Chris Chiarella

Chris Chiarella  |  May 12, 2017  |  0 comments
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When a gaggle of gigantic, otherworldly objects parks itself at various points around the Earth, life as we know it is paused while collective humanity figures out our next move. Our finest minds—tempered by the military—seek to determine the mysterious visitors’ even more mysterious purpose, leaving us with the complicated business of learning how to communicate with them. The best hope is brilliant language professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams), who is tasked with deciphering a bizarre form of “speech,” impossible for humans to emulate. But if she doesn’t make meaningful contact, and soon, all hell might break loose, with no guarantee of how such a conflict would end.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
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Anchored by a disquietingly reserved performance from star Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy), this Portrait is an artful character study of a very bad man. Loosely based upon documented events, Henry explores the unspeakable crimes of an unrepentant murderer, a dark soul whose bleak existence is punctuated by frequent acts of violence. And when he brings his particularly loathsome roommate into the fold, no one in Chicago is safe. The matter-of-fact dramatic style makes the instances of gore hit that much harder, and yet plot developments are sometimes revealed in clever, original ways.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 31, 2017  |  0 comments
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Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a lost soul who eases the lingering pain of her divorce with ample doses of alcohol, particularly on her daily rail trips to and from Manhattan. Her only diversion is an elaborate fantasy about someone she sees from her moving window, Megan (Haley Bennett), and projecting all of her longing onto this stranger. And then one day Rachel spies Megan doing something she ought not to, threatening the idyllic life the voyeur has imagined for her. She even goes so far as to attempt a confrontation with Megan, but it quickly becomes a boozy blur of violence.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 03, 2017  |  2 comments
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The mind reels at the creativity needed to craft a sequel to Finding Nemo, once the most popular Pixar movie of them all. The results pick up a year after clownfish-dad Marlin went on a quest to locate his missing son, and now traveling companion Dory is the one in need of finding. The lovably forgetful blue tang (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is on her own mission now, to reconnect with her parents, but soon enough she’s “trapped” at a marine biology theme park, reunited with some chums of her youth and aided by some new aquatic allies.
Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 10, 2017  |  0 comments
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Bigger-than-life John Wayne stars as Sean Thornton, a mild-mannered American returning to his native Ireland, seeking nothing more than a peaceful life in a charming village. But his homecoming is soon complicated by the sight of a tempestuous redhead (Maureen O’Hara) and by the aggressions of a blustery local bully... who just so happens to be her brother. Sean does his best to blend into the colorful community, occasionally led into an inadvertent clash of cultures, and ultimately forced to confront a dark secret from his past, all culminating in one of the most satisfying two-fisted finales in movie history. Much of the story might seem a bit quaint or even politically incorrect to modern audiences, but The Quiet Man endures as a sweetly irresistible bit of entertainment, quite possibly inspiring an urge to visit The Emerald Isle or at least throw back a pint.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 27, 2017  |  0 comments
Perhaps by coincidence, many of independent label Shout! Factory’s recent releases hail from the era of big hair and synthesized music, ranging from the little-seen Metalstorm (in 3D!) to the gritty urban thriller, Night Hawks. We donned our day-glo parachute pants and spun four of their most interesting.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 09, 2016  |  0 comments
It’s time once again to separate the digital wheat from the chaff to find movies, TV shows, and music that make great gifts. Venerable Blu-ray is joined by upstart 4K Ultra HD this year, and even a bit of vinyl for good measure. Whichever holiday you call your own, make it a little brighter with one or more of these.

Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 02, 2016  |  0 comments
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So I guess revisiting in live action the catalog of Disney animated classics is officially a thing now. And that’s fine, if they can all manage to be as good as director Jon Favreau’s astutely conceived, beautifully realized take on The Jungle Book. The story here is different enough from the popular 1967 version to make the tale of man-cub Mowgli (endearing newcomer Neel Sethi) fresh and worth watching all over again. He’s been raised by wolves and lives happily among the animals until a ferocious tiger sets his sights on the boy, sending brave Mowgli on a dangerous journey back to the world of man. Yes, there are a couple of familiar songs along the way, but plenty of surprises as well, in addition to some rough beast-on-beast combat that might frighten the little ones.
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 18, 2016  |  0 comments
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In cinema, would-be cautionary tales of our current environmental crisis tend to be heavy-handed, and they frequently fall flat as a result. Maybe the secret to an effective global wakeup call is to tuck it neatly into a slapstick romantic comedy about modern-day merpeople.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 21, 2016  |  0 comments
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Dawn of Justice brings together the entire trinity of DC Universe heroes, arguably the most enduring characters of 20th-century popular culture. So where’s the thrill? The awe? The “wow,” dammit? Let’s focus on the expanded three-hour Ultimate Edition featured in this set, also available separately on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, along with director Zack Snyder’s other two DC forays, Man of Steel and Watchmen.

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