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    T2 Trainspotting (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 28th, 2017

    “First, there is an opportunity.  Then…there’s a betrayal.”

    It’s been 20 years since the release of Trainspotting, and it’s fair to say a lot has changed in the past two decades.  I remember going out to the United Artists Mission Bell Cinemas to see Trainspotting the weekend it came out.  I was with my best friend at the time, and neither of us was old enough to buy tickets for the film, so we ended up having to sneak into the film.  We’d seen the trailers, and in a time before the internet there just wasn’t much we could find out about it aside from reading articles in the entertainment magazines.
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    Kill ’em All (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 16th, 2017

    It used to be when you had a straight-to-DVD release, you knew better than to set the bar too high.  From time to time you would find that occasional gem that slipped through the cracks and turned out to be something awesome, but this was a rare occurrence. With the way films are released now, the talent you are seeing in straight-to-DVD releases has improved, as have the budgets, since getting a film on the big screen has become a greater financial challenge.  I mention this only because I look at a title like Kill’em All and wonder if they even cared. The actors are here and doing their job, but it’s the figures behind the scenes that I’m calling out here.
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    The Marine 5: Battleground (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 24th, 2017

    The WWE is like a dog with a bone, refusing to let this franchise as well as its other one (12 rounds) go. I will give them this: they are maintaining some consistency with Mike “The Miz” Mizanin reprising his role of Jake Carter for the third time for The Marine 5: Battleground. This time around, however, the series won’t just star one WWE superstar, but six. That’s right you read correctly, six WWE superstars have come together for this action film. With the addition of The Mix come Bo Dallas, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, Naomi, and Maryse Ouellet Mizanin. Didn’t recognize any of those names? Don’t worry; me neither, as my days of watching wrestling ended with the end of the attitude era.
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    100 Streets (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 13th, 2017

    Life’s pretty simple, you know. It’s long periods of waiting broken up by brief moments of change. That’s it…that’s all it is.”

    100 Streets tells three barely-connected stories set in the same one-square-mile area of present-day London. (The neighborhoods of Chelsea and Battersea to be exact.) The stories are each quite compelling in their own right, and they’re performed by a talented group of actors. Unfortunately, the movie is occasionally bogged down by distracting, pseudo-profound soliloquies like the one at the top of this review. I appreciate the stabs at thoughtfulness and depth, but they come off as forced here and are more likely to make you roll your eyes than inspire you.
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    The Night Manager – Uncensored Edition (Blu-ray)

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

    “Anyone can betray anyone.”

    The word “spy” tends to conjure images of international intrigue and attractive people getting into exotic adventures. But don’t blame John le Carre. Despite being one of the most successful and prolific spy novelists of the past century, le Carre’s stories tend to be aggressively un-sexy, morally murky tales that focus on the psychological toll of intelligence work. That’s why it’s interesting to find that The Night Manager — a British miniseries that also aired on AMC — manages to straddle both sides of the spy fiction fence.
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    The Blacklist: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 12th, 2016

    James Spader is Raymond “Red” Reddington. If you have not yet watched an episode of The Blacklist I will tell you from the beginning that you just can’t start here. Season 3 hits the ground running as the consequences of some major storylines from the previous year start to play out. I found myself having to take the time and catch up on Season 2 because we didn’t get that year to review. It was clear to me from the start that there was no way to truly enjoy this release if I wasn’t caught up. The trouble I go through to keep you guys informed. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. So, if you’re not up to speed this is your chance to pick up all three seasons and do some serious binge watching.
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    Ghostbusters (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 8th, 2016

    “Who you gonna call?”

    By now everyone knows the answer. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson are the Ghostbusters. As their ad proclaims, they’re ready to believe you. Ghostbusters was originally conceived by Aykroyd as a vehicle for John Belushi and himself. When Belushi died, reportedly from a drug overdose, the project sat on the shelf a few years. Harold Ramis would eventually team up with Aykroyd and finish the script. It’s been said that “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard
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    Ghostbusters II (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 8th, 2016

    “Who you gonna call?”

    This time?

