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    Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 21st, 2016

    “How much of an a–hole do you have to be to be successful?”

    Over the last couple of years, a grand total of three movies — 2013’s Jobs, along with 2015’s Steve Jobs and now Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine — have applied that very question to Apple’s late co-founder. Each film has approached the issue from different angles, but this Alex Gibney documentary is easily the most comprehensive, even if it’s not the exactly the most entertaining or satisfying.
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    Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 16th, 2016

    “Perhaps we’ve grown so used to horror, we assume there’s no other way.”

    Given the quantity and quality of death and destruction we’ve witnessed over the previous four years, the most shocking thing Game of Thrones could do in its fifth season was offer a tiny glimmer of hope. After all, optimism in Westeros and Essos is an even rarer commodity than dragons. Yet this batch of episodes probably gives us the clearest glimpse at the endgame of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” saga. (Even as the author’s deliberate pace continues to drive book readers mad.) That being said, don’t think for a second the show has gone soft in its old middle age: Thrones still has the unmatched ability to dazzle and devastate in equal measure.
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    Manhattan: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 14th, 2016

    “There’s always some variable you didn’t account for.”

    Manhattan is one of those variables. It’s one of those dramatic stories where mankind is altered forever. If it weren’t absolutely true, someone would have had to make it up. Every child in schools around the world knows about the atomic bombs that ended World War II. We’ve all seen the terrible destruction that exceeded even the expectations of the scientists and engineers who designed and built these bombs. We all live in the aftermath of these events.
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    Strike Back : The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 4th, 2016

    “One last mission.” 

    That’s exactly what we’re talking about here. It’s the last mission for our brave Section 20 team. Strike Back follows the exploits that elite and secret British military team called Section 20. On paper they do not exist, but they’ve got all the best new high-tech toys, and they’re going to need every one of them. But after this season they will no longer exist. This is the fourth and final season of Strike Back. It’s time to say goodbye, but there’s a farewell party planned, and this release is it. Let me assure you that Strike Back is going out with a bang… literally.
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    Frankenstein – The Mini-Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 2nd, 2016

    When certain stories become public domain, you just have to expect that there will be a lot of people creating their own “unique” versions of the same tale all in the name of making a few bucks.  When it comes to adaptations of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, I think we can all agree every attempt to tell the story has not been in the name of preserving the art.  What I do find surprising: despite all the attempts to bring the story to the screen, there still isn’t a version that I can say is a perfect retelling of the tale, though each may have its pros, for the most part it just never seems to translate well.
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    Girls: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 24th, 2016

    Taking the next step in a series of random steps.”

    Those words are part of a toast near the start of this season, as chronically neurotic and self-absorbed writer Hannah Horvath prepares to embark on a mini-adventure that will temporarily take her away from her natural habitat of New York City. They also double as a tidy summary of the entertaining (and appropriately messy) fourth season of HBO’s Girls, while simultaneously capturing what it’s like to progress through your 20’s.
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    Togetherness: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 19th, 2016

    “…Be like we were when we were 28. I think that would be awesome, right?”

    It certainly seems awesome to the four main characters in Togetherness, who are each dealing with their own set of anxieties as they hover around 40. If that previous sentence doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for laugh-out-loud comedy, then you’re on the same wavelength as this impressive HBO dramedy. Togetherness takes a bittersweet, refreshingly humane approach to portraying marriage and friendship.
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    From Dusk Till Dawn: Complete Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 9th, 2016

    Season one of From Dusk Till Dawn gave us a ten-episode remake of the hit original movie while setting up a mythology to stretch its story over numerous seasons. Season two wastes no time in blazing its new path as it continues the blood-soaked adventure that departs from the famed Titty Twister and takes us deeper into the vampire syndicate.  How does season two fare?  After making it through the 10-episode season, I can say I survived this bloody, testosterone-laced thrill ride, but it does have a few missteps along the way.
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    Da Vinci’s Demons: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 4th, 2016

    “It all begins with seeing. So what do you see?” 

