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    Hell on Wheels: The Final Episodes (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 4th, 2016

    “This train don’t stop.” That’s what we’re told in an Elton John ballad. But it doesn’t matter if it’s that Midnight Train to Georgia or a freight train, you can bet the farm that it’s going to run out of track.  That’s for sure, and you can expect more than a little crying over it all. The saddest news, however, is the show’s final year. You really should not even think about joining the series from this point. I suspect it will still be quite entertaining, but for the full experience you do have to start from the beginning. The evolution of the Cullen character from Civil War veteran out for vengeance to the man who we see in the fifth season is a rather nice journey to witness. So saddle up for the first four. You can find the reviews for other seasons here.
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    Haven: Complete Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 28th, 2016

    Based on the story “The Colorado Kid” by Stephen King, the SyFy series Haven comes to its end with the last 13 episodes for the final season. When we were last in Haven a fog bank surrounded the small coastal Maine town and Duke (Eric Balfour) accidently unleashed all his “troubles” upon the town.  Things were not just looking bad for the town; in fact this may be the darkest days they’ve had to encounter.  Would 13 episodes be enough to wrap up all the loose ends and finally allow the town of Haven to be normal, or would this take a darker turn and dare to leave the town to suffer its doom to the mysterious Croatoan?  Well, I’m not about to spoil anything, so rest easy, fans, but I should say that not everyone is going to make it through this alive; in fact, I can say this season kept me on edge from start to finish.
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    From Dusk Till Dawn: Complete Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 9th, 2016

    Season one of From Dusk Till Dawn gave us a ten-episode remake of the hit original movie while setting up a mythology to stretch its story over numerous seasons. Season two wastes no time in blazing its new path as it continues the blood-soaked adventure that departs from the famed Titty Twister and takes us deeper into the vampire syndicate.  How does season two fare?  After making it through the 10-episode season, I can say I survived this bloody, testosterone-laced thrill ride, but it does have a few missteps along the way.
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    Haven: Season 5, Vol. 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 6th, 2015

    For me Haven has always been a quiet-storm series. It was a show that I had heard nothing about when I first started watching, but when I got started, I found it compelling. It’s a mystery series (or at least it used to be) based off a novella from Stephen King. In the beginning, one question was paramount to the series’ lead character: who is the Colorado King? That question took many seasons to answer, but now that the show’s time is limited due to Syfy announcing its decision to cancel the series, with the final episodes to air later this year, another question has arisen as the paramount question: who is Audrey Parker?
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    Hell on Wheels: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 11th, 2015

    “Milk will be spilled.”

    That’s for sure, and you can expect more than a little crying over it all. The saddest news, however, is the coming fifth season will be the show’s final year. You really should not even think about joining the series from this point. I suspect it will still be quite entertaining, but for the full experience you do have to start from the beginning. The evolution of the Cullen character from Civil War veteran out for vengeance to the man who we see in the fourth season is a rather nice journey to witness. So saddle up for the first three. You can find the reviews for other seasons here.
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    Welcome to Sweden: Season 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 25th, 2015

    You move to Sweden…you have no friends, you don’t speak the language, and you don’t have a job.”

    If you think that potentially disastrous scenario sounds like the set up for a sitcom…you’re mostly right. On one hand, that is indeed the exact logline for Welcome to Sweden, a comedy set and produced in the titular country that eventually found its way to NBC. However, the impulsive move to Sweden also happens to be based on the real-life experiences of creator/star Greg Poehler.
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    Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 18th, 2015

    “Nobody’s innocent. Everyone’s hiding things.”

