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    Office Christmas Party (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 12th, 2017

    The trouble with most holiday films is that once the holiday passes, there is about another year of waiting till it seems right to put the film on again.  Everyone knows about A Christmas Story and Polar Express, but really, the staple holiday films are sparse, but they are great.  Every year, despite the high probability to fail, studios churn out some holiday films in the hopes that one of these attempted swings will turn out to be a box office giant. I believe it’s safe to say that there hasn’t been a holiday hit for a while, but despite the long odds, Office Christmas Party comes out strong with a big cast and raunchy intentions.  Is it enough to lure people into the darkened Cineplex or have you want to go out to Netflix or Redbox to cure those holiday fever blues?
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    Silence (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 30th, 2017

    “The price for your glory is their suffering!”

    For most of us, hearing the name “Martin Scorsese” leads to iconic wiseguys, rock and roll, and Robert De Niro/Leonardo DiCaprio movies dancing into our mind’s eye. Further down the list of Marty-related things — probably even below Scorsese’s real-life film preservation work — but no less crucial to appreciating the director’s filmography is the role that faith has played in his personal and professional lives. The most obvious manifestations are the three religious epics Scorsese has directed, including his latest film Silence.
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    Fences (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 22nd, 2017

    “Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.”

    In its transition from stage to screen, Fences — the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by the late August Wilson — doesn’t venture far beyond the Maxson household. And that’s precisely the point: director/star Denzel Washington isn’t overly concerned with masking the story’s stage origins. The existential claustrophobia that the characters in the play have been carrying their entire lives is right up there on the cramped screen.
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    Allied (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 2nd, 2017

    Brad Pitt appears to be making this World War II thing a bit of a niche. In recent years he went from Inglourious Basterds to the superior Fury and now to Allied. I wish I could say that he’s getting better, but Allied marks a step backwards for the actor in more ways than just the performance. It’s an unfortunate aspect of Hollywood that sexy rumors and scandals sell more theater tickets than a good movie. Hollywood power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have called it quits, and the scuttlebutt is that it was Pitt’s fling with Allied co-star Marion Cotillard that caused the split. I don’t know if any of that is true and honestly wouldn’t care a hill of beans if it were.
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    Arrival (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 15th, 2017

    “There are days that define your story beyond your life. Like the day they arrived…”

    The problem is that this starts out with the kind of story we’ve seen a thousand times before. The alien invasion theme is nothing new. H.G. Wells was describing it back in the 19th Century with War of the Worlds. Unrelated Orson Welles scared the crap out of a depression-era radio audience with the same story. Independence Day gave us a brilliantly visual story that also begins the same way: alien ships begin to take strategic positions around the world. Here we go again, right? Wrong. We should have guessed from the beginning that when director Denis Villeneuve tackles a genre, he’s going to turn it on his head. We’d seen him do it before.
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    Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on February 1st, 2017

    Forbes magazine called Jack Reacher and author Lee Childs the strongest brand in publishing as much for his over $100,000,000 in sales and billion-dollar imprint as for the strong loyalty of fans and favorable ratings of the readers. The 21st Jack Reacher novel, Night School, is coming out in a couple of weeks (which I’m sure Simon & Shuster would thank me for mentioning, but they don’t need my help), and Reacher fans will be buying in droves. The second Reacher movie will be out on November 21. One of the first things I want to address is that Lee Childs had been actively involved in the picking of Tom Cruise to be Jack Reacher.
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    Ben-Hur (2016) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on December 15th, 2016

    In 1959 when Ben-Hur came out, it was a massive undertaking that nearly closed the gates for MGM after nearly bankrupting the studio.  It was a huge risk in producing such a large-scale epic that fortunately paid off and became one of the studio’s cornerstone successes.  The story of Judah Ben-Hur and his fall from being a prince, to becoming a slave, to eventually becoming a hero to the people in the arena is such a familiar story that it’s hard to not feel you’ve seen this before without even entering the theater.  In some parts I look at Gladiator and see somewhat the same film, only being set in a separate time and place.  But really, the story of betrayal at the highest levels, and seeing great figures fall only to pull themselves up again is a theme Hollywood seems to relish, and it seems to attract many viewers in the process
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    Star Trek: The Animated Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 24th, 2016

    “Space…the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one man gone before!”

