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Fri
23
Oct

They Reach Brims with Retro Charm

They Reach BD

Ahhhh, sweet nostalgia. To yearn for those simple, bygone days of Camaros with cassette decks, high school science projects and hopeless crushes, of listening to Heart LP’s and praying a freshly-resurrected demonic entity doesn’t possess your best friend. Who could forget such blood-splattered innocence?

Sun
18
Oct

HBO's The Plot Against America Interesting Alt-History Despite Pretense at Prescience

The Plot Against America

HBO's six-part series THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA is an adaption of the Philip Roth novel of the same name, chronicling an alternate history of World War II in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt lost his third bid for the presidency to Republican candidate and aviation hero, Charles Lindbergh. In this reshuffling of events, the election of Lindbergh gave way to a populist upheaval in America, which led to a rise of antisemitism and fascism, particularly against Jewish citizens.

Mon
12
Oct

Jason Todd's "Death" Remains a "Choose Your Own Adventure" in DC's Batman: Death in the Family Interactive Movie

Batman Death in the Family Bluray

Dear DC Comics,

Please refund me the amount of US$1.10, which is the inflationary adjustment value of the US$0.50 I spent in 1988 when I voted for Robin II -- aka Jason Todd -- to die. Your resurrecting of this character represents a breach of the financial contract established at that time, conducted over telephone lines overseen by the Federal Communications Commission. Thank you.

Was it really 32 years ago since the unprecedented act of fan-voting on a character's fate sent Jason Todd to that great four-color press in the sky? I'd swear it was only yesterday. In the four-part BATMAN saga, the Joker had laid into Jason with a crowbar (which has been re-visited ad infinitum ever since) , and the resulting poll of fans who called in via a 1-900 number directed DC to steer the story toward Jason's death.

Mon
12
Oct

Space Ghost and Dino Boy: The Complete Series on Blu-ray

Space Ghost and Dino Boy Complete Collection

It's Saturday morning all over again with this collection of the classic SPACE GHOST animated series. Featuring all twenty of the 1966-1968 SPACE GHOST episodes, these cartoon shorts have lost none of their appeal, due in large part to the timeless designs of Alex Toth.

Wed
07
Oct

Marc Munden's The Secret Garden Can Stay Secret

Secret Garden 2020

THE SECRET GARDEN is one of those literary and film classics that, for whatever reason, has evaded my radar. Even the original version with Margaret O'Brien and Dean Stockwell has somehow gone unseen by me, despite may years of having watched such family classics on television, VHS, and DVD.

Would that I could have continued my streak -- or, perhaps, have seen it in one of it's prior versions.

Mon
05
Oct

Michael Sheen an Affable Serial Killer in PRODIGAL SON, Now on Blu-ray

Prodigal Son Season One

The premise behind PRODIGAL SON is intriguing: an professional profiler, Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), is released from the FBI for taking dangerous risks. Upon his release, he's offered a position as a consultant for the NYPD Major Crimes division, under Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips), a man whose been a father figure to him since Malcolm was ten years old. Gil took on that role after Gil arrested Malcolm's father -- Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), also known as the notorious serial killer, The Surgeon.

A serial killer hunter raised by a serial killer is just the kind of twisted base that could support a constant fount of intrigue and suspense. And to a large degree, it does. On top of the weekly serial killer of the week structure, PRODIGAL SON provides an ongoing mystery, a repressed memory of Malcolm's that could lead to the discovery of a yet-to-be-discovered victim of The Surgeon.

Tue
29
Sep

The Best Superhero TV Show Debuts Today on Blu-ray: DC's Stargirl, The Complete First Season

Stargirl Season 1 BD

The best thing to happen to CW superhero shows was obtaining the license to rebroadcast episodes of STARGIRL the day after premiering on the DC Universe streaming services. The show, shepherded by character creator Geoff Johns, became immediately recognized as one of the best translations of comic-to-tube in decades.

Sat
26
Sep

Legends of Tomorrow Fight Fate in Post-Crisis Fifth Season

Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Bluray

While the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS crossover event was a mid-season interruption for most of the CW superhero shows, it was the season opening episode for LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, the action sitcom of the Arrowverse. LEGENDS began as a team of superheroes assembled to go on a time-travel mission to stop Vandal Savage, and selected because they would not be missed by history if they were killed. Since then, it has evolved into a sort of "anything goes" time-travel fix-it series, with very little super-heroing happening -- with John Constantine (Matt Ryan) thrown into the mix.