    The citizens of Broadchurch — the fictional seaside town that was rocked by the murder of a young boy in this superlative British crime drama — learned the above lesson the hard way. In fact, I felt pretty strongly that every compelling secret the series had to offer had surfaced during the show’s outstanding first season. So I was pretty dubious when I heard creator/head writer Chris Chibnall had gotten the band back together for an encore. Having now finished season 2, I’m thoroughly delighted to be proven wrong.
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    The Book of Negroes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 6th, 2015

    Prior to picking up this title from UpcomingDiscs headquarters, The Book of Negroes was a complete unknown to me on several levels. I wasn’t aware of the six-episode miniseries that aired on BET earlier this year, nor had I ever heard of the book of the same name by Canadian novelist Lawrence Hill. Even worse, I was completely unaware of the real-life historical document that served as the inspiration for Hill’s book and this miniseries. So while The Book of Negroes is buoyed by solid storytelling and capable performances, my favorite thing about it is that it shone a light on a part of history that hasn’t totally gotten its due in pop culture.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” From Dusk Till Dawn: Complete Season One (Blu-ray)

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

    In 1996 it was a brave new world for  Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Tarantino was still riding the wave of Pulp Fiction’s fame, while Rodriguez was going strong with his follow up to El Mariachi, Desperado (which went on to be a bigger hit).  The two had crossed paths at various film festivals, and through the course of their meetings they discussed various projects they could possibly do together.  The project that brought these two together would be horror/ crime genre mixer, From Dusk Till Dawn.
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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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    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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    Watermark (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 8th, 2014

    Anyone who ever sat through an elementary school science class knows that about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. We’ve all heard the spiel, but I don’t imagine most of us spend much time contemplating how truly staggering that figure really is. Watermark seeks to convey the many different ways humans and the planet’s water supply affect one another. The documentary is maddeningly scattered, but it also manages to capture and convey a small part of the world’s awe-inspiring bigness.
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    Amen. (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 13th, 2014

    “It is neither understandable nor excusable that a devout Christian such as himself did not do everything in his power to avoid being involved in such a criminal system.”

    In this case, the “criminal system” refers to the unfathomable killing of millions of Jews (and other groups) by the German military during World War II. We all know hindsight is 20/20, but you figure perfect vision shouldn’t be required for anyone to see what an atrocity the Holocaust was at the time, and put a stop to it. Amen. powerfully — and controversially— portrays why the solution wasn’t quite so clear.
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    Capital (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 12th, 2014

    “People believe money is a tool. Money is the master; the better you serve it, the better it treats you.”

    That mantra — spouted by a ruthless hedge fund manager in Capital — may not be as succinct or as elegant in its simplicity as “Greed is good,” but the message remains the same. Most people see money as a means to an end, but to the financial masters of the universe in this French financial thriller, money is the end.
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    The Color of Lies (Blu-ray)

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

    On the surface, The Color of Lies resembles many other murder mysteries set in a close-knit community. The 1999 film, however, is a late-career effort from Claude Chabrol, the French New Wave director who first gained acclaim alongside contemporaries like Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut in the late 1950s. So it’s not surprising to learn The Color of Lies is really a subtle, stylish exploration of the various ways people deceive each other.
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    The Right Kind of Wrong (Blu-ray)

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

    The line between romance and stalking is much blurrier at the movies. Behavior that routinely leads to restraining orders or arrests in real life tends to elicit “awws” from moviegoers and earns the romantic hero a kiss in the end. The Right Kind of Wrong is one of the more egregious examples I can remember, which is a shame because the Canadian romantic comedy has a likable lead and dares to give its characters multiple dimensions.
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    Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

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

    The majority of murders committed on television are presented from the perspective of the people trying to solve them. It’s a smart, gratifying strategy because it allows us viewers to play detective from the safety of our couches one hour at a time. Far fewer shows are interested in doing the more difficult/less glamorous work of dramatizing the way a death can shatter a family, along with an entire community. Broadchurch is one of the most outstanding cop dramas I’ve seen in a long time because it’s willing to do that difficult work while also delivering the goods as a satisfying whodunnit.
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    Knights of Badassdom (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 2nd, 2014

    “…I’m packing an ounce of killer shrooms, and there be monsters in need of pummelin’.”

