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Mon
27
Jun

Hired to Kill Hard to Watch

Hired to Kill Blu-ray review Dennis Russo Critical Blast

Hired To Kill

Tag Line: A-Team meets Charlies Angels meets Miami Vice.

So what do you get when you mix A-Team’s macho-ness, Charlies Angels’ beauty and toughness and Miami Vice’s sexiness? The answer is a 90’s movie shot direct to video that has risen to cult status.

This 2-disc director approved Special Edition Blu-ray+DVD starring America’s answer to Jean-Claude Van Damme, Brian Thompson, along with big name draws (at the time) like George Kennedy, Jose Ferrer and Oliver Reed, the latter two of which I consider to be two of the finest actors in cinematic history.Which has me asking myself: Why are they in this movie?

Thu
23
Jun

KISS Rocks Vegas Right Into Your Home

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas...right? Well not if your America's #1 Gold Record Award-Winning band of all time: KISS!

For this all-time great Rock-n-Roll event, 'KISS Rocks Vegas', they are changing the mantra to: "what ROCKS in Vegas, ROLLS into your home"!

Wed
15
Jun

10 Cloverfield Lane: Return to Sender

Cloverfield John Goodman Mary Elizabeth Winstead Blu-ray

There is so much to like about 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE that I almost hate to pick on it. Dan Trachtenberg's handling of a film that, for almost its entirety, has only three players, certainly adds that feeling of isolation that is key to the plot. And John Goodman is never better than when he's playing a serious role where he's always simmering on the edge of a blowup.

For those unfamiliar with the film, here's the lowdown: Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has left her fiance and driven away. In a remote area of Louisiana, she has an accident and wakes up in an underground bunker owned by Howard (John Goodman) and also occupied by Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.). Howard tells her he saved her life and that the outside world has suffered an attack. It could be nuclear, it could be chemical -- but when he adds in that it could have been the Martians, you immediately get the sense that all is not right in Howard's head.

Mon
13
Jun

Tom and Jerry Go Back to Oz in Animated Musical Delight

Tom and Jerry Back to Oz

TOM AND JERRY: BACK TO OZ is the animated sequel to TOM AND JERRY AND THE WIZARD OF OZ, which finds our classic cat and mouse frenemies joining Dorothy and Toto on her MGM journey.

In BACK TO OZ, Dorothy has just returned to find nobody believes her tale. Even when she has the ruby slippers to prove it, there's justification for why her story of Oz is just a fancy.

But Dorothy doesn't have time to worry about convincing Uncle Henry, Aunt Em, or the farmhands, Hunk, Hickory, and Zeke. She and the Gale family are still cleaning up after the twister when they find themselves on the verge of losing what's left of the family farm, when neighboring Mr. Bibb (Jason Alexander) files a lawsuit claiming that the twister released some of the Gale pigs who then plundered his prize watermelon patch. Knowing the Gales have no financial resources, he's willing to take his payment in land and livestock, giving the family 24 hours to find a way to pay him otherwise.

Mon
13
Jun

Totally Stripped of Hype, This Rolling Stones Set is Awesome!

Rolling Stones Totally Stripped Eagle Rock Music Review Dennis Russo Critical Blast

THE ROLLING STONES: TOTALLY STRIPPED from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available in many different configurations: as A DVD or SD BluRay, on DVD+CD, or on DVD+LP as well as a deluxe edition that contains a 60-page hard book set containing 5 Discs (4bluRay and 1 CD) or (4DVD, 1 CD for slightly less money).

The set I am reviewing here is the DVD/CD set.

TOTALLY STRIPPED may sound familiar to a lot of Stone’s fans, since the album STRIPPED was released in 1995 following the VooDoo Lounge tour. But don’t be thinking this is just a repacking of that release. Nay, nay, I say! TOTALLY STRIPPED itself is a brand new version of the documentary of the same name, which tells the stories of the studio sessions and three live shows that make up this project. (The Deluxe editions contain DVDs of each live show in its entirety!)

Fri
10
Jun

Gore Galore Once More with Bride of Re-Animator

Bride Reanimator Dennis Russo Lovecraft review Critical Blast

Back in the day (I’m talking about the 80’s here), there were several movies that came out that were over the top in gore and humor (okay, sick humor); movies such as RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND, FRANKEN HOOKER, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD -- just to name a few. Included among that select group is the title of the DVD on review here: 1989’s BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR, the first sequel to the cult classic RE-ANIMATOR, and a bona fide cult classic in its own right.

In this day of serious gore movies, watching this remastered 3-disc set from Arrow Video was a breath of fresh air -- fresh, because these movies allowed creativity to be absurd as well as shocking. I mean, when the first billed special effects artist is named Screaming Mad George -- the man behind the infamous “shunting scene in SOCIETY, which, if you have never seen, gives new meaning to the term “over the top”! You can imagine right off the bat some “interesting” special makeup effects to say the least.

Thu
09
Jun

DC Super Hero Girls Animated Movie Arrives on DVD this August!

