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    The End of the Tour (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on November 11th, 2015

    I don’t think there has ever really been a great film about a great writer. We naturally compare their lives to works of great fiction. Great fiction tends to distill the tedium and awkwardness out of real life. Real life can be exhausting in the day-to-day disappointments that can sometimes be wrapped in small victories. David Foster Wallace was a great writer. This is almost universally acknowledged. David Foster Wallace no longer is because he hung himself in 2008 at age 46.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” The Vatican Tapes (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 28th, 2015

    “Dark forces are rising. The frequency of possession is increasing all over the world.”

    Must be Global Warming…check that ,Climate Change. It seems the whole warming thing wasn’t exactly working out for these guys. So like a business with a bad reputation you change the name and pretend that’s what it’s been like all along. There is an alarming increase in the frequency of movie possessions all over the world. But it’s not Global Warming or Climate Change that’s to blame. Hell, it isn’t even Bush’s fault. It’s got to do with the color green.
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    Z for Zachariah (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 27th, 2015

    Between Judgment Day, zombie apocalypses, and various other doomsday scenarios, we’ve gotten a pretty good look at what the end of the world is supposed to look like. One of the most striking things about Z for Zachariah — an otherwise straightforward and deliberate drama that takes its story from a 1974 novel of the same name by Robert C. O’Brien — is that, for the most part, the end of the world looks an awful lot like paradise.
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    Mad Men: The Final Season — Part 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 20th, 2015

    This is the beginning of something, not the end.”

    There weren’t any Lost-style mysteries to be resolved here. And unlike The Sopranos or Breaking Bad, this particular series never really hinged on whether the lead character lived or died. (Although a moment in Ep. 5/“Lost Horizon” seems to nod toward fan speculation that Don Draper would take a tumble similar to the silhouette from the show’s iconic opening credits.) Instead, the final season of Mad Men — more than any other all-time great show I can remember — is directly about the end of things.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Dark Places (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 16th, 2015

    People have short attention spans. And there’s always another murder.”

    Barely a year after Gone Girl became a mid-range blockbuster, we’re already getting our second big-screen adaptation of a Gillian Flynn novel. To be fair, both Gone Girl and Dark Places went into production around the same time in the fall of 2013. But that just means someone anticipated that a single shot of Flynn’s twisted brand of Midwest murder/mystery mayhem wouldn’t be enough to satisfy movie audiences.
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    Chain of Command (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 7th, 2015

    “Man, they killed my brother…you think I’m gonna let that slide?”

    Even if you haven’t sat through a ton of revenge-minded pulp, you won’t be surprised to hear the answer to the above question is a resounding, “No!” The good(ish) news is that Chain of Command manages to stand out from a pretty crowded straight-to-DVD action pack. The disastrous news is that this laughably bad, shoddily-made debacle is likely to stick in your memory for all the wrong reasons.
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    The Age Of Adaline (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on September 14th, 2015

    “All these years you’ve lived, but you’ve never had a life.”

    Every woman’s fantasy: to remain young and beautiful forever. That is the fantasy, if I am not mistaken, correct? Well, women will be treated to the cost of said fantasy in The Age of Adaline, which shows the other side of the coin of the coveted fantasy. In my experience there are two fantasies that are popular among young ladies. The one mentioned above, and the opportunity to love, marry, and grow old with someone who loves them unconditionally. The Age of Adaline shows the latter is not possible with the former.
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    American Heist (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 10th, 2015

    American Heist is an independent action flick that eventually nods to Michael Mann’s Heat and Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon. (Along with Ben Affleck’s The Town, if you’re interested in a 21st century doppelganger.) However, the movie’s action-packed finale can’t completely disguise the fact that this is actually a dour family tragedy masquerading as a heist film. But if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, at least the makers of American Heist know who to rip off flatter.
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    Where Hope Grows (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 27th, 2015

    I guess I could use some of that magical happiness you always seem to have.”

    David DeSanctis, the novice performer with Down syndrome making his feature film debut here, is easily the best thing about Where Hope Grows. Both the actor and the character he plays radiate genuine warmth and irrepressible positivity. Those qualities help boost this well-meaning redemption drama, which suffers from one too many storylines and an unintentionally appalling ending.
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    Child 44 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 7th, 2015

    “There can be no murder in paradise.”

