Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on July 8th, 2020
Let me start by saying that my daughter was all about this movie. Leading up to the watching of the film, she literally asked me almost like clockwork when we were going to watch the movie. With me there is always a bit of reservation when it comes to animated films since becoming a parent. I suppose you can call it bias, but I prefer the cartoons (as we used to call them in my day) of my childhood over the present content. I think that opinion is one many share. To Trolls World Tour’s credit, it does impart a lesson that I believe is very important in the present climate that the world is facing. To that end, I can say that I found the film to be quite enjoyable. The comedy was more of a situational variety and very clearly directed towards a younger audience, which meant that most of it went over my head, but the aforementioned lesson that the film taught was time-honored and showed the importance of diversity and tolerance. Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake reprise their roles from the 2016 original film and are joined by a host of celebrities that include Kelly Clarkson, Sam Rockwell, Rachel Bloom, and music legends Mary J. Blige and George Clinton.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 8th, 2020
In the local newspaper here in the Tampa Bay area there has been a long-running series of articles called One Tank Trips or something of that nature. The idea is that the writer would introduce you to some natural or otherwise splendor that you could visit in a relatively short distance but which you might not even know exists in your own back yard. I can’t exactly make the connection, but that series kept intruding on my thoughts as I watched the first season of these little experimental Star Trek shorts. The idea appears to take us to places in the television universe of Star Trek to small events that we didn’t even know were going on but which might have even had a large impact on the things we did know about. The first of them were pretty much extras on the Star Trek: Discovery DVD releases and told prequel/side stories directly related to episodes of the main show. They play pretty much like the kind of release extras you might get with any home video release. Somewhere along the way someone got the idea that these side trips could go beyond the current episode supplement idea and reach across the world of Star Trek, leaving the window open for almost any era, place, or character to show up, often in some unexpected form. An idea like that has great potential, but it’s fraught with the danger of a very uneven presentation, and that’s the inherent blessing and curse you will find in this single-disc DVD release of Short Treks.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 7th, 2020
“I shall tell you of William Wallace. Historians from England will say I am a liar, but history is written by those who have hanged heroes. The king of Scotland had died without a son, and the king of England, a cruel pagan known as Edward the Longshanks, claimed the throne of Scotland for himself. Scotland’s nobles fought him, and fought each other, over the crown…”
Mel Gibson had a bit of a rollercoaster life for a while there. His DUI arrest and subsequent anti-Semitic rant caused many to look less favorably upon the man himself. He appears to be making his way back into the fold. Of course, it helps that Hollywood has bigger fish to fry now, and suddenly Gibson’s flaws don’t appear quite so damning with all the new revelations that really started with Bill Cosby but blossomed with Harvey Weinstein. Gibson’s directed films hadn’t been as accessible to the public, but last year he took the film world by storm when he released Hacksaw Ridge. It was perhaps the most meaningful World War II film since Saving Private Ryan 20 years earlier. Little by little, Gibson is coming back. He won’t win everyone over, but he’s making some headway. Still, no matter how you view Gibson or his work today, it can’t be denied that he has created one of the more compelling films of our day in Braveheart.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 7th, 2020
From the creators of The Good Wife comes a show that attempts to explore if demonic possessions, miracles, and other supernatural occurrences are real or simply manifestations of the mind. This is one of those topics that have always fascinated me, being brought up Catholic and with what some might consider an unhealthy obsession with horror. It was a no-brainer growing up that I would gravitate to The X-Files, and over the years there have been several shows attempting to capture the dynamic of the skeptical FBI Agent Dana Scully and the true believer agent on a crusade, FBI Agent Fox Mulder. Evil just may have the potential to be the show that explores the unknown and deliver the same quality drama, though I wouldn’t say it deserves the cult hit status just yet. Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) is a clinical psychologist who is typically used by the local D.A. to testify on the sanity of a subject who is on trial. A big deal is made about her being a climber that has reached numerous summits, but nothing is really done with this aside from making it a plot device we never get to see her put into action. Her husband is absent from a good portion of the show because he is taking time off to climb Everest, leaving behind their four daughters in the care of Kristen. To help Kristen take care of the girls, her mom, Sheryl (Christine Lahti) steps in to play babysitter.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 29th, 2020
“Everyone in this country is getting dumber, and I wish marijuana was illegal again!”
