Blu-ray Movie Reviews

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Roger Kanno  |  Jun 14, 2019  |  0 comments
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Black Hawk Down concerns an ill-fated U.S. Army Ranger and Delta Force mission on the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993. The story can be difficult to follow at times with its large cast of characters, but it's still effectively told. Made in collaboration with über-producer Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down definitely does not want for production values and is a well-crafted, straight-ahead drama.
Fred Kaplan  |  May 31, 2019  |  0 comments
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For my money, Capernaum was the best film of 2018—similar to Roma (slice of life, untrained actors), not as cinematically breathtaking (though still impressive), but emotionally more gripping (fuller characters, deeper drama). The title is an Arab word meaning Godforsaken chaos (taken from a Biblical tale of a city literally forsaken by God), and that's a fair description of the impoverished section of Beirut where the film takes place.
Chris Chiarella  |  May 17, 2019  |  0 comments
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If your crystal ball predicted that someday the writer/director of There's Something About Mary would take home an Academy Award for Best Picture, let's hope you bet big and didn't smash the thing. Peter Farrelly's Green Book is an emotional smorgasbord, one that would no doubt be appreciated by its ever-famished "hero," Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen). He's a gleefully ignorant yet strangely lovable tough guy (what my people would call a cavone), albeit one who needs to learn a thing or two about race relations. Tony gets his chance when, on a hiatus from his job as a bouncer at The Copacabana, he's hired to chauffeur piano virtuoso Dr. Don Shirley (two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali)—a black man—on a concert tour of the Deep South in 1962.
Roger Kanno  |  May 03, 2019  |  1 comments
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Bumblebee is the sixth entry in the live-action Transformers franchise, but for much of this film, the title character is the only robot that appears onscreen. Directed by Travis Knight, who previously directed Kubo and the Two Strings, it has its share of action scenes, but also makes an effort to be character-driven by exploring the relationship between Bumblebee and the teenage girl who discovers him, Charlie. Set on Earth in the 1980s, Bumblebee can be a little predictable and even a bit corny at times, but nonetheless remains thoroughly enjoyable throughout.
Josef Krebs  |  Apr 26, 2019  |  0 comments
"What are we doing here?" "I don't know." Stranger Than Paradise, the delightful deadbeat breakout film by writer/director Jim Jarmusch with its whack-character studies, unactorly acting, absurdist deadpan humor, and minimalist style brilliantly captured the mood of its time. It also established him as an instant auteur of the $100,000-budget, low-production-value indie-film scene and inspired many others to do likewise.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 19, 2019  |  1 comments
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An animated Spider-Man movie? In the midst of the character's latest live-action reboot? Using six different iterations of the character, all but one of which are only known to die-hard comic book fans? A direct-to-video tie-in, right? Wrong: Not only was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a big-screen box-office success, it also snagged an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of 2018.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  1 comments
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Set mostly after the events in 2017's Justice League, Aquaman takes us back to the origin of reluctant amphibian hero Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), and then to the present for a grand new adventure. We are introduced to men who would be king (including an angry challenger to the throne) and a hidden realm far beyond our own evolution. To keep things interesting, there's a high-tech pirate on our hero's tail, and a fellow Atlantean (Amber Heard) at his side who sports a shock of crimson hair worthy of The Little Mermaid.
Josef Krebs  |  Apr 05, 2019  |  0 comments
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After her father is jailed for treason at the end of World War II, Alicia Huberman, a disillusioned, hard-drinking, but patriotic party girl is recruited by Devlin, a suave, cynical government agent. Her mission is to romance a wealthy friend of her father's, Sebastian, infiltrate his palatial home, and observe his associates that are suspected of Nazi conspiracy in Rio, Brazil.
Al Griffin  |  Apr 01, 2019  |  0 comments
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It was a bold move for Luca Guadagnino, director of the 2018 Academy Award-nominated, Call Me by Your Name, to undertake a remake of Suspiria, the 1977 film from Italian horror auteur Dario Argento, as his next project. Buoyed no doubt by the critical acclaim Call Me by Your Name had received, Guadagnino, an avowed Argento fan, likely felt he could do Argento's cult classic justice.
Roger Kanno  |  Mar 22, 2019  |  1 comments
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Widows is a taught crime thriller directed by Oscar-winner Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), who co-wrote the script with author Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl). Based on a British television series, it follows the lives of several women brought together by their husbands' criminal pasts and features an outstanding cast led by an intense performance from Viola Davis, with support from Daniel Kaluuya, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and others. Told in a stylish and well-paced manner, Widows holds plenty of twists and surprises for the viewer. I found the movie to be thoroughly engrossing.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 15, 2019  |  0 comments
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Wreck It Ralph and his new BFF Vanellope have settled into a familiar routine—starring in their arcade games by day, playing other games after work, and hanging out later at Tapper's (root) beer joint. But Vanellope's Sugar Rush game breaks, and to find the part needed to fix it they sneak into a new WIFI portal at Game Central Station. It takes them to the totally unfamiliar world of the Internet, where chaos is inevitable given Ralph's natural talent for wrecking things.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 08, 2019  |  0 comments
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With his most recent film, First Man, Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle has managed to do something remarkable: take one of the greatest achievements in all humankind and render it as cold as space itself. Astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) sacrifices much and faces incredible challenges on his way to leaving those first-ever footprints on the moon.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 01, 2019  |  0 comments
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A Star Is Born manages to rise above the nigh-unavoidable clichés of the music drama genre through the sheer, undeniable force of Bradley Cooper's love of his craft. Were this not already the third remake of the 1937 film, the potential cinematic pitfalls of this tale of frustrated singer/songwriter Ally (Lady Gaga), who struggles amid the boozy, druggy stumblings of entrenched headliner Jack (Cooper) would still be many.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 22, 2019  |  0 comments
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The indisputable success of Bohemian Rhapsody confirms what many of us have known for decades: Queen was one of the biggest rock bands in the world, and their late frontman Freddie Mercury was one of the singularly most polarizing and mesmerizing popular-music performers of the 20th century.
Josef Krebs  |  Feb 15, 2019  |  0 comments
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Albert (Åke Grönberg), the aging owner and ringmaster of an impoverished travelling circus, takes the troupe to his home town in order to visit his estranged wife and sons with the hope of returning to the safe, bourgeois family nest. In reaction, his jealous young lover (the gorgeous Harriet Andersson), a horseback rider, allows a charismatic actor to seduce her.

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