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    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Extended Edition) (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 6th, 2014

    “There are dark spirits, old and full of hate…The world is in great danger.”

    A trilogy is a hard animal to pull off. Even when you have a popular franchise, it is extremely difficult. All of the pieces have to work just right, or you could have a disaster on your hands. It is even harder when you’ve already beaten the odds once and delivered a trilogy that is both loved and a huge box office success. You run into an almost insurmountable mountain of expectations.
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    We’re the Millers (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 20th, 2013

    The line between hilarious raunchy comedy and over-the-top raunchy comedy is very fine, and We’re the Millers tends to dance on both sides of it. In time such action will be revealed to be both a blessing and a curse, I suspect. With the young crowd, I believe the film will fall right into place with such movies as Horrible Bosses (a comedy which coincidently starred Aniston and Sudeikis) and to be more recent, This is the End. With more mature audiences, the raunchiness may prove to be slightly more than they were expecting to see. With me, I find myself on the side of the young.
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    The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 24th, 2013

    “Welcome to the wonderful world of magic.”

    They say that the hand is quicker than the eye. Through the art of misdirection and skillful manipulation we have been awed by magicians ever since Glog made Ooof’s club disappear somewhere in Mesopotamia circa 20,000 BC. It’s not all skill, really. The truth is we’ve always wanted to be fooled. We’re begging for “magicians” to tamper with our sense of reality. I don’t know how fast the hand happens to be, but today we’re fooled at the speed of 24 frames per second (unless you happen to be Peter Jackson)
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    Jack the Giant Slayer (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on June 19th, 2013

    “Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, ask not whence the thunder come. For between heaven and earth it’s a perilous place, home to a fearsome giant race. Who hunger to conquer the mortals below, waiting for the seeds of revenge to grow…”

    Jack the Giant Slayer is the mash-up adaptation of two classic fairy tales; Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer. Now adaptations are big business in today’s industry, but is combining two different source materials wise, or a recipe for disaster?
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    A Nightmare on Elm Street (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 14th, 2010

    “One … two… Freddy’s coming for you, three… four… better lock the door, five… six… grab your crucifix…”

    Freddy might have been born in the mind of Wes Craven, but he grew and developed in the knife-wielding hands of Robert Englund. Granted, not all of these films are equal in quality, but the first was everything you could ask for in a horror/slasher film of the era. Freddy himself is by far the most colorful and animated of the slashers. His burned face, fedora, striped sweater, and knife-blade glove were all integral parts of the wise-cracking maniac.
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    Fracture (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 6th, 2009

    “If you look closely, you’ll find that everything has a weak spot, where it can break….”

    The same can be said for Fracture. There are plenty of flaws, and if you look hard enough you can find a lot of problems with everything from the story to the performances. Thankfully these flaws are quite minor and require the kind of scrutiny that would likely ruin almost any movie experience. I taught law for about 7 years and make it a bit of a (bad?) habit to look for the errors in court and legal procedures.
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    The Cell 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 19th, 2009

    “I’m Special Agent Kessel, in charge of the FBI and Department Of Justice’s joint task force on deranged and violent criminals. In the most extreme and violent cases traditional forensic investigations can be inadequate. In these instances, to hunt down the most vicious and elusive killers and psychopaths, we solicit the assistance of civilians with extraordinary gifts. Catherine Deane was one of them… now there’s another.”

    That other is Maya (Santiago). It has been quite a few years since I saw The Cell. I was going to go back and watch the original again to get myself prepared for reviewing this direct to video sequel.
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    Poison Ivy : The Secret Society

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on April 8th, 2009

    This is the fourth film in the Poison Ivy series and its star power has descended from Drew Barrymore, to Alyssa Milano, to Jaime Presley, and has finally fallen on Degrassi: The Next Generation actress Miriam McDonald; which is sure to fulfill a handful of strange Canuck fantasies.