    It took over five years to put together a sequel to Ghostbusters. Apparently there were dozens of story ideas that came and went before the second film finally began production. It was a promising project. All of the original cast returned along with a few of the supporting cast members.
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    Grandma (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 18th, 2016

    I was a little hesitant with picking up this film.  I wasn’t sure if a film about a grandmother spending the day raising money to pay for her granddaughter’s abortion was a film I could find the humor in.  Well, I’m glad I took a chance on this film; not only does this film have so many layers beneath its overall plot, but it never once attempts to have an agenda towards its audience.  Considering the potentially heavy subject matter, the film instead keeps its attention on what matters most, the people who come in and out of our lives whether they are friends or family; in the end it’s how we treat them that make us who we are.
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    The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 21st, 2016

    Have you ever stumbled across someone’s diary?  At first glance it may look innocent enough, but for the person with dreams, fears and confessions, it is that friend and confidant that will listen to its author as they bare their soul and not be faced with judgement. In The Diary of a Teenage Girl, not only do we get a peek into the secret life of Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley), but we are taken on a journey of experiencing first love and sex through the eyes of a 15 year-old girl.  It’s sweet, it’s tragic, but where this film’s strength comes at its audience the strongest is with its honesty, which for some may be a bit too sobering of a reminder of what life is like as a teenager
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    Ricki and the Flash (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul on November 25th, 2015

    I’m going to start by listing a number of names that make up a kind of extended family. The names don’t have a lot in common at first, and it seems like a hodgepodge. I’m sure I’m going to leave someone out, but let’s start with Kevin Kline, Johnathan Demme, Diablo Cody, Sebastian Stan, Mamie Gummer, Audra McDonald, Joe Vitale, Rick Springfield, Bill Erwin, Bernie Worrell, Rick Rosas, and Charlotte Rae. I’m forgetting someone. Oh yeah, Meryl Streep. It’s that kind of a movie which is being sold as a star vehicle for the most praised and beloved actress of the modern era, but is really an ensemble piece.
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    Merchants of Doubt (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 8th, 2015

    “I’m not a scientist, although I do play one on TV occasionally. Ok…hell, more than occasionally.”

    The “I’m not a _____, but I play one on TV” catchphrase transcended its humble origins to become the go-to, jokey line for anybody who feels empowered to speak outside their area of expertise. Merchants of Doubt, however, isn’t concerned with soap opera actors trying to sell Vicks on television. Instead, this flashy, funny, well-researched documentary examines the select group of people who present themselves as scientific authorities to the public. It also argues that they purposefully create confusion with the goal of maintaining a very lucrative status quo.
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    Justified: The Complete Final Season

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

    “Man, you are everything I’d hoped for…right down to the hat.”

    For six stellar seasons, Justified went about its business in a manner similar to that of its slyly laconic, incorruptible hero Raylan Givens. The key word in that last sentence is “hero.” Justified premiered in the midst of the supposed new Golden Age of Television, which was largely defined by antiheroes like Tony Soprano, Dexter Morgan, and Walter White. Another one of those antiheroes — Mad Men’s Don Draper — recently signed off with a lot more fanfare than Justified got for its excellent last hurrah.
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    The Red Tent

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 12th, 2015

    When you think about the biblical stories that have made it onto the big (or small) screen, they tend to focus on names like Jesus, Moses and Noah. (And Moses again, just for good measure.) To be honest, I didn’t even realize how few Bible adaptations focus on women until I popped in The Red Tent, a Lifetime miniseries based on Anita Diamant’s best-selling novel of the same name. While The Red Tent certainly shouldn’t be taken as gospel, it deserves credit for exploring biblical events from a different perspective.
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    Outlander: Season One, Volume One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 5th, 2015

    “There’s no place on Earth with more magic and superstition mixed into its daily life than the Scottish Highlands.”

    To build its slate of original programming, Starz has largely decided to look to the past. In recent years, the premium cable network has produced shows like Da Vinci’s Demons, The White Queen, and Black Sails, each of them (loosely) historical dramas with varying amounts of nudity sprinkled in. But it took a trip to the Scottish Highlands — and to the 18th century — for the channel to find its biggest hit to date.
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    “31 Nights of Terror” Deliver Us From Evil

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 26th, 2014

    Inspired by the actual accounts of an NYPD sergeant.”

    Deliver Us From Evil comes attached with what may be the most flowery variation yet of the “Based on a True Story” tag I’m always wary of. The deliberately-worded phrase is designed to lend an air of verisimilitude to the inherently supernatural demonic possession genre. (Not unlike what The Conjuring did with its real-life paranormal investigators on its way to becoming a smash.) While Deliver Us From Evil has a few decent jolts, it doesn’t come close to capitalizing on the promise of its unique source material.
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    Masters of Sex: Season One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 24th, 2014

    In 1956, a nationally-renowned fertility specialist met a former nightclub singer. Ten years later, they published a scientific study, which revolutionized our understanding of human sexuality.”

