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Mr. Sinister RSS Feed (El Cajon, CA USA)

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The Day After Tomorrow [Blu-ray]
The Day After Tomorrow [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Dennis Quaid
Price: $4.99
76 used & new from $2.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superstorms On The Way!, March 4, 2015
As with the Irwin Allen disaster films of the 70s, there is loads and loads of destruction going on. But, unlike the aforementioned Allen films who relied on physical effects and great actors, we are handed lots of CGI and a bevy of hackneyed plots-lines, vacuous dialogue, and sub-par performances. But certainly acting wasn't what we came for, was it? I'm sure there has to be a handful of die-hard Dennis Quaid fans who have the affinity for seeing everything he stars in (there has to be a few, maybe his mother, s few cousins, someone? anyone?) (Insert crickets chirping in an empty field). No. We came to see global cataclysms, thousands of people dying, out and out destruction on a grand scale. And we are not disappointed. How we got to that point hardly matters at all. Paleoclimatologist (there's a mouthful) Jack Hall (Quaid) is drilling for ice-core samples with his team in Antarctica when the ice breaks apart. Later on, Jack reveals his findings on Global Warming to the United Nations but is met with derision. Meanwhile, at the Hall Of Justice,.. Buoys in the North Atlantic record huge drops in temperature simultaneously. Jack's team builds a weather model. And then the inevitable strikes. Superstorms!!!!! One over Canada, Scotland, and Siberia with a chill-factor of -150 degrees. Armageddon! But Jack's son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is visiting NYC for an academic decathlon and becomes stranded there when the streets flood. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda. Like I said, we watch for the effects, not for the ridiculous plot. Overall, this is an entertaining flick based solely on the sheer magnitude of the damage and the seamless CGI that brings us said damage. This film is breathtaking on that scale. A fun mindless film on a rainy day or when you're laying on the couch sick from work and you don't need to think too hard. Otherwise, there are better end-of-the-world movies out there with much better actors.

Meh.


St. Vincent (Blu-ray + Digital HD)
St. Vincent (Blu-ray + Digital HD)
DVD ~ Bill Murray
Offered by The Big Lebowski
Price: $19.64
43 used & new from $9.67

4.0 out of 5 stars Murray Delivers, March 3, 2015
There is something that gravitates me towards movies where Bill Murray plays someone less than savory. Steve Zissou comes to mind. St. Vincent is another. Here we have the unadorned Murray, stripped down to the grumpy every-man character with hidden motivation. Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) moves into a Brooklyn neighborhood with her son Oliver (masterfully portrayed by Jaeden Liebeher) where they meet their new neighbor, Vincent (Murray) after the moving van snags on a tree branch and sends said branch raining down on Vincent's faux-wood-paneled crappy Chrysler Le Baron. There are words exchanged. Poor Maggie is forced to work long hours as a CAT Scan tech to keep her and Oliver afloat, and him in a decent private catholic school. During Oliver's first day, a pack of bullies snag his phone, wallet, keys and school uniform from his gym locker. Oliver is forced to make his way home where he sits patiently waiting for his mother. When Vincent arrives home, Oliver asks to use the phone. Bingo, Vincent becomes Oliver's impromptu babysitter at $12/hour. Vincent likes to smoke, drink, and gamble. All of which he does badly. Oh, and he occasionally gets visits from Daka (Naomi Watts), a pregnant Russian stripper/hooker. Of, course there are ulterior designs to Vincent's character, with hidden motivation underneath. His wife of 40 years is in a home suffering from what we assume is late-stage Alzheimer's. St. Vincent is not exactly original or though-provoking. I get a tinge of Gran Torino along with Up! as well as a slew of other movies. It's not original but it is entertaining. Murray absolutely shines in these roles. He excels at being an a**hole. Just watch his Wes Anderson stuff. You may have to suspend your disbelief, I'm not sure any decent mother (struggling or not) would let the cantankerous old boozer nextdoor watch their kid. She claims ignorance to the hooker and the gambling and the bar hopping her child. But, please. Otherwise, St. Vincent is a great flick. Watch out, it just might make you cry, too.

