote and starred in. (I feel like it’s finally safe to bring up Billy Bob’s acting career again.) Despite working steadily as an actor — and even directing a few other films — the Thornton who won an Oscar for writing Sling Blade has been largely absent from moviegoers’ lives. That’s why it was such a delight to see him return to southern-fried form as a filmmaker with the terrific ensemble drama Jayne Mansfield’s Car.
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    All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 9th, 2013

    “There she is boys…Mandy Lane. Untouched. Pure. Since the dawn of junior year, men have tried to possess her and, to date, all have failed.

    With its deep-red title card and the blood-curdling scream that opens the film, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is very clearly a horror flick from its first frame. However, the movie displayed its greatest potential — a lot of which it squandered — when it seemed less preoccupied with who was going to kill Mandy Lane, and more interested in who was going to deflower her. The result is a promising, pitch black high school satire that eventually gets invaded by a run-of-the-mill horror film.
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    Ambushed (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 11th, 2013

    The most surprising thing about Ambushed is that it’s not quite as generic as its completely uninspired title might suggest. (Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 15 movies that could credibly be re-titled Ambushed; I’m sure you can too.) This particular straight-to-DVD action thriller is being sold as The Expendables-lite, with tough guy supporting players (and Ambushed producers) Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture — along with Vinnie Jones, who really should’ve been in an Expendables movie by now — glowering from the Blu-ray cover. But this stylish L.A. drama — which liberally borrows from superior crime flicks — has a few tricks of its own.
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    Magic City: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 6th, 2013

    Ike Evans (Morgan) owns the most swank hotel in Miami. It’s the Miramar Playa. He bought the land at a song from his deceased wife’s family, and he’s turned it into a luxury city where the likes of Frank Sinatra call home. He’s determined to make it without caving to the influence of his minority partner, who happens to go by the name of The Butcher. He’s Ben Diamond (Huston), and he wants the hotel to become a kingdom of gambling and other profitable vices. Sure, Ike allows a little prostitution and backroom bookie action, but he wants to keep the hotel pretty much legit. That’s hard with a bank nut that runs $65,000 a month.
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    Only God Forgives (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 25th, 2013

    Nicolas Winding Refn is a director who may not be a household name but is easily one of the most unique directors working at this time.  With films like Pusher, Bronson, and Valhalla Rising, he has managed to make a name for himself for doing artistic films filled with beautiful visuals as well as intense violence.  It was the film Drive, though, that most people know him for.  I was already a fan of Refn going into Drive, and for me it is one of the best films I’ve seen in the past decade, where the film is a rare piece of perfection that broods with atmosphere and simply captivates me from the opening frame to the closing credits.
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    “31 Nights of Terror” Embrace of the Vampire (1995) (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on October 19th, 2013

    So, it is the Upcomingdiscs.com 31 Nights of Terror and your favorite columnist, Mr. Michael “Hey, were you expecting John Ceballos?” Durr has stepped in for a review about some of his favorite subjects. Cheesy Horror flics and Alyssa Milano. Today’s title is an absolute cult classic and that is the original 1995 Vampire thriller, Embrace of the Vampire. So strap yourself in, and prepare to watch something so beautiful that it brings a tear to this columnist’s eyes. (Tissue please)
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    “31 Nights of Terror” Embrace of the Vampire (2013) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 15th, 2013

    Embrace of the Vampire is a remake of the 1995 erotic bloodsucker thriller of the same name. The original’s only greatest claim to fame is that it starred Who’s the Boss? cutie Alyssa Milano in her first, ahem, “grown up” role.  In other words, the bar wasn’t exactly sky high for the remake. (This is not Gus Van Sant doing a shot-for-shot remake of Psycho.) The well-made newer film certainly “embraces” the erotic thriller DNA of the original. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem overly concerned with the “vampire.”
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Halloween (35th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 1st, 2013

    “I met him fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”

    In 1968 Marvin Gaye / Tammi Terrell hit the American pop charts with the song Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing. They didn’t know it at the time, of course, but they were talking about John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween.
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    The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on September 17th, 2013

    Ever wondered what Jumanji would have looked like if it were rated R? Well, look no further than The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond. This B-movie focuses on the perils of secrets coming to life through the assistance of a demonic board game which ultimately leads to all kinds of destruction and mayhem. While watching, a thought occurred to me: Why is it that many of these movies start off the same way? With a tale of a place where several people have died under suspicious circumstances, and the first thing the characters do is rush off to this accursed place. Well, it’s safe to say that the film doesn’t really score points for originality in that aspect.
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    Da Vinci’s Demons: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 5th, 2013

    “I believe man will fly. And I base this assumption on the fact that God has blessed us with minds that are capable of imagining it. Anything that can be dreamt of will eventually be built. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool.”

    The term “Renaissance man” is often used to describe a person who has a very wide range of interests in which they have become quite skilled. It’s taken from the traits of the many artists, innovators and writers of the 15th century. And while the term might well apply to any number of such historical figures, there is none for whom it is more apt than Leonardo Da. Vinci.
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