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Tue
02
Jun

Focus Has Sharp Scenes But Astigmatic Plot

I love a good con movie. From THE STING through LEVERAGE, if it's done well, I'm pulled in.

FOCUS starts off with great promise, and the fact that the filmmaker's brought in the master, Apollo Robbins, as a consultant, shows they at least had their hearts in the right place going into this. The film stars Will Smith and Margot Robbie (who will pair up again in the already overexposed SUICIDE SQUAD next year) as Nicky, a master con man, and Jess, a would-be pickpocket who crosses his path. He takes her in, mentors her in the finer points of the grift, and lets her take part in some of his current cons. And then, without notice, he cuts her loose. All that buildup, all those wonderfully filmed scenes just go poof as we realize this was just backstory to the film that's only just now getting started well into the movie.

Sat
30
May

Jupiter Ascending a Sci-Fi Mash Up Lacking Cohesion

Jupiter Ascending Mila Kunis Channing Tatum Critical Blast

There's a certain mathematical elegance to the Wachowski's JUPITER ASCENDING. Given infinite space and infinite time, someone will be born somewhere with the exact same genetic sequence as someone who already existed. Multiply those infinite chances out, and that previous person might have been the Queen of the universe, who owned the Earth and willed it back to herself should she ever be genetically reassembled.

Of course, if the Queen of the Universe had children who covet the Earth because they're getting ready to harvest the people there to make their special water of life (the daughter is over 14 millennia old), then you might want to watch your royal back.

Wed
27
May

Ripper Street Season Three Carves Up More Solid Stories, Stellar Performances

Ripper Street Season Three BBC Critical Blast

Ripper Street: Season Three is set to hit the streets on DVD and BluRay on June 23rd, and if you’re a fan of the Leman Street good guys you’ll mark this date down on the calendar! I was hooked on Ripper Street half-way through the first episode of season one and I haven’t stopped loving every episode since.

Season Three is 8 episodes in length, and starts out four years after Season 2 ended. It takes the events that ended in season two and progresses them outward to what we see they’ve become four years hence. Things have not been so cozy in the time that has elapsed.

Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn) left Whitechapel and moved to Manchester to start over again and become the police officer/man he always wanted to be, foregoing violence to become a man of peace. Having risen quickly through the ranks, we see him here now as Inspector Drake.

Fri
15
May

StarVista's Ed Sullivan Collection is a Really Big Shew!

Ed Sullivan Show DVD

There’s a good portion of America these days that probably hasn’t heard of Ed Sullivan or his variety show and thus don't know just how popular and important it was to the people of the US and to the careers of the performers who now occupy the status of legend in the entertainment industry.

Then there’s a good portion of us who were too young to remember THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW when it was on because we were too young by the time it wound down in 1971.

But there is still a sizable number of Americans who remember the show because they tuned in every week to see it. Those, dear reader, are the luckiest of all… because they got to see Elvis, the Beatles and so many more before all the rest of us.

Now, thanks to StarVista Entertainment, the rest of us can count ourselves lucky too. This 6-DVD set spans the entire run of THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, showcasing many of the talents that performed on it through the years.

Fri
01
May

Goodfellas 25th Anniversary Blu-ray

Goodfellas 25th Anniversary Blu-ray review Critical Blast Chris Delloiacono

Sometimes you're lucky to review an item that simply put, you know going in you already love. I mean, what can I tell you about the film Goodfellas that hasn't already been said? It's up there with the first two Godfather films as one of the greatest achievements in gangster cinema. So glorious is this film that it transcends the genre and isn't JUST a gangster film. It's simply a masterful piece of storytelling. Beautifully written, masterfully directed, and featuring some of the best performances of the past quarter century. It's fingerprint is upon so many films that have come since. Goodfellas has created stereotypes and tropes of the genre, yet when it was released it was original and vibrant. The only question to be pondered: does it hold up twenty-five years later.

