It Happened One Night Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable
  • Director: Frank Capra
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct)
  • Release Date: November 18, 2014
  • Run Time: 105 minutes


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            This was the film which catapulted the success of the screwball comedy genre in the 1930s, not to mention its impact on the sales of undershirts in America. Made just prior to the days of Production Code censorship and restriction, It Happened One Night has a sequence which doesn’t seem anything but mild by today’s standards, but might have been cut had the film been made a year later. The scene featured Clark Gable’s character undressing, and this dashing star’s missing undershirt in this sequence suddenly gave men all over the country to skimp on this article, either for fashion or frugality.

     

    I Am Ali Blu-ray Review

         Director: Clare Lewins
  • Writer: Clare Lewins
  • Producers: Clare Lewins, George Chignell, Greg Hobden
  • Format: Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Widescreen
  • Language: Portuguese (DTS 5.1), German (DTS 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, English
  • Dubbed: Portuguese, French, German, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Rated: PG
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • Release Date: November 11, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016
  • Run Time: 112 minutes


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            Certain cultural figures never truly leave the limelight, and it feels as though there is renewed interest in their celebrity every few years through various documentary and film projects. These icons most commonly include John Lennon, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali. The latter of these three has been given another documentary feature to praise his accomplishments, though I Am Ali does little to add to the cultural significance of the man. Aside from the rehashing of familiar material, the main draw of I Am Ali is commentary from those closest to him and private recordings of personal conversations with family members. For those who have no need to hear one of the greatest boxers talking in a baby voice for his children, any of the other documentaries will likely suffice.

     

    22 Jump Street Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Peter Stormare, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Wyatt Russell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony
  • Release Date: November 18, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2017


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            21 Jump Street seemed like a terrible idea, along with The Dukes of Hazzard, Starsky & Hutch and every other television-to-film adaptation from decades past. In the end, it was the film’s unwillingness to take the material seriously which was ultimately the saving grace, which is why it makes sense for the post-modern, self-referential style to carry the sequel into successful comedic territory. Rather than just creating a straightforward second installment in the franchise, this quickly becomes a comedy about the ridiculousness of all buddy-action sequels. The impact of this humor was also far greater before the news of another sequel in the works, especially since the end of this film is dedicated to poking fun at that very prospect.

     

    Land Ho! Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: November 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 95 minutes



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            Road trip films are often far more interested in the journey than the destination, but the Icelandic setting of Land Ho! makes each step of the trip feel like an arrival of sorts. The plot is minimal between the two old friends on the trip together, so all focus is on the character development, and the scenery often feels as though it has a supporting role in the narrative. This is not unlike many other road trip/vacation buddy comedies, though it does begin to feel like a travelogue for Iceland at certain points in the meandering screenplay.

     

    Iceman Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Donnie Yen, Wang Baoqiang, Eva Huang, Simon Yam
  • Director: Law Wing Cheong
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: November 11, 2014
  • Run Time: 104 minutes


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            Donnie Yen has somehow gone from one of the most impressive martial arts action stars working today to becoming nothing more than a celebrity face for the latest CGI-filled blockbuster in Chinese cinema. Iceman is the latest of these poorly constructed vehicles of mass entertainment, mashing up period costume drama with modern police procedural, all filtered through the expectations of logic usually lowered for a comic book movie. There is action and humor every fifteen-minutes, all meant to entertain while distracting from the ridiculousness bursting from every frame of this film. And just in case the open-ended resolution of the film’s climax doesn’t completely turn away the audience, there are plans for a sequel to follow.

     

    LFO DVD Review

         Actors: Patrik Karlson, Per Lofberg
  • Director: Antonio Tublen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Swedish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Dark Sky Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2014
  • Run Time: 98 minutes



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            This low-budget science-fiction dark comedy from Sweden plays into the darker recesses of human nature, specifically delving into the question of what we might do if there were no repercussions for our actions. What if we could act any way that we wanted, because the simple push of a button could provide the ability to control the way that others perceive events? LFO imagines a situation where that power is in the hands of a disturbed loner spending most of his time alone, envious of those he watches from the windows of his home.

