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Thu
07
Feb

Doctor Who Season 11 Not as Bad -- or as Good -- as Previously Reported

Doctor Who Season 11

Much ado was made about the iconic British sci-fi show, DOCTOR WHO, when the Doctor regenerated once more, this time into female form and played by JODIE WHITTAKER. More than that, the former showrunner, STEVEN MOFFAT, was leaving as well, putting the new direction of the show up in the air. Some fans were prepared to love the series, no matter what; others seemed determined to hate the series, no matter what.

The true measure of this eleventh season fell somewhere in between--not as bad as the naysayers put it, but nowhere near as good as the positive numbers indicated.

Sat
02
Feb

Cloverfield Producers Need to Look up Definition of Paradox

Cloverfield Paradox

The Earth is having a critical energy crisis. It's only hope lies with the experiments on an orbiting space station, where an international group of astronauts tries to fire up a super collider. If they are successful, they will provide a limitless source of free energy.

Of course, they may also rip a whole in space time, interact with parallel realities, and unleash demons on the world -- but those are just the ravings of Internet conspiracist Mark Stambler (GOTHAM's DONAL LOGUE), a theory he calls "The Paradox."

After some unsuccessful attempts, the collider works -- and then overloads. And the Earth is gone, and common knowledge has gone with it.

Fri
01
Feb

Scooby-Doo Resolves Old Series with Curse of the 13th Ghost

Scooby Doo Curse of the 13th Ghost

Among the many series that have been a setting for Scooby-Doo and the gang, there was the 1985 show, THE 13 GHOSTS OF SCOOBY-DOO, an adventure series starring Shaggy, Scooby, and Daphne, accompanied by Scrappy and a young con-artist named Flim-Flam. In this series, Shaggy had opened a chest of demons, releasing the 13 ghosts inside. Due to the wording of the curse, only the person who released the ghosts could put them back in -- so a globe-spanning series began, with their mystic mentor, Vincent Van Ghoul (voiced by VINCENT PRICE), leading them from one caper to the next.

This series was unlike previous incarnations of the show, because the ghosts were not people in rubber masks using hidden rope-and-pulley systems, but actual spirits. However, during the course of the show's run, they only captured twelve of the ghosts.

Mon
28
Jan

Reign of the Supermen Weaker Follow-Up to Death of Superman

Reign of the Supermen Blu Ray DVD

With THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN, the DC Animated Universe gave us a story that was emotionally impacting, as it developed the budding romance between Superman (JERRY O'CONNELL) and Lois Lane (REBECCA ROMIJN), with the Man of Steel having recently revealed to her his secret identity of Clark Kent. And then, Doomsday came, the battle was joined, and Superman was dead.

Or was he? Because the cliffhanger ending left us with a stolen body and an empty tomb.

Sun
27
Jan

Everywhere You Look, Things Get Awkward in Third Season of Fuller House

Fuller House Season 3

FULLER HOUSE continues to recapture the feelings of 1990s sitcoms -- or at least our sappy sentimental memories of them. Sometimes it seems like the show is a bit too huggy, a tad heavy on recalling tropes. For instance: the front door. Anyone can walk in, to the point that the response to the doorbell is someone calling, "It's always open!" How has this family never been robbed? Because it's FULLER HOUSE, where everything from broken legs to ruined weddings are all part of the puzzle to a happy ending every thirty minutes.

Wed
23
Jan

Goosebumps 2 Fun, Family-Friendly Goof-fest

Goosebumps 2

GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN is a film that's quite obviously going to be enjoyed more by kids than by grown-ups. The horror comedy is based not on any single book of R.L. Stine's, but rather on the series as a whole, presenting them as actualities that Stine chronicles or, in this case, inadvertently creates.

The adventure begins when two friends, Sonny (JEREMY RAY TAYLOR) and Sam (CALEEL HARRIS) are hired to clean the junk out of an old abandoned house, and find a locked book in a trunk, as well as a familiar-looking ventriloquist dummy. Yes, it's Slappy, and he's looking to bond with the boys and become a brother to them. But he shows his true colors when he gets overprotective of Sonny's older sister, Sarah (MADISON ISEMAN), sending her jerk boyfriend tumbling from a tall ladder.

Mon
14
Jan

The Dark Offers Little Illumination of Plot

The Dark DVD

THE DARK is where Director Justin P. Lange keeps his audience as this urban legend style horror plays out on the screen. We open with a very nervous, somewhat religious man, Josef Hofer (KARL MARKOVICS) making his presence known as a dangerous individual looking to get directions to a place called Devil's Den, where the locals know not to go. Josef is wanted for a kidnapping, and his name and face are still being broadcast on the news, making this kidnapping a relatively recent event.