    McDonald plays Daisy, the new girl on campus who is apparently a “tom-girl” because she wears jeans…and is from the country (I guess). It’s a fish-out-of-water story to start where she is scoffed at by the cool girls for showing up in a taxi, and gets a meet-cute moment with the richest boy on campus. She turns out to be the biggest prospect in the whole Political Science Department, despite being a freshman, which makes her a target of the “Ivys.”
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    Side Effects

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on April 6th, 2009

    My paying job in life is spent as a computer system administrator (unfortunately it is not writing reviews and columns). Often, I have wondered why I’m in the cubicle jockey life and not tried to find some job where I could use my writing skills more effectively and get paid for it. There is also a lot of bs and chicanery in the corporate world that annoys me to no end. It is little wonder that I was interested in the movie Side Effects which deals with the pharmaceutical sales industry. I wasn’t interested in pharmaceuticals but I was interested to see how one deals with the corporate crap that does go on. It made for an interesting experience.
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    Pride and Glory

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 3rd, 2009

    “Four cops down: two dead, two likely. An NYPD drug bust has gone horribly wrong.”

    That’s how this gripping drama opens. Not since the likes of Al Pacino in Serpico has there been a movie anything at all like Pride And Glory. This film doesn’t pull punches, and it looks about as real as any police drama I’ve seen anywhere before. Filmed entirely on location in the seedy streets of New York City’s Washington Heights district, there is enough gritty realism to go around.
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    Amusement

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 24th, 2009

    “They’re longtime friends on separate life paths, but they share a horrific destination, where a seemingly innocent incident from their school days comes back to terrify them. Something, someone wants payback.”

    If there was an award for cramming the most horror movie conventions into one film, Amusement should win it hands down. You’ve seen it all before:
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    Rendition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 9th, 2008

    On paper, Rendition looked good. Damn good. It had Reese Witherspoon, hot off her best actress win as June Carter in Walk the Line. It had “it boy” Jake Gyllenhaal from Brokeback Mountain and Zodiac. It also had stalwarts in Alan Arkin and Meryl Streep rounding out the cast. It was directed by acclaimed Tsotsi director Gavin Hood. And it was about post 9/11 hot-button issues such as torture and imprisonment without due process.
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    Normal Adolescent Behavior: Havoc 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on January 30th, 2008

    Teens seem to have a lot of angst. They like to have angst regarding what they wear or who they make friends or simply because their hair has a split end. In the middle of their angst, they form groups who share angst. These groups are more pseudo-families where they share experiences and care for each as if they resembled a sibling or a close relative. Enter Normal Adolescent Behavior: Havoc 2 where a group of 6 teenagers form a bond where only the 6 of them exists in each other’s hearts. But would this bond step over the line and create a situation that one or more could not bear to take?
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    Rush Hour 3 (Platinum Series)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on January 16th, 2008

    What we’ve got here is a nasty case of the Sequels. Rush Hour, the original Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker vehicle, was a fun action-comedy with an amusing twist on the buddy-cop genre. Rush Hour 2 was a re-hash, bigger but not better, but still worth a rent. Six years later, Rush Hour 3 proves the third time is definitely not the charm, with 121 minutes of recycled gags, bad acting and uninspiring action.

    This two-disc release may be a top-notch DVD, but I certainly hope you don’t get suckered by a nice transfer, good audio and a whole whack of extras. No matter how well you dress it up, this film’s a walking, talking turd.


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    Shoot ‘Em Up

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on January 9th, 2008

    Back in the summer of ’89, a popular action flick was calling my name from the shelves of the local video rental store. It was Young Guns, and I’d heard it was wild, gun-toting ride from start to finish. Problem was, I was eight years old and there was no way my folks were going let me see such a violent movie, for fear two hours with Billy the Kid would make me a career criminal.

    Boy, have times changed. Granted, Young Guns wasn’t the baddest film on the block 18 years ago, but it was reflective of the then-current action standards. In 2007, we’ve got stuff like Shoot ‘Em Up, a film so over-the-top violent that the tables have turned — I wouldn’t let my parents anywhere near it, for fear they’d have simultaneous, massive myocardial infarctions.

    Think you can handle a taste of the old ultraviolence? Read on.


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    Hairspray (Shake & Shimmy Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 21st, 2007

    A remake of writer/director John Waters’ 1988 cult hit, Hairspray is an exhuberant movie musical that builds off the smash-hit Broadway production to recreate the excitement on film for a new generation. Whether it’s bigger and better than previous iterations, I can’t say, because this DVD release marks my first Hairspray experience. What I can say is if Waters’ original and the Broadway show are even half as good, they’re definitely worth your time.

    If that doesn’t convince you, this Hairspray also presents John Travolta as an obese, middle-aged woman — a transformation that required plenty of make-up and, more importantly, allowed Travolta to finally reveal his true self for all to see.


