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    The World Wars (Blu-ray)

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

    “One must regard the 30 years of strife, turmoil and suffering in Europe as part of one story. One story of a 30 years war.” – Winston Churchill

    He was exactly correct, and one of only a few people of the time who had the vision to understand that concept. Before the end of World War II the first world war was known as The Great War. The idea of two separate world wars came later.
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    Vampire Diaries: Season 5 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 10th, 2014

    “It’s been a long summer.”

    And my how things have changed in Mystic Falls. Elena is a vampire, and Katherine is now a human, and doing a pitiful job of that, to be sure. Bonnie is a ghost who only Jeremy can see, and they’re trying to keep it all a big secret from everyone so they all think Bonnie is out globe-hopping and having a great time. Stefan is at the bottom of a lake in a safe where everyone else thinks Silas is.
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    Heavenly Sword (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 4th, 2014

    The list of bad videogame movie adaptations is as ridiculously long as the titular weapon in this animated offering. In fact, the film that has best captured the spirit of gaming wasn’t even based on an actual videogame. The bottom line is it’s hard to translate the highly-interactive thrills of videogames into a satisfying, relatively passive moviegoing experience. So maybe the answer lies in targeting inherently cinematic games like Heavenly Sword.
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    They Came Together (Blu-ray)

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

    “It’s kind of a corny, romantic comedy-type story.”

    Even those of us who actually enjoy a good romantic comedy have rolled our eyes or groaned about some overused cliche in the genre. Well David Wain and Michael Showalter — who last teamed up to satirize summer camp movies in 2001′s Wet Hot American Summer — have gathered many of their famous, funny friends to make They Came Together, an alternately hilarious and uneven spoof that lovingly skewers rom-com tropes.
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    The Walking Dead: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

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

    The first thing you should know about The Walking Dead is that it’s unlike any television series you have ever seen before. The images here are intense, and the crew has been given a blank check to create this vision without the burden of censors looking over their shoulders. There are plenty of blood-and-gore effects that rival any of the Hollywood zombie films you’ve seen in the last few years. The makeup effects are handled by the very capable hands of KNB and supervised personally by Greg Nicotero (the N from KNB).
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    Haven: Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 29th, 2014

    “You were always such a clever troublemaker.”

    When Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) entered the barn in the conclusion of season 3 of Haven, all “the Troubles” were supposed to come to an end for the small seaside town of Haven, Maine.  Sure everything seemed to go as planned, that is until Duke (Eric Balfour) took the plunge into the barn before it disappeared, leaving Sheriff Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) behind.
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    Aftermath (Blu-ray)

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

    Considering the state the world is in, I’m a little surprised there isn’t more talk about a possible World War 3 scenario being played out.  This isn’t something I want, but watching the news, it is certainly something that resonates in the back of my mind and gives a moment of reflection.  Aftermath is the film that preys upon that fear of what a possible World War 3 could be. The results are far from promising, and it succeeds in telling the inevitable fate of the world, despite how bleak the outcome may be.
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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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