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    The Sacrament (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 21st, 2014

    Horror doesn’t necessarily need to be about the supernatural or have an axe-wielding maniac to be terrifying.  Jump scares and gore effects are also some nice devices directors rely on to scare their audiences.  But for me, what really gets beneath my skin is the possibility of what I see projected up on the screen can become a reality in my day to day life.  The Sacrament attempts to show how quickly faith and love can quickly be turned and used as a weapon that can lead to the demise of the fragile and the faithful.
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    Stage Fright (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 14th, 2014

    “Isn’t it wrong to sing and dance when someone has just died?”

    When I first hear a film is going to attempt to be a horror musical, all I can do is simply shake my head at the thought of how bad this may be.  But that’s not to say that I couldn’t be very wrong.  Repo! The Genetic Opera was a rock opera that I had a blast with, and I’m not ashamed to admit I even purchased the soundtrack after the release.
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    Nymphomanic Vol 1 & Vol 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on July 14th, 2014

    Nymphomaniac I and II are 117 and 124 minutes, respectively. There is a longer cut that may be released next year closer to 5 and ½ hours. The story is simple. It chronicles a conversation between two people. Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is found bloody and beaten in an alley by an older man, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard). He takes her to his sparse flat to care for her and help her. What takes place is a long conversation full of intellectual digressions about Joe. It slowly reveals what led to her downfall. Seligman is a sheltered bookworm who has a detached curiosity about her story.
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    Grand Piano (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 21st, 2014

    Ever since Elijah Wood completed filming Lord of the Rings, it would seem that he has done everything in his power to not be locked down with the label of simply being Frodo.  From playing a mute psychopath in Sin City, to voice work in Happy Feet, a suicidal pot-head that is best friends with a talking dog in Wilfred, and even the killer role in Maniac, it’s clear that he’s an actor that likes to challenge himself.  With Grand Piano Wood delivers his most dynamic performance as the brilliant concert pianist Tom Selznick who suffers from stage fright.
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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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    Big Bad Wolves (Blu-ray)

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

    It’s movies like Big Bad Wolves that keep me excited about cinema.  After all, who would guess that Israel would produce this savagely dark fairy tale revenge film that is also one of the darkest comedies I’ve seen in some time with a visual aesthetic you’d expect from a Coen brothers film, but the violence and humor you’d expect from a film by Tarantino.  My first time viewing this film was via On Demand a few months ago; more and more I feel the cable companies are onto something by acquiring these little films and releasing them pay-per-view so that those not in New York and Los Angeles can experience these films before having to wait months longer for their DVD or Blu-ray release.
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    Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 10th, 2014

    Today, Miami is considered one of the most glamorous cities in the world. But long before it became the place where some of the biggest stars in sports and entertainment took their talents, Miami was dubbed the drug, murder, and cash capital of the United States. (Resulting in a drastically different “Big 3” than what locals are accustomed to these days.) Cocaine Cowboys already chronicled this shockingly violent stretch of the city’s history and featured recollections from some of the people who helped Miami achieve its dubious status. Now an extended version of Billy Corben’s 2006 documentary arrives on Blu-ray.
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    Beyond Outrage (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 13th, 2014

    Takeshi Kitano is to yakuza films as Robert DeNiro is to American gangster films.  Whether it is in front of or behind the camera, Beat (his stage name) Takeshi has had a long, fruitful career, with many of his successful films like Sonatine. Fireworks, Brother and Outrage delving into the Japanese criminal underworld.  His talents don’t only fall between acting and directing; he’s also worked as editor and writer for many of his films.  He’s an artist whose films have found their way onto US shores, and for those that are fans of yakuza cinema, when a new film by Beat Takeshi comes along, it’s something you simply have to check out.
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    Touchy Feely (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 19th, 2013

    “Think of it as a hall pass, a permission slip to just let go of your fear and embrace the world…”

     These are the words of advice a reiki master, played by Allison Janney (The West Wing) says to her patient, Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) as she is handing her a bag filled with MDNA.  Touchy Feely is definitely an offbeat comedy from writer/director Lynn Shelton who may be best known for her indie hit Humpday. At first glance the film may come across to some as some New Age, hippy, nonsense journey about self-discovery, and to a point you’d be right
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    The Hunt (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 16th, 2013

    “People always work from the assumption that children are telling the truth.”