If anything can push the weed cause back 20 years, it’s Tegridy Farms. South Park starts its 23rd season with a bit of a new twist on things. For the entire first half of the season, the opening credits change to make it look like a Tegridy Farms show. It’s cute and funny for like the first three minutes. I was sick of the concept already last season. So for the first half of Season 23, you’re going down to Tegridy farms. In fact it’s only the 10th season where the credits and show come close to returning to normal. After Tegridy Farms, there’s PC Babies, which actually made me pine for Tegridy Farms for a few minutes. The season sees a few highs, and I don’t mean in Randy March’s pot farm. Mostly the boys appeared to coast this season, and with a new 3-year deal in place to keep South Park airing into its 26th season, I hope the coast was merely a break so that everyone could catch their wind just a little bit.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on June 29th, 2020
So knowing nothing of this series as it pre-dates my existence, I did not expect to identify with it at all. I expected for the jokes to be generational, and for the subject matter to be irrelevant. Fortunately, this was not the case, as Head of the Class appears to be a series that in my opinion stands the test of time and provides invaluable life lessons that society is still very much in need of. It stars WKRP in Cincinnati’s Howard Hesseman as Mr. Moore, a substitute teacher who finds himself subbing for a high school’s Individualized Honors Program (IHP), an elite program for the kids with the highest IQs. Expected to little more than read magazines while the kids basically educate themselves, this idea does not sit well with Mr. Moore. Though a laid-back person by nature, he endeavors to do more than just sit back and pass the time, much to the chagrin of Principal Dr. Samuels, who prides himself on the program he designed as well as pushing its participants to academic excellence. Though academically advanced, these students know little of the world, as well as never venture out of their comfort zone. This is where Mr. Moore has the opportunity to make a difference by showing them that they can be more than what society expects them to be.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 26th, 2020
It continues to amaze me how Warner Brothers does so well with their DC products in the television universe but manages to execute so poorly with their films. Despite being a bit formulaic, the CW DC shows are still a blast to watch, but it’s the more adult-oriented shows Titans, Doom Patrol, and Swamp Thing that have left me most impressed. Now they have released Pennyworth for the Starz Network. Despite the confidence I have in the other shows, I went into this one with cautious optimism. The biggest question that bothered me was do we need another series that delves into the Batman universe? Gotham recently wrapped up, there’s a Batwoman series, Joker was last year, and a new Batman film coming next year, not to forget all the other incarnations of the Dark Knight. What had me interested, though, is the notion of finally getting to see Alfred Pennyworth as the former SAS officer in his prime and the chance to see how he became entangled with the Wayne family. Was the series a letdown or yet another success for the DC television universe?
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 20th, 2020
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
After nearly 20 years, it’s hard not to already consider Ridley Scott’s Gladiator a classic. But not in the same way we think of Blade Runner, which has become more of a cult classic, or Alien, which has all the trappings of a genre film, blending horror and science fiction into a nice little package. Gladiator is a mainstream film that took the deserved Oscar for best picture along with four others in the 2001 awards ceremony. With this film, Scott was able to explore more powerful themes that, like the actions of Crowe’s Maximus, echo through eternity. Maximus (Crowe) is Rome greatest general and surrogate son to Marcus Aurelius (Harris), Caesar of the Roman Empire. Marcus wants Maximus to be his successor and turn Rome over to its people. Commodus (Phoenix), son of Marcus, has other plans. He murders his father, and when Maximus won’t pledge his loyalty, orders that he be executed. Maximus escapes. Nearly dead from the journey, Maximus discovers his family slaughtered. He is found and sold into slavery. Former gladiator Proximo (Reed) trains him to be a gladiator. With the same skills and presence he once used to defend Rome, he now wins the hearts of the people of the arena. Maximus uses this to bring him to Rome and a chance to avenge his family with Commodus. With the help of Lucilla (Nielsen), sister to Commodus and a former lover, Maximus conspires for the fall of his enemy. Unable to compete with Maximus in the hearts of his people, Commodus agrees to fight Maximus in the Coliseum after striking him with a poison dagger. Of course, Maximus has his revenge before joining his family in the afterlife.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 9th, 2020
Over the past decade we’ve seen a resurgence of reboots, remakes, and anthologies, so it isn’t much of a surprise that the beloved horror anthology Creepshow would get the reboot treatment. To be fair, this is an extension from what the first films set out to be, though the big difference is instead of just being a film with a few stories, it is now a TV series, each episode containing two tales to horrify and entertain. When I first heard about the series, I was cautiously optimistic. The first two films I consider classics, as do many other fans of the horror genre. Then there was that third Creepshow that I feel we all just want to forget and pretend never really happened. Without George Romero being around, I just wasn’t even sure I’d want to see a show that could possibly just water down everything that was great about the films and simply turn out to be a cheap imitation. Now that I’ve watched Season 1, how does it fare alongside the previous films? Honestly, I found myself impressed with what I saw, and there is plenty of potential to be refined here.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 9th, 2020
Written by J. C.
