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    Manhattan: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 10th, 2015

    “There’s something I need to tell you. We’re building a weapon. It’s not like any weapon the world’s ever seen. It draws its energy from a fast-neutron chain reaction. It releases the power of an ancient star. If it works, and it’s going to work, it will be the more destructive than all the bombs dropped in all the wars in history put together. It’ll bring armies to their knees. Cities will disappear in the blink of an eye. The world will be united in peace by the most just and noble country in the history of mankind or it will burn to the ground. Whoever builds it first, there’s the endgame. So it has to be us, whatever it costs.”

    It’s one of those dramatic stories where mankind is altered forever.
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    Daryl Hall & John Oates: Live in Dublin (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 3rd, 2015

    They started as a local band in Philadelphia. By 1972 they had released their first album on the national stage called Whole Oates. The duo has been together for over 40 years and have remained playing through most of that time. Even with stops for solo projects, Daryl Hall and John Oates have remained a team throughout those years. It’s rather rare for a rock team to remain together and friends for so long. Their endurance has paid off in so many ways, but 2014 would be a year they would see a lot of that hard work and partnership be recognized as they became the first Philly band inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
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    Veep: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 2nd, 2015

    For the first time in four years, I can say what I really think.”

    It may have taken four years for fictional U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer to make her boldest political move yet, but Veep was finally able to achieve all-around greatness in just three. I know there are fans of HBO’s caustic comedy series who would argue the show was already great, and I agree there have absolutely been many flashes of foul-mouthed brilliance throughout its run. But it wasn’t until Veep had Selina Meyer try to outgrow the show’s title in season 3 that the series itself ascended to another level.
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    Interstellar (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 31st, 2015

    Most movies are just not very good. Lots of money goes into turning out boring, repetitive garbage. You watch it and then dispose of it and make room for the next thing. There are some who do more, but the more you do, the greater the risk. Most filmmakers are not given the freedom to take really big risks, but someone who has been given the opportunity to take the big risk is Christopher Nolan. Interstellar is $165,000,000 gamble shooting for the moon.  Actually Nolan is shooting for something way past the moon. He wants to take us to another galaxy.
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    Silicon Valley: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

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

    There’s money flying all over Silicon Valley, but none of it ever seems to hit us.”

    There’s a lot to like about HBO’s Silicon Valley, which debuted last year with a confident, clever freshman season that took merciless aim the tech capital of the U.S. My favorite thing about the show — besides hyper-specific jokes aimed at geeky targets like the many endings of “Mass Effect 3” — is that it portrays (and makes fun of) each aspect of the cutthroat tech industry, from the self-important, aggressively eccentric billionaires to the scrappy, proverbial guys in a garage.
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    A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 26th, 2015

    I’m not really a big Beatles fan. That will shock, anger, and dismay many of you. Sure, I’ve got a couple of favorites, but nothing I feel the need to hear over and over again. Now, with that said, I am a fan of Paul McCartney. Of all the Beatles he has evolved the most. He has gone from a kid who was nothing really special, just in the right place at the right time, to a very accomplished musician. Few musicians today can match his performance skills on almost any instrument. While a lot of celebrities talk about compassionate subjects, I get the impression McCartney is more sincere than most. Perhaps it’s this sincerity that makes him such a good songwriter.
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    Wolfcop (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 16th, 2015

    For your safety you should keep him away from the booze and doughnuts.”

    Wolf Cop wasn’t a film haphazardly thrown together; instead its path to being made was epic in its own right as the filmmakers entered their concept into a Canadian online competition where people voted week after week on what potential film would be lucky enough to get made.  Wolf Cop slayed the competition, and as they say, the rest is history.
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    Da Vinci’s Demons Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 11th, 2015

    “I’m Leonardo da Vinci. Revolutionary painter, artist and visionary, of the Republic of Florence.”

    The term “Renaissance man” is often used to describe a person who has a very wide range of interests in which they have become quite skilled. It’s taken from the traits of the many artists, innovators and writers of the 15th century. And while the term might well apply to any number of such historical figures, there is none for whom it is more apt than Leonardo DaVinci. 
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    Sons of Anarchy: Season 7 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 3rd, 2015

    “Remember when our biggest problem was which Mayan to kill?”