Mon
21
Sep

Beckman Aims John Wick at Christian Audience

Beckman DVD

Aaron Beckman (David A.R. White) is an assassin for hire who wants out of the game. Injured during an encounter in Los Angeles, he takes refuge in a church, giving a satchel of money to the pastor, Philip (JUSTIFIED's Jeff Fahey). The pastor is at his own crossroads of faith over his failing health, and we quickly forward two years later to Philip's own death. Beckman takes over as the church's shepherd, until he comes to a crossroads of his own, preparing to leave everything behind when history repeats itself and another lost soul comes to the door needing sanctuary: a young woman named Tabitha (Brighton Sharbino, THE WALKING DEAD).

Thu
17
Sep

Supergirl's Greatest Battle is Fought in Cyberspace in Fifth Season (Now on Blu-ray)

Supergirl Season 5 Blu-ray

In the fifth season of the Maid of Might's adventures, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and her super friends find themselves going up against Leviathin, an organization bent on putting Earth through its next extinction event, ushered in at the hands of seemingly immortal gods like Rama Khan (Mitch Pileggi) and Gamemnae (Cara Buono).

But it's not as simple as that, as Supergirl's civilian life as Kara Danvers is complicated by new relationships. A new fellow reporter at CATCO, William Dey (Staz Nair), gets nosy about Kara's personal life, and has some pretty shady interactions that arouse Kara's suspicions. But his true motives become revealed later on, when Kara learns he's been undercover investigating a very bad person.

Sun
13
Sep

We Bare Bears Get Their Own CN Movie

We Bare Bears The Movie DVD

Grizz, Panda, and Ice Bear move beyond the cartoon short form that has been their norm to headline their first Cartoon Network movie.

The bears' rush to the grand opening of food truck selling poutine leaves a trail of chaos in their wake -- and a slew of angry townspeople. Determined to make amends, the bears attempt to become popular by making the greatest viral video ever, by combining elements of every popular meme of the last twenty years. But when this ends in disastrous results, it grabs the attention of the no-nonsense Agent Trout from Fish and Wildlife. He's determined to bring the bears in and relocate them to a bear sanctuary.

And so begins the greatest road trip of all time, as the bears go on the lam in a police van, intent on crossing the border into Canada for freedom, love, and universal health care.

Fri
11
Sep

A Double Dose of High-Definition Deduction: Ritchie's Sherlock Films on 4K

RDJ Sherlock Holmes

Slightly edging out Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in bringing the archetypal detective and his military doctor partner to a modern audience, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law -- under the direction of Guy Ritchie -- gave us a very action-oriented Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Not merely content with armchair deductions and lording his grasp of the obvious (to him) over Scotland Yard, This Holmes enjoyed getting into physical confrontation, and in both films -- SHERLOCK HOLMES and SHERLOCK HOLMES; A GAME OF SHADOWS -- much detail is given to Holmes's foresight and planning for where to land punches and predicting his opponents' moves.

Tue
08
Sep

Direct-to-DVD Too Good for Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite

Cats Dogs 3 Paws Unite DVD

The CATS & DOGS franchise operates on the conceit that animals can all talk, and that cats and dogs work together to operate a high-tech MI-6 inspired operation to protect the world from other cats and dogs who have evil plans for the world. Using voice actors and CGI, it was an entertaining franchise for children to watch, and had enough of a plot to keep the adults awake.

With this third installment, PAWS UNITE, the notion of an engaging plot has been thrown out with the kitty litter.

Sun
06
Sep

35 Years Later, The Goonies Still Fun

Goonies 4K

Talk to any child of the 80s about what made that era so great, and eventually talk will come around to THE GOONIES, the Steven Spielberg production that brought a motley group of outcast kids together on a treasure hunt that pitted them against criminals and clues in an effort to save their homes from a greedy real estate developer.

In addition to being the first big-screen appearances for actors Sean Astin and Josh Brolin, THE GOONIES featured Corey Feldman, who was already an accomplished actor but who certainly came to prominence due to this film, and Anne Ramsey, perfectly cast as Mama Fratelli, the leader of a family counterfeiting gang that sets up operations in an old restaurant that happens to sit atop the entrance to a series of underground tunnels used hundreds of years ago by pirates -- pirates whose treasure is fabled to still exist somewhere in the catacombs.

