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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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    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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