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DVD Review: The Captains Close Up
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The Captains Close UpThe Captains Close Up
DVD
Directed by William Shatner
Starring William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks
Entertainment One
Release Date: August 13, 2013

No one ever involved with the Star Trek franchise has benefited from its enduring popularity and cultural legacy as much as William Shatner. And why shouldn’t he? This is Captain James Tiberius Kirk we’re talking about here, one of the most popular and recognizable heroic figures ever created. Shatner saw his own fortunes as a struggling young actor with great talent and promise rise considerably in the 1960’s when he signed on to play Kirk after the original pilot episode of Trek with Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike was poorly received. The show may have only lasted three seasons in the first place, the third of which was made possible by one of the most effective fan letter-writing campaigns in the history of civilization, but its countless television and feature film spin-offs helped the franchise become the cornerstone of a geek nation that stretches to every corner of the planet and one day possibly to worlds yet unexplored. Shatner is one of the show’s greatest champions, its most iconic character and star, and to this day continues on as a tireless promoter for Star Trek‘s undying themes and the power of its fans and alumni to inspire greatness in themselves and others. Plus, those residual checks must be pretty nice.

Most recently Shatner wrote and directed The Captains Close Up, a 5-part series for the cable channel Epix that expanded on the intentions of his 2011 documentary feature The Captains. Each of the five episodes were devoted to interviewing and profiling the actors who played Starfleet captains in the original Trek and its four television spin-offs and multitude of big screen sci-fi adventures. The entire series has been released on DVD courtesy of Entertainment One, and with a combined running time of two-and-a-half hours on one disc makes binge watching essential and well worth the time of any Trek devotee.

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Blu-ray Review: Zombie Massacre
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Zombie Massacre

Zombie Massacre
Blu-ray
Directed by Marco Ristori and Luca Boni
Starring Christian Boeving, Mike Mitchell, and Ivy Corbin
Entertainment One
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Notorious German filmmaker and professional Internet punching bag Uwe Boll is a very busy man. He can’t take every mediocre video game on the market and turn it into a lazy, joyless exercise in next generation schlock all by himself. So in the case of Zombie Massacre – also known by its World War Z cash-in alternate title Apocalypse Z – he gracefully ceded the directing honors he usually reserves for his little old self to not one, but two individuals this time: Marco Ristori and Luca Boni. Looking at those names as I type them suddenly gave me a craving for chicken cacciatore. Meanwhile, Dr. Boll is in the midst of pre-production on his next five movies – three of which began filming early this month – and hard at work on stoking the fires of fan boy enmity. Zombie Massacre could have really used his directorial gifts.

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DVD Review: The Comic Strip Presents – The Complete Collection
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The Comic Strip Presents: The Complete CollectionThe Comic Strip Presents
The Complete Collection
DVD | Region 2 DVD
Directed by Peter Richardson, Robbie Coltrane, Keith Allen, and Adrian Edmondson
Starring Dawn French, Robbie Coltrane, Rik Mayall, Jennifer Saunders, and Alexei Sayle
Entertainment One
Release Date: January 31, 2012

The Comic Strip is a British comedy troupe that started out in the early 1980s and gained stature after starring in a short concert film released in 1981 and directed by Julien Temple (The Great Rock and Roll Swindle starring the Sex Pistols, Earth Girls Are Easy). The following year newborn television network Channel 4 signed them for a new series of comedic short films. Premiering on the same night Channel 4 debuted – November 2, 1982 – The Comic Strip Presents brought edgy, alternative, and often controversial humor to living rooms, dorm rooms, and bustling pubs all throughout the U.K. The show has disappeared and reappeared constantly on several different channels in the three decades since its debut but it continues to airs to this day. The Comic Strip also made two feature films, The Supergrass and Eat the Rich, that saw theatrical releases both in the U.K. and the U.S. (sort of).

In 2005 a complete collection of the episodes aired between 1982 and 2000 – with certain exceptions – were released on a nine-disc Region 2 DVD box set with a bonus disc reserved for bonus features. Eat the Rich was not included in the set due to rights issues, and the version of The Supergrass made available was the theatrical cut and not the original cut with eight additional minutes of footage. That set has finally made its way to our shores. Without further adieu I present to you The Comic Strip Presents: The Complete Collection.

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