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    Lethal Weapon: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 22nd, 2017

    When I first heard that the Lethal Weapon franchise was moving to television, I had very mixed reactions. Like most fans of the films, I remained hungry for more. My hopes of future films were dashed around the time Mel Gibson began his career as a Hollywood pariah and was abandoned by many in the industry. I guessed almost immediately that the films were over, at least for a very long time. You go through the usual stages of grief, and about the time I reached the acceptance stage, Matthew Miller comes along and decides to revive the franchise for the small screen. At first I was thinking, yes, this is great.
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    Supernatural: The Complete Twelfth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 21st, 2017

    “Don’t you get it? This is all meaningless. Heaven, hell, this world if it ever meant anything, that moment is passed. Nothing down here but a bunch of hopeless, distraction addicts, so filled with emptiness, so desperate to fill up the void. They don’t mind being served another stale rerun of a rerun of a rerun.”

    No stale reruns here. Season 12 of Supernatural picks up exactly where the previous year left off. The brothers are not together at the moment. Dean has just helped out God’s sister and gets a pretty sweet gift in return, while Sam’s at the bunker and is surprised by a British lass with a gun.
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    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 15th, 2017

    What can you tell me about African Americans and science?”

    Anyone who even halfway paid attention in their high school science class knows that a polio vaccine was developed in the 1950s. And if you were especially attentive, you even know the vaccine was developed by American researcher Jonas Salk. Unfortunately, the story that is far less commonly told in classrooms is that of Henrietta Lacks, the poor black woman whose “immortalized” HeLa cell line gave birth to the biomedical industry. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks takes a curious approach: instead of merely shining a light on its worthy subject, this powerful (and overstuffed) HBO film is about *the quest* to bring Henrietta back to life.
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    Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 7th, 2017

    Rebels have friends always rushing to the rescue.”

    The Star Wars universe is famously vast, and that’s before even going down the Expanded Universe rabbit hole. Though it’s been precisely 40 years since the fourth first Star Wars film premiered, the army of artists who have taken on George Lucas’ iconic creations haven’t even come close to running out of material to explore. Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels debuted three years ago as an engaging, thoroughly zippy, kid-friendly contribution that has blossomed into a thoughtful, vibrant, and vital part of Star Wars lore.
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    Shakes the Clown (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on September 1st, 2017

    Everybody has their own group of favorite comics. I got plenty of classics that I always love to watch like Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and so forth. But we all have that one comic that we do not readily talk about in open groups or even with family. However late at night, maybe a drink in, and when nobody is looking (at least your wife anyway) we turn on and laugh our posterior off with. For me, that’s Bobcat Goldthwait. The movie is of course, Shakes the Clown.

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    Gotham: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 1st, 2017

    “Enjoy the trip. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

    It has been six months since the second season ended. A herd of creatures and experiments rained down on Gotham City. They were the product of experimentation by Dr. Strange, played by B.D. Wong. This, of course, is Dr. Hugo Strange, mad scientist, and not Marvel’s Stephen Sorcerer Supreme. Jim Gordon (McKenzie) is no longer a member of the police force but has found a niche as a bounty hunter rounding up the creatures and bringing them in for cash.
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    Disneynature: Born in China (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 1st, 2017

    The sheer beauty of China manifests itself in so many different ways, in so many remote corners. It sometimes feels like another world.”

    To help celebrate Earth Day each year, Disneynature — the independent film unit at the Mouse House dedicated to making nature documentaries — has gotten in the habit of immersing us in a different corner of the animal kingdom. While it’s a bit surprising that it took nine movies to finally arrive in China, the wait was absolutely worth it for fans of cuddly critters and breathtaking landscapes. The country’s otherworldly beauty makes up for some off-kilter narration and less-than-thrilling (invented) storylines.
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    Supergirl: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 30th, 2017

    “When I was a child, my planet Krypton was dying. I was sent to Earth to protect my cousin. But my pod got knocked off course, and by the time I got here, my cousin had already grown up and become… Superman. I hid who I really was until one day when an accident forced me to reveal myself to the world. To most people, I’m a reporter at CatCo Worldwide Media. But in secret, I work with my adoptive sister for the D.E.O. to protect my city from alien life and anyone else that means to cause it harm. I am Supergirl.”

    A lot of things have changed with the second season of Supergirl. The series spent its first season on CBS but was always considered somewhat a part of the DC Television Universe.
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    Batman and Harley Quinn: Limited-Edition Gift Set (Blu-ray)

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

    We need Harley Quinn.”

