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    The Blacklist: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 12th, 2016

    James Spader is Raymond “Red” Reddington. If you have not yet watched an episode of The Blacklist I will tell you from the beginning that you just can’t start here. Season 3 hits the ground running as the consequences of some major storylines from the previous year start to play out. I found myself having to take the time and catch up on Season 2 because we didn’t get that year to review. It was clear to me from the start that there was no way to truly enjoy this release if I wasn’t caught up. The trouble I go through to keep you guys informed. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. So, if you’re not up to speed this is your chance to pick up all three seasons and do some serious binge watching.
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    11.22.63 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 12th, 2016

    What if you were given the chance to step back in time; would you take this opportunity to change the world, even if it meant having to kill someone for the “greater good”?  This is the question that kicks off the story that is 11.22.63, from the novel written by Stephen King.  Sure, merely mention Stephen King and many automatically people think of the man as the master of contemporary horror.  Yet some of his prolific works that have made their way to the big screen and have gone on to be classic pieces of cinema are less about horror and more about friendship and the deepest bonds we can share with another
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    Blindspot: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 9th, 2016

    “Everything just feels so out of control. I don’t remember who I am. Who I was. Whatever life I had is gone. Shattered into a million tiny pieces. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe.”

    I have to credit Blindspot’s creator Martin Gero with providing one of the more memorable moments on television with the opening minutes of the series. Unfortunately, by the time we saw the pilot that image was already ruined by the countless spots used to promote the show’s premiere. We see a police officer in Times Square approach a bag with a sign on it that asks the FBI be alerted. The cop approaches the bag a bit frightened it might be a bomb and blow up on him at any time.
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    Humpback Whales (UHD Bluray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 3rd, 2016

    “Our planet holds a kind of parallel universe. A place of wonder where giants roam free. For thousands of years, we could only wonder about humpback whales. Now, by exploring their world, we’re getting surprising glimpses into their lives.”

    In 1986, Leonard Nimoy led Kirk, Spock and their mates back in time to collect a couple of humpback whales and bring them to the 23rd century where they are extinct. If the whales aren’t there to communicate with a deadly probe, Earth is in deep trouble.
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    The 100: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 28th, 2016

    “We were born in space. They told us the ground was uninhabited, but they were wrong, and we’ve been fighting for our lives since the moment we landed. Some of us have been broken by it, but most of us are still here, trying to build something real and lasting out of the wilderness… a home.”

    You should know the setup by now. If not, you can check out our previous reviews: Season 1 & Season 2. The show is based on a new series of books from writer Kass Morgan. The crew here has a little bit more room to operate than do most shows based on book series.
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    Person of Interest: The Complete Fifth and Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 27th, 2016

    If there was a show I could recommend to someone who is looking for a smart thriller that doesn’t talk down to its audience, I couldn’t point to Person of Interest fast enough.  It’s a show that may be labeled sci-fi for some, yet its science and technology may not be so far off.  The idea of our government or private agencies using security cameras or our phones to monitor us is no longer just a rumor muttered around in circles of conspiracy theorists, but is quickly becoming a reality of day-to-day life. I kind of saw the show as a riff on the Batman story, subtract the cape and cowl and exchange it for a suit, then throw in a dash of George Orwell’s 1984, and you can see where the show got its start.
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    Rocky Mountain Express (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 12th, 2016

    “They once roamed the earth by the tens of thousands. Their whistles spoke of distant places, of adventure and romance.”

    No, we’re not talking about dinosaurs or some other extinct animal. Of course, we’re talking about the steam-engine train. I’m old enough to have ridden them myself. I had a grandfather who realized in the early 1970’s that these steam trains were about to disappear. He made it a point to explain this to me and made sure I appreciated my rides from Reading, Pennsylvania (literally a train city) to Philadelphia, where my Mom was sure he was a bagman for the mob and was using me as a cover.
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    Ballers: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 26th, 2016

    American football has been making the news of late, and not just in the sports pages. For the last couple of years there has been an increasing concern for players’ safety. From our president declaring he wouldn’t let his fictional son play the game to the hard-hitting Will Smith film Concussion, football has taken some heat over its violent nature. Players are retiring early, and the subject of life after football becomes more of a social question than ever before. That’s where HBO’s Ballers comes in. It’s a half-hour look at the NFL from the player perspective, both current and retired. It’s intended as a light bit of dramedy, and it certainly is that. Even so, the series doesn’t hide from some of the brutal realities of the sport, from the trappings of fame and fortune to the realities of its eventual end.
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    X-Files: The Event Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 23rd, 2016

    “My name is Fox Mulder. Since my childhood, I have been obsessed by a controversial global phenomenon. Since my sister disappeared when I was 12 years old in what I believe was an alien abduction. My obsession took me to the FBI, where I investigated paranormal science cases through the auspices of a unit known as the X-Files. Through this unit, I could continue my work on the alien phenomenon, and the search for my missing sister. In 1993, the FBI sought to impugn my work, bringing in a scientist and medical doctor to debunk it… which only deepened my obsession for the better part of a decade, during which time that agent, Dana Scully, had her own faith tested. In 2002, in a change of direction and policy, the FBI closed the X-Files, and our investigation ceased. But my personal obsession did not.”