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Savages - Unrated Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
Savages - Unrated Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
DVD ~ Taylor Kitsch
Price: $7.88
64 used & new from $2.97

3.0 out of 5 stars Stone Copying Stone Copying Everybody Else, February 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The problem with Savages is that Scarface, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Blow and The Boondock Saints had already been released and forever ingrained into movie history. Oliver Stone, that brilliant mind and visionary that brought us Platoon and JFK, The Doors and Natural Born Killers, brings us a tale far too late to be told. If a pair of larger-than-life dope-growing pretty boys who share the same girlfriend or a cruel, remorseless female Mexican cartel honcho or burned-out, domesticated lackey FBI agent trip your trigger, by all means, jump right in. The problem with Savages is it has all been done before. Stone is, sadly, even copying himself. Gone are the days when gratuitous sex and violence and debauchery made us flinch. You can thank Stone personally for that, along with De Palma, Tarantino, Scorsese and a host of others. Savages takes us on a hackneyed journey with O (Blake Lively), the shared girlfriend of two bad boy (New Kids On The Block-ish) drug dealers Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who have reinvented the marijuana growing/slinging business, that is until a cartel gets wind of them and decides to make them unwilling partners no matter what. They'll even kidnap O for good measure so the boys play nice. Benicio Del Toro is the cartel baddie with Salma Hayek as his boss. John Travolta is the FBI agent playing any side he can. Yadda-yadda-yadda. Don't get me wrong, Savages is entertaining to watch. Its sick and twisted and ready to astonish, just so far from original that you may be insulted by its preposterous characters and plot. A fine chorus of actors all playing caricatures of real people. There is a farcical nature here, a homage to everything that has already been done again and again and again. Is this something that we expected from Oliver Stone? This movie is so banal, it could have been directed by anyone. There is no Stone signature here at all. Begs the question, has Oliver Stone given us all that he had to offer? An amazing writer (Midnight Express, Scarface, Conan The Barbarian, even Evita) as well as director, Stone used to be heralded for his unflinching dedication to remain on the edge, controversial, fresh, innovative. That Stone is apparently dead. So sit back and watch Savages, a regurgitated hodgepodge of every crime movie ever made. You'll be entertained, just not overly-impressed.

Meh!


Dracula (1979) (Blu-ray + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
Dracula (1979) (Blu-ray + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
DVD ~ Frank Langella
Price: $13.49
17 used & new from $12.85

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Often-Overlooked Piece Of Vampiric Brilliance, February 23, 2015
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Before Francis For Coppola took the reins and brought us the ultra-bloody, ultra-Gary-Oldman-awesome Bram Stoker's Dracula. Long before Dracula Untold told us a better story of Vlad III. Years after Bela Lugosi transcended the role of his life as Stoker's dapper-yet-dangerous Count in 1931. Seven years after William Marshall gave us Blacula. In the intervening years between the 1931 classic and countless spinoff, rip-off, cult-classic, late-night Hammer Film makeovers of the most famous of all vampires (Lestat be damned) there was 1979's Dracula. Directed by John Badham and starring Frank Langella as Count Dracula and Sir Laurence Olivier as his nemesis Dr. Van Helsing and Donald Pleasence as Dr. Seward. Based ever-so-loosely on Stoker's novel to give it a more romantic edge, Dracula is a feast of sights and sounds (John Williams does the score) and classic acting. In '79 three major Dracula films were released, Werner Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre, Dracula and the comedy Love At First Bite. That's a lot of Dracula for one to entertain. In the mix this version of was relatively lost. We all know the story, right? Old Transylvanian Count (400 or more to be exact) leaves the comforts of the old country to take up residence in the teeming city of London, where he can dwell and feast and fall in love. Nothing new there. But lacking the disco-themed laughs of George Hamilton and Arte Johnson's vampire flick, we are left with the brooding, visceral, blood-soaked, fog-shrouded evening-wear sporting Dracula in all his suave grandeur. Not since Bela donned the cape and elongated canines had a Dracula film retained its brilliance as a horror classic. There is a sense of restoration here (slightly dated now but still standing upright) back to a cool darkness when vampire flicks relied more on atmosphere and acting (Langella is smooth and cool and sinister here) than entrails and spewing rivers of blood. Although there are some disturbing images, it is secondary to the overall ambience of the film. Sound artsy-fartsy, doesn't it? Bottom line is that this was one of the truly good Dracula flicks, it is tense and edgy (at least for 1979) and filled with a dark desire to retell the over-told story of Count Dracula. This is what a vampire movie is supposed to be! Definitely worth the watch. Then move onto Coppola's version for a purer picture of Stoker's 1897 novel.

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Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
DVD ~ Zak Bagans
Price: $3.98
24 used & new from $2.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghosties Posing For The Cameras! Compelling Footage!, February 23, 2015
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This review is from: Ghost Adventures (DVD)
I have a love/hate relationship with Ghost Adventures. On one hand it's fascinating and they do unearth some interesting evidence of the paranormal (believing is up to the viewer) and visit some creepy places and Zak, Nick and Aaron are interesting, dorky, slightly-flawed hosts. And on the other hand their philosophies/explanations and lack of understanding and dorkiness tend to grate on your nerves after a while.

But this is where it all started.

In 2003, while living in an apartment in Trenton, MI, Zak Baggans is woken several times by an entity that he claims was the spirit of a suicide victim. Since that time he envisioned capturing a haunting experience on camera.

