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  • The Knick: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 17th, 2015

    “Welcome to The Knick.”

    The Knick is the fictional Knickerbocker hotel in 1900 New York. It’s a hospital that was once part of an affluent neighborhood but now finds itself in an area falling to poverty. Still it’s a place where innovations are being made on a daily basis, thanks to an inspired group of doctors led by Dr. J.M. Christiansen (Frewer) and his relentless search to find ways to decrease the mortality rate in surgery patients.
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    Person of Interest: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 17th, 2015

    “We are being watched. The government has a secret system. A machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people. The government considers these people irrelevant. We don’t. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You’ll never find us. But victim or perpetrator, if your number is up, we’ll find you.” 

    The premise of Person Of Interest was turned on its head in season 3. If you are new to the show, don’t even think about starting here.
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    The Killing: The Complete Fourth Season

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

    The Killing will leave behind two lasting legacies: it’s the show that wouldn’t die, and it could never quite stick the landing. The bleak crime drama drew intense criticism after failing to resolve its central mystery at the end of season 1, and was canceled by AMC after wrapping up the Rosie Larsen case in the season 2 finale. The show got a last-minute reprieve when AMC ordered a third season that I personally considered to be show’s strongest. But instead of leaving well enough alone, The Killing returned for a six-episode fourth season on Netflix.
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    2 Broke Girls: The Complete Fourth Season

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

    Everyone on TV has nicer clothes and a bigger home than you do. And I’m not just talking about fictional doctors or lawyers. Even small-screen characters with relatively modest incomes manage to live in palatial apartments. Need proof? The 2 Broke Girls in CBS’s hit sitcom have an apartment that is literally big enough to fit a horse. (Hi, Chestnut.) Season 4 even manages to squeeze in a gaggle of Victoria’s Secret models (Ep. 6/“And the Model Apartment”), and the girls’ building gets a new tenant when lewd line cook Oleg (Jonathan Kite) moves in with larger-than-life upstairs neighbor Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge), leading to the one-liner “the booty call is coming from inside the house.”
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    The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 14th, 2015

    Its spy vs. spy in Man from U.N.C.L.E., or at least it starts out that way. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer play Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin respectively in this reimaging of the popular television series from the 60’s. Guy Ritchie is at the helm of the spy flick, which should give everyone high hopes that this will become the first film in a franchise. Though a bit dry at times, Man from U.N.C.L.E. proves to be a clever and engaging movie that stays true to the era it is set in. There is enough action, espionage, and beautiful women to capture the attention of the male audience, and the female audience is likely to be sated just being able to stare at Cavill and Hammer
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    The Dovekeepers (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 14th, 2015

    You will remain my prisoners until you’ve told me what really happened in Masada.”

    Those words are spoken by Flavius Josephus, the real-life historian for the Romans who chronicled the Siege of Masada. In The Dovekeepers, Josephus is talking to two iron-willed female prisoners who also happen to be among the few people who survived the attack. Their story is told in flashback, and this two-part miniseries brushes up against some interesting points about who gets to write humanity’s history. But in telling the story from a female perspective — an admirable, out-of-the-box idea — this miniseries reduces a complex, fascinating historical event into a stiff, protracted soap opera.
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    Northmen – A Viking Saga

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on August 14th, 2015

    There are an awful lot of people online who do not approve of Northmen: A Viking Saga, and they base their opinion in one of two things: either it’s a “ripoff” of the popular television series Vikings, or they criticize the film’s historical inaccuracies. I can’t defend the film’s creation being linked to the television show, nor will I pretend to know much about Viking history. However, I can provide an interesting question that will, with out a doubt, provoke some thought about the matter: so what? Through this review, I hope to nullify some of the current dismissive reviews and provide the fair review the film deserves.
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    Sgt. Bilko – The Phil Silvers Show: Season 3

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

    Phil Silvers was aptly named. If anyone in show business had a silver tongue, it was Phil. He started, like most comedians of the era, in Burlesque and Vaudeville. There he honed the natural talent that would make him one of the first true television stars in the industry. With The Phil Silvers Show he introduced us to the character of Sergeant Bilko. From 1955 to 1959 Silvers and his Bilko character would take the television landscape by storm. In 1956 the show became the very first series in television history to win three Emmy Awards in a single year. That year the wins came in the Best Comedy Series, Best Actor (Silvers) and Best Director. The last honor went to the show’s creator, Nat Hiken. 
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    Mythbusters Collection 13

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

    “Who are the Mythbusters?” 

    You know who the Mythbusters are, don’t you? They’ve been a staple on the Discovery Channel for over 12 years now. We’re now looking at Collection #13 on DVD. If you really don’t know who the Mythbusters are by now, I can’t think of a better way to get acquainted than to pick up these collections.
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    Hell on Wheels: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 11th, 2015

    “Milk will be spilled.”