    Just in case you don’t know what the heck we’re talking about here.
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    Vinyl: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

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

    “I started at the bottom working every club in New York City. I mopped floors. Swabbed ashtrays. Hauled kegs. You think you work hard? Try scraping Chubby Checker’s vomit off the inside of a toilet stall.” 

    Martin Scorsese is a man who has worked very hard over the years. His list of film accomplishments is too big to list here. On television his recent teaming with Terrance Winter produced Boardwalk Empire. It’s not much of a surprise the two would team up again for another HBO series.
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    Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season — Limited Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 6th, 2016

    “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 and promos isn’t likely to prepare you for the most devastating and thrilling season of a show that specializes in “devastating and thrilling.” Those thrills have now been given an extra kick: Game of Thrones is the first TV show to be offered in all-encompassing Dolby Atmos. After re-releasing seasons 1 and 2 in a pair of handsome Steelbook cases late last year, HBO has given the next two chapters in Martin’s saga the same treatment.
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    Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season — Limited Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 6th, 2016

    Even if Game of Thrones had inexplicably wrapped its run after two stellar seasons, the fantasy series would’ve gone down as a landmark in television history because of its unprecedented scale and audacious storytelling. Those qualities have been brought to thrilling life in each of the show’s Blu-ray releases, but HBO still decided to kick it up a notch. Game of Thrones is the first TV show to be offered in all-encompassing Dolby Atmos. After re-releasing seasons 1 and 2 in a pair of handsome Steelbook cases late last year, HBO has given the next two chapters in George R.R. Martin’s saga the same treatment.
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    Remember (Bluray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 10th, 2016

    With every day that passes we lose those who survived the horrors of World War 2, and eventually there will no longer be those with memories to share from the past, and all that will be left are the films and newspapers from another era.  As these survivors grow older, their memories fade, and all that is left are fragments pieced together from what they can remember.  In the new film Remember from Atom Egoyan, he delivers an intimate tale about a man suffering from dementia who is seeking revenge for atrocities committed in the past.  Considering Egoyan’s last film left me a little underwhelmed I went into this film with caution, and the result is that I think this may be Egoyan’s best work.
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    Haven: Complete Final Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 28th, 2016

    Based on the story “The Colorado Kid” by Stephen King, the SyFy series Haven comes to its end with the last 13 episodes for the final season. When we were last in Haven a fog bank surrounded the small coastal Maine town and Duke (Eric Balfour) accidently unleashed all his “troubles” upon the town.  Things were not just looking bad for the town; in fact this may be the darkest days they’ve had to encounter.  Would 13 episodes be enough to wrap up all the loose ends and finally allow the town of Haven to be normal, or would this take a darker turn and dare to leave the town to suffer its doom to the mysterious Croatoan?  Well, I’m not about to spoil anything, so rest easy, fans, but I should say that not everyone is going to make it through this alive; in fact, I can say this season kept me on edge from start to finish.
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    Veep: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 25th, 2016

    We’re making history with the first woman president.”

    That statement may or may not become a reality in a matter of months, but HBO has real-life politics beat either way. Season 3 of Veep, the caustic, constantly-cussing comedy series, concluded with U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer ascending to the highest office in the land. But lest you think the show jumped the shark by having VP Meyer outgrow the show’s title, there’s more than enough sharp-tongued mayhem to go around once Selina and her staff — referred to as “an infection of mediocrity” in season 4 — have their finger on the button.
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    Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (Blu-ray)

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

    Due to the explicit sexual nature of the following National Lampoon Radio Hour, it’s featured as adult entertainment and not recommended for children’s ears without parental supervision.”

    Even if you had no idea it originated as a magazine, the name “National Lampoon” instantly conjures images of raunchy, subversive, anti-establishment humor. That’s how strongly the iconic comedy brand managed to embed itself into pop culture. (In addition to the magazine, there were stage and radio shows along with at least two classic movies.) This dynamic, uproarious, and aptly-titled documentary does a very good job of illustrating how that happened.
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    Silicon Valley: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 20th, 2016

    Billionaires are people too.”

    HBO’s Silicon Valley, which takes merciless aim at the tech capital of the U.S., was impressive right out of the gate. The series struck comedy gold in its debut season by making fun of both self-important, aggressively eccentric billionaires and the bumbling “guys in a garage” who are trying to get to their level. Season 2 is both nerdier and more confident in its skewering of corporate soullessness and the scrappy underdogs who often can’t get out of their own way. (I’m not sure there’s another show on TV that would use a SWOT analysis to decide whether a douche-y stuntman lives or dies.) The result is a very funny sitcom that has gotten even better.
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    Banshee: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

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

    “There’s always room for improvement.”

    Banshee is one of those improbable plots that finds a way to pull us into the action all the while ignoring how unlikely any of this might really be. Of course, we do that all the time. It’s certainly unlikely we’re going to face a zombie apocalypse or run into a super-powered hero. That’s a different kind of unlikely. This kind of real-world fantastic is usually a bit harder to accept. Credit folks like Allan Ball for keeping us engaged with some of the most entertaining sleight of hand on television.
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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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