    All good things come to an end, and all rides eventually reach their destination. It’s all come home for the gang at Sons of Anarchy, and you can believe that if anyone is left standing when it’s over, there will be scars. Kurt Sutter has taken the culture of the motorcycle club, don’t call them a gang, and made it accessible to a regular audience. He did that not by attempting to overwhelm us with the iconography of the genre.
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    Beyond the Lights (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 3rd, 2015

    The cop here thinks he’s The Bodyguard.”

    At first glance, Beyond the Lights could easily be dismissed as an updated, less starry version of the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston romantic blockbuster. Both feature a glamorous pop star falling in love with her strait-laced protector. But while The Bodyguard became a bona fide pop culture phenomenon, Beyond the Lights had a much less dazzling run in theaters, grossing just over $14 million. It’s a shame because the flawed newer film has some interesting ideas about celebrity, artistic integrity, and…black women’s hair.
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    Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 19th, 2015

    “All men must die.”

    The official tagline for Season 4 of HBO’s Game of Thrones also doubles as a helpful reminder of author George R.R. Martin’s no-character-is-safe philosophy. But even plastering that quote all over posters, promos, and the cover of this exemplary-in-every-way Blu-ray set isn’t likely to prepare you for the most devastating and thrilling season of a show that specializes in “devastating and thrilling.”
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    Olive Kitteridge (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 16th, 2015

    Why are you so hateful, Olive?”

    Olive Kitteridge — Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel —has been adapted into a four-hour HBO miniseries. It’s probably the best possible outcome for Strout’s story, which deals with the legacy of depression, along with several other box office-unfriendly themes that would almost certainly prevent any proper Kitteridge adaptation from sniffing a multiplex. The miniseries is well-made, and the acting is top-notch. The problem for me was that, even with that four-hour running time, we don’t get a ton of insight into why the title character is so hateful.
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    Maison Close: Season One (Blu-ray)

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

    No woman dreams of entering this profession. But it is a real profession…”

    In fact, it’s commonly referred to as “the world’s oldest profession.” We’re talking, of course, about practice prostitution. The profession also happens to be the focus of the soapy, serialized Maison Close, which is set in a 19th century Parisian brothel. And thanks to Music Box Films, Season 1 of the French prostitution drama is now making its U.S. Blu-ray debut.
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    Open Windows (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 3rd, 2015

    “You like that stuff, but it’s kind of a tease.”

    Give Elijah credit for taking some interesting chances with his acting choices since his long and successful run with the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and his subsequent cameos in the Hobbit films as well. No one can accuse the actor of resting on his laurels. His roles have been outside the mainstream.
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    Boardwalk Empire: Season 5 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 22nd, 2015

    “If we’re good today, we’ll be better tomorrow.”

    The final season of Boardwalk Empire breaks the mold of what the show has been for the first four years. The action jumps ahead several years to 1931. It’s a necessary plot point if we’re going to be ending the popular series in the fifth season. I understand the jump and why it works. I guess my only real question is: why are we jumping ahead to end what is one of the best shows on television?
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    Boyhood (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 20th, 2015

    Boyhood is all the rage right now. With all the hoopla surrounding the film, it should be noted that it is ordinary. It is just about people living their lives. One could even call it boring. One can say that because life is boring. It is not as exciting as it is in the movies. Life is about small moments that add up to memories and then it is over. Boyhood doesn’t make grand statements about boyhood, or about motherhood or fatherhood for that matter. It is just about a few people and what happens to them.
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    Jessabelle (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 15th, 2015

    When I think about the swamps of the Louisiana bayou, with the exception of hungry gators lurking beneath the murky depths, I can’t help but think about the connection it has to the supernatural.  I blame seeing Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond for this.  It’s a film that haunted me when I was a kid, and the imagery has stuck with me over the years.  There have been numerous films over the years that have explored the supernatural of the bayou; most successfully we saw this in the Kate Hudson thriller The Skeleton Key.
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    Banshee: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 14th, 2015

    “There will be casualties”

    Alan Ball got my attention in 2001 with HBO’s black comedy Six Feet Under. It was one of the most original shows I had ever seen, and to this day I find it hard to characterize the series when asked to do so. It was there that he also introduced me to Michael C. Hall, who continues to amaze me in the role of Dexter over at Showtime. When Six Feet Under left the airwaves, Ball didn’t waste very much time in bringing his quirky style back, this time to the horror genre
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    Girls: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

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

    Writers are a ridiculous class of people who make everything about themselves.”