    That’s for sure, and you can expect more than a little crying over it all. The saddest news, however, is the coming fifth season will be the show’s final year. You really should not even think about joining the series from this point. I suspect it will still be quite entertaining, but for the full experience you do have to start from the beginning. The evolution of the Cullen character from Civil War veteran out for vengeance to the man who we see in the fourth season is a rather nice journey to witness. So saddle up for the first three. You can find the reviews for other seasons here.
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    I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 11th, 2015

    “Everybody in the world knows who Big Bird is.”

    This documentary exists because many fewer people know Caroll Spinney, the man who has inhabited the iconic Sesame Street character for 46 years and counting. (Spinney is also the man behind my personal favorite Sesame Street character, Oscar the Grouch, but working that into the movie’s title would’ve made it truly unwieldy.) The film takes us behind the feathers and works best as a loving tribute to a man who has entertained millions of children across the globe.
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    Contest: Win Catching Faith On DVD From RLJ Entertainment

    Posted in Contests by Gino Sassani on August 11th, 2015

    Our buddies over at RLJ Entertainment have a moving story coming to DVD. It’s called Catching Faith and it’s sure to touch a few lives. A young football player finds himself making mistakes in his life that the community is willing to ignore in the cause of victories. The young man must learn a lesson about taking responsibility. Check out any sports column today and you’ll agree it’s a lesson some pros might need to learn. 2 of our lucky readers will score a victory of their own when they win a copy of Catching Faith.

    To win a copy, just follow these simple instructions.

    1. Fill out your name and email address in the comment form below – your email address will remain private and visible only to us.
    2. Do not post your address as an actual comment!  Instead tell us – What pro athlete do you think is also a great role model.
    3. Only those comments that answer our question will be considered.

    Contest is open to residents of the U.S. & Canada only, and will conclude on Sunday, Sept. 27th, 2015.
    Please – only one contest entry per person!

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    When Calls The Heart: Heart Of The Family

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 11th, 2015

    I’ve heard whispers about this series for quite some time but never really knew much about it. Given that Hallmark is not really a channel I frequent, I suppose not being knowledgeable about it is understandable. I was slightly confused when this disc came across my desk; I was sure if it was a television series or if it was a made-for-television special. Turns out it’s a series which follows a city girl from a prominent family that relocates to a small town and accepts a position as a schoolteacher. Upon her relocation, she catches the eye of a young Mountie. Now given that I’m coming in at the middle of the story, I’m going to ask the readers to bear with me as I get my bearings with this series.
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    Tuesday Round Up: August 11, 2015

    Posted in Tuesday Round Up by John Ceballos on August 11th, 2015

    It’s great being back in the saddle for the latest Tuesday Round Up. Gino was kind enough to jump in these last couple of weeks, but I know there’s gonna be hell to pay for my having slacked off. That reminds me…keep an eye out for our review of Entertainment One’s Hell on Wheels: Season 4. There must be something in the air this week with TV shows and fourth seasons because Warner Bros. sent us Person of Interest: Season 4 and 2 Broke Girls: Season 4. The studio also gave us a chance to catch up with Hot Pursuit, one of its big-screen offerings.

    We like to think of ourselves as a curious, adventurous staff, so keep your eyes peeled for our takes on Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters: Collection 13 and Shark Week: Dominating the Deep. On top of that, we’ll check into HBO’s The Knick: Season 1, take a peek behind the feathers with Cinedigm’s I Am Big Bird, strive to keep the peace during CBS/Paramount’s The Dovekeepers, and bundle up for Anchor Bay’s Northmen: A Viking Saga. (You can already hear more about Northmen by clicking here.) Last but not least is the debut of Shout! Factory’s Maude: Season 2.

    As always, don’t be shy about letting us know which of these titles you’re most excited to watch or read about. And one last reminder before signing off for the week: if you’re shopping for anything on Amazon and you do it through one of our links, it’ll help keep the lights on here at UpcomingDiscs. See ya next week!

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    Hot Pursuit (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 11th, 2015

    I realized Hot Pursuit was in big trouble during the sequence when intensely by-the-book Officer Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) accidentally ingests cocaine. The joke is supposed to be that the drug sends Cooper into a comically manic, frenzied state; the problem is the way Witherspoon behaves during this sequence isn’t all that different from the way she’s played Cooper up to that point. And that’s the problem with Hot Pursuit: it’s the movie equivalent of someone who types in ALL CAPS all the time. Even worse, it’s an unholy (and unfunny) mash-up of Midnight Run and Thelma & Louise that shines a blazing spotlight on its leading ladies’ worst qualities.
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    Exclusive Interview With Johan Hegg Of Northmen: A Viking Saga & Amon Amarth

    Posted in Podcasts by Gino Sassani on August 10th, 2015

    Anchor Bay is raiding video stores this week with Northmen: A Viking Saga on DVD. The film sports a special cameo by metal rocker Johan Hegg. It was his first film and he’s seems pretty excited about it all. I had the opportunity to talk with him about the film. Fans of his band Amon Amarth know he relishes Vikings history. One of the band’s songs is even included in the end credits. It’s a perfect match. You can hear it all here. Just bang it here to listen to my chat with Johan Hegg

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    The Comeback: Seasons 1 & 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 10th, 2015

    What’s this? The Comeback comeback?”