    That was the stand of the Soviet Union’s ruling party during the Cold War. They believed that murder was a capitalist crime. So what happens when a serial killer is killing young boys up and down the railway? That’s the premise of Lionsgate’s Child 44. It’s based on the Tom Rob Smith novel which is part of a trilogy based on the character Leo Demidov. The story itself was based on an actual Soviet Union serial killer named Andrei Chikatilo, who is suspected of killing over 50 children in the 1970’s.
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    Barely Lethal (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 4th, 2015

    “Who would ever suspect a kid?”

    When I glanced at the Blu-ray cover for Barely Lethal — with its groan-worthy pun of a title, girl power, and generous splashes of hot pink — I didn’t really expect it to be my thing. (Ok, fine…groan-worthy puns are *totally* my thing.) So while I may not be the intended audience for this independent action/comedy, I have to admit its charms snuck up on me the same way one of the film’s disarming young killers might catch a target by surprise.
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    Ex Machina (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 23rd, 2015

    “You wanna see something cool?”

    If you’re old enough to remember audio tape, you might be old enough to remember Memorex. If you remember Memorex, you should recall their popular slogan: “Is it live or is it Memorex?”. Of course, the idea was that the tape quality was so good you couldn’t distinguish it from the real thing. What if robotics and artificial intelligence reached that same plateau? The point where you could not tell the difference between an actual human being and an artificial one.
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    Absolution (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 13th, 2015

    I wanna tell you something. I’ve been a bad man…I’ve been a very bad man most of my life. So, I decided I want to do one thing in my life. One good thing in my life before I die.”

    Those words are spoken by elite contract killer John Alexander at the start of Absolution, a straight-to-DVD offering that is largely cobbled together from the spare parts of other junky action flicks. The film stars Steven Seagal, who was a very bad man on-screen during his early ’90s heyday. John wants to do one good thing before his time is up; coincidentally, all I want is for Seagal to make one action movie that at least comes close to recapturing the spark that made him a star. Absolution is not that film.
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    Maggie (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 7th, 2015

    Maggie is a slow zombie movie. You might assume I’m describing where this film falls on the fast zombie vs. slow zombie spectrum. (For the record, the monsters in Maggie do move at a decidedly deliberate pace.) However, the deliberate pace also applies to the way first-time director Henry Hobson unfurls his story in this bleak zombie drama. Everybody in this film — including a playing-against-type Arnold Schwarzenegger — shuffles and lumbers their way through their lives, whether or not they’ve been infected with a lethal virus. In other words, this is pretty much the last thing you’d expect from a movie that has both Schwarzenegger and zombies…and that’s a big reason of why I dig it.
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    Last Knights (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 6th, 2015

    “During the long, dark period of the Great Wars, an elite class of soldier rose from battle. Their unbreakable code was simple: possess a noble heart of courage, right conduct, and absolute devotion to one’s master. From out of those years of bloodshed an empire would emerge. Its power would assimilate persons of every color, creed, and faith. This uncontested rule eroded the traditions of the great knights… but not for all.”

    Last Knights is an ambitious direct-to-video production. It sports a rather elite class of actors headed by Morgan Freeman, who adds a ton of gravitas to any role he plays.
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    The Forger (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 29th, 2015

    It honestly took me a while to get over the opening shot of The Forger. The shot itself is rather unremarkable: it’s a simple close-up of star John Travolta sitting in a small room by himself and staring straight ahead. But between his ridiculously obvious wig and the waxy texture of his face — the actor now looks like he’s wearing a Michael Myers-style “John Travolta” mask — I knew it was going to be pretty difficult to take him seriously, no matter who or what was playing. It’s a shame because there’s actually a pretty decent family drama to be found within The Forger.
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    Beyond the Reach (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 17th, 2015

    I’m hard pressed to think of a movie star who is better at playing rich a-holes than Michael Douglas. He’s played a Murderous Rich A-Hole, a Rich A-Hole Who Gets Put In His Place, and a Self-Destructive Rich A-Hole, to name just a few. And that’s not even counting his Oscar-winning turn as Gordon “Greed is Good” Gekko, the Definitive Rich A-Hole. It’s tempting to tidily sum up Beyond the Reach as “Gekko’s Got a Gun.” Unfortunately, what starts out as a picturesque two-hander becomes more preposterous as it goes along before completely flying off the rails in the final act.
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    The DUFF (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 11th, 2015

    “That’s your job as The DUFF…Designated Ugly Fat Friend.”