    Of course, we never did get five years from that original show when it ended after just three years in 1969. The new film series has tried to fix that for us. The latest film picks up the five-year mission just after three years have gone by. It’s a double homage to the original show.
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    Star Trek Beyond (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 2nd, 2016

    “Space… The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

    Every Star Trek fan knows the words by heart. For 50 years they’ve heralded the promise of something special. From the television show that couldn’t but did anyway to 12 feature films. Would #13 be the lucky one? The trailers left many of us worried that it would more than likely be unlucky.
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    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on September 22nd, 2016

    Growing up I was obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series; it was the Saturday morning cartoon I just couldn’t get enough of.  When I couldn’t watch the cartoon, I’d be playing with the toys and eventually the video game back in the original Nintendo console days.  So when the movies came out, my parents had no choice but to take me to see them.  Back in those days we had the turtles in rubber suits; as a kid the experience was fun but still just not as good as the cartoon.  As I got older, well, those original films seem to hold up less and less, and when the news came that an updated version of the film would be coming out I got a little excited, that is till I saw the trailer for the 2014 film.
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    South Park: Season 19 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 15th, 2016

    “Going on down to South Park and meet some friends of mine.”

    After 20 years or more, they really do feel like friends. I’ve known Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny longer than most real people in my life. Only the Simpsons have been around longer these days. Over those years South Park has always been a series of stories that rarely connect with each other in any significant way. There have been multi-part episodes, and certain experiences have come back up over the years. Still, we’re talking about a universe where killing Kenny had become a running joke and happened pretty much in every episode.
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    The Affair: Season Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 26th, 2016

    Your memory’s very impressive.”

    The first season of The Affair — Showtime’s sensual, POV-shifting drama — was built on the notion that there are two sides to every story. The show’s hook was that it depicted the beginnings of the same adulterous relationship from two different perspectives. Season 2 doubles down on that idea by offering four different viewpoints. So what this sophomore season lacks in sizzle compared to its predecessor, it makes up for by offering a more expansive view at complicated, messy relationship dynamics.
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    Everybody Wants Some (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 12th, 2016

    For the Gasparilla International Film Festival, to nab the latest film from writer/director Richard Linklater is kind of a big deal. GIFF was the second festival to show Everybody Wants Some after its debut at the acclaimed South by Southwest festival.  With the film being lauded as a spiritual sequel to Linklater’s cult hit Dazed and Confused, I had to admit I was a bit skeptical about this film and its ability to even match up to its predecessor, after all it was the indie darling that helped launched the careers of Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, and many others.  This ensemble of talented up-and-comers managed to capture this cinematic lightning in a bottle about high school
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    Star Trek: The Original Series: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

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

    “Space…The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!”

    Paramount was bold indeed when they undertook the remaster project of the original series. Not only did they clean up the prints, but they took the decidedly risky option of redoing most of the f/x shots from the original prints.
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    Star Trek (2009) (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 22nd, 2016

    “Space…the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before!”

    Every Star Trek fan has had that phrase beaten into their brain about as many times as Uncle Ben’s mantra about great power and great responsibility. Who knew that the tagline was appropriate to filmmaking? When J.J. Abrams signed on to direct the reboot/remake/reimagining/rehash (insert your own word here) of Star Trek, he quickly made it known that he was not really that into the franchise.
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    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan -Director’s Cut (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 16th, 2016

    “He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s flames before I give him up!”

    After its shortened three year run, it looked like Star Trek was dead and gone. A very short lived animation series was the first attempt to carry on. Before long it too was a thing of the past. Then something rather amazing happened. Star Trek found a home in syndication. The local television markets aired the shows in a somewhat edited form, and they were rewarded with record-breaking local ratings. It didn’t take long before Paramount saw the possibilities
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    Star Trek Into Darkness (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 15th, 2016

    “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” 

    The rumors were rampant, and I won’t address them at all here. Chances are you know the spoilers, if you want to know them, already. I won’t chance ruining it for the few that have avoided any information on the film. I will tell you that Abrams has managed to weave a touching love letter to the Trek faithful into what again is a hugely mainstream film that should kick some serious butt at the box office once again. It’s almost as if he wanted to thank the fans who did finally climb aboard his Enterprise.
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    10 Cloverfield Lane (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 15th, 2016