    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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    Show Me a Hero (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 4th, 2016

    “Justice is not about popularity…”

    “…but politics is.”

    The title of Show Me a Hero is taken from an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote: “Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.”  So it’s not a surprise that in the hands of David Simon — creator of an all-time great drama with The Wire — this HBO miniseries is short on conventional heroics and long on personal, political, and institutional tragedy.
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    Jack’s Back (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 1st, 2016

    The 100-year anniversary of the Jack the Ripper murders is quickly approaching, and a copycat serial killer is looking to make his mark in Los Angeles.  With only one murder left, the LAPD is in a rush to prevent this madman from completing his across-the-pond murder masterpiece, and the prostitutes of LA are shaking in their heels and miniskirts.  It’s a great way to start off a film, and I’ll admit I was hooked early on with this film, but if you were hoping for a true modern tale of Jack the Ripper, I’m sorry to say you’ll feel more than a little hoodwinked by this film.
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    The Condemned 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 21st, 2016

    Here comes another in the long line of movies featuring a WWE superstar. Boy, I tell you, the floodgates open after The Rock (although now he goes by Dwayne Johnson) proved it was possible to move from wrestling stardom to silver screen stardom. That said, none them have really made the leap successfully since him; however, that is not from a lack of trying. This time around, Randy “The Viper” Orton looks to try his luck in the sequel to a WWE sponsored film in The Condemned 2.
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    True Detective: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 10th, 2016

    Popular opinion and so-called critical opinion often seem to careen off cliffs like lemmings in increasingly unpredictable ways guided by whims and subtle shifts in the proverbial winds. I find myself shocked by things praised and things condemned. Sometimes I feel like a little boy who sees a naked emperor while everyone else is shrieking how much they love the new elegant ensemble. In this case, I’m seeing a lovely presentation while there are many who are whining. Part of the problem is that Season 2 of True Detective is considerably distinct from Season 1.
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    Experimenter (Blu-ray)

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

    “The techniques change, the victims change but it’s still a question, “How do these things happen? How are they institutionalized?” 

    “I was just following orders.” It was the plea heard by too many of the Nazi war criminals during their trials following World War II. It wasn’t enough to spare them the consequences of their actions, of course. Six million people were exterminated, experimented on, or tortured. The excuse just didn’t hold water. But was it at all valid? Could an otherwise “good” person be turned into something evil just because someone in authority told them to do it? Just how far would an average human being go toward hurting another person whom they have no provocation to hurt just because they are told to do so?
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    Ray Donovan: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 7th, 2016

    “A good family business is not the same as a good family.” 

    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 has gotten better… perhaps a lot better.
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    Flesh and Bone (Blu-ray)

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

    “Ballet is the ultimate optical illusion. We make effort appear effortless.”

    If ballet dancers make the seemingly impossible look graceful and elegant, then Flesh and Bone similarly soars when it doesn’t try quite so hard to conjure drama. The best version of this provocative Starz miniseries explores the psychological toll that ambition, competition, and the (impossible?) quest for creative perfection can take. Unfortunately, the series also introduces way too many subplots and distractions during its 8-episode run.
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    12 Rounds 3: Lockdown (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 25th, 2015

    With their impossibly beefy frames, larger-than-life personas, and familiarity with staged combat (sorry, buddy), pro wrestlers fit the old-school action star mold perfectly. Unfortunately for them, Hollywood isn’t nearly as interested in action flicks that don’t have superheroes, dinosaurs, or Liam Neeson. And while interconnected cinematic universes are all the rage at the moment, Lionsgate and World Wrestling Entertainment have a pretty interesting partnership themselves. Their latest offering is the dopey, compulsively watchable 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown, which is considerably more entertaining than it has any right to be.
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    Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 2nd, 2015

    “His imperfections were unsettling. But Frank Sinatra was a genuine artist, and his work will endure as long as men and women can hear and ponder and feel. In the end, that’s all that really matters.” 