     

    Beneath DVD Review

        Actors: Kelly Noonan, Jeff Fahey
  • Director: Ben Ketai
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2014
  • Run Time: 89 minutes



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            The ambiguity of the horror film Beneath is what allows it to still claim inspiration from a true story, though we know that many of the film’s more grotesque images cannot possibly have existed in reality. This is also what helps the audience to grasp some type of understanding from the ambiguity. I found this construction in the screenplay to be the most impressive element of the film, which in every other way seems to be as generic a horror movie as I have ever seen.

     

    Impractical Jokers: The Complete Second Season DVD Review

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 572 minutes



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            I was more than a bit of a troublemaker when I was younger, mostly due to my overactive imagination and the unwillingness to remain bored. When my physical situation is dull, I find my mind compensating with creative inspiration for ideas of less than traditional amusement. In other words, I would have fit right in with the guys of “Impractical Jokers,” despite the fact that they are fully grown and still amusing themselves through immature methods. The adult in me is somewhat embarrassed for these four grown men, while the kid in me is simply jealous of their job.

     

    Deliver Us From Evil DVD Review

         Actors: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez
  • Format: Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2017



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            There have been far too many exorcism/demonic possession films in recent film history for Deliver Us from Evil to stand out without a twist, which is the blending of a police procedural with the religious horror genre. Add the fact that it was inspired by actual accounts of an NYPD sergeant (another favored element of the genre), and Deliver Us from Evil should have delivered adequate entertainment. Unfortunately, in order for a film to be frightening, you have to be able to see what is going on, and this is easily one of the worst shot horror films I have ever seen.

    Grace: The Possession DVD Review

         Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish, English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2014
  • Run Time: 87 minutes


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            Grace: The Possession has the laziness of a found-footage horror movie without any of the logic. Rather than being a film shot by the characters, we are instead given the sole perspective of a demon that has entered the body of our protagonist. This means we witness everything through the eyes of Grace (Alexia Fast), whose POV becomes the same as the typical hand-held camera shots of a found-footage horror movie. Then again, this also means the audience is not subjected to relentlessly asinine reasons for the character to be holding a camcorder for the running-time of the narrative.

     

    F is for Fake Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, Joseph Cotton
  • Director: Orson Welles
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct)
  • Release Date: October 21, 2014
  • Run Time: 87 minutes


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            It is easy to see why F is for Fake is often called an “essay film,” because of how it transitions from one narrative of forgery to the next, each time connecting them with common threads. But it is also far more than that; a documentary with filmed sequences and original stories mixed in. It is an unpredictable viewing experience, which is what one would expect from the mind of Orson Welles, who becomes a link on the narrative chain along the way.

     

    The Vanishing Blu-ray Review

        Actors: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, Johanna ter Steege
  • Director: George Sluizer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dubbed, Widescreen
  • Language: Dutch
  • Dubbed: French
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct)
  • Release Date: October 28, 2014
  • Run Time: 106 minutes


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            In the wake of David Fincher’s critical and box-office success about a missing person’s case, a classic in the genre from 1988 has been released on Blu-ray through The Criterion Collection. Also based on a screenplay adapted from a novel by the author himself, The Vanishing was successful enough to warrant an American remake starring Jeff Bridges and Kiefer Sutherland five years after this French/Dutch version. In reality, however, this is a narrative which has been around for much longer, whether considering Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, The Lady Vanishes, or a classic Parisian Urban Legend from 1901. What makes director George Sluizer’s film memorable is his uncompromising and unforgettable ending.

     

    Kundo Blu-ray Review

        Actors: Ha Jung-Woo, Kang Dong-won, Lee Sung-min, Cho Jin-woong
  • Director: Yoon Jong-bin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dubbed
  • Language: Korean
  • Dubbed: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: October 21, 2014
  • Run Time: 137 minutes


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            Originality is something hard to come by in period martial arts movies, mostly because there have simply been so many of them. With the historical events of the Korean Joseon Dynasty, which resulted in a major division between peasants and the wealthily oppressive royalty, Kundun has the perfect scenario for a Robin Hood type narrative. Unoriginal as it may be, this is cinematically a perfect match, providing plenty of action and a reason to root for the vengeance of the good guys.