“Welcome! Everything is fine.”
One of my favorite bits from the dearly departed Inside the Actors Studio involved host James Lipton administering a questionnaire that concluded with “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?” It’s a momentous question that often drew a humorous response. The Good Place opens with its main character waking up in the afterlife and being greeted with bright green lettering that says “Welcome! Everything is fine.” It’s a reassuring sentiment, to be sure, but let’s be clear: there is nothing just “fine” about The Good Place. This sharp, hilarious, and goodhearted fantasy/comedy is spectacular!
The series begins with Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) sitting in an exceedingly pleasant waiting room. Eleanor soon meets Michael (Ted Danson), who cheerily informs her that she has died and arrived in the afterlife. The reason Michael is in such good spirits is because he gets to inform Eleanor that she has arrived in The Good Place, a highly-exclusive, neighborhood utopia. Michael is also the architect of The Good Place —the first such neighborhood he has designed — so he gives Eleanor a tour and introduces her to pre-determined soulmate Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper). But as Michael recounts Eleanor’s many humanitarian exploits, there is one nagging problem … Eleanor didn’t do any of the stuff Michael is talking about. She has arrived in The Good Place by mistake!
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on June 3rd, 2020
I do believe that this film was deserving of a theatrical release. I don’t think it would have been a box office hit, but it deserved to reach a wider audience. That is not to disparage home media, which I’ve been plenty thankful for the many hours of entertainment that it has provided me given the state of affairs lately. Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars in this film based off a book from crime writer, James Patterson and Swedish journalist/crime writer Liza Marklund. The background of this collaboration was a particular interest to me, as the two reportedly corresponding back and forth via email, with Marklund writing the first draft and Patterson doing the second draft. Both are established crime writers and their decision to co-author a book together is a clear example of their respect for one another’s contribution to the field. Thanks to this mutual, a book that served as the basis of this adaptation, got off to the right start. Joining Morgan is the Good Fight’s Cush Jumbo as well as Taken’s Famke Janssen. I swear I am not trying to give you a history lesson, but the origins of this film is very interesting in my opinion, as it spent several years in what is known as development hell (media jargon for a project that spends a long time in the development phase, usually resulting in changing of production crews, scripts and actors dropping in and out of the project), and was originally slated for Patrick Dempsey in the lead role and Dakota Fanning in the supporting, which then changed to Britt Robertson in the supporting role that eventually went to Jumbo. Truth be told, I think that this situation worked out for the best, as well I can’t imagine someone else doing the role of Jake Kanon the justice that Morgan did.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 2nd, 2020
“This is this. This ain’t something else. This is this.”
When it comes to picking “the greatest Vietnam War film” it’s one of those arguments that can get pretty heated with fans of cinema. Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and The Deer Hunter are typically the three I tend to hear named the most, as for me it has always been The Deer Hunter, not just because of its intense portrayal of the war but because of the journey it sets us on, a journey so profound I can easily say it’s one of the best films ever made. I don’t feel like I’m saying anything bold after all it did win Best Picture in 1978 as well as several other Oscars that year. It’s a film though that every time I sit down and watch it, the experience manages to impact me in a way I’m never quite ready for. I first saw it when I was a teenager, didn’t know anything other than it had Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken, I didn’t know what to expect and by the time it ended I was floored. Everything from the visual scope of the film, the intensity of the violence, the performances, I was maybe 14 and didn’t quite have a grasp for what epic cinema could be but after watching The Deer Hunter it became the film I’d hold others up to this standard. It is now decades later and Shout Factory has gone through the process of restoring the film and released it in 4K, how does it hold up after all this time?
Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on May 29th, 2020
Despite my tender age of 44, I didn’t see Escape from New York until I was in my early twenties. My parents never talked about it, my college friends didn’t seem to care, and the Internet wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is now. But it has become my favorite movie of all time. What’s curious is that the sequel to the film, Escape from L.A., is what introduced me to Kurt Russell and the character of Snake Plissken (and became the foundation of everything I consider to be “cool”). It holds a giant chunk of my movie heart, and I’m glad today to bring you this review of the Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray released by Shout Factory.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 28th, 2020
It wasn’t all that long ago that Universal was seriously attempting to develop a Dark Universe for their classic monsters. Things changed after the releases of Dracula Untold and The Mummy and their poor box office showings, but having seen those two films, I feel fans were spared in the long run from a disaster that could have been. Then in 2019 word got out that Blumhouse was going to be doing The Invisible Man, and this somewhat reignited the talks of a Dark Universe project. When I first heard Blumhouse was backing the film, I was cautiously optimistic about the project; where the company does have its hits like Happy Death Day and Get Out, there are plenty of duds as well. It’s when Leigh Whannell got attached that I had some hope for the film. For those unfamiliar with the name, Whannell is the writer responsible for the Saw franchise as well as the Insidious franchise. Now the wait is over and the film has been seen; how does it turn out? The film opens up with Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) attempting to escape from her home while her husband is asleep. This opening sets the tone masterfully, and as much as I hate the phrase “will leave you on the edge of your seat”, that is simply what this sequence is. So much is revealed in the visuals of the home and the performance that Moss delivers that the audience can appreciate that characters need for escape. If anything it’s in these opening moments of the film as Cecilia is wandering through the home that almost too much is revealed about the story that will follow.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 27th, 2020
“Control is an illusion, you infantile egomaniac. Nobody knows what’s gonna happen next: not on a freeway, not in an airplane, not inside our own bodies, and certainly not on a racetrack with 40 other infantile egomaniacs.”
Back in 1986 a young Tom Cruise teamed with director Tony Scott for Top Gun. The film ended up pulling in over $170 million. A sequel appeared out of the question, but that wasn’t going to stop this box office dynamic duo from figuring something out. They decided to just refilm Top Gun. So, if jets go fast, what else goes fast? Before long someone realized that racing cars go fast. So, before you know it Tom Cruise was once again teaming with Tony Scott as a cocky young upstart, this time in the race game. If you watch the two films back to back, the code really isn’t that hard to break. All of the same plot points and beats are exactly the same, just in a new environment. The public wasn’t fooled then; the film took in less than half what Top Gun brought. You shouldn’t be fooled now. Days Of Thunder is Top Gun redux.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 26th, 2020
Jane Austen is a novelist from the 18th century whose novels continue to stand the test of time; though she gained prominence during her lifetime, I would dare say that she has become very fashionable, with many of her novels being required learning for most schools or at the very least on the summer reading list. Her credits include Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park; however, the novel that serves as the basis for the film we are reviewing today may be her most famous work, Emma. This property is no stranger to adaptation, having been adapted in the form of a 1996 television film starring Kate Beckinsale, as well as that same year into a theatrical film starring Gwyneth Paltrow. This time around, the film stars Anya Taylor-Joy in the titular role. Though this is not the film I was hoping to see Taylor-Joy in this year (this is my subtle ploy to demand the release of The New Mutants), I must admit that she does a fine job of taking on the role that has already been tackled by top talent. Granted, this is not the type of movie that I am normally drawn to; it is my wife’s bread and butter, so naturally it was an experience that we shared. Basically a period piece romantic comedy, as anticipated it was a big hit with her, and fortunately there was some humor for me to appreciate as well.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 23rd, 2020
“On March 3, 1969 the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Its purpose was to teach the lost art of aerial combat and to insure that the handful of men who graduated were the best fighter pilots in the world. They succeeded. Today, the Navy calls it Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call it: TOP GUN.”
Back around the time I was born, when Tom Cruise had an ounce of sanity, a little movie called Top Gun swept across the globe, raking in over $350,000,000 worldwide, as well as sparking an interest in the US Navy and everything Tomcat, Skyhawk, and MiG related. Ever since its original release, Top Gun has kept a hold on its audience, being played almost weekly, and now it makes its way into the world of ultra high definition with its release on UHD Blu-ray. The timing couldn’t be any more obvious. The long-anticipated sequel has been in production, and while delayed by the global circumstances, the film will be arriving soon (at least in release terms). This is a pretty good way to get you up to speed, pun intended. The film isn’t alone in cashing in on the Tom Cruise upcoming slate of both the Top Gun sequel and two Mission Impossible films being shot at the same time. This is one of three Cruise films getting the 4K release treatment along with Days Of Thunder and the Spielberg remake of the War Of The Worlds George Pal film. Once the box office returns you’re going to be getting a lot of Tommy, so these films are intended to put you in the mood and get the party started a little early.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 20th, 2020
“No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns, *they* observed and studied, the way a man with a microscope might scrutinize the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency, men went to and fro about the globe, confident of our empire over this world. Yet across the gulf of space, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded our planet with envious eyes and slowly, and surely, drew their plans against us.”
Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is a middle-aged divorcee with a blue-collar job and a rundown home in the New Jersey suburbs. When his ex-wife unexpectedly drops his estranged kids—ten-year-old Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and sixteen-year-old Robbie (Justin Chatwin)—off for the weekend, Ray is less than pleased. He’s always struggled with his parental duties, but now finds it increasingly difficult to communicate with his children. However, events beyond his control are about to force Ray to come to terms with his responsibilities. Bizarre lighting storms herald the arrival of alien tripods, which explode from beneath the Earth’s surface and begin dispensing death and destruction on the surrounding countryside. Narrowly avoiding the first attack, Ray returns home, grabs his kids, and embarks on a frantic journey across country to find their mother in Boston.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 13th, 2020
“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you… I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory. Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”
They’ve been called The Greatest Generation, and who are we to argue the point? Sitting here writing reviews from my comfortable seat in a state of the art home theater, I’m in no position to lay claim to the title. They fought in the bloodiest conflict in modern human history. Over 20 million were killed. That’s a staggering number. If you’re like me, it’s not even real. I invite you to bear witness to one of the most important events in American history. World War II brought America out of the shadows of isolationism and onto the world stage as a leader and eventual superpower. D-Day was one of the momentous moments of both the war and America’s transformation. There have been many documentaries and complete series events that have tried to chronicle this time in American and world history.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 11th, 2020
So I had an interest in this film since I saw the preview for it; Blake Lively cast in her own revenge film. I know there is no shortage of this type of film. Luc Besson has actually made a career out of this type of film archetype, with each film being excellent in my opinion. Lively has never attempted anything of this nature, which I always find intriguing, to see an actress stretch her creative muscles. Sadly, I wasn’t able to convince my wife or my friends of the film’s potential, so on the rare occasion that I attend movies in a personal nature, I wasn’t able to steer anyone towards seeing this film with me. I mean, Blake Lively, Jude Law, and Sterling K. Brown — you would have thought I wouldn’t have to do that much convincing, but sadly everyone I showed the trailer to felt that the film’s premise had been done before. I won’t dispute that there have been several films that are similar, but in my opinion, The Rhythm Section brings a unique grittiness to the genre. It took some type to see the film, and though I do feel that the film rushed its conclusion, I thoroughly found it enjoyable, and the mentor/mentee dynamic between Law and Lively was a huge selling point for the film.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 7th, 2020
“Good evening. My name’s Wayne. Some of you may have seen me before. I hope so. I’ve been kicking around Hollywood a long time. I’ve made a lot of pictures out here. All kinds. Some of them have been westerns, and that’s what I’m here to tell you about tonight. A western. A new television show called “Gunsmoke”. When I first heard about the show “Gunsmoke”, I knew there was only one man to play in it. James Arness. He’s a young fellow, and may be new to some of you. But I’ve worked with him, and I predict he’ll be a big star. And now, I’m proud to present “Gunsmoke”.”