    The most unlikely program to air on HBO over the last year didn’t feature dragons or detectives…it was the story of a diva. Obviously, The Comeback — the rare HBO show that wasn’t granted a second season — isn’t as lavish as Game of Thrones or as ambitious as True Detective. But even for a network with a sterling reputation for taking chances and thinking outside the box, the return of The Comeback as an 8-episode “limited series” was somewhat of a shock.
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    True Story (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 10th, 2015

    Sometimes the truth isn’t believable. That doesn’t mean that it’s not true.”

    Talk about truth being stranger than fiction! That proverb absolutely applies to the real-life story of Mike Finkel and Christian Longo, two men from seemingly disparate backgrounds who were thrust together by extraordinary circumstances. Their relationship is the basis for True Story, a drama about duality and deception. But while the truth is often stranger than fiction, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more entertaining.
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    Ricki and the Flash

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on August 8th, 2015

    I’m going to start by listing a number of names that make up a kind of extended family. The names don’t have a lot in common at first, and it seems like a hodgepodge. I’m sure I’m going to leave someone out, but let’s start with Kevin Kline, Johnathan Demme, Diablo Cody, Sebastian Stan, Mamie Gummer, Audra McDonald, Joe Vitale, Rick Springfield, Bill Erwin, Bernie Worrell, Rick Rosas, and Charlotte Rae. I’m forgetting someone. Oh yeah, Meryl Streep. It’s that kind of a movie which is being sold as a star vehicle for the most praised and beloved actress of the modern era, but is really an ensemble piece. We can debate who is as beloved as Meryl Streep in the history of cinema, but let’s not, because Ricki and the Flash is not that kind of movie.
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    Fantastic Four

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 7th, 2015

    I have been hearing buzz about this film for pretty much a year. My first response after hearing about it was confusion. Now, I’m sure that I’m going to lose points for saying this, but I didn’t find the original Fantastic Four film to be that bad.  I’m not proclaiming it as the best, but for the time period, I found it to be an acceptable film. Now, I’m sure I lost of a lot of readers after that declaration, but if you if have remained with me, let’s talk about the latest installment in the Marvel universe, shall we?
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    Child 44 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 7th, 2015

    “There can be no murder in paradise.”

    That was the stand of the Soviet Union’s ruling party during the Cold War. They believed that murder was a capitalist crime. So what happens when a serial killer is killing young boys up and down the railway? That’s the premise of Lionsgate’s Child 44. It’s based on the Tom Rob Smith novel which is part of a trilogy based on the character Leo Demidov. The story itself was based on an actual Soviet Union serial killer named Andrei Chikatilo, who is suspected of killing over 50 children in the 1970’s.
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    Phantom Halo

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 7th, 2015

    Petty crime and literature: makes you wonder how often the two coexist. In the case of Phantom Halo, the two coexist quite often and very successfully. The introduction of the literature through the guise of street theater sets the stage for the criminal activity and provides elegance to what would possible been a dull story. However, in my opinion, the two need one another to provide a compelling story. Though admittedly there are times when one aspect seems farfetched or pulls focus from the other, in the long run it is these two themes together that make the overall film exceptional.
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    Appetites

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on August 7th, 2015

    I am a huge fan of the horror genre. Very rarely will I turn a horror film down, no matter how bad it is. This commitment begs the question: what exactly makes a horror film bad? (Although my aim for that question is to be rhetorical, I hope to answer that question through this review of Appetites.) As a horror fan, you typically read the cover of the DVD and already know what you are getting into (for the most part). You decide to lend your time to the film, knowing full well that the odds of watching the next Halloween or The Shining are not in your favor. Regardless, you pop the disc into the player and begin your journey into the unknown, hoping to watch something worth your time. Enter Appetites.
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    Strike Back: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

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

    “This ain’t no place for a hero.” 

    Strike Back follows the exploits of an 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. They’re going after the top terrorist threats. They combine the intelligence-gathering network of a CIA-type organization with the precision strike force impact of a top Navy Seals team.
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    The Affair: Season One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 5th, 2015

    The notion that there are two sides to every story is at the center of The Affair. Almost every episode depicts the same events related to the titular adulterous relationship from two different perspectives. It’s an ingenious and inclusive storytelling tool because TV viewers are encouraged to spot the differences in each character’s account of events. (Along with inconsistencies in hairstyles, wardrobe, wallpaper, etc.) That’s why I was somewhat disheartened by the latter portion of the season veering away from what made the show great.
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