Magic in the Moonlight DVD Review

     Actors: Colin Firth
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 16, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2017
  • Run Time: 96 minutes


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            Woody Allen has nearly created an entire sub-genre of comedy with the consistency that he has retained many of the same narrative and stylistic choices over the years, even since his shift from New York to Europe as a regular shooting location. Allen nearly has a Japanese mentality to filmmaking, seeming to long for consideration as a whole, as one would do with the work of Yasujiro Ozu, and the breadth of his work makes this entirely plausible. In theory, this will always make Allen a filmmaker of incredible significance, though I hardly anticipate upcoming releases from him with any amount of excitement. Magic in the Moonlight fits perfectly in this filmography; seemingly effortlessly produced with the fluidity of a well-oiled machine, though void of any innovation. Allen may be more high-brow than the average romantic comedy, but he has come to be every bit as predictable.

     

    When the Game Stands Tall Blu-ray Review

        Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony
  • Release Date: December 9, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2017
  • Run Time: 115 minutes


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            Basing a film on true events can often be a double-edged sword in the hands of an incapable filmmaker. There are two opposing impulses in these narratives, and they can often be in direct conflict with each other. The urge to mold the inspirational and motivational events to adhere to genre structures can often directly contradict the goal of a faithful and realistic portrayal of the actual people behind the story. When the Game Stands Tall attempts to do both, at the detriment to the final product.

     

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Blu-ray Review

    Format: Blu-ray, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: German
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony
  • Release Date: December 2, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2014
  • Run Time: 90 minutes



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            The Poverty Row studio Columbia Pictures won 13 Academy Awards in the 1930s, and 11 of them were directed by Frank Capra. Capra was a filmmaker both loved and despised for his saccharine handling of social issues in film, each making grand statements in themes with the help of likeably quirky characters. Some criticize this style, while others revel in the pure emotional pleasure of films like It’s a Wonderful Life and You Can’t Take it With You. While there is an incredible amount of realism in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, including a recreated set of the Senate chamber, it also has the unmistakably familiar touch of Capra sentimentality.

     

    Justified: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy
  • Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Release Date: December 2, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2017
  • Run Time: 607 minutes



  •  
            Based on the short story “Fire in the Hole” by crime novelist Elmore Leonard, “Justified” works as an adaptation with room for growth. Timothy Olyphant has a strong presence as the lead, and he has plenty of experience carrying a western-type show, though this FX seriesis far more similar to “Sons of Anarchy” than “Deadwood.” The premise had begun to run a little bit thin by the third season, though the inevitable final season in sight has increased the stakes of the drama. He is still a lawman who often operates outside of conventional law, and surrounded by corruption this is often a necessary approach.

     

    Dead Snow: Red Vs Dead Blu-ray Review

         Actors: Vegar Hoel, Organ Gamst, Martin Starr
  • Director: Tommy Wirkola
  • Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: Norwegian
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: December 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 100 minutes



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            I have a vague recollection of enjoying Dead Snow, but little about the actual film stands out in my mind. The main problem is the cookie-cutter co-ed characters and set-up that resembled numerous other horror movies. The familiarity of this set-up was only off-set by the creativity and tone of the film’s violence, though the first act forces the audience to spend far too much time with a predictable premise and disposable characters. This problem is immediately resolved in the sequel, which begins where the first film ended, with solitary survivor Martin (Vegar Hoel) battling zombies after accidentally killing his girlfriend and sawing his own arm off. This fast-paced beginning only lets up for moments, but once again filmmaker Tommy Wirkola’s strength lies in the creatively gory action.

     

    What If DVD Review

         Actors: Daniel Radcliffe
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 25, 2014
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2017
  • Run Time: 90 minutes




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            I desperately wanted to like the romantic comedy spoof, They Came Together, because few genres of film are as formulaic and predictable. The problem with that film was the inability to exceed the sheer ridiculousness of the popular date movie narrative. Even in the attempt to mock romantic comedies, They Came Together simply resembled the worst, most contrived, formulaic and cliché of the genre; like What If. If you picture any stereotypical romantic comedy scenario, it is presented unironically somewhere in the 98-minute running-time of this fluff art.

     

    Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series DVD Review

         Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 602 minutes



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            The world of “Doctor Who” has many rules and technicalities to the storyline, no doubt adjusted to continue the franchise from generation to generation. Among these are the specifics behind the doctor’s changing appearance through the years since his arrival in pop culture in 1963. Apparently there are a certain amount of incarnations of the same doctor over the years, which explains the change in actors playing him. The episode, “The Time of the Doctor,” marked the departure of Matt Smith and the introduction of Peter Capaldi for the eighth season. Unfortunately, “The Time of the Doctor” hasn’t been included in this collection, despite past seasons making a habit of including the traditional Christmas special.

     

    Guardians of the Museum DVD Review

         Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Stereo)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 25, 2014
  • Run Time: 112 minutes


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            Merely looking at the cover of the “Guardians of the Museum” DVD, one might automatically assume that this was some type of British rip-off of the popular Hollywood film franchise adapted from children’s books, A Night in the Museum. The artwork looks far too similar to go unnoticed, although the content could not be much different. Even with a cover that borders on plagiarism, “Guardians of the Museum” is a rather unique children’s educational game show. Directed at a younger audience, this show gives lessons while simultaneously using special effects and a somewhat contrived narrative to add some elements of fantasy into the historical trivia show.

