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    The Possession of Michael King (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 27th, 2014

    Here is a film that delves into a subject not many people care to openly discuss but poses a question that everyone who’s lost someone they love can relate to.  When prayer and faith don’t seem to deliver the answers you want for those that need closure that therapy can’t seem to provide, where does one turn?  It’s this hopeless feeling of loss that seems to be what attracts Michael King (Shane Johnson) to investigate the possibility of the supernatural.
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    Boardwalk Empire: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 27th, 2014

    “It’s like Prohibition never happened but for one thing. Prices will increase twenty-fold. We got a product a fellah’s gotta have. Even better is that, we got a product he ain’t allowed to have.”

    The fourth season of Boardwalk Empire began pretty much the only way it could have after the bloodbath that ended the previous season. It was an explosive season that delivered the best gangland war in television history. Now there has to be some kind of peace or at least status quo after the end of the violence. Nucky is making his peace with Arnold Rothstein and his people. He also owes Chalky White for saving his behind when war broke out.
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    The Normal Heart (Blu-ray)

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

    “Could you please reduce your level of hysteria?”

    There is a lot of yelling and a lot of outrage in The Normal Heart. The film chronicles the confusing, terrifying onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in the early 1980s and how a group of gay men (and one intrepid doctor) in New York fought to draw attention to the deadly disease. Their efforts are alternately frustrating and futile, which leads to a higher decibel level for much of the movie’s second half. Thankfully, The Normal Heart is shrewd enough to note that there’s more than one way to make a point.
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    Aerial America: Southeast Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 25th, 2014

    One of the miracles of modern technology is its ability to shrink the world down so you can practically (well, proverbially) hold it in the palm of your hand. The cheerily square Smithsonian Channel series Aerial America goes the other way. In fact, the best thing about the show is how it uses technology to fill every inch of your screen with some of the most famous — along with some of the more underappreciated — U.S. landmarks, employing a larger-than-life/bird’s-eye point of view most of us wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy. Now, Smithsonian Channel and Inception Media Group have released another batch of episodes on Blu-ray.
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    Revolution: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 22nd, 2014

    “Welcome to the SyFy Channel.”

    OK, not really. Revolution aired on sister network NBC, both part of the Universal family. Usually the sibling resemblances are not very visible. Revolution, however has all the elements of a typical SyFy Channel series. These shows almost always start with strong source material or a crazy but clever idea.
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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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    The Quiet Ones (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 20th, 2014

    Under the revamped Hammer production company, The Quiet Ones is the new release from the legendary UK company that was known throughout the 50-70’s for its Gothic horror.  In this new resurgence of Hammer, no longer do we have Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee to look forward to gracing the screen, but what we do seem to be getting is a respect for what horror can be.  Horror seems to have bottomed out as of late.  Where horror seems to be delving into cheaper budgets and going the direction of found footage, which isn’t so much a bad thing, but as we all know the market is just saturated with this style of filmmaking.
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    Rosemary’s Baby (2014) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 19th, 2014

    It’s kind of astounding that it took this long for somebody to revisit Rosemary’s Baby. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting Roman Polanski’s indelible 1968 adaptation of Ira Levin’s 1967 novel was crying out for a remake. It’s just that at this point you’d be hard pressed to find any horror classic — or any horror film, period — that hasn’t been re-done. (Stay strong, Exorcist!) And you probably wouldn’t expect said horror classic to be re-imagined as a bloody network TV miniseries.
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    Bitten: Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 14th, 2014

    The television landscape has been flooded with shows about the supernatural. Vampires have been particularly hot topics in recent years, but werewolves are starting to get their own sub-genre going. MTV’s Teen Wolf manages to pull the theme off quite well. It’s no surprise that pretty much every network out there wants to throw their own hats into the supernatural ring. It’s getting quite crowded, but the popularity appears to have no end. Of course, with such a crowded field you have to find a way to stand out from the rest.
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    Disneynature: Bears (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 11th, 2014

    “Hi, little guys.”

    There was a time, decades ago when Walt Disney Studios was doing quality documentaries on a pretty regular schedule. Many of them appeared on the television show The Wonderful World Of Disney, and more than a few were released as feature films. And while that tradition has continued somewhat, it’s been a while since I was truly impressed by a Disney documentary. That all changes with the release of Bears.
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    Muppets Most Wanted (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 11th, 2014

    The Muppets debuted in 1955, and the late great Jim Henson’s creations have been delighting audiences (and fellow entertainers) of all ages ever since. They’ve made their mark on the small screen — most notably with The Muppet Show (1976-81) — and at the movies, starring in eight feature films across four different decades. However, 2011’s The Muppets was their first big-screen outing in a dozen years, and the movie spent most of its time wondering if the Muppets’ old-fashioned, irreverent charm still had a place in a more jaded pop culture landscape.
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    The Legend of Billie Jean: Special “Fair is Fair” Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 29th, 2014

    Don’t you ever get tired of vanilla?”

