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    The Agony and the Ecstasy (Blu-ray)

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

    “The Sistine Chapel. The masterpiece of a sculptor who did not want to paint.”

    Remember when Michael Jordan quit basketball, tried his hand at baseball, and then returned to the NBA less than two years later? Well, imagine if Jordan had actually made it to the majors with the Chicago White Sox and put up a .375/50 HR/50 SB mark on his way to winning the American League Rookie of the Year/MVP awards, along with a World Series ring. The artistic equivalent of that was Michelangelo — one of the most significant figures of the Italian Renaissance, but a sculptor by trade — painting the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
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    Episodes – The Complete First & Second Seasons

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on January 7th, 2013

    (I have covered the first season on this site already so this review shall begin with that one then segway into new write-up for Season 2):

    A successful writing team, who also happen to be a married couple, are the creators of an award-winning show in the UK that has just completed after four seasons. An American network wishes to create a US version of the show. The couple are flown to LA, put up in a lavish mansion and are introduced to the Hollywood method of creating television…and it nearly destroys them.
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    The Game – The Fifth Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on December 4th, 2012

    Stemming from a backdoor pilot episode within the series Girlfriends, The Game is a comedy series about a woman (played by Tia Mowry Hardict) who gave up her career as a doctor in light of the success of her boyfriend’s being a star athlete (this is the first pang of misogyny, with more to come). This is the show’s fifth season, which is its second after being canceled by CW and revived by BET.
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    Episodes – The First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on June 5th, 2012

    A successful writing team, who also happen to be a married couple, are the creators of an award-winning show in the UK that has just completed after four seasons. An American network wishes to create a US version of the show. The couple are flown to LA, put up in a lavish mansion and are introduced to the Hollywood method of creating television…and it nearly destroys them.
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    Gigolos: The First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 24th, 2011

    With smaller cable networks stepping up in the last few years and producing high-quality, original programming, we are living in a veritable Golden Age of television.

    And yet…….
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    The Life & Times of Tim – The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on December 7th, 2011

    Tim is the lone passive, sane voice in an insane world that whirls around him. Take the kooky scenarios you might find in an episode of Seinfeld, animated them (barely) and pepper it with some HBO-acceptable crassness, and you’re looking at this show. Done in a minimalist 2D animation, each episode consists of two separate stories. By splitting the episodes in half, the two chapters make the show resemble the current trend of 10 to 15 minute long cartoons, popularized by Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” programs.
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    West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by M. W. Phillips on November 22nd, 2011

    “When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way! From your first cigarette to your last dyin’ days.”

    West Side Story is a masterpiece in film making. Its DNA comes from the greatest entertainers in the business. The great Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, The Day the Earth Stood Still) shares directing credit with one of the world’s greatest choreographers, Jerome Robbins. The music was composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Daniel Fapp’s cinematography is epic and evocative. The movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, a record at the time, including Best Picture and Best Director.
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    Grandview, U.S.A.

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on November 9th, 2011

    Here is a forgotten 80s, romantic dromedy that may have been forgotten for a reason. Various love triangles arise around the setting of a Demolition Derby. Jamie Lee Curtis and Patrick Swayze star in a tale packed with the usual 80s comedy tent poles such as weird dreams, screwball scenarios, and youths having to stand up for the little guy.
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    Prohibition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 28th, 2011

    Ken Burns has achieved a rare feat in the world of filmmaking: he makes clean, concise, uncontroversial documentaries and yet has somehow become a household name, or as close as any documentarian can get in this society. It also depends, I suppose, on the ratio your household’s television is tuned in to PBS compared to, say, Spike TV.
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    Soapdish

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on October 11th, 2011

    An aging soap opera starred, played by Sally Field, is the target of a jealous supporting cast and a conniving producer (Robert Downey Jr.). The head writer of her show (Whoopi Goldberg) seems to be the only ally she has as a former love’s character (Kevin Kline) is recast to throw her off her game, along with a mysterious family member barging into her world and work life.
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    Garrow’s Law – Series 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on May 11th, 2011

    Based on actual Old Bailey court records from the 18th Century, Garrow’s law tells the true story of William Garrow, a young barrister you revolutionized the legal system. This first series may only be 4 episodes long, but with each clocking it an an hour long a piece, this series offers plenty of drama to invest in.
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    Dancing Across Borders

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on January 22nd, 2011

    A young Cambodian boy, named Sokvannara “Sy” Sar, is spotted performing a traditional dance by the film’s director and American Dance patron Anne Bass. She immediately takes note of his smooth talent and figures he has massive potential as a classical ballet dancer. Sy is given a rare chance to audition at the School of American Ballet in New York and then proceeds on a unique and fast-paced journey through a new world of dance, in a nation that is completely alien to his homeland.
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    The Sound of Music (45th Anniversary Edition)(Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 9th, 2010

    “The hills are alive with the sound of music…”

    Maria von Trapp wrote down the story of her singing von Trapp family in a 1948 autobiography. She continued to write about the family right up to the time of her death in 1987. The subject became the basis for a film called The Trapp Family in 1956. While the film received some modest attention for the events of the real family, it disappeared into obscurity until the musical writing team of Rodgers and Hammerstein created the songs for the Broadway production
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    Ladies and Gentlemen The Rolling Stones (Blu Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on October 27th, 2010

