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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.

Fri
03
Aug

Life of the Party Lifeless Comedy

Life of the Party Blu-ray

Deanna and Dan just dropped off their daughter Maddie for her senior year of college. But before they have even left the campus, Dan drops a bomb on Deanna: He wants a divorce.

Shocked, Deanna makes the decision to complete her own senior year of college, which she dropped out of on the advice of her husband when she was pregnant. Thus begins Deanna's re-introduction to frat parties, ravers, keggers, concerts -- oh yes, and occasionally studying.

Thu
02
Aug

Death of Superman Surprisingly Fresh, Emotionally Deep

Death of Superman

When I first heard that the next DC Universe animated movie was going to be THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN, I was not thrilled. I was already feeling a downward trend in the storytelling as the animated films tried to form a more cohesive universe, and the stand-alones like BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT weren't all that super of late, either. Seeing this story retold, so soon after having it already retold on the big screen in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, was underscored by the fact that the story was also the very first DCU animated film, under the name SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY.

To say the least, my expectations were low.

Wed
01
Aug

LEGO DC Super Heroes add Jessica Cruz to Minifigure Line with Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis

Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis

With an AQUAMAN movie soon to hit theaters, it makes perfect sense that Warner Brothers and LEGO would want to capitalize on the interest with an Aquaman LEGO adventure. AQUAMAN: RAGE OF ATLANTIS finds the sea king (voiced by DEE BRADLEY BAKER) giving up his crown after his half-brother Orm (TREVOR DEVALL) reveals the fine print of the Atlantean constitution declaring only a full-blooded Atlantean can hold the throne. This comes on the heels of Aquaman's humiliating defeat at the hands of Lobo (FRED TATASCIORE) at a dry lake bed known as Area 52, a military installation designed for the simplification of processing alien weaponry, now gone defunct because the simplification process proved overly complicated causing the entire operation to relocate to Rebirth, New Jersey.

Wed
01
Aug

J K Simmons Delivers Emmy-Worthy Performances in Starz Series, Counterpart

Counterpart Season 1

There's a wall in Berlin that separates it from Berlin. It's not the wall you're thinking of, but it's still symbolic of the cold war that sets the stage for the fascinating science fiction series, COUNTERPART.

Several years ago, an experiment went wrong, and suddenly where there was once one dimension there were now two, each of them identical up to that point in time, and now able to diverge in minute ways, each change cascading into more, like the flap of butterfly wings contributing to the hurricane. The bridge between these two Earths is below the building that is now a United Nations outpost, run by an organization that exists to keep the other dimension a secret, while controlling immigration between the sides, carrying out diplomatic gestures, and engaging in espionage.

Mon
30
Jul

Riverdale - The Complete Second Season (DVD)

The second season of CW's RIVERDALE was a dark and tumultuous ride, as the town found itself under siege by the Black Hood, a masked killer who sought out those he had deemed sinners. And as Archie seeks revenge for the shooting of his father, he gets in deeper and deeper with the dangerous Hiram Lodge, with all debts coming due in the jaw-dropping season finale!

With the third season getting ready to drop, now is the best time to binge the entire second season so that you're all up to date on the action with Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, and the rest of the Riverdale Bulldogs and Vixens to find out what happens next! And Critical Blast wants to help you in that endeavor by putting up for grabs this entire second season on DVD! All you have to do is use the following form below to enter. Notice that there are multiple options -- you can take all of them to multiply your chances of winning!

Wed
18
Jul

Spielberg Delivers Retro-Hit with Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Remember that feeling you had when you walked out of the theater after BACK TO THE FUTURE? I don't mean watching it at home on DVD (or VHS), I mean in the theater, because it means you were there, in that moment, in that era, when the 80s were in full swing and pop culture was expanding into new, uncharted waters. It was the time of the arcade games, parachute pants, and a rich variety of music that launched a renaissance.

When I sat down to watch READY PLAYER ONE, I had not seen the theatrical version. I had not read the book. And when I saw the opening scene, with its cinematically ominous Blade Hunter date and the post-apocalyptic landscape, I groaned. I didn't want another one of these.

That lasted for all of about three seconds, after which I was in sheer fanboy ecstasy for over two hours.

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