    Warner Bros. still has a bit of a ways to go before its stable of DC Comics superheroes catches up to Disney’s dominant Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Warner and DC have long had the upper hand on both the small screen (Smallville, Arrow, The Flash) and with their animated, direct-to-video offerings. Before Wonder Woman saved the day earlier this summer, one of DC’s recent big-screen highlights was the way Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn enlivened the supervillain mash-up Suicide Squad. And while I’m fully aware that Harley’s appeal lies in being a strong, sexy, wisecracking nutjob, I wish the makers of this well-deserved small-screen showcase had taken her a bit more seriously.
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    The Lion King: The Circle Of Life Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 29th, 2017

    “From the day we arrive on the planet and blinking, step into the sun, there’s more to see than can ever be seen. More to do than can ever be done. There’s far too much to take in here. More to find than can ever be found…”

    There’s a period in the 1990’s that has often been referred to as the second golden age of Disney animation. The studio had fallen from its once mighty perch, and most film historians tend to agree there was a creative dark ages through the 1980’s.
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    Big Little Lies (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 10th, 2017

    Big Little Lies — HBO’s star-studded and (deservedly) Emmy-nominated limited series — is structured like a typical murder mystery. We know someone has been killed, but we don’t know the perpetrator or even identity of the victim. On top of that, the limited series format promises that we’ll actually have an answer by time these episodes wrap up (**cough** The Killing). But the reason Big Little Lies shines— other than top-notch performances and stellar direction — is because beneath the murder-mystery veneer lies a darkly funny drama about all manner of adult relationships: husband/wife, ex-husband/ex-wife, mother/daughter, mother/fellow-mother, and so on.
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    Blindspot: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 10th, 2017

    When we begin the second season of Blindspot, three months have passed since the first season’s explosive finale. We are placed back in the action with the same time having passed on the show. Jane (Alexander) has been kept at a covert CIA black ops location where she is being tortured for information. It is a fortuitous time to rejoin the action, because we arrive just in time to see her engineer a clever escape. Meanwhile Kurt Weller (Stapleton) and his team have been back to more mundane FBI cases, and it’s obvious they miss the excitement of working the tattoos. They’re about to get their wish, and things are about to get pretty intense as we join the sophomore season of Martin Gero’s Blindspot.
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    Ghost in the Shell (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 7th, 2017

    “In the future, the line between human and machine is disappearing. Advancements in the technology allow humans to enhance themselves with cybernetic parts. Hanka robotics, funded by the government, is developing a military operative that will blur the line even further. By transplanting a human brain into a fully synthetic body, they will combine the strongest attributes of human and robot.” 

    …and resistance is futile. OK. Wrong franchise.
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    S.W.A.T.: Under Siege (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 4th, 2017

    An action film with a running time of 89 minutes should mean that it’s going to be lean on the story and keep things moving at a fast pace.  S.W.A.T: Under Siege delivers just that, but unfortunately in the process delivers something that we’ve seen many times before.  The film is being branded as a sequel (by name only) to S.W.A.T (2003), the film with Colin Farrell which was an adaptation from the TV series from the 70’s.  S.W.A.T: Under Siege has nothing to do with any of the previous incarnations, and has relocated from sunny California to Seattle Washington. But is the film worth checking out?  Well I’m not a fan of sequels that go straight to DVD, but this film does dangle a wild card for the audience that convinced me to give this a shot, Michael Jai White (Spawn, Black Dynamite).
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    Crashing: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 4th, 2017

    It’s not all it’s cut out to be…it’s not about being on stage all the time. It’s about the killing of time.”

    There certainly hasn’t been a shortage of sitcoms starring stand-up comedians. Many of them (Roseanne, Home Improvement, Everybody Loves Raymond) have grafted the comic’s persona onto a family-friendly format. Even the shows that have depicted the life of a comic tend to take a surreal approach (Louie) or fast-forward to the part where the star is an established comedian (Seinfeld). HBO’s Crashing stands out because it honestly (and painfully) depicts the struggle of an aspiring stand-up…and makes it look very, very funny.
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    Girls: The Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 3rd, 2017

    My persona’s very, like, witty yet narcissistic.”