    Kids really do say the darndest things! Popular kindergarten teacher Lucas finds this out the hard way after his life is shattered in The Hunt, an outstanding and indelible Danish drama that will almost surely pick up a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination when the nods are announced in about a month. The film tackles a touchy (no pun intended) subject with great care. It also raises a number of provocative points about perception versus reality.
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    Good Ol’ Freda (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 4th, 2013

    We’re about 50 years removed from the Beatles taking the entire world by storm, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that everything anyone could possibly say about the Fab Four has already been said. Fortunately, the success of Good Ol’ Freda — a Beatles documentary that doubles as a loving tribute to its subject and the famous band she adored — doesn’t hinge on any heretofore unknown/shocking revelations. In other words, the film’s charm doesn’t so much come from what Freda Kelly says; instead, it comes from the delighted, no-fuss way she recounts her time with, arguably, the most famous band of all time.
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    Prince Avalanche (Blu-ray)

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

    On paper, the premise of Prince Avalanche sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry. The film follows a pair of squabbling workers whose job it is to paint yellow lines in the middle of a country road in the aftermath of a devastating wildfire. They’re basically the only two characters in the movie, and the story never moves away from their desolate surroundings. Although his film is occasionally self-indulgent (by design, I suspect), director David Gordon Green finds the strange beauty in that desolate landscape. He’s also armed with stars who bring this meandering character study to life.
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    Blackfish (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 12th, 2013

    To this day, there’s no record of an orca doing any harm to any human…in the wild.”

    Orcas are sometimes referred to as “blackfish,” but Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s thrilling, thought-provoking documentary examines why they’re most commonly known as “killer whales.” The movie’s obvious standout moments involve breathtaking footage of these massive animals violently turning on their trainers. Although some viewers will undoubtedly make the leap to wondering whether it’s ok to keep any animal in captivity, the thing that elevates this film is that it serves as an eloquent argument against keeping this particularly majestic, highly-social beast in a concrete pool.
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    A Hijacking (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 23rd, 2013

    In the wake of Captain Phillips being released in theaters, another tale of a ship being held hostage by Somali pirates is released on Blu-Ray and DVD.  This true story comes out of Denmark and has made a successful run through the festival circuit, but how does it fare up against the mighty Tom Hanks and his tense, nail-biting thriller?  Well, to be fair, though the two films deal with the same subject matter, the execution is vastly different, but A Hijacking manages to deliver an equally stunning film filled with great performances and filmed in such a way we feel as though we are one of the hostages on the ship
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    Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 16th, 2013

    I have a prediction about reality shows: with a new one seemingly sprouting up like a weed every few minutes, the number of people on television will eventually be greater than the number of people watching at home. Granted, some of these shows are amusing, educational and even inspirational. But too many of them reward negative, repulsive behavior with fleeting fame. Speaking of rewarding negative, repulsive behavior with fleeting fame, The Morton Downey Jr. Show was on the air for less than two years, yet that was long enough to earn its host the title of “Father of Trash Television.”
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    The ABCs of Death (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 5th, 2013

    “Each director was given a letter of the alphabet and asked to choose a word. They then created a short tale of death that related to their chosen word. They had complete artistic freedom regarding the content of their segments.”

    It’s easy to see why 26 talented filmmakers from across the world leapt at the chance to show audiences 26 different ways to die. Obviously, you can’t exactly be squeamish when you sit down to watch an anthology called The ABCs of Death. But I still wish fewer directors had interpreted “complete artistic freedom” as “make the most ridiculous and disgusting movie you possibly can.”
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    The Good Doctor (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jonathan Foster on January 3rd, 2013

    The Hippocratic Oath all doctors take is simple: “First, do no harm.” Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) throws that ideal out the window when a young woman named Diane Nixon (Riley Keough) comes under his care. After getting treated like a nobody by his fellow doctors and disrespected by nurses he feels are beneath him, Diane is the first person who appreciates what Martin does and makes him feel special. As he treats her, Martin becomes obsessed with Diane, going so far as to alter her medication to keep her sick. As Martin’s obsession grows, his actions become more and more drastic.
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    Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on December 13th, 2011

    “Oh hidy ho officer, we’ve had a doozy of a day. There we were minding our own business, just doing chores around the house, when kids started killing themselves all over my property.”

