BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Corey Gunnestad  |  Jan 05, 2018  |  0 comments
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I typically tend to bash films that rely on hackneyed plot devices and laughably implausible action sequences, and Disney’s latest escapade in their beleaguered Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is guilty on all charges. The entire series has anchored its plot lines to a host of supernatural elements like cursed pirates, leviathan sea monsters, and homicidal mermaids.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 05, 2018  |  0 comments
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Based on a series of twelve children’s books, Captain Underpants: The Original Superhero is the story of Best Friends Forever George and Harold. To stay sane in their suffocating grammar school, they write comics starring their imagined superhero, Captain Underpants. They also engage in elaborate pranks, to the dismay of their insufferable, warden-like principal, Mr. Krupp.
David Vaughn  |  Dec 22, 2017  |  0 comments
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Captured in 1943, a battalion of British soldiers is forced to work as slave labor to build a bridge for the Japanese over the River Kwai. The sadistic POW commander, Col. Saito, insists the British officers work alongside the enlisted personnel against the bylaws of the Geneva Convention. The British officer, Col. Nicholson, brings this to the attention of Saito, who promptly puts him in the “hot box” until he changes his tune. Nicholson refuses to back down, and a battle of wills ensues. Saito eventually realizes he’s fighting a losing battle and must find a way to inspire the prisoners to work faster, and Nicholson is the key to getting the bridge built on time.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 22, 2017  |  0 comments
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Can the dangerous business of getaway driving be elevated to an art form? Propelled by the constant soundtrack of his life, Baby (Ansel Elgort) combines speed, daring, and creativity in a thrilling and highly profitable display of skill. He doesn’t want to be a part of this prolonged crime spree, but he needs to repay a debt to a local kingpin (Kevin Spacey). In fact, he believes he has an exit strategy all figured out, once they’re square, and that he and his new lady friend (Lily James) can drive off into the sunset.
David Vaughn  |  Dec 15, 2017  |  2 comments
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In a world where people are enhanced with technology, Major (Johansson) is rescued from near death, or so she believes. Her cybernetic implants make her the first of her kind as she fights criminals with an upper hand, but things are not always what they seem to be. She begins to have visions of her past and starts to believe that the corporation that “saved” her is actually trying to control her. She makes it her personal mission to unravel her mysterious past and find out what truly happened.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 15, 2017  |  0 comments
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Although Martin Scorsese is listed as one of the executive producers, Free Fire actually seems to exude more of the DNA from Reservoir Dogs. This impressively tight hour-and-a-half plays out as essentially one long scene—an arms deal gone bad—with a diverse group of tough guys (and gal) brought to life by a well-chosen international cast.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 08, 2017  |  2 comments
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Remember how excited we were when we heard that George Lucas—the man who started it all—was going back to directing Star Wars movies? And a lot of us went to see Episode I and said, “Oh.” And then, a few years older and wiser, we sat through Episode II and said, “Oh. Well.”

Ridley Scott is putting us through much the same ringer with the Alien franchise he began, famously returning for 2012’s technically accomplished but overly complicated Prometheus (also newly available on 4K). And now he’s back again with Alien: Covenant, which might just be the nadir for the series.

Corey Gunnestad  |  Dec 08, 2017  |  0 comments
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Seventeenth-century feudal Japan wasn’t exactly fertile ground for sowing the seeds of Christianity. For the Jesuit priests who went there to bring the word of God and their faithful converts, they were met with hostility, unspeakable cruelty, and death. Christ was the ultimate living example of persecution and sufferance, and the Jesuits could find strength and perseverance in that. But even Christ had his moment of doubt, and every person has his breaking point. And the Japanese were ruthlessly methodical in their efforts.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 01, 2017  |  0 comments
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When a new baby arrives at the Templeton house, seven-year-old Tim has his world turned upside down. He’s even more flummoxed when he sees that the baby is wearing a suit, carrying a briefcase, and is here on a mission from BabyCorp, where babies come from. Puppy Co., the company that Tim’s parents work for, is threatening BabyCorp’s only market by producing cute, cuddly, “forever puppies” that threaten to eliminate the human passion for babies.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 01, 2017  |  0 comments
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If you do something in your life and there’s no camera around to capture it, did it really happen? In essence, that’s the core conceit of The Circle, director James Ponsoldt’s of-the-moment adaptation of Dave Eggers’ 2013 speculative fiction novel that imagines a fully interconnected world where the life unfilmed is not worth living (well, kinda).
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 17, 2017  |  0 comments
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In a world of seemingly infinite crappy sequels, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is worthy of special praise for getting so much right. While delivering another dose of the irreverent humor and hybrid-fantasy action that made the first film so popular, it also cultivates the themes and plot lines so that the two volumes fit seamlessly, telling an epic story.
Corey Gunnestad  |  Nov 17, 2017  |  0 comments
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I have a great respect and admiration for auteur filmmakers—guys like Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino who write their own screenplays and direct them into cinematic classics. Oftentimes the temptation of appearing in their own movies proves too great for some of these filmmakers… like Woody Allen or Quentin Tarantino. Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, and George Clooney have also directed themselves into great acclaim and Oscar glory, and even Alfred Hitchcock, Oliver Stone, and Martin Scorsese have managed to sneak themselves into their films here and there.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Nov 10, 2017  |  3 comments
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Resident Evil: Vendetta picks up the mantle yet again for the Capcom strain of this popular video-game franchise. Sticking to the animé-oriented roots and offering some visceral action without the frenzied camera panning and ADD editing of the live-action The Final Chapter, the film brings together favorites from the franchise. Game characters Leon S. Kennedy (voiced my Matthew Mercer), Chris Redfield (Kevin Dorman), and Rebecca Chambers (Erin Cahill) battle wanted bioterrorist Glenn Arias (John DeMita), who plans to release a deadly virus in New York City as revenge for the government killing his wife.
Josef Krebs  |  Nov 10, 2017  |  0 comments
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This being the third film in a row I’ve reviewed on Blu-ray in which a man’s life is destroyed by the death of a child and the loss of a wife (alongside Manchester by the Sea and Nocturnal Animals) leads me to suspect that a strong sense of loss is vibrating through our national zeitgeist despite the blessings of unsocial media. Collateral Beauty, a feel-good downer (a romtrage, if you will), is a parable filled with It’s a Wonderful Life–like whimsy concerning a grieving advertising executive, Howard (Will Smith), who, two years on from the loss of his daughter, is writing letters to Time, Death, and Love to voice his complaints and express his trauma.
Josef Krebs  |  Nov 03, 2017  |  0 comments
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Writer/director Alex Cox wrote a script for a fictional rockumentary about highly original and articulate Johnny Rotten, writer/lead singer of The Sex Pistols. It might have been an extremely rewarding movie. Instead, he made Sid & Nancy, which focuses on two talentless, star-crossed, star-struck dope heads. Yet the film manages to capture the era’s excitement, disrespectful mockery, and aggressive antisocial attacks on mainstream consumer beliefs.

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