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    Gracie

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 5th, 2007

    The main quote on this disc’s cover reads, “if you liked Bend it Like Beckham, you’ll love Gracie.” Baloney. OK! Magazine’s Karen Berg got me all excited with this raving tidbit, because I did like Bend it. A lot. Unfortunately for me and anyone else who pays attention to such quotes, Bergie either never watched Gracie or just doesn’t know movies and why people like them.

    Here’s my new quote for the DVD case: “If you still like after-school specials, you’ll be delighted with Gracie, a half-baked TV movie in the guise of something more.”


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    Fracture

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on August 31st, 2007

    Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs) is a successful engineer who recently discovers his wife’s infidelity. He becomes aware that she has been sleeping with a police detective, which pushes Ted to the point of shooting his wife. Initially he confesses to the crime, and it looks to be an easy win for rising star district attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling, The Notebook). This is of course until Ted redacts his confession and engages in a battle of wits with Beachum.
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    The Number 23

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on July 20th, 2007

    Jim Carrey is an animal control officer whose wife (Virginia Madsen) gives him an odd crime novel for his birthday. The book is narrated by a police detective who becomes violently obsessed with the recurrence of the number 23 in all aspects of life. The book has plenty of strange similarities with Carrey’s life, and he becomes consumed with finding the author and knowing what it’s all about, not to mention descending into the 23 obsession himself.
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    Snakes on a Plane

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 13th, 2007

    Let me tell you something about myself. I am surrounded by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of snakes every day. As I write this review, there are about 500 snakes just a couple hundred feet away. I’m not on a plane, of course, but snakes are a big part of my life. I’m a snake breeder. I’m also a musician who has just released an entire CD of reptile tracks (see footnote). So it was with more than the little bit of curiosity that I just had to see this film. I knew everybody would be asking me what I thought. So what did I think?
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    The Butterfly Effect 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 23rd, 2006

    The Butterfly Effect 2 is a direct-to-video release, and for good reason. While the original film was a surprise hit back in 2004, this sequel is nothing more than a quick cash-in.

    At least, that’s what I thought I’d be writing for this review. I definitely had low expectations for this film, especially since while I’ve heard good things about the original, I’ve yet to see it, and I still question its somewhat-acclaimed reputation. So surely this sequel must be a piece of junk, right? But it’s not.
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    Hoot

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on September 30th, 2006

    Synopsis

    Thankfully, some of the larger studios are beginning to produce films that are either good old-fashioned family films, or are films touting religious value and piety. Walden Media, who were behind such films as Holes and How to Eat Fried Worms, have produced and released another film with similar concepts behind them, a charming little piece of celluloid entitled Hoot.

    Based on the novel by Carl Hiaasen and adapted to film and directed by Wil Shriner (Peggy Sue Got…
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    Grilled

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on July 22nd, 2006

    On Jerry Seinfeld’s first comedy CD after his run on Seinfeld ended, he does a joke where he talks about why he hasn’t done a movie yet. He talks about what a huge commitment it is to do a movie, and how he fears that when it is all over, he will be on the screen looking out at the audience saying, “this sucks, doesn’t it? I didn’t know. I really meant well.”

    This movie is that punchline. Catching Ray Romano after his show’s run and Kevin James just before the end of his sitcom, the two pair up as a co…
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    About Schmidt

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 26th, 2006

    Jack Nicholson can make a convincing case for being one of the greatest actors of all time. He’s had his share of memorable moments in movies, with quoted lines etched in our brains. It took a while for me to get “You can’t handle the truth!” out of my head. He has also turned in outstanding performances in lesser known movies that have shown his range and dramatic ability. Alternate viewing recommendations to see Jack in action include Hoffa and The Pledge, among a variety of others….In About Schmidt, the follow-up effort by Alexander Payne (Election), Jack strips away the sunglasses, the eyebrow and the devilish grin, puts on 20 pounds, and gives us a performance that some have labeled as career defining.
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    Running Scared

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 4th, 2006

    In Wayne Kramer’s latest film, Paul Walker stars as Joey Gazelle, a man who seems to be a part of the mob and has a ten year old son named Nick. The film then zooms back to 18 hrs earlier where Joey and his Perello boys are ambushed and are nearly killed. Turns out these men who they just killed are big time cops. Joey is told to get rid of the murder weapons, which seems to be his main goal in this mob group. Instead, as we soon learn, Joey never does this instead he hides the weapons. Unfortunately for Joey, Nick a…
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