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Category:    Home > Reviews > Reality TV > Supernatural > TV Situation Comedy > Rock > Horror > Goth > Action > Drama > Ghost Hunters – Season Seven, Part 2 (2011/Image DVDs)/Holliston – The Complete First Season (2012/Image Blu-ray)/Maximum Conviction (2012/Anchor Bay Blu-ray w/DVD)/Rites Of Passage (2011/MagNet Blu-r

Ghost Hunters – Season Seven, Part 2 (2011/Image DVDs)/Holliston – The Complete First Season (2012/Image Blu-ray)/Maximum Conviction (2012/Anchor Bay Blu-ray w/DVD)/Rites Of Passage (2011/MagNet Blu-ray)


Picture: C/B-/B- & C/B-     Sound: C+/B-/B- & C+/B-     Extras: C-/C-/C-/C     Main Programs: D/C-/C-/C



Now for some new releases more interested in being hip and pretending to the cutting edge that actually being it.



It is amazing to mew that we are now seeing Ghost Hunters – Season Seven, Part 2 (2011) just because it is a shock the show has lasted so long or that bad, cynical theatrical releases like the Paranormal Activity series of rip-offs or their endless imitators are nothing more than this show with less brains (and that says something.  This four disc set offers 13 more goofy would-be “cases” that are all the same and awfully repetitious, but the episode on Dark Shadows might be a dumb curio for those who liked the show or its now several remakes.  It did nothing for me either.  For fans only (they must love comedy), there are no extras.



Next we have a TV sitcom.  Holliston – The Complete First Season (2012) wants to mix Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Horror film and Goth culture into a comedy complete with goofy characters and even Dee Snyder playing a character not far removed from himself.  Shockingly unfunny, it is apparent after a few scenes from the pilot show that this wants to be a hip clone of Big Bang Theory for Rockers instead of geeks.  It does not work.


I never laughed once and never believed anything I was seeing, making this phony, bogus and scattered.  Did anyone watch this before buying it?  Is the strange laugh track that sounds too low and unrealistic to be real the show’s way of trying to say TV sitcoms are phony?  If so, there is not enough intelligence, humor, ironic distance or substance to pull that off.


It is hard to imagine this being a cult item, yet we assume it made it to another season, but who is watching?  No wonder Rock Music and Horror Films are in decline.


Extras include Bloopers, Deleted Scenes, Cast Commentary Tracks and a Behind The Scenes featurette.



A declining Steven Seagal is back, joined by one-time wrestler Steve Austin in Keoni Waxman’s Maximum Conviction (2012) in a really poor, lame and weak action tale about the leads taking part in emptying a security prison that is being shut down, only to face some resistance from the final prisoners and more with bad editing, bad dialogue, badly choreographed fight scenes, goofy gunplay and some of the dumbest dialogue of the year with hardly anything here that works.  The idea was not awful, but it is so badly done that the makers manage to make every bad decision possible down to the editing.


Again, only big fans should bother.  Otherwise, skip this one too.  Extras include an ICONS (note it is in caps) featurette, on-camera interviews with Austin and co-star Bren Foster, feature length audio commentary track with Waxman & Co-Executive Producer Binh Dang and a Behind The Scenes featurette.




Finally we have W. Peter Iliff’s Rites Of Passage (2011) which is by default, the best of these releases, in part because it is so ridiculous that it lands up being unintentionally funny when it should not be and is so unreal that I cannot believe it even was made.


A group of older school students go to the isolated house of Nathan (Ryan Donowho) to unwind, get to know each other better and even experiment in fulfilling dumb ceremonial desires, getting drunk and using various drugs.  This includes a teacher (Stephen Dorff) who is involved with one of the female students and some students not used to this lifestyle.  But all will get [pretty insane (and inane) when Nathan psychotic brother (Wes Bentley) and his drug-dealing junkie-like friend (Christian Slater) jump into the fray with guns and very bad ideas.


The casting alone makes this silly, then they have a script to shoot here and Slater keeps showing up to Bentley ala Fight Club to the point that it is laughable, but he is unfortunately real.  Any chance this could work ends early on and it just becomes more and more of a fascinating mess.  Maybe you’ll want to see this one for yourself (i.e., how not to make a movie), but the more they tried, the more they failed on this one.  Extras include a Trailer and a Behind The Scenes featurette.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Hunters is a mix of bad digital video, video noise and phony black and white (among other monochrome choices) but that is the lame look of it and all of its lame imitators.  The result is very soft and hard to watch, which can also be said for the HD shot Conviction DVD version.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Hollister and Conviction, plus the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Rites Blu-rays are all equally problematic HD shoots with motion blur, color limits, sloppy editing and some shots that look just plain bad, though Rites is the only one doing some of this intentionally.  Still, they are all problematic and have no demo shots for the Blu-ray format.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Hunters and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Conviction DVD are about even, simple and without much of a soundfield, though Conviction suffers a little from being towards the front speakers.  Compare it to the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on its Blu-ray version and though it is still problematic, you can definitely hear detail in the mix absent form the DVD version.  The Holliston and Rites Blu-rays offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that are also too much towards the front speakers like Conviction, so they are no improvement and none of the sound on any of these releases offers anything special or distinct, much like the content itself.

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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