Category Archives: Recaps & Reviews

Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Blu-ray Review

Official Synopsis: The world at large believes Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) died in a tragic boating accident, and in a way the world at large isn’t wrong. Far from the life he knew, living under a false name in the small town of Iron Lake, New York, he’s successfully tamped down his Dark Passenger for nearly 10 years. With a normal job and a Chief of Police girlfriend, it seems he’s got life under control – until his son shows up and turns his world upside down. Rattled, Dexter yields to his homicidal urges and soon finds himself on a collision course with a very dangerous local.

I loved the original Dexter series, and while the revival, Dexter: New Blood wasn’t perfect, there was a lot to like about it. So being able to watch it again to review the Blu-ray was fun. I especially love Julia Jones as Dexter’s girlfriend and seeing the return of Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter adopted sister Deb. Having Harrison show up out of the blue definitely brought an interesting dynamic to both Dexter the man and Dexter the series!

As for the four-disc Blu-ray set, it features all 10 episodes that aired on Showtime plus some great extras.

Disc 1 includes episodes 1-3, “Cold Snap,” “Storm of Fuck,” & “Smoke Signals.” It also includes two special features: “Why Now?” — Showrunner Clyde Phillips and stars Michael C. Hall & Jennifer Carpenter talk about what to expect in the revival series; & “Dissecting Dexter: New Blood – Deb is Back” — Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter dive into their roles as Dexter and Deb Morgan.

Disc 2 includes episodes 4-6, “H is for Hero,” “Runaway,” & “Too Many Tuna Sandwiches.” It also includes the special feature “Dissecting Dexter: New Blood – The Kill Room” — Viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at Dexter’s kill room and the psychology of it all. Fascinating stuff, but I could have used a lot more!

Disc 3 includes episodes 7-9, “Skin of Her Teeth,” “Unfair Game,” & “The Family Business.” There are no special features on disc 3.

Finally, disc 4 includes the season finale episode, “Sins of the Father,” as well as the special feature “All Out on the Table.” Viewers will enjoy a whopping thirty-minute retrospective about the making of the show as the cast and crew lay it “all out on the table” to dissect their characters, as well as revealing exclusive behind-the-scenes moments, breaking down the emotional finale, and more.

Overall, this is a beautiful Blu-ray set and a fantastic show, well worth buying and watching for a first (or second!) time.

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CSI: Vegas Season 1 DVD Review

Official Synopsis: A new threat has enshrouded the neon streets of Sin City, and it’s going to take some familiar faces to stare it down. William Petersen and Jorja Fox return to the roles they made famous – and to the crime drama that made CBS history – in CSI: Vegas. Can they prevent the perpetrator from bringing down the whole CSI crime lab? Old friends meet new enemies – and the latest forensic techniques – in CSI: Vegas.

I was a huge fan of the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation when it began airing in 2000. So when I learned they were going to air a revival, even with an almost all new cast, I was super excited. So when the new CSI: Vegas started in October 2021, I watched each episode religiously. And for the most part, it didn’t disappoint. It even features an updated version of the original opening, which was fantastic to hear and see! Check it out below.

The return of Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) and Gil Grissom (William Petersen), along with David Hodges (Wallace Langham) & Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle), was incredibly welcome. I especially enjoyed series newcomers Paula Newsome as head of the lab Maxine Roby, as well as Matt Lauria & Mandeep Dhillon as CSIs Joshua Folsom & Allie Rajan. When Brass is attacked and Hodges is accused of manipulating evidence during his years as a CSI, Sara & Grissom decide to come back to find Brass’s attacker and help clear Hodges’ name so the crime lab itself can be cleared of any wrongdoing. The season focuses on those things, and for the most part, I thought they handled it well. We still got the “case of the week” while also dealing with the season arc of those story lines.

Season 1 of CSI: Vegas was released on DVD on April 5, 2022. It contains 3 discs featuring all 10 episodes, along with some great Special Features:

Deleted Scenes:
“Legacy” (Disc 1), “Honeymoon in Vegas” (Disc 1), “Under the Skin” (Disc 1), “Long Pig” (Disc 1), “Let the Chips Fall” (Disc 1), “Funhouse” (Disc 2)

Featurettes:
Everything Old Is New Again – Learn how the revival was brought to our TV screens and the challenges it faced with the possibility of being compared to the original. Both the new and returning cast members chat about their thoughts on the revival and their characters.
A Brand New Look – Associate Producer Alex Berry gives viewers a tour of the newly created state-of-the-art laboratory sets — very much an updated to the 21st Centurty. (Note: It really is amazing. I went back to look at some of the original series, and it seems so dark and…old now! When it first aired, it all felt so high tech! LOL)
Seeing Is Believing – Visual Effects Supervisor Brad Tannenbaum goes into great detail about some of the amazing footage and shots in the revival. You’ll be awed by the incredible effects as they’re deconstructed to give you an inside look at how they’re done.
 
