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    The Barber (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 12th, 2015

    “It’s the guy next door, guy who sits too close in the theater, maybe even at church. Plain, ordinary, the everyday man. That’s the guy they should be afraid of. ‘Cause they never see him coming.” 

    Or maybe the friendly neighborhood barber. Max Enscoe’s screenplay for The Barber appears to touch on those fears. We’ve all seen those interviews with neighbors and friends after a particularly heinous killer is finally caught. He was quiet. Always went to church.
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    John Doe: Vigilante

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 22nd, 2015

    “A vigilante is simply somebody who violates the law in order to punish a criminal for what they believe is right, for what they believe is justice.”

    It’s easy to understand the appeal of big screen vigilante justice. We’ve all gotten tangled up in red tape, which is why it’s so gratifying to watch somebody tear through it. (And often spray some red elsewhere.) John Doe: Vigilante ends up being as ludicrous as any of the 17 Death Wish movies, but it also goes beyond putting the entire blame on “the system.” There are some interesting ideas at play here, including the notion that there’s a little Vigilante in all of us.
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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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    Beyond the Trophy

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

    The tagline for Beyond the Trophy definitively states that “Power is the only thing that matters.” Well, having watched this low-budget cops and kingpins crime drama, I humbly disagree. The film strives to tell a story about the violent perils of all-consuming power. Unfortunately, Beyond the Trophy forgot to include some of the stuff that matters to movie-watchers: things like “focused storytelling”, “coherent action sequences”, and “fresh characters.”
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    Stonados

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

    Stonados…I’ll be damned.”

    They say if you’re going to steal, you should steal from the best. Well, that’s the exact opposite of what SyFy has done with the hilariously shameless act of self-cannibalization known as Stonados. Say what you will about Sharknado — and snarky commenters excitedly blew up Twitter shortly after its premiere — but at least that particular slice of premium B-movie cheese was inspired in its lunacy and stupidity. Stonados, on the other hand, is pretty obviously a way for the network to capitalize on the unexpected heat generated this past summer by the perfect shlock storm of Sharknado.
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    Sweetwater (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 30th, 2013

    “Violence is never the answer.”

    That statement is said unironically by a character in Sweetwater, but we know better; in the movies, violence is pretty much always the answer. This is especially true when it comes to the revenge genre which, the films of Quentin Tarantino notwithstanding, is largely a man’s game. (Risk-averse Hollywood studios are much less likely to greenlight WoMan on Fire.) This bloody, straightforward Western from twin filmmakers Logan and Noah Miller is not terribly original, but it does try to put its own spin on the hallowed tradition of cinematic payback.
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    Bounty Killer (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 29th, 2013

    The world of Bounty Killer is a barren wasteland that has been decimated by the unchecked greed of nefarious corporations. In other words, I can’t believe this movie is only set 20 years in the future! I’m not the kind of guy who uses exclamation points very often, so the fact that I threw one at the end of the previous sentence wasn’t an accident. This silly, stylish, thoroughly enjoyable revenge fantasy/satiric action flick is basically one giant exclamation point in movie form.
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    The Dragon Pearl

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 18th, 2013

    The pint-size heroes of The Dragon Pearl battle greedy thieves and come face to face with a centuries-old dragon, but their biggest challenge may be overcoming a pair of skeptical/clueless parents. It’s a familiar plot device in kid-centric adventures, yet it’s one I’m becoming more sensitive to as I get older. For example, I was absolutely sure at an early age that the bumbling Wet Bandits were the bad guys in Home Alone; however, as I’ve grown older and not-necessarily wiser, I realize the real villains are the nincompoops who left little Kevin McCallister behind in the first place. To be fair, the parents in this film are being asked to swallow a much more fantastical story.
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    Red Dog

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on December 13th, 2012

    A small mining community in Western Australia get visited by a vagabond dog. This Red Dog (named after the fact that the red dust of that desert region stained his fur that colour) has a deeply significant effect on every worker’s life yet not one of them can truly claim to own him until an American bus driver begins working there. Red Dog was a big fan of hitchhiking across the country and seems to be attracted to riding great distances on a bus with his new best (human) friend.
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    Battlefield America

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 27th, 2012

    If the phrase “You got served” only conjures up images of wait staff or a notice to appear in court, then Battlefield America may not be for you. The film comes “from the writer, director and creator of You Got Served” — the hip hop-flavored dance drama that became a modest hit in 2004 — but offers up a child-centric twist. For fans of You Got Served, the best way to enjoy this inferior film may be to pretend the dancers in that movie were tragically shrunk down to kid size.
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    For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 12th, 2012

    Less than 100 years ago, the Mexican government declared war on the Catholic Church. This movie tells the story of the ensuing conflict known as Cristiada (also called the Cristero War), which took place between 1926 and 1929. In showing us all the different ways war can affect a country and all the different ways rebels can contribute to a cause, the movie sort of forgot to tell us why the Mexican government declared war on the church in the first place.
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    The Jerk Theory

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 26th, 2012

    The notion that nice guys finish last — or that girls tend to gravitate toward bad boys — isn’t exactly the most original idea in the world. There have been many cinematic examples that both support (The Last American Virgin) and debunk (Bridget Jones’s Diary) this theory. The Jerk Theory — a totally formulaic, surprisingly watchable “teen” comedy where most of the actors are pushing 30 — wants to be the movie that proves not every girl in the world wants a bad boy. Instead, the movie inadvertently makes the point that every girl in the world (except maybe one) wants a bad boy.
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    Senna

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 12th, 2012

    I like to think I know more than a little bit about sports. I wake up to Mike and Mike in the Morning, drive to work while listening to The Dan Patrick Show and rush home to catch Pardon the Interruption. I’ve played organized football, baseball, basketball and soccer throughout my life, and I always make the playoffs in my fantasy football leagues. (Let’s skip the part where I’ve never actually won.) Unfortunately, I have somewhat of a blind spot for sports that are more popular outside the United States. As a result, I know very little about Formula One racing and I knew absolutely nothing about Brazilian F1 champion Ayrton Senna until I watched the engrossing and spectacularly thrilling documentary about his life.
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    Knuckle

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on February 23rd, 2012

    Looking over my sports dvd library, one might notice a lot of contact type titles. From Wrestling to MMA to high intensity action films, I have my fill of male testosterone fueled viewing. The question remained what would I think of some bare knuckled fist fighting in the documentary that took over ten years to make: Knuckle. Would it be simply too barbaric or would I crave more?
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    Snowmen

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on December 22nd, 2011

    In college, after years and years of being bullied, picked on and everything else, I just wanted to vanish. The bbs/internet scene was in vogue at that time and I developed the moniker of Kedrix, the Forgotten One. I still use it from time to time. The truth is, I as well as many other people do want to be remembered and not forgotten. Our movie today, Snowmen deals with that very same subject. Hopefully, this movie is not forgettable.
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