    A carload of preppie college kids set off for a Memorial Day weekend of partying deep in the backwoods of West Virginia. They encounter a couple creepy looking hillbillies leering at them on the highway. Stopping to gas up they encounter the two rednecks again, but this time one of the two approaches the girls holding a scythe over his head and laughing like a madman.
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    [Rec] 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on July 29th, 2011

    In 2007, writer-directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza created [REC], a truly frightening horror film. Considering their subject matter is so familiar to audiences it proved a major challenge not to fall into clichés. Somehow, against all odds, [REC] remained fresh by blending the elements so well… nasty contagion and fast zombies ala 28 Days Later captured in documentary-syle videography made famous by The Blair Witch Project. Add likable lead characters, natural dialog, horrific gore and scream-at-the-screen suspense; sprinkle in clues of a disturbing spiritual origin to the mysterious virus and you end up with one of the scariest and most effective additions to both the zombie and “found footage” horror sub-genres.
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    Hobo with a Shotgun (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 15th, 2011

    “Delivering justice one shell at a time.”

    Sometimes you look at a movie title and you really can’t decide what kind of movie it might be. It could cause you to avoid a movie you might have really liked. Scent Of A Woman was like that for me. I avoided it for years because I thought it must be some hyper-romantic film. Of course, it was anything but. Hollywood has a habit of trying to get too clever sometimes, and it leaves us just wondering what the heck are we in store for here. Then there are films that tell you everything you need to know in the title.
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    Raging Phoenix

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on September 26th, 2010

    Written by Diane Tillis

    Raging Phoenix is a film of particular tastes and appeal. As someone who has very little experience with martial arts films, I may be the wrong person to comment on the quality of the fighting sequences or how it compares to other martial arts films. I will leave those comments to the people who are devoted fans and love these films. I can comment on the quality of the DVD so that those who are looking for a great addition to their martial arts film collection will know what to expect.
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    Ondine

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on September 24th, 2010

    Written by Diane Tillis

    If I had to pick two words to describe Ondine, I would pick hauntingly beautiful. Neil Jordon, the popular Irish director and writer, comes up with an unusual modern fairy tale. Ondine is a film about people from different worlds hoping that dreams really can come true. It is a film about redemption and hope, harsh reality versus fantasy. Ondine is a journey of self discovery to be experienced from the darkness back into the light. It reminds us that enchantment and darkness are a part of every story.
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    George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 8th, 2010

    “We went AWOL around the time the rest of the world did. We became stick-up guys, stopping people on the road, taking whatever they had. We held up this bunch of kids in a Winnebago shooting a documentary about themselves. Went out on the internet. Millions of hits. I became notorious. Could have gotten an agent. Made a fortune if there was anybody left to care. It had become an us-versus-them world. All we were looking for was a place were there was no them.”

    Think of zombies and you think of George Romero. It’s impossible not to think or talk about one without the other
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    The Job

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 2nd, 2010

    One of the most difficult types of films to pull off is the black comedy. By its very nature the film has to be somewhat morbid and exist in a world of the absurd. As much as I am often drawn to this kind of movie, I haven’t found more than a handful that were able to pull it off. The black comedy usually involves someone’s death, often by some bizarre means, and almost always in a world of moral ambiguity, where such things fail to affect the emotions or consciences of those involved. The death has to appear almost matter-of-fact.
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    Wolf Moon

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 30th, 2010

    “Cursed (kur’sid) adj. To be afflicted with, suffer from the calling down of calamity on someone by a spirit, deity, demon, or one of the dead, esp. from a desire for revenge, resulting in an evil, malevolent being.”

    I’m well aware of the popularity of the Twilight series. I have to admit that I’ve pretty much avoided the films, mostly because after 7 years of teaching high school I’ve had more than my fair share of teenage angst. Let’s face it. These films are not really for the die-hard vampire, werewolf, or horror fans. They’re genre chick flicks full of all of that overflowing romance and adolescent hormones.
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