2004, Zak and his fellow investigator Nick Groff (as well as a plumper, visor-sporting version of equipment tech Aaron Goodwin) take a three week ghost hunting trek across the mining towns of Nevada. The first few weeks result in a few scattered lights and bupkis, the group begins to get discouraged, losing interest, until they enter Virginia City, NV. First stop is The Silver Queen Hotel where reputedly a prostitute slit her wrists in room 11's bathtub a long, long time ago. Apparently she is not a nice ghostie and torments the people who stay in her room (some guests flee in the middle of the night due to poltergeist activity). Zak sleeps in the suicide tub and Nick sprawls on the bed while Aaron crashes in the van. Around 4am Zak awakens to tell his camera that he hears the bathtub filling with water, even though it clearly is not. He falls back asleep. Nick wakes up to unexplained noses at the foot of his bed and captures a strange, mist-like anomaly. Anyone who watches the Travel Channel show will be keen to this overused description. Strange, mist-like anomaly. What looks like an arm appears jutting from the wall followed by three knocks. Compelling evidence? Perhaps. Definitely disturbing, especially if you were the one that was laying in that bed filming it. Onto Gold Hill, NV where our intrepid adventurers will stay in an old miner's cabin adjacent to the Yellow Jacket Mine where 38 unnamed miners lost their lives in a horrendous mine fire back in 1873. We get a clear picture that the miners were not nice people and that some of them still might be lingering about. In the miner's cabin Aaron places a tape recorder down to record while the investigators leave the cabin to head over to visit the Old Washoe Club and the Virginia City Cemetery before returning to spend the night. At the Old Washoe Club they capture one of the most compelling evidence of paranormal activity. A full-bodied apparition strolling through a room. It is insane. In the cemetery they see some weird lights and are supposedly the first to ever capture them on film. When they return to the miner's cabin the place feels wrong. They receive their first EVP (electronic voice phenomena) from Aaron's recorder. "Is it the Devil?" come a spectral voice. This disturbs Aaron to no end because he is very religious (He is? The same Aaron that had taken part in various voodoo, pagan and witchcraft-related rituals? Hmmmm.)

The crew heads back to Vegas.

Zak creates the first half of his Ghost Adventures documentary and has it aired, which leads to publicity, interviews and the airing of their apparition clips. They then take the footage and have it analyzed by a professional who concludes that the footage "has not been tampered with" in his professional opinion.

Two years pass with various write ups, critic reviews, etc. Then, in 2006, the owner of one of the most haunted hotels on the planet gets a look at their documentary and makes a phone call to the boys. This isn't over. They're on their way to the infamous Goldfield Hotel in Goldfield, NV. For years the once grand hotel has been attempted to be renovated, but the bevy of spirits occupying it refuse to cooperate. So the Goldfield sits in near ruin. Zak and Nick are on their own, Aaron has quit the crew due to the disturbing EVP they received back at the miner's cabin a few years back. What happens at the Goldfield Hotel is truly astounding. Watch as a brick levitates off the ground as is flung, along with several twisting boards, at Zak. Creepy voices. Strange lights. The whole nine yards. Zak and Nick don't even make it through lock down. They actually flee the hotel by jumping off a second-floor fire escape.

Overall, this is a great introduction to the Travel Channel show that this documentary spawned. Aaron returns to the crew. And we are afforded the continuing search for paranormal evidence. The funny thing is that most of their truly compelling evidence is here in the documentary. Years have passed since its making and since then all we usually get are garbled EVPs that are translated for us (and rarely sound like what we're being told) orbs, off-camera or uncaptured apparitions (As in "Whoa! I swear there was a figure standing right there!" or "Oh my #%$^# God, did you see that?") and the occasional "strange, mist-like anomalies." Once in a while we get a slamming door or a rolling ball or a laughing doll. The documentary is a drop-off point for their lackluster investigation (especially interviewing eyewitness) techniques. Zak is clearly not as clever as he portrays himself (faux-Mohawk. geeky tattoos, and sculpted, over-exaggerated biceps included) but he's harmless. Listening to him theorize can be downright entertaining ("The earth is round and embryos are round that is why we capture orbs..." Wow!) if not a little embarrassing. Nick seems to be the smarter one of the bunch. Aaron is the perpetual fallguy and Zak loves to pick on him even though he constantly tells us that he was bullied as a child and hates bullies (hence his infatuation for infuriating any entity who has maliciously attacked the living). It's a strange ride with these guys, but overall, a fun one. Look beyond the fact that many of their eye-witnesses are missing teeth and appear to be involved in some sort of substance abuse on a daily basis (there is an alarming lack of respectable-looking people in their investigatory fold). Ghost Adventures is still compelling. It still begs the questions of what out there and why?