    Let’s just get this out of the way right at the top. The idea that Mae Whitman — or any other actress cast as the lead in a mainstream Hollywood movie — is “Ugly” and “Fat” is absurd. (Not to mention entirely subjective.) So it’s tempting to dismiss The DUFF as the latest bit of evidence that there’s no truth in advertising. But then you’d be missing out on a charming teen comedy that grabs the snarky underdog baton previously held by the likes of Mean Girls and Easy A.
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    Cut Bank (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 27th, 2015

    “Welcome to Cut Bank, MT. coldest spot in the nation.”

    When you make a darkly comic crime thriller that centers around a bunch of bumbling schemers and a single, righteous cop — and then you name that movie after a frigid, real-life city in the northern part of the U.S. — the comparisons to Fargo are simply impossible to ignore. Thankfully, Cut Bank is buoyed by its own dry, lively cast of characters who are brought to life by a nimble set of performers.
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    Cymbeline (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 21st, 2015

    At this point, it’s pretty difficult to find a play by William Shakespeare that hasn’t been produced for the stage or adapted for the screen many times over. So imagine my surprise when I came across Cymbeline, a Shakespearean play I’d never even heard of. (Though maybe that says more about me than it does about the play’s popularity.) Filmmaker Michael Almereyda transplants the action to the present day, but the tablets, cell phones, and other anachronistic touches aren’t enough to inject life into a languid, lurching film that largely squanders a pretty impressive cast.
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    Mortdecai (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 18th, 2015

    “A man of your age has no excuse for looking or behaving like a fugitive from a home for alcoholic music hall artistes.”

    Sound like anyone you know? Johnny Depp is one hell of a talented actor. There are few in the industry than can so completely inhabit a character. He has an uncanny ability to make you forget Johnny Depp the actor and lose yourself in his performance. He is a chameleon physically and expressively. Unfortunately, Johnny has had trouble finding box office gold lately. You see, he’s having a lot of fun at our expense. But it’s not just we who are footing the bill for his tomfoolery. The studios are handing out hundreds of millions of dollars for box office misses
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    Tracers (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 11th, 2015

    “It’s like being kids again. The streets are our playground.”

    The above quote refers to parkour, the art and discipline of moving through urban spaces that was popularized in France. French practitioners of parkour are called “traceurs,” which gives this totally clichéd, consistently ridiculous, but occasionally breathtaking action flick its title. You’ve seen the plot before (many times), but Tracers still vaults itself above the straight-to-DVD pack thanks to its freewheeling free-running sequences.
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    Manhattan: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 10th, 2015

    “There’s something I need to tell you. We’re building a weapon. It’s not like any weapon the world’s ever seen. It draws its energy from a fast-neutron chain reaction. It releases the power of an ancient star. If it works, and it’s going to work, it will be the more destructive than all the bombs dropped in all the wars in history put together. It’ll bring armies to their knees. Cities will disappear in the blink of an eye. The world will be united in peace by the most just and noble country in the history of mankind or it will burn to the ground. Whoever builds it first, there’s the endgame. So it has to be us, whatever it costs.”

    It’s one of those dramatic stories where mankind is altered forever.
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    Voices (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 9th, 2015

    This is a movie that snuck up on me.  I had seen the trailers, and it looked like goofy fun, but I really wasn’t prepared for how this film would linger in my mind and follow me around.  First let me just say this film is not for everyone; this is one of the darkest comedies I’ve seen in quite some time, but on top of that this is one of the most tragic films as well.  At first glance the trailer for The Voices has you thinking this is going to be American Psycho meets Dr. Dolittle (only one character can hear the animals talking), and for the most part that is this film.  But as the final act kicked in, I realized this was really so much more.
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    Wild Card (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 7th, 2015

    When it comes to screenwriters in the industry, William Goldman is virtually the king of the written word.  From writing such hits as Marathon Man and All The President’s Men to The Princess Bride, Goldman will always be a legend in Hollywood even if it has been a while since his last successful original work.  Wild Card is a remake of the Burt Reynolds version of Heat back in 1986.  It’s been a few decades since watching the film, so instead of trying to remember anything from it how about I just stick to this stylized version?
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