    For many, the current face — and oft-naked body — of “writers who make everything about themselves” is Lena Dunham, the creator/star/writer/director of HBO’s Girls. The equal-parts brilliant and maddening quarter-life crisis comedy became one of the most polarizing shows on TV over its first two seasons, as self-involved heroine Hannah Horvath sought love and a career as a writer in NYC. At the start of season 3, Hannah has both of those things…which is why I’m astounded — and, frankly, pretty impressed — that she remains as egotistical as ever.
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    Looking: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 6th, 2015

    The most remarkable thing about Looking might be how thoroughly unremarkable it is. This is a double-edged sword for HBO’s dramedy, which follows the love lives of three gay friends living in modern-day San Francisco. The series sidesteps the headline-grabbing sensationalism that accompanies many other shows that prominently feature gay characters. (Looking at you, Ryan Murphy.) On the other hand, Looking is often low-key to the point that it bypasses being funny or particularly entertaining. What the series does have on its side is a naturalistic tone that makes the show more engrossing and immersive as the first season progresses.
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    Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 28th, 2014

    “How the hell did this happen? I mean, I’m on the other side of the planet, and people know who I am and they’re laughing at my jokes.”

    Despite his status as one of the biggest draws in stand-up comedy, Jeff Dunham really does seem taken aback by his success. On one hand, you wouldn’t necessarily expect a ventriloquist to be one of the hottest names in comedy in 2014. Then again, the hard work and precision he has put into his act is evident every time he takes the stage. For his latest comedy special, Dunham packed up his puppets and took his show on the road like never before.
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    Patema Inverted (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on November 17th, 2014

    I’m not the biggest fan of Japanese animation. I don’t think it’s awful or anything, but animation is one of those things where I’m just picky about what I like.  Though I can say I am a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke) and most of his work.  I think this is worth mentioning, because though I may not be as well-versed in this genre, I’d like to feel I still go into it with an open mind, and I’m always excited to find a title that excites me that I never saw coming.  And that it precisely what Patema Inverted did.
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    Getting On: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 10th, 2014

    It’s noble work. It is useful. You are angels of mercy…I just never thought that I would end up here.”

    The geriatric care wing of a hospital — where the employees are undermanned and overworked, and many of the patients are in a near-catatonic state — is not the most obvious sitcom setting. As a result, HBO’s comedy series Getting On isn’t exactly what I’d call a gut buster. But even though much of the humor seems hyper-specific to this particular circle of workplace hell, anybody who has ever been underpaid to do a hard, crappy job should be able to relate.
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    The Newsroom: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 7th, 2014

    – “We don’t have the trust of the public anymore.”

    “Get it back!”

    The Newsroom took a pretty decent beating during its first season. Sure, plenty of people praised the show’s exceptional acting and ambition, but too much of the conversation seemed to revolve around its flaws and its polarizing creator. In this Blu-ray set’s bonus material, Aaron Sorkin cops to being “overly earnest” and “aggressively uncool” in his work.
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    Step Up: All In (Blu-ray)

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

    Does it always have to end up in a big giant dance battle?”

    If you’ve ever sat through a dance movie, then you know the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Dance flicks are a somewhat different beast than movie musicals; they are less whimsical and tend to take themselves more seriously, which invariably makes them seem even sillier. Some of the movies in this genre — Dirty Dancing and Footloose — are beloved guilty pleasures. (And many people who love them don’t even bother feeling guilty.) In recent years, the “dance flick” itch for moviegoers has been scratched by the Step Up franchise.
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