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Peanuts 1960's Collection (A Charlie Brown Christmas / Charlie Brown's All-Stars / It's the Great Pumpkin / You're in Love / He's Your Dog / It Was a Short Summer)
Peanuts 1960's Collection (A Charlie Brown Christmas / Charlie Brown's All-Stars / It's the Great Pumpkin / You're in Love / He's Your Dog / It Was a Short Summer)
DVD ~ Various
Offered by Two Thumbs Up
Price: $21.69
21 used & new from $13.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Long Forgotten Peanuts Gems Abound In This Collection, February 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you love for Charlie Brown and Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang, but you have grown tired of watching the usual outings, this collection is for you. This is the Peanuts TV Specials from the 1960's, starting with A Charlie Brown Christmas, of course. The Great Pumpkin is in there too. But what makes this collection intriguing are the seldom-seen (if ever) Specials like Charlie Brown's All Stars, You're In Love, Charlie Brown, He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown and It Was A Short Summer, Charlie Brown. Some of these aired once, maybe twice, and the were lost to television history. Are they as spectacular as the more popular Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving & Easter episodes? They are. Peanuts was always eclectic and off-kilter and each of these outings stays true to Shultz's vision. And each of them were highly successful in their premieres. So sit back and enjoy seeing some Peanuts that you may have never seen. I know I did. With the exception of the Christmas and Halloween stories, I hadn't seen a single one. Two more collections follow, the 1970's in two parts. They are definitely worth it, especially if you are like I am and prefer the original voice talents and Shultz's direct involvement where the Peanuts gang is concerned.

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The Art of the Book of Life
The Art of the Book of Life
by Gutierrez, Jorge
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $25.49
73 used & new from $19.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Animated Grandeur!, February 23, 2015
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Wow! That's all I can say. Well... No. I can say more. But... WOW! For those of us who appreciate brilliant art, especially great animated art, The Book Of Life should amaze you. This book details the Art of The Book Of Life in intimate detail, from pre-production sketches to the finished product with many variations in between. To fully understand the scale of the movie, you need to see this book. Just the background detail, flashing by on the screen for mere seconds, is astounding. Rich colors. breathtaking detail, there are surprises around ever turn. Get this book! I love it! Definitely worth the meager asking price!

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Funko POP Movies Action Figure: Book of Life - La Muerte
Funko POP Movies Action Figure: Book of Life - La Muerte
Offered by Kooky Toys
Price: $11.85
23 used & new from $8.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars La Muerta Gets Funko!, February 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Since no one wanted to take on the daunting detailed task of making figures for The Book of Life, Funko did a few deluxe figures and their run of POP figures. This, unfortunately, is the only way to get the beautiful La Muerta. Not quite as detailed as the promo pictures, the skulls around the brim of her hat are only white with no eyes, the rest of the figure is very well done. If you love Funko POP figures you can't go wrong here. I have several and they're pretty awesome, but kinda trendy and kitschy in a hydro-cephalic way. Collectable. But. Like I said. It's this or nothing if you want the ruler of the Land of the Remembered. Worth the price tag for sure.

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Chronicles of Narnia, The: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Animated)
Chronicles of Narnia, The: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Animated)
DVD ~ Lion
Offered by Mediaflix
Price: $17.20
19 used & new from $3.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Children's Animated Classic, February 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Like with Rankin/Bass and their version of The Hobbit, animation was clearly the only way we were going to see anything from the Narnia series was going to be through animation. Technology just wasn't keen enough in 1979 to give us a live-action film with any quality. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy stumble into a wardrobe and are transported to Narnia, a magical land under the control of the wicked White Witch, where its always winter but never Christmas. But as the Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve (yes, there are religious undertones throughout) begin to explore the land, things begin to thaw a little here and a little there. One of the great beloved fantasy stories of our time. This version is true to the book and voiced with some excellent talents. This is Narnia before Disney and CGI got a hold of it and tried to make it so much more than it was. I have read the books and seen the movies and I really prefer this version. It's not only nostalgic but its straight-forward,

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Funko Legacy Action Figure: Book of Life - Maria
Funko Legacy Action Figure: Book of Life - Maria
Price: $15.57
31 used & new from $8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring Us More!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, February 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The most tragic thing about these toys is there aren't enough. They only made Maria, Manolo and Xibalba. Why 3 figures only? Where's La Muerta????? For a movie with such stunning visualizations and rich characters, this line seems like an afterthought. I leave my toys in the box (shame on me) so I can only guess as to the posing aspects of the figures. They didn't seem to be intended for children with their limited access, so I shall assume they're for collectors. Richly detailed and reasonably priced. I loved the movie, so I bought the toys. Excellent job by Funko, just need more in the series.

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