Mon
20
Apr

From The Dark Sheds New Light on Familiar Genre

From the Dark Horror review Blu-ray Critical Blast

FROM THE DARK, available on Blu-ray, tells the haunting tale of a young couple who are on a road trip around the Irish country side. When they develop car trouble, they seek help at a nearby farm house and it isn’t long before they discover a terrible evil is lurking in the dark.  A creature has been awakened from a thousand year slumber by the owner of the house who unearthed it while digging in the bog, and the couple soon learn the only safety they have from it lies in the light. But night is falling quickly, and the darker it gets the more powerful the creature becomes.

The movie has a very limited cast and stars Niamh Algar and Stephen Cromwell as the young couple Sarah and Mark.

Thu
09
Apr

Batman vs Robin a Dysfunctional Father and Son Action Adventure

Batman vs Robin DC Universe DVD Critical Blast

Picking up from the ashes of SON OF BATMAN, BATMAN VS ROBIN pits father against son in one of the most dysfunctional family dynamics that could be imagined.

Damian Wayne (Stuart Allan) is a ten-year-old assassin, trained by the best in the business. His bloodlust is potentially inborn, what with having Talia al Ghul as a mother. United with his father, Bruce Wayne (Jason O'Mara) for the first time has been tumultuous at best, as Damian is eager to accompany his father in the battle against crime as Batman and Robin. Only this Robin has to be reined in to keep him from killing the bad guys.

As BATMAN VS ROBIN opens, Robin has gone off on his own in search of some missing children taken by The Dollmaker ("Weird Al" Yankovic). It is during this encounter that Robin meets Talon (Jeremy Sisto), who fights like Batman but isn't timid about crossing the line of taking lives. He offers Robin an opportunity to join him, which Robin begins to seriously consider.

Mon
30
Mar

Into The Woods Captivating, Creepy Trip Into The Weeds

The concept of getting various fairy tale characters to interact with each other in a shared universe is always an intriguing concept (if, not necessarily, a new one, as easily attested to by ONCE UPON A TIME and, even before that, with Bill Willingham's series, FABLES). In this Disney musical, the audience enjoys an interweaving of Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel, orbiting around an entirely new tale of the Baker and his wife who are out to lift a curse put on their family by a witch.

Wed
25
Mar

Shania Twain Dazzles in this Vegas Spectacular

Shania Twain Still The One Live From Vegas DVD

Sit back and let me tell you the legend of a singer. She came from a faraway land called Canada, and she had a voice that could tame wild animals. She was catapulted to fame, and was one of the touchpoints for when country music transitioned into from traditional to pop. And then, one day, at the height of her fame... she was gone.

Her name was Shania Twain, and she was unforgettable.

In 2012, Shania returned for a live performance at The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. That show, "Still The One," incorporated backup singers, dancers, a full orchestra, and interactivity with a giant video screen, delivering an eye-popping performance of music and memories, Vegas-style.

Sun
22
Mar

Peter Jackson's Last Tolkien-Dream Arrives on Blu-ray

Hobbit Five Armies Blu-ray Peter Jackson Tolkien Critical Blast

In comic books, we have this thing called "the fight scene." Some comics end up being nothing but an extended fight scene, skipping over story for wall-to-wall slugging it out.

With the end of THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, the great dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) was awakened. As THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES opens, Smaug has begun his attack on Lake-town, destroying all in his path. The humans who live there are left refugees, as Bard (Luke Evans) escapes the cell that imprisons him and tries to defend his crumbling and burning town with arrows, eventually succeeding with the enigmatic (and huge) Black Arrow and a makeshift bow.

Thu
12
Mar

Power Rangers Seasons 4-7 Giveaway

Saban Power Rangers Zeo Turbo In Space Lost Galaxy Critical Blast

This contest is over. The randomly selected winner is: LINDSAY D. of URBANA, OH.

 

Well, we promised you it was coming, and now it's here. On the heels of our POWER RANGERS COMPLETE SERIES giveaway, we now have POWER RANGERS SEASONS 4-7 -- the series that came after the "complete" series.

This hotly sought after series by fans of Saban's POWER RANGERS show includes the story arcs ZEO, TURBO, IN SPACE and LOST GALAXY, and includes a bonus disc of extra features.