 
Overall, this is a fun addition to the original series and well worth owning on DVD (or Blu-ray!).
 

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The Mandalorian Season Finale Recap & Overall Series Thoughts

There are a variety of words I use to describe The Mandalorian. Awesome is not one of them. When I sum it up into a logline, it goes like this: “Dangerous bounty hunter betrays everything about his lifestyle except weird obsession with wearing a helmet to nurture a cute, telekinetic, 90-year-old baby.” From the jump, it has felt as if it were badly written but overproduced fanfic. Like someone (John Favreau) just watched the core nine episodes of the Skywalker Saga for the first time last year, called dibs on the most marketable moments/characters/settings – Yoda, Boba Fett, Tattoine – and mashed them all up with little concern for cannon, fandom, or integrity. It often feels like a child playing with action figures, but the child has 5 million dollars to spend on each trip out back to the sandbox.

Season two came to a close last week with another #predictable cameo, which this show prefers to substance or depth. But how did we get there? Well, Darth Vader Lite – ahem, I mean Moff Gideon… yes, Gideon kidnapped Grogu aka “Baby Yoda,” and Mando was dedicated to getting the child back. He had the help of recent New Republic recruit-ready-to-abandon-her-post-for-Mando Cara Dune of course. Let’s not forget overweight Boba Fett, who showed up last week with Tennac Shand [Mae from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.]. This whole crew of Mandalorians was ready to fight to restore Mando to his rightful position in life: a lactating doula taking care of Baby Yoda.

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Free Solo Movie Review

Photo by Mark Murphy // BY-SA 2.0

Out of all the brilliant movies and excellent tv shows out there, Free Solo is probably one of the most intense. A horror movie for anyone who’s scared of heights, this documentary does not disappoint. Imagine hugging a cliff face over a thousand feet in the air with nothing to hold you in your current position but your hands and feet. This is normal for the free solo climber, Alex Honnold. Where others would be terrified at the idea of climbing a mountain or cliff face without ropes and safety gear, Alex meets the challenge head-on with a no holds barred attitude.

Before El Capitan

Alex Honnold has conquered some impossible climbs by himself without safety gear as his movie, Free Solo, shows. The author and rock climber talks about how he doesn’t fear death when he climbs. He doesn’t believe that what he is doing is any riskier than living a normal life. He realizes any mistake could lead to his death, so he calculates his route and movements methodically to achieve his climbs.

Photo by Niccolò Caranti // BY-SA 3.0

The Free Solo documentary gives its audience an inside look at the day-to-day life of Alex Honnold as he prepares for his most significant climb: El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. When Alex is introduced, the audience learns that he lives in a van so he can easily travel to give speeches, book signings and, of course, climb. His simple set-up has served him for nine years, and he hasn’t considered changing where he lives. When asked about his dating life, he says he would choose climbing over a girl any day.

As the documentary continues, Alex’s life takes on some new changes. A girlfriend is introduced, and he begins climbing with her. Unfortunately, early in the movie, Alex falls while climbing a small cliff face while repelling, causing an injury to his spine. However, Alex doesn’t let his injury slow him down and continues on his quest to climb El Capitan. Alex faces another setback when climbing with his girlfriend; this time he’s climbing El Capitan with ropes as a way to figure out his route up the cliff face. He slips and injures his ankle. Again, the movie documents his no-quit attitude as he works on rehabbing his ankle and ascending El Capitan three weeks later.

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Drama On The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

This week, a new season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills started on Bravo. If you watched at all, you can tell that this entire season is going to be drama. Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards are already yelling at each other. So what is causing this drama?

It looks like a big issue is that Dorit Kemsley adopted a dog from Lisa Vanderpump’s rescue, Vanderpump Dogs. Later she decided to get rid of the dog, and instead of taking it back to Lisa, she actually gave it to someone else. It somehow ended up in a shelter. They contacted Lisa to let her know so she could get it back. The dog had a chip in it, so they were able to track it back to Lisa.

Lisa was very upset about all of this, and somehow it looks like Kyle Richards got thrown in the middle. The preview for the rest of the season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills looks like nonstop drama.

Now, Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards aren’t even speaking to each other. These two Real Housewives of Beverly Hills stars have been friends for years. Kyle doesn’t seem to be dealing very well with all that is going on either. She recently shared that she suffers from “crippling anxiety.” She actually had to start taking medication because of it. Hopefully, this season of RHOBH isn’t too hard on Kyle having to watch it all go down.

Rumors are that after this season, Lisa won’t even return to the show. She seems like she is pretty done with it and drama. Lisa is successful without it, so she will be just fine.

Make sure that you don’t miss watching new episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It airs on Bravo on Tuesday night at 9/8c.

— Mandy Robinson with TV Shows Ace.

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