That was John Wayne introducing the television audiences of 1955 to Gunsmoke. Gunsmoke fans have had a long wait to get the full series on DVD, and that long wait is finally ended. If you have been picking up the seasons as they have been released along the way, sometimes in half-season sets, you only had a season remaining to complete your collection. If you waited or have become a recent fan of the classic western, another alternative has presented itself. CBS has released the entire 20 seasons in one collection. Even if you have been collecting all along, you should consider selling or gifting your single or half-season sets and opt to have them all in one place anyway. Those cases take up a lot of room on the DVD shelf, and while this collection isn’t exactly tiny, it does take up less space, with an option to store on its side where it takes up very little shelf space, but you’ll need almost 13 inches of headroom on your shelf. Even on its side it’s a good third less space than all of those cases. The design is simple and quite functional. Inside of a strong cardboard case you’ll find the 20 seasons split out over six large plastic cases. The seasons are contained in the following six groups: 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-20. The boxes avoid those stacked spindles, a choice I highly approve of. The box is an attractive case that looks like it’s leather-bound with a panoramic color photograph of the main characters on one side.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 7th, 2020
For all intents and purposes, Season 7 is the final season of Ray Donovan. The end came rather suddenly and after it was too late to create and film some kind of satisfying finale for the series. The cast and crew were taken by surprise, so you can imagine how the fans of the show are taking this. To make matters worse, the last episode, while not a complete cliffhanger, leaves too many strands of thread that weren’t connected. There’s nothing satisfying about this finale, and that created waves in the world of fandom. Star Trek is famous as being the first television show that a network cancelled and then brought back because of a huge letter-writing campaign that flooded network executives and pushed them into an unprecedented action for that time. The show was brought back. Imagine what those rabid fans could have done today with the internet and social media. The call has gone out, and while Showtime has made no move to offer any kind of reversal or concession, the show’s star reached out with a somewhat cryptic message of hope. He assured fans that the Donovan family isn’t finished just yet. What that reprieve might be, there isn’t a clue offered, but it’s doubtful at this point that the show will return as an 8th season. The likely scenarios include a Showtime film like we saw recently for Deadwood. There’s a shot at a feature film at the theatres, which is where Star Trek’s original crew ended up. There’s always a chance of a revival mini-series like we’ve seen over at Fox for The X-Files and Prison Break. I don’t know what form it might take, but I do believe the characters will return in some way. Unfortunately new global circumstances have placed pretty much all television shows, films, and other outlets for entertainment in doubt, at least in the short term. Eventually we will get out of this, but I suspect Ray Donovan won’t be the first priority out of the gate. Fans are going to have to be patient here. I believe it will happen, but I’m as equally convinced that it won’t happen soon. So for now you’re going to have to savor these last 10 episodes for a while, and this DVD release gives you the means to do just that.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 1st, 2020
Paramount is borrowing an old idea from Walt Disney Studios and making it a bit more modern. They’re digging into their vault of classic films and doing 4K restorations and releasing them under the new Paramount Presents banner. Now, as much as I’d like to see actual 4K UHD releases, I suspect that these are intended to be feelers for various classic films to try to gauge the demand for these trips into the archives. I also suspect that the titles that show the most promise will likely end up seeing a UHD release. It’s actually a pretty good plan and a chance for you to “vote” with your dollars and show each film what kind of interest still exists. I’m sure some will falter and fall by the wayside, while a few polished gems will show the kind of promise that calls for the 4K release. Now the restoration work is done, and it’s just a matter of printing some discs. So here’s a look at the first three films served up for consideration. Each is sold separately and comes in a cardboard case covering the plastic case that folds out to reveal a release poster for said film. The presentations are nice and geared toward the collector.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 1st, 2020
“If you take Alaska’s genetic code, add her life experiences, and relationships she had with people, and then you take the size and shape of her body, you do not get her.”
First impressions were that this was an experience that could by shared with my daughter. However, it wasn’t long before she found herself sent away due to the mature nature of the content. Little did I know that this series was Hulu’s answer to Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. That said, though there are clear correlations between the two properties, such as they are both based on popular novels and cover highly emotional and serious topics such as suicide and the importance of connection with people. Looking for Alaska manages to infuse some levity into its plot. This inclusion goes a long way towards solidifying the limited series’ (as I understand it, there are no plans for another season) individuality and providing an enjoyable balance to what comes to a somber conclusion.
“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.”
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 29th, 2020
“If you wish to be the king of the jungle, it’s not enough to act like a king. You must be The King. And there can be no doubt. Because doubt causes chaos and one’s own demise.”
After the horrific attempt at King Arthur, Guy Ritchie was dead to me. His films have always been more style than substance, but there have been moments when that style really told a story and told it well. Of course, I’m talking about films like Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. That was just a fun film to watch. King Arthur wasn’t fun to watch. So when The Gentlemen showed up on my doorstep in UHD to be reviewed, it was a roll of the dice for me. Which version of Ritchie was going to show up? Fortunately, it was the brilliant filmmaker who knows his strengths as well as the strengths of his cast and plays completely to those strengths. And with a few irritating flaws, this was the kind of film I’ve been waiting for from the director for several years. Universal has released it on a rather nice UHD Blu-ray (4K) release, and it should be a fun night of action for anyone who gets their hands on it.