But how, you may ask, can you make this set yours? Well, one way is to be the randomly selected winner of this contest, which is as simple as entering your information in the form below! Really, it's that easy!

 

Fri
06
Mar

Ginnifer Goodwin Gets Her Pixie Dust On in Disney's NeverBeast

Tinker Bell Pixie Hollow NeverBeast Ginnifer Goodwin Mae Whitman Disney

In Pixie Hollow, every fairy has a role. Fawn (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a fairy whose specialty lies with helping animals. But her big heart sometimes has her making dangerous decisions, underscored in the beginning of this film when we find she's been tending an injured baby hawk. Apparently hawks are the natural predators of fairies, and Fawn's attempt to return the baby to the wild results in near-catastrophe. As a result, she makes a promise to Queen Clarion (Anjelica Huston) that she will be more responsible.

Shortly thereafter, a green comet flashes by, one that returns every 900 and some odd years. Its glow awakens a large hibernating animal, who does strange things. When Fawn encounters the beast, there's an "Androcles and the Lion" moment that bonds them, and then she tries to learn everything about the creature's strange activities, which include building rock towers.

Thu
05
Mar

Burton and Depp's Chocolate Factory Less Dream, More Nightmare in 10th Anniversary Blu-Ray

Tim Burton Johnny Depp Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Tenth Anniversary Blu-ray

I'm a Tim Burton fan. Flat out, I've loved everything of his I've seen, from the Michael Keaton BATMAN film through the black and white FRANKENWEENIE short. Even SWEENEY TODD is on my list of Burton masterpieces.

But until recently, I had not seen CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, which puts a slight dent in what I considered a perfect record.

If you've read the Roald Dahl book, or seen the slightly renamed Gene Wilder film WILLIE WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, then you may be somewhat taken aback by the deviations made in this version of the film. Oh, for the most part, it's the same story: Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) is a good kid from a poor family; Willie Wonka (Johnny Depp) agrees to open his mysterious factory to those who find hidden Golden Tickets; rotten kids from around the world make the cut; cue the Oompa-Loompas for every lesson learned as the rotten kids become victims of their own flaws.

Thu
26
Feb

Capaldi, Coleman Reunite for Doctor Who Christmas Special; Frost Inspired Casting as Santa

Doctor Who Last Christmas Peter Capaldi Jenna Coleman BBC Critical Blast

I did not see the Doctor Who Christmas Special last Christmas. That is to say, I did not see the Doctor Who Christmas Special, "Last Christmas" last Christmas. Of course I've seen the Doctor Who Christmas Special, "Last Christmas," but I saw it last night on DVD.

The annual Doctor Who tradition traditionally provides some of the best stand-alone episodes of the show. And this one certainly plays with the viewers' heads -- and their hearts. The episode opens with Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) being awoken by such a clatter that has arose on her roof; so she springs from her bed to see what is the matter. When what to her wondering eyes should appear but two elves, a man in a Santa suit, and flying reindeer!

Thu
26
Feb

Sofia the First Must Break The Curse of Princess Ivy

Sofia the First Disney Junior Curse of Princess Ivy DVD Critical Blast

Thus far, our plucky village-girl-turned-princess Sofia (Ariel Winter) has been lucky: nobody close to her -- not counting the scheming Cedric (Jess Harnell) -- has discovered that she has magical powers at her disposal thanks to the Amulet of Avalor, which allows her to talk to animals and call any princess to her in a time of dire need.

That lucky streak breaks, however, when her sister, Amber (Darcy Rose Byrnes) catches Sophia talking to her animal friends, forcing Sofia to tell her about the amulet's power. Amber's jealousy drives her to scheme a way to get to use the amulet herself, to call a princess of her own, just to meet her -- she's hoping for Rapunzel. But she is unaware of the amulet's legend:

Tue
24
Feb

Not-So-Horrible Bosses 2 Arrives on Blu-Ray

Horrible Bosses 2 Blu Ray Warner Brothers Jason Bateman Critical Blast

As I sit to watch Horrible Bosses 2, I remember the first one being pretty amusing. Jason Sudeikis was one of my favorite recent SNL members, Charlie Day is genius in It's Always Sunny in Philly, and who doesn't love Jason Bateman, the only (fairly) sane Bluth. It's this casting adoration that drew me to the first movie and made me return for the second. However, it IS a sequel. With trepidation, I hit play, knowing sequels are generally regurgitated humor posing as original wit.

