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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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    “31 Nights Of Terror” The Vatican Tapes (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 28th, 2015

    “Dark forces are rising. The frequency of possession is increasing all over the world.”

    Must be Global Warming…check that ,Climate Change. It seems the whole warming thing wasn’t exactly working out for these guys. So like a business with a bad reputation you change the name and pretend that’s what it’s been like all along. There is an alarming increase in the frequency of movie possessions all over the world. But it’s not Global Warming or Climate Change that’s to blame. Hell, it isn’t even Bush’s fault. It’s got to do with the color green.
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    Vikings Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 27th, 2015

    When Vikings Season 1 first arrived a couple of years ago, I have to admit I was pretty excited. I was particularly eager to see footage from their very first game. Fran Tarkenton came off the bench, and the Vikings went on to become the first expansion team ever to win their very first game. OK, as Baby, our shepherd/chow mix dog film reviewer would say: I made that last part up. You’d have to have been living under a pretty isolated rock to have missed all of the buzz over the History Channel’s drama series Vikings. Now season 3 is out on Blu-ray, and it’s certainly a season to remember.
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    The Wolfpack (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 22nd, 2015

    “If I didn’t have movies, life would be pretty boring.”

    That statement obviously applies to those of us who spend an inordinate amount of time watching and thinking about movies. (If you’re reading this, chances are you visit this site with some regularity, so I feel good about including you in that group.) However, the notion that movies serve as a source of escape — in every sense of the word — is remarkably expressed in the captivating, stranger-than-fiction tale of the Angulo family. Unfortunately, it’s pretty apparent that The Wolfpack — a vague, shapeless documentary — doesn’t give us the full story.
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    Mad Men: The Final Season — Part 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 20th, 2015

    This is the beginning of something, not the end.”

    There weren’t any Lost-style mysteries to be resolved here. And unlike The Sopranos or Breaking Bad, this particular series never really hinged on whether the lead character lived or died. (Although a moment in Ep. 5/“Lost Horizon” seems to nod toward fan speculation that Don Draper would take a tumble similar to the silhouette from the show’s iconic opening credits.) Instead, the final season of Mad Men — more than any other all-time great show I can remember — is directly about the end of things.
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    “31 Nights of Terror” Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 17th, 2015

    Oh Hell No! is the cheeky subtitle for the latest entry in SyFy’s made-for-TV Twitter Sharknado franchise. Coincidentally, “Oh hell no!” was also the response the creators of the first film got from everyone they approached about starring in it a few years ago. Flash forward to 2015, and things have changed dramatically. Now Sharknado auteur Anthony C. Ferrante needs a stick to beat away the washed-up actors, reality stars, and politicians(?!) angling to serve as chum for some comically unconvincing sharks.
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    Tut (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 15th, 2015

    It wasn’t until I settled in to watch Spike TV’s three-part/six-hour miniseries based on the (relatively short) life of King Tut that I realized we hadn’t really seen his story depicted on screen before. I mean, it’s probably a bad sign that the most famous on-screen portrayal of the ancient Egyptian monarch comes courtesy of…Steve Martin. Given the liberties this miniseries takes with casting and storytelling, I reckon some historians would’ve preferred Martin as the famous pharaoh here. However, I still found this to be a suitably entertaining and attractive (if somewhat overstuffed) melodrama.
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    Blood & Glory: The Civil War in Color (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 13th, 2015

    “We have known them only as shadows, gazing at us from a ghostly world of black and white. But now the American Civil War can at last be seen as those who lived and died experienced it…in vivid color.”

    It was the bloodiest conflict in American history. Maybe because Americans fought on both sides of the brutal conflict. It might have been because it was a deeply personal war, often between brothers. The cause was one that cut deeply in both the hearts and minds of the men fighting.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Penny Dreadful: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 12th, 2015

    I grew up on the horror comics of the 1970’s. Eerie and Creepy were two of my favorites. My father would buy them and pass them down to me when he finished reading them. They were black and white so that they could take advantage of a loophole in the Comics Code and often featured lurid and gory stories of horror and depravity. Probably not the most appropriate reading for a young boy, but I ate them up. Before those comics there were the EC horror comics from Bill Gaines in the 1950’s. Titles like Tales From The Crypt and The Vault Of Horror called out to readers with gory and hideous covers. But it didn’t really start there.
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    South Park: Season 18 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 8th, 2015

    “Listen, my friend. This is going to be very hard to comprehend, but none of what you are seeing is real.”

    Of course it’s not real. It’s not really that hard to comprehend at all. This is an animated show, after all. And the figures look like cut-out pieces of construction paper. Of course, we’re talking about South Park. What is hard to comprehend, however, is that we’re talking about the 18th season of South Park. Few television shows last this long, and only The Simpsons has been around longer when it comes to scripted animated shows running today. That’s rare air, indeed
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    Chain of Command (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 7th, 2015

    “Man, they killed my brother…you think I’m gonna let that slide?”

    Even if you haven’t sat through a ton of revenge-minded pulp, you won’t be surprised to hear the answer to the above question is a resounding, “No!” The good(ish) news is that Chain of Command manages to stand out from a pretty crowded straight-to-DVD action pack. The disastrous news is that this laughably bad, shoddily-made debacle is likely to stick in your memory for all the wrong reasons.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Sleepy Hollow: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 1st, 2015

    “My name is Ichabod Crane. In 1781 I died on the battlefield, but I was saved by a mysterious spell cast upon me by my wife Katrina. Now I’ve been reawakened 250 years later in a land I no longer recognize. And fate has led me to Miss Abigail Mills., a young police lieutenant. Investigating baffling mysteries, our real mission is in danger, and the apocalypse may be upon us, our destinies entwined.”

    Fans of the tale The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow will recall that Ichabod came to encounter the headless horseman in one of the first American horror tales ever written.
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    The Flash: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 29th, 2015

    “To understand what I’m about to tell you, you need to do something first. You need to believe in the impossible. Can you do that? Good. Because all of us, we have forgotten what miracles look like. Maybe because they haven’t made much of an appearance lately. Our lives have become ordinary. But there is someone out there who is truly extraordinary.” 

    It’s become so much easier to believe in the impossible in recent years. The guys over at Marvel have created an amazing theatrical universe where we escape into the comic book world of heroes at least a couple times a week. DC hasn’t managed to wow us in our theater seats so much recently.
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    Arrow: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 24th, 2015

    “My name is Oliver Queen; after five years in hell, I have come home with only one goal, to save my city. Now others have joined my crusade. To them, I’m Oliver Queen. To the rest of Starling City, I’m someone else. I am something else.”

    That someone, that something more …that something else is the DC Comics character Green Arrow. Not to be confused with the same-colored Hornet or Lantern. In season 2 Oliver Queen finally shed the name and reputation of the Hood or Vigilante. He vowed not to kill, and he no longer has the list to guide him.
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