    You can’t call your TV show Masters of Sex and not expect to elicit a few chuckles. (You also can’t be surprised if people go looking for it on Cinemax rather than Showtime.) Titillating title aside, Masters of Sex is actually an engaging, often-excellent period drama that shines when it’s conveying the thrill of discovery and exploration. Also, it turns out there’s a fair amount of sex.
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    Kill Your Darlings (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on March 21st, 2014

    For some reason, I have themes that I keep reviewing time in and time again (regardless of whether I enjoy the subject matter or not). One of those themes or rather people is Allen Ginsberg, one of the most important poets of the 20th century and symbol of the Beat Generation. A few years ago, I reviewed Howl which was more about his 1957 obscenity trial. This film, Kill Your Darlings deals with the relationship between Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr. Let us see how well this one turns out.
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    Bonnie & Clyde (2013) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 5th, 2014

    “Sometimes I like to think that fever of an unexpected origin, that I never came out of the other side. And that the rest of my life, none of it ever happened, especially that part where I got shot 37 times, giving my Bonnie Parker her big ending.”

    When you’re telling the story of Bonnie and Clyde, it’s very hard to say anything new. The exploits of the pair were followed closely by the entire nation. Newspaper accounts and silver screen newsreels took advantage of every turn of events in the case
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    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (Blu-ray 3D)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 29th, 2014

    “My name is Flint Lockwood. My whole life I always wanted to be a great inventor just like my hero. It was like Chester V. was speaking directly to me using the language of science.”

    In 2009 Sony Pictures had finally learned to use the language of science when it comes to the world of animation. I’m talking the computer-animated feature film.  Of course, they’ve been in the game for a while, but it was with the release of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs that this reviewer believes they delivered on the kinds of things that Pixar and Dreamworks have been delivering
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    Damages: The Complete Fifth and Final Season

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

    “You want to end this once and for all? Now’s your f—ing chance.”

    And with those words, spoken during the closing minutes of the fifth and final season premiere of Damages, Patty Hewes sets the stage for her ultimate showdown with protégé/frenemy/surrogate daughter Ellen Parsons. (As you can see, Patty also takes advantage of the fact that the show — which began its life on FX — migrated to DirecTV for its final two seasons, allowing her to drop that F-bomb.)
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    The Mob Doctor: The Complete Series

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

    If the last few decades are any indication, TV viewers can’t get enough medical shows, while mob dramas seem to develop some of the most fervent followings. The Mob Doctor — the Fox drama canceled shortly after its debut last fall — suggests those two great tastes don’t necessarily taste great together. The network wound up airing all 13 episodes, and now Sony has released every installment of the watchable, uneven drama on DVD.
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    Smashed (Blu-ray)

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

    “I don’t know if I’m an alcoholic, really, I just drink. I drink a lot.”

    Movies that deal with alcoholism tend to either be relentless downers (Leaving Las Vegas, When a Man Loves a Woman) or use drunkenness as a catalyst for Hangover-style shenanigans and tipsy laughs (Arthur; Dean Martin’s entire act). In other words, drunks on film don’t usually look like Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Smashed, the brisk, well-acted dramedy from writer-director James Ponsoldt.
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    The Client List: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 26th, 2013

    Here’s how hot Jennifer Love Hewitt is in The Client List, Lifetime’s breezy, sexy hit dramedy. My wise, eternally-patient girlfriend and I watch the show together, and she doesn’t even get jealous or make any sort of catty remarks at our TV. Instead, she figuratively tips her cap to Hewitt’s hotness the same way a golfer might compliment an opponent for making an impossible shot. (Game recognizes game, I suppose.)
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    To Rome with Love (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 7th, 2013

    You don’t usually get too many legendary (and wildly polarizing) filmmakers coming off the biggest hit of their careers — unadjusted for inflation, of course — at age 77. Yet that’s exactly where Woody Allen found himself with To Rome with Love, his pleasant, witty, not-at-all-groundbreaking follow-up to Midnight in Paris. The writer-director originally named this film The Bop Decameron before changing it to Nero Fiddled. I’m guessing somebody (smartly) figured the suddenly buzzworthy director’s next film should have a less esoteric title; and if there was a way to incorporate a European city into the name, even better.
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