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    All Nighter

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 28th, 2017

    “Dad, this is my boyfriend Martin…”

    The tension generated by the first meeting between a young man and the father of the woman he loves has always been a reliable source of conflict. I mean, Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro managed to squeeze three(!) Focker movies out of that stressful dynamic. All-Nighter fits snugly into that familiar sub-genre while managing to carve out low-key moments of character development and male bonding in between all the noise that comes with this sort of whacky situation.
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    A United Kingdom (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 21st, 2017

    “We should not be fighting for segregation, we should be fighting for equality.”

    That’s the sort of rousing statement any random politician on the campaign trail might use to rile up a crowd of supporters at a pep rally. And even though those words are spoken here by a man in the midst of heavy political turmoil, the beauty of A United Kingdom — a straightforward but nevertheless impactful fact-based drama about forbidden love — is that they are actually born out of an intensely personal conflict.
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    Logan & Logan Noir (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 31st, 2017

    “I always know who you are. It’s just that sometimes I don’t recognize you.”

    Logan is perhaps one of the most interesting, endearing, and popular characters in the Marvel universe. Wolverine has the distinction of having been created by someone other than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. While they invented the X-Men team from which the adamantium-clawed warrior was born, he was actually created by the team of Len Wein and John Romita, Sr. in the mid 1970’s. Since that time the character has taken on a life of his own, a life that is as much owed to actor Hugh Jackman as anyone else. The funny thing is that Jackman is really nothing at all like the comic book character, who was actually quite short.
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    Heat: Director’s Definitive Edition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 16th, 2017

    There was a 20th anniversary edition of Michael Mann’s Heat planned a couple of years ago by the folks at Warner Brothers. There was hope of a 4K restoration and more. The rights ended up reverting to 20th Century Fox before any of that could happen. Now Fox has released something they are calling The Director’s Definitive Edition, but it is the same cut and print of the film as used in the last Warner Brothers’ Blu-ray release. So I really can’t tell you what is definitive except for a couple of new and more recent bonus features.
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    Mars (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 21st, 2017

    I was eight years old when Armstrong first stepped on the moon in July of 1969. Like every kid my age, it filled me with a feeling that I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of humanity’s grand exploration of space. By the time I was 15, we had landed the first probes on Mars. We were certainly on our way. The sky literally wasn’t the limit anymore. But then it all stopped. By the 80’s we had shifted our focus to low Earth orbit, and we haven’t explored the limits of space with a manned mission in nearly 50 years. Even the Space Shuttle is gone, and we don’t even have the capability to send Americans to the space station that we mostly paid for without hitching a ride with the Russians. And if you’ve been following world events at all, that ride isn’t a sure thing anymore. That 8-year-old with the mile-wide grin would never have believed we’d be so earthbound by the time he reached his mid-50’s.
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    Why Him? (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 6th, 2017

    Let me tell you a few things about movie reviewers. We’re the kind of people who love watching movies. We spend entirely too much time doing so, and we can find some entertainment even in a bad film. We’re the kind of folks who don’t ask what’s playing when asked if we want to go to the movies. The answer is always yes. When someone applies to write for Upcomingdiscs, one of the first things I tell them is that they have to watch a movie all the way through…no matter how bad it might be. I’ve always been the kind of person who could do that. I’ve watched some stinkers in my day, and I never once left a film until the ending. Sure, there have been a couple of times I was tempted. I’ve had a few painful experiences. No film has ever put me to the test as much as Why Him? Halfway through the movie I was asking Why me?
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    Morgan (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on December 19th, 2016

    The sci-fi horror thriller Morgan turns brutal when a scientific experiment goes awry, turning a lab into a blood-fest. Now on Blu-ray and DVD in a combo pack that includes an HD download, the film has all the trappings for a nighttime couples’ shocker. You will not want to see this one alone, especially if you want to get the best out of your video choice. So turn the lights down, get the popcorn ready, maybe your favorite beverage, and expect the unexpected. Lee Weathers (Kate Mara), the Risk Manager of SynSect, a genetics research company, arrives at a secluded lab surrounded by a forest following a reported incident of violence.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Independence Day Resurgence (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 27th, 2016

    “The countless lives we lost in the War Of ’96 did not perish in vain. They inspire us to rise from the ashes as one people of one world. For 20 years the world has seen no armed conflict. Nations have put their petty differences aside. United, we rebuilt our families, our cities and our lives. The fusion of human and alien technology not only enabled us to defy gravity and travel at unimaginable speeds. It also made our planet finally safe again.”