Mon
31
Aug

Superman: Man of Tomorrow Misses Audience of Today

Superman Man of Tomorrow Review

With JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: APOKOLIPS WAR, the interconnected DC Animated Universe was brought to a close -- or a new beginning, depending on your perspective.

SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW may be that new beginning, as it gives viewers a Superman who as not yet even put on the cape. 

Clark Kent (Darren Criss) is an intern for the Daily Planet, yet to have his own byline. Lois Lane (Alexandra Daddario) has only just broken into the ranks of the press, having been responsible for the downfall of corrupt magnate Lex Luthor (Zachary Quinto). The world is only just getting introduced to the idea of superheroes, what with the rare glimpses of Superman's exploits as the "flying man" wearing the aviator helmet and goggles, and the even rarer shots of the Bat Man of Gotham City.

Tue
25
Aug

History Channel's Washington a Personal Glimpse at American Founding Father

Washington DVD

Jeff Daniels narrates WASHINGTON, a three-part miniseries for The History Channel that mixes re-enactment with seated interview segments that do a deep-dive into the events in the life of George Washington, the first President of the United States.

Nicholas Rowe (YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES) plays the titular founding father in program that strips away the folk history to reveal the man beneath, complete with flaws and failures. From his first military command -- which resulted in an embarrassing attack on a French diplomatic party with Washington signing a confession branding him as an assassin -- to his tactical decisions as the Commander in Chief of his own army in the American Revolution, WASHINGTON is a story of growth and maturiing, of making mistakes and learning from them. Rowe presents a stoic Washington throughout, even when forced to make hard decisions such as hanging deserters or having mutineers execute their leaders in a firing squad.

Wed
19
Aug

The Flash Season Six: Success is Erased

Flash Season 6 Bluray

2020 was meant to be the biggest year ever for CW's THE FLASH. From the very first episode when viewers got teased with that headline from the future, we knew the series was building toward the legendary "Crisis on Infinite Earths" story -- a story which, in comics, rebuilt the entire DC Universe from scratch at the cost of the lives of The Flash and Supergirl. And while it seemed unlikely that the showrunners were going to sacrifice two of their titular characters for the sake of telling the story, expectations among fans were nonetheless high.

Wed
12
Aug

Batwoman Season One Blu-ray: A Study in How Social Messaging Defeats Story Success

Batwoman Season One Blu-ray

From its very preconception, BATWOMAN seemed to be a project destined for failure on the CW. From the inflammatory pre-show trailers to the shoe-horned identity-driven approach to storytelling, the series was determined to trip over itself to be something rather than letting an organically told story do the work for them, ultimately resulting in the lead actress, Ruby Rose, opting to leave the role of Kate Kane -- the titular hero -- after the freshman year.

Thu
06
Aug

The Journey to Mordor Went Faster and Clearer than Season One of His Dark Materials

HDM Season 1

The premise of Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS is one with a lot of promise. It's theological at its core, positing an alternate world much like our own, with an identical creation story of Adam, Eve, and Serpent. But beyond that, things diverge. The world is one of dirigible and balloon transport, and the architecture seems older and more industrial revolution era. But beyodn the trappings of technology, there is more: humans are born with a "daemon" -- a spirit animal that can change its form until the human host reaches puberty, at which point it settles on one specific animal. The connection between human and daemon is considered sacred, and indeed what effects one is felt on the other. When humans die, their daemons disintegrate.

Wed
05
Aug

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Season 2: Forgettable Actions in Venezuela

Jack Ryan Season 2

I've greatly enjoyed the movies adapting Tom Clancy's novels. There was plenty of action and suspense, and you felt the character was always in a (wait for it) clear and present danger.

Now, I admittedly missed the first season of the JACK RYAN streaming series, and honestly I wasn't lost entering the second season without it. The storyline here was clearly a new beginning bringing back the titular character (played by John Krasinski) with James Greer (Wendell Pierce), and introducing Mike November (Michael Kelly). The setting is Venezuela, where the current corrupt leader, Nicolas Reyes (Jordi Mollà), is having his position challenged in the upcoming election by Gloria Bonalde (Cristina Umaña).

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