The movie opens with the Clash singing Police on My Back, so at least we know someone involved has good musical taste. We jump right in with the lead trio having witty banter, an Austin Powers-seque visual penis gag and vaguely racist humor, that is a strong start so far and sets the tone. There will be no high-minded comedy hiding around here. If only they could shoehorn in a fart joke, we would be set.

Thu
12
Feb

Ferran's Bird People Doesn't Quite Take Flight

Bird People on DVD Critical Blast

BIRD PEOPLE, directed by Pascale Ferran, is what I call a “boutique” movie: one that will appeal to a select audience, an audience that loves independent, off the beaten path foreign movies filmed outside the realm of traditional Hollywood style; movies that are thick on imagery and symbolism, have periods of no dialog to make you think, subtitles, and in which almost everyone smokes cigarettes.

BIRD PEOPLE centers on Gary Newman (Josh Charles), an American from Silicon Valley U.S.A. in France for business, and Audrey Camuzet (Anais Demoustier), a maid at the Hilton airport hotel Gary is staying at. Gary is burnt out and fed up with everything and, while staying in the hotel, comes to the realization that he’s done with it all and leaves his wife and his job. Audrey it seems is just as tired of the same old life she has too.

Thu
12
Feb

LEGO Wins Again With Justice League vs Bizarro League

LEGO DC SUPER HEROES JUSTICE LEAGUE VS BIZARRO LEAGUE CRITICAL BLAST

LEGO does it again with this humorous treatment of our favorite super heroes.

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS BIZARRO LEAGUE opens with an introduction to who Bizarro is and what his motivations are, as well as how Superman thought he had dealt with the simple-minded creature for good. But a year later, the Justice League -- Superman (Nolan North), Batman (Troy Baker), Wonder Woman (Kari Wahlgren), Cyborg (Khary Payton), Guy Gardner (Diedrich Bader), Plastic Man (Tom Kenny), Flash (James Arnold Taylor), Hawkman and Green Arrow (both voiced by Phil Morris) -- are up against Gorilla Grodd (Kevin Michael Richardson) and his mind-controlled crew of Giganta (April Winchell), Penguin, Deathstroke, and Captain Cold. This was a fun melee battle scene that brings in characters we've never seen in LEGO minifig version before, creating an immediate want in the market for some figures that don't exist yet. Genius! (Because I want my Plastic Man minifig!)

Thu
29
Jan

Disney Junior Celebrates Valentine's with Doc McStuffins and Lambie

Doc McStuffins Cuddle Me Lambie Critical Blast

Valentine's Day is a day made for cuddling -- and nobody cuddles better than Doc McStuffins' friend Lambie!

However, when Doc gets a new stuffed friend from her parents for Valentine's Day, a heart named Val, Lambie feels threatened. Val's doing all the things that are normally Lambie's area of expertise -- giving out hugs, getting into photographs, and generally being the life of the party as she makes friends with all of Doc's entourage of toys. Doc has proven especially talented at fixing broken toys -- but what can she do to fix a broken heart?

Wed
28
Jan

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Complete Series

This contest has ended.

The randomly selected winner is: NICOLE L. of TUCSON, AZ!

Stay tuned for another Power Rangers give3away soon.

 

Go! Go! Power Rangers! Fans of Saban's MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS, do we have your attention? Good, because this contest is geared to you!

Up for grabs is the boxed set of 19 DVDs marketed as MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: THE COMPLETE SERIES. Yes, we know they made more episodes after these first three seasons, we didn't package it up. This cool set -- still in shrinkwrap -- includes the aforementioned discs in five cases, plus a booklet. You'll get the ten-episode ALIEN RANGERS miniseries, rare archival footage, retrospective featurettes, and so much more!

 

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