     

    Sex Tape Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Sony
  • Release Date: October 21, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2017
  • Run Time: 94 minutes


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            The producers of Sex Tape must have been among the few in Hollywood to find good fortune in the controversial leaking of hacked celebrity photos and videos. Without this incident, commonly referred to as ‘The Fappening’ by online communities, the film Sex Tape would have had absolutely no relevance. Unfortunately, people will remember the celebrity scandal long after they have forgotten this ridiculously mediocre film ever existed. 

     

    Chinese Puzzle Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Romain Duris
  • Director: Cedric Klapisch
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: October 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 117 minutes




  •         There are plenty of sequels to action movies, because there are always new villains and injustices for heroes to battle against. There are no shortages of horror sequels, giving the impression that some monsters will never die; at least not as long as their survival continues to sell tickets. The one genre which rarely sees a sequel is the romantic comedy, because to continue the story often means admitting that the ‘happily ever after’ ending from the previous installment was somewhat of a lie. Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch tackles this impossible task for the second time in one narrative, with time between each sequel being his only saving grace.

     

    Le Chef Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Jean Reno, Michael Youn
  • Director: Daniel Cohen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: October 21, 2014
  • Run Time: 84 minutes



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            Hollywood has long had the tendency to look towards the foreign film market for new ideas to replicate, but Daniel Cohen’s lighthearted culinary comedy is a French film which seems to be imitating the bubbling simplicity of an American comedy. Realism and originality are thrown out the window for a carefree romp in the cinematic world of French haute-cuisine. While this approach is likely to keep Le Chef off of any lists for artistic achievements, it makes for an engaging evening of entertainment.

     

    Nightcap Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc
  • Director: Claude Chabrol
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: September 30, 2014
  • Run Time: 99 minutes



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            Claude Chabrol’s Nightcap (Merci pour le Chocolat) is what you might have gotten from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca had it been a comedy. There is a mystery at the center of the film, but the reveal comes as less of a surprise as the casual manner with which the film’s murderous culprit justifies and dismisses these evil actions. Even the revelations of criminal insanity are not enough to disturb the pristine veneer of upper class wealth.

     

    Daniel Boone: The Complete Series DVD Review

         Actors: Patricia Blair, Darby Hinton, Dal McKennon, Ed Ames Fess Parker
  • Directors: Nathan Juran William Wiard
  • Writers: David Duncan, D.D. Beauchamp
  • Producers: Aaron Rosenberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 36
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Mod
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2014
  • Run Time: 8150 minutes




  •         Daniel Boone was a real life frontiersman and American pioneer whose exploits and explorations were impressive enough to make him one of the country’s first folk heroes. This television series does not look to paint an accurate representation of history, but instead focuses on enhancing the legend of Boone. There are definite timeline issues in the narrative, but the spirit of the adventurer is captured in the same manner I imagine word of mouth originally embellished Boone into celebrity.

     

    Witching & Bitching DVD Review

         Actors: Pepon Nieto, Mario Casas, Hugo Silva
  • Director: Álex de la Iglesia
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: October 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 114 minutes



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            Director Álex de la Iglesia (El Crimen Perfecto, The Last Circus) has shown his ability to find the comedic edge in dark and often morbid narratives in the past, but he seems to be having more fun than ever with his latest, Witching & Bitching. Part crime film, part buddy action, part horror, and part screwball comedy; this film crams a little bit of everything into a concise and energetic 114 minutes that ends up feeling like a blend of From Dusk till Dawn and The Witches if Eastwick on crack. This may not be a perfect film, but it is unique and fun enough to easily forgive its minor shortcomings.

     

    Venus in Fur DVD Review

         Actors: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner
  • Director: Roman Polanksi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French, German
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: October 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 96 minutes



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            Fans of the award-winning play will enjoy the stylistic nuances that Roman Polanski has added through the medium of film, though it remains a narrative contingent upon the ability of the only two actors in the cast. The entire story takes place in just one evening, taking place at a single location, and to call it ‘dialogue-heavy’ would be the understatement of the year. This is what made for such great theater, containing roles theatrical actors can often only dream of, though Polanski and his cast must work twice as hard to make the same elements work on film.