     

    A Very Funny Christmas DVD Review

         Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Stereo)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2014
  • Run Time: 124 minutes



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            Based on the books by David Walliams, these two hour-long adaptations are not directly related to the holidays despite the conveniently titled package. “A Very Funny Christmas” merely contains two adaptations of stories by Walliams that happen to take place during the holidays. The irreverently imaginative children’s narratives could easily be watched any time of the year, but packaging them this way enhances the timeliness of the stories and sets the DVD up for holiday purchases.

     

    Cartoon Network: Holiday Collection DVD Review

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Cartoon Network
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2014
  • Run Time: 44 minutes



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            It is that time of year again, which means many home entertainment releases that would be deemed inconsequential released during any other season. These theme DVDs are a regular occurrence year-round, but they only truly make sense with the holiday collections. Clearly designated as a stocking-stuffer gift, this collection comes with four Christmas-themed episodes from three popular Cartoon Network series.

     

    A Belle for Christmas DVD Review

         Actors: Dean Cain, Kristy Swanson, Haylie Duff
  • Director: Jason Dallas
  • Writer: Jake Helgren
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 91 minutes



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            This is a little bit strange, but as I prepared to review this typically overly-saccharine holiday film involving a dog I couldn’t help but notice that star Dean Cain has a longstanding relationship with both holiday and canine-themed family films. Along with this film, Cain has many other holiday films on his resume, including A Christmas Wedding (2006), A Nanny for Christmas (2010), The Case for Christmas (2011), Merry ExMas (2014), Small Town Santa (2014), Defending Santa (2014).

     

    Premature DVD Review

         Actors: John Karna, Craig Roberts, Alan Tudyk
  • Director: Dan Beers
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 90 minutes



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            Premature is a predictably typical sex comedy in nearly every way, with the exception of the time loop narrative that makes it resemble Groundhog’s Day or The Edge of Tomorrow for a high school virgin. And even the use of a time loop somehow does little to motivate originality in the screenplay, which is content to re-use the same vulgar gag repeatedly as the only source of entertainment within the film. Characters are little more than props for the repeat sex jokes and predictable outcomes, with female characters sketched out in a two-dimensional manner to fit into the male fantasy.

     

    Bound by Flesh DVD Review

         Actors: Lea Thompson, Nancy Allen
  • Director: Leslie Zemeckis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2014
  • Run Time: 90 minutes


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            Bound by Flesh is strongest when delving into the historical context of the freak show rather than the personal lives of conjoined twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton. It isn’t that their lives aren’t interesting, but we are given very little content to help us understand or relate to them as people, beginning with the essential choice to remain conjoined despite having no medical reason to stay that way. These sisters chose to remain attached to each other, even long after their fame and careers in the entertainment industry had passed.

     

    The Paradise: Season Two Blu-ray Review

        
         Format: Blu-ray, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: November 18, 2014
  • Run Time: 464 minutes



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            “The Paradise” is a new BBC series which has the feel of a classic literature adaptation, filled with savory melodrama and colorful characters in an immaculate Victorian setting. Season one of this delightful romance could stand alone as a miniseries by the way the story is neatly wrapped up in eight episodes, though the narrative continues with this second season. While the narrative may not be so neatly contained in a second season, the characters are increasingly endearing through a new series of obstacles and conflicts.  

     

    Miss Marple Blu-ray Review


        Actors: Joan Hickson
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 28, 2014
  • Run Time: 527 minutes





  •         Agatha Christie’s iconic character of Miss Marple has been played by many actresses, from Margaret Rutherford to Angela Landsbury with more adaptations inevitably on their way, but none are likely to surpass the success of the original interpretations by Joan Hickson in the 1980s and early 90s. Hickson was 78 when she was cast as Miss Marple in 1984, making her one of the oldest actresses to ever take a lead role in a television series. This collaboration resulted in twelve television film adaptations of Christie’s classic works starring Hickson, before her retirement eight years later.

     

    Last Heroes of D-Day DVD Review

       

         Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 100 minutes




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            “Last Heroes of D-Day” is a 2-part World War II documentary special about the events leading up to D-Day on June 6th, 1944. Utilizing interviews from surviving veterans, reenactments and special effects, this special gives the top secret stories of espionage and planning that went into the calculated attack in Northern France by the Allied Forces. It is all very cutting edge and flashy, including hip young host Dan Snow.

     

    Walter’s War DVD Review

           
       Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 108 minutes




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            Walter Tull was a successful professional football player prior to the First World War, where he was a heroic non-commissioned officer until his death in 1918. The television movie, “Walter’s War” focuses entirely upon Tull’s time in the war, and the 53-minute TV-movie feels incomplete because of these limitations in the screenplay. This wounds the telling of this true story, but it is the cliché racial obstacles within the narrative that deals a fatal blow to the derivative screenplay from actor-turned-writer Kwame Kwei-Armah.

     

    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.