    Not so fast there, cowboy. There would be no need for a sequel to the 1996 hit film Independence Day if the big bad aliens weren’t coming back.
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    Ice Age: Collision Course (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 21st, 2016

    “The universe, a vast expanse of space and matter. It includes all that we see and all that we know. Since the beginning of time, we have wondered how it all came to be. A gloriously orchestrated plan? A chance series of events? Or something much, much dumber?”

    Space really is the final frontier. It’s where they send tired franchises to die. They sent Jason and Pinhead to space. They sent the Three Stooges into orbit. Abbott & Costello ended up in space. They even sent Machete into space. It’s the filmatic version of jumping the shark. In Ice Age: Collision Course they send lovable Scrat into space.
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    X-men: Apocalypse (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 13th, 2016

    “Everything they’ve built will fall! And from the ashes of their world, we’ll build a better one!”

    Since Disney has taken over The Bullpen at Marvel, they have had an unprecedented run of successful comic book superhero films. During that same time DC/Warner has had trouble finding a direction for their cinematic universe. But the Marvel titles still in the hands of other studios haven’t shared in that run of good fortune. Sony finally had to relinquish control of Spider-Man, and Fox has followed disaster with disaster with The Fantastic Four. The single exception to that rule has been the Fox handling of The X-Men universe.
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    X-men: First Class (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on October 12th, 2016

    If you are looking for action and adventure, then you will not want to miss X-Men: First Class, a top-notch production that thrills.  The storyline under the able direction of Matthew Vaughn contains all the explosiveness you would expect from a prequel to Marvel Comics’ famous X-Men. It’s the beginning of the saga, and we find Magneto (Michael Fassbender) being haunted by the death of someone close him.  Escaping the clutches of the evil Nazi war criminal Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), Magneto meets Charles Xavier (James McAvoy).
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    Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 30th, 2016

    A creature that gestates inside a living human host…and has concentrated acid for blood.”

    If you’re a fan of sci-fi, horror, or action films, chances are you’re also intimately familiar with the creature at the center of the Alien franchise. Ridley Scott’s 1979 original is a masterpiece of space horror, so it would’ve been foolish for any follow-up to try and replicate the same formula. Instead, James Cameron’s classic sequel succeeds by transplanting an entirely new genre into the series (Aliens is basically a war movie) while maintaining the sense of terror that made its predecessor a classic. You can get a fresh look for yourself now that Fox has released a 30th Anniversary Edition.
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    Empire: The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 27th, 2016

    “This is when we roar.”

    When Fox’s Empire premiered in early 2015, it became an instant sensation that re-wrote the ratings record books. The show’s mix of high drama and hip-hop obviously struck a chord with an underserved segment of TV viewers. Of course, that also means expectations were sky high for this second season. While Empire has inevitably lost some of the sizzle from its unprecedented debut, this unapologetically over-the-top soap rap-era has also managed to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.
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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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    Kung Fu Panda 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 7th, 2016

    “Never underestimate the impact of dramatic entrance!”

    It’s hard to maintain the attention of the 21st-century child. Animated movies have to combine enough elements of charm and action to keep their attention for a little under two hours. If you want to keep a franchise going, you have to rip out your sequels in reasonably tight schedules. It’s been over four years since Kung Fu Panda 2, and we waited nearly that long between the first and second entry. That’s a long time in a culture where we move from fad to fad almost by the hour.
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    Shrek: Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

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

    Oh…you were expecting Prince Charming?”

    Shrek really did pick the absolute perfect time to emerge from his swamp. The 2001 computer animated sensation from Dreamworks arrived just as rival studio Disney was winding down its decade-long hot streak of hand-drawn new classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. In other words, it was the ideal moment for someone to come along and take shots at cartoon musicals and fairy tales that end with “Happily Ever After.” (Shrek‘s biggest target, however, was probably the Mouse House itself.) But how does the movie play 15 years later? Fortunately, Fox and Dreamworks have released a new Anniversary Edition to help us figure out the answer.
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    Independence Day (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 6th, 2016

    “Hello boys…I’m baaaaaack!”