If you've been following along, you'll know that we here at Critical Blast are big fans of DC Super Hero Girls. Having an animated show specifically tailored for girls (while still able to be enjoyed by all) is something that's was long overdue. Now, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announces that you can bring the world's most powerful female super heroes, DC Super Hero Girls, home on DVD on August 23rd, 2016!

After a series of YouTube videos launched on their channel, it didn't take long before they launched a toyline that includes dress-up kits, action figures and dolls. There is also a clothing line that features many of the characters sporting themes of girl power and togetherness.

Fri
03
Jun

Dooky and Toot Jokes (and Humor, Too) in Teen Titans Go: Eat, Dance, Punch!

Teen Titans Go Eat Dance Punch

When there's trouble, you know who to call. From their tower they can see it all.

That better be the Justice League you're thinking of these days, because this Teen Titans team is a different breed of superhero, far more interested in leaving butt-impressions on the couch, raiding the fridge, and putting up with Robin trying to impart his questionable wisdom.

By now anybody familiar with DC Comics related animation knows that TEEN TITANS GO is basically a stiffly animated Looney Tunes using familiar superhero faces. It isn't the TEEN TITANS, it certainly isn't YOUNG JUSTICE, and yet the younger viewers -- those whose ages haven't crossed the double-digit line -- can't get enough of dooky and toot jokes (as appalling as it may be to parents to see Beast Boy shaking his tighty whities at the screen, to be later emulated by their child; believe me, I know of where I speak).

Thu
02
Jun

Supergirl: The Complete First Season Coming Soon on Blu-Ray and DVD!

Supergirl, Winner of the 2016 People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama, will arrive on Blu-Ray and DVD on August 9th 2016!

The series arrived on CBS with a great amount of fanfare. Delivering 10.9 million Total Viewers weekly, Supergirl is the #2 series on CBS amongst Men 18-49, just behind The Big Bang Theory and a Top 5 series on the network with Men 18-34, Men 25-54 and Tweens 12-17*.

*Source: Nielsen National TV View  L+7 US AA%; excluding repeats, specials, sports, and <5 TCs; Season To-Date = 9/21/15-2/7/16

Tue
31
May

You Can't Get Enough of THE STUFF, now on Blu-ray

The Stuff Blu-ray

THE STUFF on Blu-ray from Arrow Video is a release of one of those mid-eighties schlocky-horror movies that you just love to watch because it brings back memories. At least for me it did. It should also serve as a reminder to networks such as SyFy on how to do it right.

I am tempted to use the name of the movie in more than one pun here, but I will try to refrain.

THE STUFF is about, well…stuff: white, gooey, whipped cream looking stuff that is found bubbling up from the ground somewhere up in the frozen north at an oil refinery. And of course the first thing you do when you see something bubbling up from the Earth is to taste it, right?

Tue
31
May

Seventies Horror Served Up with Death Walks Twice: Two Films by Luciano Ercoli Blu-ray Release

Death Walks Twice Giallo Blu-ray

DEATH WALKS TWICE is a 2-film, 4-DVD Limited Edition set on BluRay and DVD from Luciano Ercoli comprising his classic GIALLO Italian Horror classics: 1971’s DEATH WALKS ON HIGH HEELS and 1972’s DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT.

Both of these movies are considered two of the finest examples of the Giallo genre (think crime, mystery, blood and horror all in one, done in 70’s Italian style) and both star Nieves Navarro (billed in the movies under her adopted stage name of Susan Scott).

Wed
25
May

The Winding Stream Traces Roots of Country Music

Carter Family Winding Stream

Beth Harrington directs and co-produces this important and informative documentary that follows the modern river of country music back to the winding stream that is it's source -- The Carter Family.

Before there was country music, before there was a Grand Ole Opry, there was A.P, Sara and Maybelle Carter. THE WINDING STREAM follows in great detail how these three family members became the foundation cornerstone of American country music, without glossing over the family tragedies and heartaches, including A.P.'s singular focus on collecting songs from the mountains and Sara's eventual divorce. The documentary is never dry, and is wholly engrossing, telling the story without the benefit of any dramatic re-enactments, relying instead on actual footage, photography and, of course, recordings of the songs and interviews.

Tue
24
May

Disney Gets Athletic with Mickey's Sport-Y-Thon

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Sport-Y-Thon DVD Critical Blast Disney

The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and it's time to get outside and get active. Everyone's getting into the athletics -- even Mickey Mouse and the Clubhouse gang as they assemble or the first ever Sport-Y-Thon! There are all kinds of games to play -- even Martian Mickey, Martian Minnie and Pluto from Pluto have showed up to participate. And there lies the mechanism for the episode's lesson: Mars doesn't have sports, so the visitors have no idea about what it means to show good sportsmanship and put in extra effort. Not that they're mean whiny cheaters, they just don't know better. So Martian Minnie has to learn that using a jetpack in a basketball game isn't fair, Pluto from Pluto has to learn he has to let other players participate in Volley-Bop, and Martian Mickey has to learn not to give up in a relay race just because it's hard work. In the end, everyone wins -- including color commentary provider, Donald Duck.