In the woods of Devil's Den, he finds an empty house, which is quite clearly still occupied. The occupant is the sallow-skinned, deformed Mina (NADIA ALEXANDER), who is something of a flesh-eating teenaged axe murderer. She's also, apparently, undead to some degree, as her skin is cold, she's impervious to pain, and has trouble digesting food made for normal humans, all of which are plot points clearly established in Lange's story.

Fri
11
Jan

Smallfoot Teaches Audiences to Question Everything

Smallfoot

Migo (CHANNING TATUM) is a yeti, who lives in an advanced society of yetis on the top of a mountain. And Migo knows the laws: that the mountaintop was pooped out of a giant bird, that it rests on the back of giant animals, that the gong must be rung every morning to wake up the giant burning snail so it crawls across the sky.

These laws are written in stone -- literally -- and taught to all by the Stonekeeper (COMMON). And among those stones is the law: There is no such thing as a Smallfoot.

But as Migo trains with his father, Dorgle (DANNY DEVITO), to be the next ringer of the gong, he overshoots his target (the only way to ring the gong is to be slingshotted into it, head first) and ends up outside the city. There he spies a small aircraft crashing, and inside of it -- a Smallfoot! Or, as we would say, a human.

When nobody believes Migo saw what he saw, Migo is exiled from the city to think about what he's saying, and ends up falling off the mountain.

Sat
29
Dec

Westworld Season Two Takes a Disjointed, Non-Linear Approach to Storytelling

Westworld Season 2

One of the frequently repeated questions during WESTWORLD is, "Is this now?" It's a question the viewer struggles with as well, as we are never quite sure where we are in the narrative. How many times do we have to see Bernard (JEFFREY WRIGHT) found on that beach after the massacre that occurred at the end of first season? How can we tell what's truly happening if he's with Elsie (SHANNON WOODWARD) one moment, and then with corporate goons in the next scene with no transition?

Fri
14
Dec

A Beautiful Planet (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)

Beautiful Planet BD

With ardent narration, Jennifer Lawrence pleads with listeners with patronizing charm to stop destroying planet Earth with your stupid antics. Okay, that was harsh and unwarranted, but such sentiments are subtly sprinkled like glitter from a Christmas card throughout this IMAX documentary, “A Beautiful Planet.” In this follow-up to her “Hubble 3D” (which featured voiceover work by Leonardo DiCaprio), Toni Myers writes, directs, produces and edits another 45-minute spectacle of large-scale natural beauty and innocuous propaganda.

Sun
09
Dec

Await Further Instructions Awaiting Cohesive Ending

Await Further Instructions

The Milgram family is full of tensions, both open and repressed. Son Nick (SAM GITTINS) hasn't been home for years, and gives no explanation as to why. He returns for Christmas, unannounced, and brings with him his girfriend, Annji (NEERJA NAIK), into an environment that's openly racist. His sister, Kate (HOLLY WESTON) is a stereotypical airheadh and two weeks out from delivering a baby, and her husband Scott (KRIS SADDLER) is a clueless sheep with muscles. Mom and Dad are poles apart from each other, with Bet (ABIGAIL CRUTTENDEN) trying to put on a cheery holiday face and ignore the stress, while Tony (GRANT MASTERS) is a follower of rules because they are laid down by those who know better.

Thu
15
Nov

SYFY's Groundbreaking Hit, KRYPTON, Coming to Blu-Ray

While it didn't get off the ground very fast, after it was announced, SYFY produced a planet-shattering 1st season that exceeded most expectations.

With jaw-dropping plot twists and shocking revelations, KRYPTON "flipped the table" and turned everything we knew about Superman's lineage and history on its head. Starring Cameron Cuffe as Seg-El, "Superman's Grandfather", Krypton features a clash of ideologies, as a society that thrives off of its caste system is threatened by multiple outside sources.

Tue
06
Nov

Christmas Comes Early with Batman: The Complete Animated Series on Blu-ray

Batman Animated Series

The year 1992 marked a turning point for animated superhero adventure. After years of shows like SUPER FRIENDS and THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN AND ROBIN, the time was ripe for the Dark Knight to return to the screen, especially after the second coming of Batmania that followed the Tim Burton film starring Michael Keaton. Rumors began swirling on the prenatal Internet (BBSs in those days) of an animated Batman in the works, and there was even leaked a writers bible for the series written by J.M. Straczynski.  

Tue
25
Sep

Truth, (Social) Justice, and a New American Way: Supergirl Season 3 on Blu-ray

Supergirl Season 3 on Blu ray

Of all the so-called Arrowverse shows, CW's televised adaptation of DC Comics superheroes, SUPERGIRL has been the most problematic. Besides taking place on an entirely different Earth than the other three shows, necessitating a cosmic crisis for the annual uber-crossover to occur, the show has a distinctly different feel to it. Perhaps it's because it's adopted into the Arrowverse, having been taken up after cancellation on it's original network. Perhaps its because the scripts have an undertone of agenda-driven plotting that shoehorns its way into the plots rather than rising organically out of the stories.