    You probably know that Independence Day — the spectacular, shameless sci-fi smash that introduced the world to “Will Smith, Global Superstar” — dropped a sequel last month. What you may not know is that the original film has been granted a 20th Anniversary Blu-ray and UHD release. I was 13 when ID4 came out in the summer of 1996, which means the movie’s deluxe destruction and alien shoot-em-up antics were right in my wheelhouse. So I was curious as to how an older and wiser, um, taller version of me would feel watching it with a critical eye.
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    The Other Side Of The Door (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 5th, 2016

    We’ve all heard and seen the story before; a family loses a loved one and consumed with grief they meddle with unknown forces to see their loved ones again.  The Monkey’s Paw is one of my favorite stories that cover the topic. I’m sure everyone at some point had to read this short story in school.  Having read the story and seen the numerous films that have covered the topic, you’d think by now people would have learned to not mess with forces they don’t understand.  The Other Side of the Door is the new paranormal horror film to cover the subject, and it seems people still just haven’t learned. Is the film worth taking a look to see what lies beyond the door, or is this one better left alone?
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    X-Files: The Event Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 23rd, 2016

    “My name is Fox Mulder. Since my childhood, I have been obsessed by a controversial global phenomenon. Since my sister disappeared when I was 12 years old in what I believe was an alien abduction. My obsession took me to the FBI, where I investigated paranormal science cases through the auspices of a unit known as the X-Files. Through this unit, I could continue my work on the alien phenomenon, and the search for my missing sister. In 1993, the FBI sought to impugn my work, bringing in a scientist and medical doctor to debunk it… which only deepened my obsession for the better part of a decade, during which time that agent, Dana Scully, had her own faith tested. In 2002, in a change of direction and policy, the FBI closed the X-Files, and our investigation ceased. But my personal obsession did not.”

    Just in case you don’t know what the heck we’re talking about here.
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    The Martian: Extended Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 13th, 2016

    In 1979, Ridley Scott taught us that in space no one can hear you scream. More than 35 years after Alien established him as a top directorial talent, Scott has slightly amended that statement to read “in space no one can hear you…blast disco music and binge watch Happy Days.” These lighthearted coping mechanisms — used here to deal with a truly horrifying and hopeless situation — are strong indicators of what you’re in for with The Martian, which is both brainier and much funnier than your average space epic. Now the sci-fi blockbuster returns to home video with an Extended Edition.
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    Deadpool (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on May 19th, 2016

    “Some of the best love stories start with a murder.” 

    Deadpool may be one the most singular and unique characters in the history of comic book lore. His character has a very rabid fan base among the elite of Marvel comic nerddom, and they have been watching very carefully to see that he has been treated properly by the Hollywood people. He hasn’t been in the past, but more about that later. He may not be the biggest name in the Marvel universe, but he might be the most extreme. Just in case you live in a cave or under a rock, the Marvel universe is inexorably taking over the actual universe with films like The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hulk, Wolverine, Daredevil, and on and on.
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    Independence Day: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 18th, 2016

    “Hello boys…I’m baaaaaack!”

    You probably know that Independence Day — the spectacular, shameless sci-fi smash that introduced the world to “Will Smith, Global Superstar” — has a sequel coming out next month. What you may not know is that the original film has been granted a 20th Anniversary Blu-ray release. I was 13 when ID4 came out in the summer of 1996, which means the movie’s deluxe destruction and alien shoot-em-up antics were right in my wheelhouse. So I was curious as to how an older and wiser, um, taller version of me would feel watching it with a critical eye.
    Read the rest of this entry »

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    The Revenant (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on April 20th, 2016

    America was once a primitive expanse where only very small groups of hardy hopefuls ever tried to venture across. It was a vast and endless wilderness that was mostly a mystery. This was the land of roving Indian tribes and undiscovered species of animals. This was a land of all kinds of danger. Life was one long hunt and endless battle against every kind of predator and natural enemy. There are so many remarkable moments in The Revenant that I will start with the bear attack. It is an unbelievably harrowing event that cannot be described in words that will in any way convey what you see on the screen. That one sequence alone is worth the price of admission
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    Vikings Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 27th, 2016

    When Vikings Season 1 first arrived a couple of years ago, I have to admit I was pretty excited. I was particularly eager to see footage from their very first game. Fran Tarkenton came off the bench, and the Vikings went on to become the first expansion team ever to win their very first game. OK, as Baby, our shepherd/chow mix dog film reviewer would say: I made that last part up. You’d have to have been living under a pretty isolated rock to have missed all of the buzz over the History Channel’s drama series Vikings. Now season 3 is out on Blu-ray, and it’s certainly a season to remember.
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    The Americans: The Complete Third Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 9th, 2016

    They are hard to get…”

    Naturally, Elizabeth and Philip Jennings — the Soviet spies next door at the center of FX’s The Americans — have proven to be exceedingly elusive. Over the course of three seasons and 39 episodes, they’ve dodged numerous close calls from the federal government, enemy agents, and from within their own household. But while various parties have tried to catch the main characters in the act, the thing that makes The Americans one of the very best shows on TV is that it’s actually incredibly easy to “get” Elizabeth and Philip; their efforts to keep their (unconventional) family together are universal.
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