    There’s a special breed of ’80s movie that appears hopelessly dated on the surface yet remains impulsively watchable. (Insert your own, “So you mean *every* ’80s movie?!” joke.) The Legend of Billie Jean — with its hilarious-in-hindsight fashion and Pat Benatar theme song — certainly fits the “trapped in the ’80s” bill. However, the 1985 film — now making its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Mill Creek Entertainment — still manages to entertain by tapping into the timeless spirit of teenage rebellion.
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    Angriest Man in Brooklyn (Blu-ray)

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

    Robin Williams is one of those actors that I just wonder what happened to them.  Through the 80’s and 90’s Williams was simply box office gold with his comedic timing and great impressions, but I’ve always been more drawn to the more serious roles Williams delivered.  Awakenings, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, One Hour Photo, these are just a few of his roles that have stuck with me over the years that made it easy to look past his cinematic missteps.
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    Aerial America: Southwest Collection (Blu-ray)

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

    One of the miracles of modern technology is its ability to shrink the world down so you can practically (well, proverbially) hold it in the palm of your hand. The cheerily square Smithsonian Channel series Aerial America goes the other way. In fact, the best thing about the show is how it uses technology to fill every inch of your screen with some of the most famous — along with some of the more underappreciated — U.S. landmarks, employing a larger-than-life/bird’s-eye point of view most of us wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy.
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    Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 9th, 2014

    Few musicians have enjoyed the career that Elton John has enjoyed. From the release of Your Song in 1969, he hasn’t seen many years without hit records. He’s had number one songs in every decade since that day, and the hits continue to roll in. When the music industry changed, Elton managed to change enough to keep up with the times, yet hold on to the poignant songwriting that has made his songs stand out. I’ve been a fan since the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road days of 1973.
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    Joy Ride 3: Roadkill (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 24th, 2014

    It’s hard to believe it was way back in 2001 when Joy Ride was first released.  You can lump me in with the crowd that didn’t expect there to be a sequel, much less a third entry into this series.  The second Joy Ride I seemed to have missed altogether, so when I was given Joy Ride 3, I have to admit I was a little hesitant about checking this film out.  Now that I have checked out the Blu-ray and all its extras, all I can think is that I had a good time with this film.
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    Duck Dynasty: Season 5 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 24th, 2014

    It’s that time of the year again to dust off the old hunting rifle and shake out the camouflage suits, because Duck Commander is back in action.  Duck Dynasty comes to Blu-ray on its fifth season, and though I was a little underwhelmed with the previous season, this new release brings the show back to the backwoods charm that gained my appreciation from the start.  Yes, I still have a hard time calling this a reality series, since just about every episode and sequence seems more scripted than most hour-long dramas, but the characters are so likeable and goofy that a lot can be forgiven.
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    Klondike (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 19th, 2014

    “You’re either gettin’ or gettin’ got”.

    It’s very tricky to make an historical drama. Writers and directors have to carefully balance the needs of entertainment over facts and authenticity. There comes the inevitable moment when they will be in conflict, and a decision must be made as to which direction will have priority in the telling of the tale. It might have been an unfair expectation on my part, but when an historical drama mini-series comes to a place like The Discovery Channel I tend to look for any conflict to be resolved in the favor of historical accuracy
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    Ray Donovan: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 13th, 2014

    “It’s a different world out there.”

    You can say that again. The television landscape is changing, at least on cable. Ray Donovan is the latest in the string of new shows that are attracting talent once thought out of reach for television. A show starring Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight, this Showtime series looked to be something very special… and it almost is.
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    True Detective (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 12th, 2014

    “You got a chapter in one of those books on jumping to conclusions?”

    It’s easy to jump to conclusions with a name like True Detective. The moniker conjures up images of the true crime pulp magazines of the 40′s and 50′s. You might get a sense that this is one of those “based on a true story” type of shows. There was even a second when I expected we might have our first “found footage” television shows. Whatever ideas you have going in, expect your perceptions to change.
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    Devil’s Knot (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 9th, 2014

    For most who have heard about the West Memphis Three, it is because of the HBO documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills.  It was a documentary that sparked the interest of many and fueled a movement to free Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley for the murder of three young boys in 1993.  It was a documentary that attempted to expose the trial as a witch hunt in which the only things the boys were guilty of were listening to heavy metal, wearing black and participating in Wiccan practices.
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    Falling Skies: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 5th, 2014

    “Our planet, our war.”

    Those four words neatly summarize the overriding theme for the third season of Falling Skies, TNT’s earnest alien invasion drama. While the show still takes its broad thematic cues from the American Revolutionary War, this batch of episodes directly references some of the uneasy alliances formed during World War II. So in between the numerous instances of human characters shooting at aliens — and at each other — the show explored the question of whether the enemy of my enemy really is my friend.
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    Workaholics: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 4th, 2014

    Before getting this season to review, my exposure to the show was fairly limited; I had seen a few episodes on Comedy Central, but that was about it.  Now that I’ve had a chance to kick back and take in the shenanigans of Blake (Blake Anderson), Adam (Adam DeVine) and Anders (Anders Holm) I can say it was a disservice to myself to hold out for so long.  For those that are unaware of the show, I see it as a bit of a hybrid between It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Office Space, as it follows three friends who live together and work together at a telemarketing company.
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    True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 3rd, 2014

    I don’t know why death still surprises me.”

    As someone who’s seen every single episode of True Blood, I suppose nothing should surprise me by now. HBO’s vampire drama has given us more than its share of head-turning sex scenes and a hearty helping of over-the-top violence. However, the further the series ventured from Bon Temps and its core group of characters, the more it seemed to lose its way, even as a satisfying guilty pleasure. This penultimate season still relied on an overly-crowded cast of supernaturals. But it was ultimately an encouraging sign that the show might get back to basics as it prepares to end its run this summer.
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    Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 19th, 2014

    If we act like we belong, they’ll think we belong.”

    You never know who could be watching when you post something online. Sophia Grace Brownlee is a perfect example of how to become a “star” in this decade. In 2011, the 8-year-old Brit starred in a video of herself singing Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” alongside her silent, hype man cousin Rosie McClelland. The clip went viral and caught the eye of Ellen DeGeneres, who has repeatedly featured the diminutive duo on her daytime talk show over the last few years. I suppose it was only a matter of time before Sophia Grace and Rosie jumped to the big screen; well, the straight-to-DVD screen anyway.
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