    Bad Robot, in my eyes, is simply the best at keeping things a secret.  In this day and age, to be able to surprise audiences is just about an impossible task.  When the first Cloverfield trailer was released in 2007 in front of Transformers, it was a trailer that had us all guessing up until its release.  In my opinion Cloverfield was one of the best found-footage films to come out and was a grand achievement, considering it was a monster film that had been pretty much been kept under wraps until its actual release.  Bad Robot managed to surprise us again, releasing a trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane that set the internet on fire with theories and hopes for this to be a long-awaited sequel.  But is that what this really is?
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    Zoolander No. 2: The Magnum Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 31st, 2016

    Hi…it’s been a long time.”

    If Project Runway has taught us anything, it’s that “in fashion, one day you’re in and the next day you’re out.” To a lesser extent, that adage can also be applied to comedy stars, since audiences’ tastes seem to shift almost as often as style trends. (There was a point in time when Pauly Shore was a movie star…that really happened!) As a result, any sequel to 2001’s Zoolander — Ben Stiller’s really, really, really, ridiculously good looking absurd fashion satire —had the odds stacked against it.
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    13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 30th, 2016

    “Welcome to Benghazi.”

    It shouldn’t matter what your politics might be. The events in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 bring up some very important questions. Contrary to one 2016 presidential hopeful’s declaration, it does make a difference. It did to the people who were there. It does for the families of the four who lost their lives. And it should make a difference to you. With such a political hotbed issue, you’ll find that 13 Hours goes out of its way to avoid the political questions. Some might view this as an oversight, but I think it gives the film a greater sense of credibility and makes its impact on the audience to fill in their own political blanks.
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    The Big Short (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 14th, 2016

    I’m guessing most of you still don’t really know what happened.”

    There is absolutely nothing funny about the financial crisis of 2008. Besides the fact that the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble led to the failure of countless businesses and a disastrous decline in consumer wealth, the crisis involved key phrases like “credit default swap” and “collateralized debt obligation.” Those terms are much more likely to make your eyes glaze over in boredom or confusion than they are to inspire laughs. The Big Short cannily recognizes this challenge and crafts a farcical, incisive narrative about a small group of outcasts who saw the whole thing coming.
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    Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 14th, 2015

    This may very well be our last mission, Ethan…make it count.”

    You wouldn’t know it from looking at him, but Tom Cruise is now 53 years old. So it’s only natural to wonder how many more Missions the indomitable superstar has left in him. Well if Rogue Nation is any indication, the above quote is meant to be more winking than prophetic. Just like its tireless star, the fifth installment of the 19-year-old Mission: Impossible film franchise is sprier, tighter, and more energetic than its age might suggest.
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    Terminator: Genisys (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 12th, 2015

    “A straight line…you just go, and you never…look…back.”

    Well, I hope you’re ready to have everything you know about the Terminator franchise turned on its head. As a franchise known for his alternative timelines where the things we come to know are often turned around, my previous statement may sound like the usual bread and butter to you. However, I must say that I feel like the latest incarnation of the franchise, Terminator Genisys, has really outdone itself this time.
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    My Fair Lady: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 30th, 2015

    “She’s quite a common girl, very common indeed.”

    Of course, we don’t need 50 years of hindsight — or more than 100 years, if you want to go all the way back to the original 1913 staging of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” — to know that there’s nothing common about cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle. And there’s nothing ordinary about 1964’s My Fair Lady, the beloved Oscar-winning musical that now gets an uncommonly (but appropriately) lavish 50th anniversary Blu-ray update courtesy of Paramount.
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    Tut (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 15th, 2015

    It wasn’t until I settled in to watch Spike TV’s three-part/six-hour miniseries based on the (relatively short) life of King Tut that I realized we hadn’t really seen his story depicted on screen before. I mean, it’s probably a bad sign that the most famous on-screen portrayal of the ancient Egyptian monarch comes courtesy of…Steve Martin. Given the liberties this miniseries takes with casting and storytelling, I reckon some historians would’ve preferred Martin as the famous pharaoh here. However, I still found this to be a suitably entertaining and attractive (if somewhat overstuffed) melodrama.
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