    He was The Beatles before The Beatles were The Beatles. His voice would make women swoon and men want to be him. He romanced some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood history, and he sat at tables with kings, princesses and presidents. He was The Voice. The Chairman Of The Board. He was Old Blue Eyes. His name was Francis Albert Sinatra, but we all called him Frank.
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    A.D. The Bible Continues (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 16th, 2015

    In 2013 husband-and-wife production duo Mark Burnett and Roma Downey teamed up to bring The Bible to the History Channel. The 10 episode series gave as a whirlwind tour of the milestones from the Bible and brought about some critical acclaim along with solid ratings. It aired during Easter/Passover season. It was certainly an ambitious project and left the team feeling they could do more with the project. They managed to strike a deal this time with NBC to air a sequel of sorts to the mini-series. Enter AD The Bible, which takes an opposite approach to the first show.
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    Getting On: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

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

    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. That’s partly the reason it took me a while to warm up to the first season of HBO’s Getting On, an adaptation of the British series of the same name. The biggest drawback, however, was that those initial episodes didn’t seem very interested in shaking the grim specter of the original show. But what a difference a year makes!
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    Black Sails Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 6th, 2015

    “My father told me about these men, about their natures. All I knew were the stories I was told of monsters and the valiant men sworn to slay them. I fear the stories I’ve heard may have been clouded, the truth more than clouded. It would seem these monsters are men, sons, brothers, fathers. And it would seem these men face their own monsters…”

    Move over, Captain Jack Sparrow. There are some new pirates on the block, and they sail into our living rooms on a regular basis in the Starz sophomore series Black Sails. The high seas adventure series combines historical people and places with the fictional characters of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island.
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    Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal (Blu-ray)

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

    Argument is sugar, and the rest of us are flies.”

    By now, we’ve grown numb to the fact that there are simply too many TV channels to count. So it’s not surprising that many of them have to take increasingly extreme measures to get our attention. Unfortunately, that line of thinking has extended to television news, which began trending toward sensationalism — and away from reasonable discourse — a long time ago. However, the idea that noise and conflict attracted eyeballs wasn’t the status quo during the late 1960s, when viewers had only three channels to choose from. Best of Enemies tells the story of how two towering intellectuals (and one desperate network) helped alter the TV landscape forever.
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    Haven: Season 5, Vol. 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on November 6th, 2015

    For me Haven has always been a quiet-storm series. It was a show that I had heard nothing about when I first started watching, but when I got started, I found it compelling. It’s a mystery series (or at least it used to be) based off a novella from Stephen King. In the beginning, one question was paramount to the series’ lead character: who is the Colorado King? That question took many seasons to answer, but now that the show’s time is limited due to Syfy announcing its decision to cancel the series, with the final episodes to air later this year, another question has arisen as the paramount question: who is Audrey Parker?
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    Toy Story that Time Forgot (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 5th, 2015

    “Be grateful for your gifts. They are all around you.”

    This is the gift that has been giving for 20 years. It’s a bit hard to believe that it was all the way back in 1996 that we had our first adventure with Pixar’s imaginative Toy Story. Since that time we’ve had two solid theatrical sequels and now a second television/video short. It’s a bridge to the fourth theatrical film on its way. But that’s still a couple of years down the road, so it’s rather nice to be able to spend some time, no matter how brief, with the gang we fell in love with nearly 20 years ago
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 31st, 2015

    “We’re here.”

    I must start this review by admitting that I did not see 2008’s The Haunting of Molly Hartley. In spite of the fact that very few people did actually see that film, I was surprised to find that a sequel would show up seven years later just in time for the Halloween private shock-fests and schlock nights. If you happen to be a fan of the original film, that doesn’t mean you should get too excited by the sequel. There is little to tie these films together.
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