BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 14, 2018  |  0 comments
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How many more movies and TV shows will simulate virtual reality to tell a “thought-provoking” story about the fate of society? I gave up on Netflix’s Black Mirror because I could not bear another tale of VR gone awry, but Ready Player One brings the pedigree of Steven Spielberg, plus Ernest Cline’s bestselling novel. How could it miss?
Al Griffin  |  Aug 31, 2018  |  1 comments
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Directed by John Krasinksi (star of TV’s “The Office”) and produced by action film director Michael Bay, A Quiet Place is a curious mashup of sci-fi/horror and family drama. The world is under siege by alien creatures who are blind but have powerful hearing capability, which they use to locate human prey. To survive, a family at the story’s center of needs to remain completely silent at all times— not something that’s easy to do when the clan includes young children.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 24, 2018  |  2 comments
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Miguel, a feisty youngster in small town Mexico, loves music, particularly the work of his hero, the long dead guitar and singing star, Ernesto de la Cruz. But because his great-great grandfather abandoned his wife and daughter for a career in music, his family remains virulently opposed to music and forbids Miguel’s having anything to do with it.
Fred Kaplan  |  Aug 17, 2018  |  0 comments
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Forget the misguided moral and political complaints:Three Billboards is a masterpiece, a dark tale about grief, anger, and the inadequate cushions of community. It’s also funny as hell. Writer-director Martin McDonagh, an Irish playwright (two words that say much), has long explored Biblical themes through vernacular-profane language and deeply flawed characters (his best film until now,In Bruges, was basically about sin).
David Vaughn  |  Aug 10, 2018  |  2 comments
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Thomas Anderson leads a double life. During the day, he is a computer drone for a big corporation; by night, he’s Neo, hacker extraordinaire. Morpheus opens Neo’s eyes to the real world, a vast wasteland where most of humanity has been enslaved by machines that use our bodies as a power source. To reclaim the Earth, Neo must reenter the Matrix in order to overthrow the machines and discover his true destiny in life.
Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 03, 2018  |  1 comments
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In the 30 years since its debut, Die Hard has been riffed on and ripped off beyond count, and been sequelized no less than four times. This crown jewel of the Fox catalog, unleashed upon audiences with a ferocity, personality, and originality that we never saw coming, will likely never be topped. A very 1980s interpretation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, it finds grouchy New York City police detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) stuck in an under-construction Los Angeles skyscraper on December 24th.
Dennis Burger  |  Jul 27, 2018  |  4 comments
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Is Star Wars art or entertainment? The simplest answer to that question is, “It’s both, of course.” But Episode VIII: The Last Jedi proves the question to be less simple than it first appears. Because of all its silly creatures, swashbuckling adventure sequences, million-dollar-a-minute special effects, and cheeky humor, The Last Jedi is at its heart a deeply personal, deeply thematic, deeply deconstructive, big-budget indie film that forces longtime fans to contend with questions about what Star Wars even is and why its unique blend of mythology, arthouse pastiche, and B-movie kitsch works as well as it does.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jul 13, 2018  |  0 comments
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Kenneth Branagh has spent his career as an actor and director tackling the classics, from Shakespeare to Mary Shelley, and this time out he dives into Agatha Christie’s famous mystery Murder on the Orient Express, playing the author’s beloved Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
David Vaughn  |  Jul 08, 2018  |  0 comments
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A group of kids discover an old video game console in the basement of their school with an unknown game called Jumanji. After choosing their avatars, the foursome is transported into the game’s jungle setting and assume their roles. They soon discover that not only have they taken on the look of the characters, but have inherited their strengths and weaknesses. To survive the game and get back home, all must work together to pass the obstacles placed in front of them, but the stakes are higher than they could have ever imagined.
David Vaughn  |  Jul 01, 2018  |  0 comments
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A secret from her father’s past leads adventure-seeker Lara Croft on one of her greatest challenges. What she seeks to find is the Triangle of Light, a legendary artifact whose power to alter space and time happens only once every 5,000 years. Also in hot pursuit: the Illuminati, a secret society bent on world domination. Lara and her trusty tech-geek sidekick, Bryce, must do everything in their power to stop them.
Tom Norton  |  Jun 15, 2018  |  0 comments
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Darkest Hour shows the other side of the 1940 events depicted in 2017’s equally superb Dunkirk. The latter showed the evacuations that enabled the British army to survive, the former depicted how Churchill, taking the office of Prime Minister almost by default, navigated around the pacifists in his cabinet who wanted to negotiate a settlement with Hitler’s Nazi Germany. In doing so he cemented his status as arguably the most important national leader of the 20th century.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jun 08, 2018  |  0 comments
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The 2014 wuxia film Brotherhood of Blades established the story of three members of an elite palace guard unit during the Ming Dynasty who must abandon their brotherhood and apprehend one of their own after he goes rogue, only to find themselves caught up in an even larger conspiracy. The Infernal Battlefield continues the story of these best-of-the-best guardsmen. It brings back much of the cast, but this is a standalone film that doesn’t require viewing the first to be understood.
Josef Krebs  |  May 25, 2018  |  0 comments
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The Foreigner, a superior action-thriller from Martin Campbell, the director of two of the best Bond outings ever—Casino Royale and GoldenEye—not only delivers both excitement and dramatic complexity but offers a surprisingly moving performance from its star, Jackie Chan. Presented in a Blu-ray of impressive picture and sound quality, it makes for memorable home theater.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  May 22, 2018  |  0 comments
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2010’s Saw 3D was ostensibly the final film in the popular horror saga. And then, lo and behold, a mere seven years later, the franchise was rebooted with Jigsaw. Directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig, the story finds the elaborate, gruesome Jigsaw killings mysteriously starting up all over again. As before, law enforcement is at a loss as to how the legendary serial killer Jigsaw—dead and buried!—could possibly be committing these nasty new murders. Meanwhile, as is the tradition with Jigsaw, a fresh group of victims has been ensnared in his intricate traps and forced to confess their own crimes or risk death.
Josef Krebs  |  May 18, 2018  |  4 comments
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Facing their own complete extinction due to extreme storms that are destroying whole cities, the world finally comes together, sending 17 teams of scientists and engineers to create a system, a series of satellites all controlled by a giant space station that can use an assortment of devices—super lasers, thermal missiles, freezing beams, etc.—to stabilize the weather. Naturally, someone’s gonna try to seize control of Dutchboy, as the system is known, and weaponize it to make himself president of an all-powerful country that will destroy its enemies and rule the planet.

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