    This 1972 concert film has been seldom seen since its first release (which was in 1974) and is only now experiencing its first official release onto DVD and Blu Ray (never having been previously released on home video either). Promoting their just released Exile on Main St. album, the setlist is a high energy service to their love of Chuck Berry inspired rock n roll and complete worship of American blues music.
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    Medium – Season 6

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on October 13th, 2010

    Having been dropped by NBC, Medium finds a new home for its sixth season at CBS. The story of a psychic working for a Phoenix (I could have played off their location’s name and used it as a metaphor for this show rising from the ashes onto a new network…but I’m a much classier and restrained writer than that) district attorney’s office. Meanwhile, her husband struggles with a new job and when it comes to her daughters, there is evidence that there might be more than one psychic in her household.
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    Cornered!

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on June 27th, 2010

    There is a “Convenience Store Killer” running amok in Los Angeles, killing patrons and shop owners and stealing the security camera footage for his own collection. Our heroes are a misfit band of workers who are having a poker night while locked inside their damaged store (the damage being on the door…so they are stuck until morning…see what they did there?) and soon the killer targets them.
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    IMAX: Wild Ocean

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on March 19th, 2010

    Wild Ocean was originally designed as a 3D IMAX experience. Though the production has been pared down to a humbler 2D widescreen, it still is effective as a well-made film that documents the Sardine Run in South Africa, where the migration of millions of Sardines makes for both feeding frenzies of ocean predators, and a wild festival of fishing for various townspeople.
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    Sticks and Stones

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on December 23rd, 2009

    “Inspired by a true story,” two youth hockey teams on either side of the Canada/US border find friendship and bond through their mutual love of the game while tensions rise between those that support and those that protest the Iraq invasion and assorted post 9-11 security fears.
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    Poker Run

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on December 20th, 2009

    Two couples looking to cut loose at a biker rally blindly say “yes” to every proposal a pair of untrustworthy and visibly dangerous strangers make until they find themselves in a psychotic game where the women are abducted and their husbands must become killers in order to save them.
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    The Poker House

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on September 5th, 2009

    This is the story of three young girls who live in squaller with their strung-out, prostitute mother and a lineup of pimps, hookers, and johns parading through their home and lives. They attempt to maintain some sense of normality in their day-to-day but are ultimately seeking escape.
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    Explicit Ills

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on August 7th, 2009

    This film is rooted in the activism of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. Within the film are the stories of several Philadelphia residents, told in sporadic vignettes that are loosely tied together by a mysterious flier that is being handed out in the neighbourhood. While some characters cross into other’s stories they mainly stay separated until the very final scene which reveals that the flier was out promote a rally on behalf of the aforementioned Campaign.
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    Forever Strong

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 5th, 2009

    Forever Strong is a classic example of sports melodrama. The only wrinkle to this film is the sport. The sport in question, is not typical at all (i.e. Football, Basketball or Hockey) it is Rugby. The film revolves around a rambunctious youth, Rick Penning (Sean Faris) who runs into trouble with the law and is shipped out to a juvenile detention centre. He is introduced to Marcus (Sean Astin) who is an administrator and acts as Rick’s sponsor. After the initial introduction, Marcus uncovers Rick’s passion for Rugby and encourages him to play for his old team. Rick decides to play and the emotional journey begins from there.
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    Bob Dylan: Never Ending Tour Diaries

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 10th, 2009

    Bob Dylan: Never Ending Tour Diaries outlines the five year journey of tour drummer Winston Watson. The documentary is limited to Watson’s perspective with great super 8 tour footage spliced into his interviews.  Watson toured with Bob Dylan for over 400 shows and helped Dylan launch his “Never Ending Tour” which continues to this day.  Winston Watson’s charisma and originality make him very likeable, which is crucial when chronicling an unheard perspective. This is not a typical rock documentary; there is very little music and no music videos at all.  However, what this film lacks in typical form, it makes up with entertaining stories and great footage.
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    The Lair: Season Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on April 1st, 2009

    For anyone not familiar with here! TV’s series The Lair, let me bring you up to speed. The setting is a picturesque little town on an island somewhere on the East Coast. What makes this town so picturesque? Well, there’s its lush greenery, its sweeping ocean views, its many gorgeous houses, and there is also the fact that it seems to be entirely populated by attractive young gay men (the lone straight guy in town was culled in season one when he was murdered by his girlfriend who is now in jail – oh, and he was a bad man who abused her, so he had it coming I guess). Of these gay men, several are played by actors from gay porn (in an uncanny twist, the dead straight guy was played by an actor from straight porn). In fact, the local sheriff looks like he may have played the lead in the gay porn version of Sylvester Stallone’s Copland. And if he hasn’t he should think about it. I even have the perfect title for it, though it is unprintable here.
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    Can-Can

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 24th, 2007

    In Belle Époque Paris, the can-can is all the rage but also illegal, and Shirley MacLaine’s nightclub is cracked down on by uptight judge Louis Jourdan. MacLaine is defended by libertine lawyer Frank Sinatra. Jourdan falls for MacLaine, who is waiting perhaps in vain for Sinatra to marry her. Maurice Chevalier shows up to chuckle indulgently.
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