BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Avi Greengart  |  Jul 28, 2017  |  1 comments
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The opening scroll of the original Star Wars states, “Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.” If you ever thought, “Hey, I’d like to see a movie version of those 17 words,” Rogue One is for you. There’s plenty of plot-driven action, minimal character development, and ample fan service. It’s certainly entertaining. Wisecracking droid K-2SO in particular is terrific. However, the movie is anchored by the serious theme of sacrifice. If you’re looking for a jaunty kiddie flick, try a different Disney movie.
Josef Krebs  |  Jul 28, 2017  |  0 comments
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Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea is a story of ordinary folk who are sideswiped by life. Lee is a stiff working as a janitor-handyman in Boston, his inexpressive, glum detachment occasionally interrupted by outbursts of anger or self-punishing bar fighting. After his brother, Joe, dies due to a heart condition, Lee travels back to his hometown of Manchester to break the news to Joe’s teenage son, Patrick. While awaiting the funeral—which cannot take place until the ground thaws in the spring enough to allow the grave to be dug—Lee discovers that Joe has named him as Patrick’s legal guardian.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 21, 2017  |  1 comments
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Onboard the starship Avalon, thousands of passengers and crew are bound for a new colony on a distant planet. They’re in suspended animation for the 120-year journey. But passengers Jim Preston and, later, Aurora Lane are awakened 90 years too soon—and the pods can’t be reconfigured to put them back to sleep.
Josef Krebs  |  Jul 21, 2017  |  0 comments
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In screenwriter-director Tom Ford’s (A Single Man) adaptation of Austin Wright’s multi-reality novel, we discover Susan’s emotionally drained existence, disillusioned with marriage and her career in blue-chip art curating. It’s an expensive life of high-end fashion and cutting-edge contemporary paintings, antiseptic interiors in fancy galleries and elegant homes.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 14, 2017  |  0 comments
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There are many definitions of a troll, but as they appear here, in a form first conceived by a Danish woodcarver in 1959 (and subsequently as popular toys), they’re tiny, cute creatures with spiky, multicolored hair who do little besides sing, dance, hug, and party. The miserable Bergens, their enemies, believe that by eating a Troll they can be happy—at least for a day.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 14, 2017  |  0 comments
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Right or wrong, writer/director Damien Chazelle knew what he wanted. From the cinematographic techniques to the costumes and sets to the staging of the elaborate song-and-dance numbers, he employed every tool at his disposal to bring this uniquely Hollywood tale to life.
Avi Greengart  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments
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In the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a school textbook. The movie of the same name provides the back story of its author. I hope there is no test, because I found the movie long and overstuffed.
David Vaughn  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments
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One of the bloodiest battles in World War II happened on Okinawa in 1945, and it definitely wasn’t the place you wanted to be if you didn’t carry a weapon. But for conscientious objector Desmond Doss, this wasn’t an option. While he believed the war was justified—which is why he volunteered—his personal belief was that killing was wrong and he wasn’t going to be a party to it. He was in the war as a medic, and he was there to save lives, not take them. And save lives he did—75 of them over the course of one night when he was stuck behind enemy lines.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jun 30, 2017  |  1 comments
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Marvel explores its mystical side is in this mind-bending, psychedelic entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe directed by Scott Derrickson. Benedict Cumberbatch plays brilliant but egotistical neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange, who loses the use of his hands, and subsequently his career, when he crashes his supercar. Strange travels to Kathmandu seeking a supernatural cure for his injuries. There, an immortal sorceress, the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), accepts him as her pupil, trains him in the mystic arts, and turns him into a powerful sorcerer.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jun 30, 2017  |  0 comments
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This coming-of-age drama is notable for a lot more than the Oscar night flub seen around the world that ultimately had the film walking away with the Best Picture statuette. It’s a beautifully captured movie set in three distinct acts and, notably, one of the few dramas about the black American experience to be recognized that is not overtly concerned with slavery, the civil rights struggle, or institutionalized violence against said community, although one could make an argument about the undercurrent of those issues running through the story.
Josef Krebs  |  Jun 23, 2017  |  0 comments
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The heart of I’m Your Man is a celebratory concert of the recently passed Leonard Cohen’s songs performed by an oddball assortment of top talent at the Sydney Opera House. Between each number come interviews with performers telling of the inevitable life-changing moment of hearing Cohen for the first time. In addition, the poet/singer-songwriter/Jewish Zen Buddhist monk himself delivers anecdotes on personal history, his long, arduous working process, and meaning behind certain ballads illustrated and illuminated by archive poetry recitations, artwork, and photos and footage from childhood and career.
David Vaughn  |  Jun 23, 2017  |  0 comments
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Director Ang Lee’s middling story really isn’t the reason to force your way through this film; it’s the innovative photography that’s worth your time. Lee shot the film at 120 frames per second, which is a perfect multiplier of the UHD Blu-ray’s 60 fps and Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D’s 24 fps, so it made it easy on Sony to release the film on multiple formats and into theaters.
Josef Krebs  |  Jun 16, 2017  |  0 comments
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With Café Society, Woody Allen cleverly combines 1930s Pre-Code romantic comedies like Red-Headed Woman with the glamour-and-gangster nightclubbing of Manhattan Melodrama, all delivered with Purple Rose of Cairo–type old-school Allen evocation of era. Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) leaves his Bronx Jewish family to work as an errand boy for his powerful Hollywood agent-to-the-stars uncle (Steve Carell). When Bobby falls in love with his uncle’s secretary (Kristen Stewart)—despite her having a lover—things get complicated, especially on Bobby’s discovery that her boyfriend is his boss.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 16, 2017  |  0 comments
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The brave, spirited non-princess of the title is still learning how to lead her village when a when a mysterious curse befalls their island. Despite a lifetime of warnings from her father the chief, she sets sail upon an epic journey to save her people, seeking the help of a misunderstood demigod along the way. A tale of destiny, selflessness, and family, Moana is filled with beauty, magic, and wonder and is among the very finest films to ever come from Disney.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  0 comments
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An undeniable dramatic masterpiece, High Noon has lost none of its considerable power to enthrall an audience with its relentless suspense born of inexorable doom. We know at once that Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is a damned good man. Yet when news breaks that a murderer he sent to hang is instead returning with his gang for revenge, he is heartlessly shunned by the townsfolk he has risked his life to protect.

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