Wed
27
Apr

Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors a Warm, Comfy Fit

Dolly Parton Coat Many Colors DVD Television Broadcast

When I first saw Dolly Parton's COAT OF MANY COLORS in its broadcast debut, I only heard one thing: "When this comes to DVD, you're getting it for me." I imagine this was something many husbands heard from their wives. And, unlike almost every other time I hear this statment, this was a time I didn't mind at all.

This heartwarming -- and heartbreaking -- biopic features Olyvia Alyn Lind as a young Dolly, playing the roll with all the spitfire energy and feisty verve the real Dolly has exuded all her life.

Through her eyes we see how it was for a large family growing up in the mountains of Tennessee. Ricky Schroder plays Dolly's father, Robert Lee Parton, a tobacco farmer struggling against drought. Jennifer Nettles is matriarch Avie, a preacher's daughter holding everything together with faith and song. But when she miscarries, the impact on the entire threatens to shatter that faith, and serves to drive a wedge between her and Robert.

Sat
16
Apr

DC Animated Universe Expands with JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. TEEN TITANS

Justice League vs Teen Titans Blu-ray Warner Brothers DC Entertainment

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. TEEN TITANS continues the DCAU continuity that includes such titles as JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR and BATMAN VS. ROBIN, retaining Jason O'Mara and Stuart Allan as the voices of Batman and Robin.

The story opens with the Justice League in open battle with the Legion of Doom -- Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Cheetah, Weather Wizard and Toymaster -- at the grand opening of the new Justice League headquarters, which the public has deemed the "Hall of Justice." During the aftermath of the battle, Weather Wizard attempts to run, and is suddenly possessed by a shadow demon that longtime fans will recognize as being the influence of Trigon. Weather Wizard is released from the demon's control, but it takes over Superman and goes silent.

Thu
14
Apr

BARBIE: STAR LIGHT ADVENTURE Features a Rising Star

Jordyn Kane is a talented young artist who wrote and performed the theme for DC's Super Hero Girls. Last week on twitter she announced the next project she'll be involved in...

Barbie: Star Light Adventure!

With DC's Super Hero Girls, Ms. Kane's work was focused on creating the girl-powered anthem 'Get Your Cape On'. This time around, not only was she involved with the music, but she'll lend her voice to the one-and-only Barbie! Having voiced the character 'Courtney', in BARBIE: ROCK 'N' ROYALS, this won't be her first time performing as a voice actor.

Wed
06
Apr

Mockingjay Part 2 Expects Up to Speed Audience

Mockingjay Part 2 BD

I count myself among those who discovered Suzanne Collins' THE HUNGER GAME series organically. I was there from the first printing, and I was immediately drawn into the first novel. When the second novel came out, I was just as drawn into that, surprised that I could be as solidly hooked again into this world.

And, like many readers, I found the third novel, MOCKINGJAY, to be less-than-thrilling, and was rather cynical that the movie makers (not to be confused with the game makers -- although...) planned on splitting the least of the series into two parts. To me, that plan could only have made the screen adaptation twice as boring.

Thu
31
Mar

Hateful Eight Not Great But Will Satiate

Hateful Eight Blu-ray Dennis Russo Critical Blast

THE HATEFUL EIGHT on Blu Ray/DVD and Digital copy is Quentin Tarantino’s Eighth movie. It takes place in Wyoming 6 or 8 or 12 years after the civil war. It tells the story of 8 people…8 hateful, untrusting, uncouth, belligerent individuals thrown together by fate into a one room haberdashery in the middle of a blizzard. Somehow these 8 individuals have more in common than we are first led to believe, and as they all antagonize each other and “stir the pot,” we find out just how hateful these individuals are.

Tue
29
Mar

The Original Queens of Comedy in a Never Before Seen TV Special

Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball delighted audiences for years; Burnett by way of her variety show and Ball with her sitcom. Now, for the first time ever, audiences will enjoy their talents simultaneously in the never before seen CAROL+2: THE ORIGINAL QUEENS OF COMEDY!

Before Carol Burnett could begin her career as a prime time star, the last major step occurred in 1966. CBS promised Burnett her own special if she could deliver a big star. As the story goes, she hesitantly phoned one of her biggest influences: Lucille Ball. Her reply?

"When do you need me there?"

From the press release:

Wed
16
Mar

The Big Short Long on Fourth-Wall Breaking Information

Big Short Blu-ray Oscar Christian Bale Steve Carell

When the banking crisis was happening, I was -- perhaps ironically -- working at a bank as an acquisitions analyst. (Not that I'm taking the blame for the collapse or anything.) But even then, hip-deep as I was in the business, the whole "housing bubble" was something I just couldn't wrap my head around. And if I couldn't understand it then, as a part of the industry, how could any average person figure out just how badly they were being screwed over?

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay do a bang-up job of making this elusive concept somewhat manageable in THE BIG SHORT. Adapting the book by Michael Lewis, Randolph and McKay break down a cerebral and dry subject and turn it into something informative and entertaining through fourth-wall breaks, cutaways to explanatory skits starring celebrities, and a focus on the quirkiness of the main players. This goes a long way to explaining why they won the Oscar for Best Screenplay.

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