    These self-aware words are spoken by Hannah Horvath, the on-screen alter ego of Girls star/creator Lena Dunham during the premiere of the show’s final season. Of course, anyone who’s watched Girls knows the “witty yet narcissistic” label applies to practically every character in Dunham’s often flawed (and even-more-often brilliant) HBO dramedy. So while this final batch of episodes includes some superb moments, it’s not a total surprise that this polarizing series concludes its run with a frustrating finale that is more satisfying for the show’s creators than it is for its fans.
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    Prison Break: Event Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 14th, 2017

    “Freedom has a price. I died 7 years ago. Left behind a brother, a wife, a son, but the dead talk if you listen. They’re there with you. Reaching out. Trying to tell us something. Because not all deaths are the same. Some are real. Some are a story. Question is: do you believe the story? Was the man who died who you thought he was? The dead talk. If you listen…”

    The same can be said for dead series. Fox has been riding a wave of series revivals that have brought shows back from the dead in a limited-run event series format, and it has actually been doing well for the network
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    South Park: The Complete Twentieth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 21st, 2017

    “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 Young Pope (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 15th, 2017

    “Have you ever seen two priests wearing tracksuits?”

    The highest praise I can offer for The Young Pope — the staggeringly extravagant and deeply strange co-production between Sky Atlantic, Canal+, and HBO — is that I can guarantee you will see something you have never seen before. (A pair of priests in tracksuits is the least of it.) The show is bold in both its style and storytelling, although it only unequivocally succeeds in one of those two areas. Given all the Vatican-centric politics and power plays, it’s easy to see why this show was dubbed “House of Cardinals.”
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    Live at The Isle of Wight Festival 2004 (Blu-ray) (2CD)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 7th, 2017

    “Is it loud enough?”

    What young 1970’s pup, learning to play a guitar for the first time, didn’t, at one time or another, attempt to imitate Pete Townsend’s windmill power chord strum? I count myself in that group. While I was not a very dedicated Who fan, I had an appreciation for the musicianship. There were still songs like Pinball Wizard and Behind Blue Eyes that I would embrace as if they were my own anthems in those days. It would be hard to deny that The Who is one of the most successful rock bands in history. Part of the original British Invasion of the 1960’s, there are few such acts that are even still around, let alone able to fill the huge stadiums and halls of Rock’s yesteryears.
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    Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 18th, 2017

    With its original release in 2009, DC and Warner Bros have set up the release of Wonder Woman the animated film to help ramp up excitement for the live-action release of the new Wonder Woman film that is set to hit the big screen in a matter of weeks. For some of those readers who may think animated film means it’s just for kids, what WB and DC have done together with the animation department I wish managed to translate to their live-action releases. The DC/WB animated films in my opinion are phenomenal and honestly have set a high bar for me, because these translations have just been superior to the live-action films, and most come in short of the 90-minute mark
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    Divorce: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 17th, 2017

    Look, as lousy as the marriage is, the divorce is going to be much, much worse.”

    The subject of divorce isn’t exactly a laugh riot in real life, so the makers of HBO’s comedy series tracking the dissolution of a decade-long marriage had their work cut out for them. Divorce (not surprisingly) takes a darkly comic approach to the hostile material; the problem is the show seemingly forgot about the part where we’re supposed to want to spend time with these people every week. The series also marks the HBO return of star/executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker…call this new show No Sex in the Suburbs.
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    Animal Kingdom: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 28th, 2017

    “Everyone outside the family is a mark. Family comes first.”

    Meet the most dysfunctional crime family since The Sopranos. Not quite at the same level either on-screen or in quality, but once again we’re drawn toward another dangerous clan with criminal intent. I guess we could call them The Baritones. Actually Animal Kingdom is an apt description for television’s latest baddies. They’re about to head into their second season of mayhem on TNT where the series was the network’s top ratings winner during its run. Now that first season is out on Blu-ray from Warner Brothers, and it’s one crazy ride, of that you can be certain.
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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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    Mars (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 21st, 2017

    I was eight years old when Armstrong first stepped on the moon in July of 1969. Like every kid my age, it filled me with a feeling that I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of humanity’s grand exploration of space. By the time I was 15, we had landed the first probes on Mars. We were certainly on our way. The sky literally wasn’t the limit anymore. But then it all stopped. By the 80’s we had shifted our focus to low Earth orbit, and we haven’t explored the limits of space with a manned mission in nearly 50 years. Even the Space Shuttle is gone, and we don’t even have the capability to send Americans to the space station that we mostly paid for without hitching a ride with the Russians. And if you’ve been following world events at all, that ride isn’t a sure thing anymore. That 8-year-old with the mile-wide grin would never have believed we’d be so earthbound by the time he reached his mid-50’s.
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