Whatever it is, it makes SUPERGIRL more difficult to watch, especially in binge-doses.

Thu
13
Sep

Improvisation is the Plan in Second Season of MACGYVER on DVD

MacGyver Season 2

MACGYVER was one of those classic 80s shows that are often imitated but never duplicated. Attempts to make movies of THE A-TEAM never took off, and remakes of KNIGHT RIDER just didn't have staying power.

Thu
13
Sep

Hide the Scooby-Snacks! Mystery Inc. Meets Food Network Icons Bobby Flay and Giada DiiLaurentis!

In one of the many iterations of SCOOBY-DOO, way back in the days of Saturday Morning cartoons, Scooby and the gang used to meet celebrities. Granted, they were celebrities who had enough free time to show up and do some voice acting for Hanna-Barbera, but they were still celebrities. Don Knotts, Mama Cass, a handful of others.

I was reminded of that series with this new release, SCOOBY-DOO AND THE GOURMET GHOST. The story finds the gang going to stay with Fred’s Uncle Bobby — Bobby Flay, whom Fred apparently didn’t know was a famous chef, much to Shaggy and Scooby’s disbelief. Flay is opening up a cooking resort with tons of “only in the cartoons” mechanical helpers that make cooking a breeze for anybody. He’s assisted in this by other celebrity chefs, including Giada DiiLaurentis, who is presented here as a sort of Wonder Woman in training as far as her surprising capabilities go.

Tue
28
Aug

Lady Street Fighter: Exploitation That Wouldn't Turn On a Lightbulb

Lady Street Fighter

Okay, I freely admit I’m an exploitation/sexploitation, sleazy/cheesy 1970’s movie junkie, and when I saw this DVD from AGFA I thought, "Oh yeah, this will be a dandy!"

Well…

Let me start this way: this movie was made in 1977 and directed by James Bryan and was written and produced by Renee Harmon, so the credentials were there for what should have been a prime example of the genre. It ain’t, even by low standards. I give credit to AGFA for releasing it, though, as it is something to be seen…once…and then locked away somewhere.

The DVD features the movie in a new 2k scan from the only surviving 35mm theatrical trailer (one can only surmise the others were burned) and tells the story of a woman named Linda Allen (Renee Harmon) a cop hot on the trails of the thugs who killed her twin sister.

Mon
27
Aug

The Thinker Debuts Nefarious Plans in The Flash Season 4 Now on Blu-ray

The Flash Season 4 Blu-ray

For all it's many (many, many) plot faults, the fourth season of THE FLASH is one of my personal favorites. It's not just because the big bad of the season finally wasn't another speedster who was faster than the titular "fastest man alive," or because the villain was (at least at first) one scary AF adversary. No, the real joy of this season of THE FLASH comes from the introduction of HARTLEY SAWYER as Ralph Dibny, aka The Elongated Man. In the Silver Age of comics, Barry Allen and Ralph Dibny were best friends, and teamed up often on cases, so it was nice to see that relationship begin to develop in the television series, even if it did begin on strained terms. The special effects for Ralph's powers were also better than anticipated, and will hopefully be even better and more creative going into the fifth season.

Tue
07
Aug

Suspenseful, Frustrating Sixth Season of Arrow Debuts on Blu-ray

Arrow Season 6

The biggest problem with CW's series, ARROW, is that it has to keep ratcheting up the action to top its previous season. The natural end result was that the writers have painted themselves into quite a corner with the way the sixth season has wrapped up. The good part of that, however, is that we get the fun of watching them try to write their way out of it.

This season sees Green Arrow, aka Oliver Queen (STEPHEN AMELL), take on several different challenges, not the least of which comes from a federal agent, who is convinced that Oliver is the Green Arrow and is looking to put him behind bars for his vigilante actions. The irony of all that is that the case is largely built on a digitally manipulated image of Green Arrow unmasking to reveal Oliver Queen's face -- a fake that tells the truth.

Tue
07
Aug

Breaking In Mixes Primal Protective Instincts with High Stakes Heist

Breaking In

If you've ever been locked out of your house, you know what a pain it is trying to break back in. Turn the house is an electronic fortress, and add three armed robbers inside holding your kids hostage, and you've got BREAKING IN, a home invasion / heist drama fraught with tension and desparate players on both sides of the conflict.

Shaun Russell (GABRIELLE UNION) is a mother of two, and has arrived at her late father's estate to prepare it for sale. Her father was a crime boss, about to be face trial before he was run down in the street. But before he could go to trial, he liquidated all his assets and put them in a safe in his country home, a secluded manse on several acres and modified with the best security and surveillance systems money could buy.

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