    When I first think of how to explain Knights of Badassdom, what comes to mind is that it’s Evil Dead 2 meets LARPing.  The only experience I’ve had with LARPing came in the form of watching Role Models and having to review the documentary Skull World.  What director Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2 and actor in Holliston) has done is create a world that invites both fans of role-playing and horror and thrusts them together to create a blood-and-gore-soaked romp filled with laughs
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    Swerve (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 17th, 2014

    “If something was to come your way, I mean something so irresistible that you just had to have it, do you think you could sacrifice everything for it and not regret it?”

    When it comes to down-on-their-luck men in movies, that “something” could be any number of things. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s pretty much always a woman or a large sum of money. In Swerve — a twisty Australian thriller that goes down a number of familiar roads — our hero is tempted by both.
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    Wicked Blood (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 5th, 2014

    There’s a pretty good, southern gothic tale buried somewhere in Wicked Blood. Unfortunately, writer/director Mark Young isn’t quite able to extract it. Instead, we get a somewhat overqualified cast acting out Young’s down-and-dirty story of meth, chess and bikers that is exactly as messy, baffling and oddly intriguing as that description makes it sound. The film opens with a literal bang: we see the explosion of a shabby trailer. We don’t know who is inside, but we see a young girl stoically watching the flames from the outside.
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    You Will Be My Son (Blu-ray)

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

    They say you can’t choose your family, but apparently that well-known phrase never made its way to France. At the very least, no one bothered to tell Paul de Marseul, the legacy-obsessed vineyard owner at the center of You Will Be My Son (Tu Seras Mon Fils.) Cohen Media Group gave this tasty 2011 French offering a theatrical release last year, and now the film — which alternates between being a picturesque delight, a tense family drama, and a thriller — arrives on Blu-ray.
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    Being Human: Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 13th, 2014

    “Getting what you want comes with a price.”

    Much has changed in the world of Being Human this season. However, let’s recap for a moment just to make sure everyone is on the same page. Sally (Meaghan Rath), after shredding her own spirit to get to limbo so she can rescue Scottie and Nick, has bitten off more than she can chew as she finds herself stranded in limbo with the very people she sent to limbo. Aidan (Sam Witwer), after losing his lover Suren and his failed attempt to assassinate her murderer, the vampire matriarch known as “Mother”, is buried alive for his transgression
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    We Are What We Are

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 13th, 2014

    Within the first few minutes of We Are What We Are, the Parker family suffers an immense loss. The death doesn’t exactly come as a shock because the film opens with a series of arresting and foreboding images doused by a torrential rain that fails to wash away the family’s worries (or incriminating evidence). This atmospheric, thoroughly creepy horror movie winds up going to a number of grisly places, but, in a lot of ways, it’s really just the story of how the reclusive clan deals with that loss.
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    Dancing: A Man’s Game

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 17th, 2013

    “Just as the dancer, the athlete does not exist who doesn’t move with a certain rhythm.”

    My name is John. I am a man, and I love to dance. Dancing requires grace, power, athleticism, coordination and a handful of other attributes that we revere in the world’s biggest sports stars. Those same exact qualities thrill us when they’re on display on a football field or a basketball court. So why can’t one dude tell another dude that he enjoys dancing without drawing a sideways glance? Gene Kelly, one of the most famous and successful dancers of all time, explored that very question during this vintage TV special, now out on DVD. 
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    Starbuck

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

    High concepts don’t come much loftier than the one behind Starbuck. An underachieving slacker learns he has fathered 533 children thanks to frequent deposits at a sperm bank 20 years earlier. In fact, the premise was so nice, writer/director Ken Scott decided to do it twice. Vince Vaughn will star in an American remake later this year called Delivery Man. Whether you’re excited for the new film or you think it looks stupid, I highly recommend you give the funny and touching French-Canadian original a look.
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