Chris Chiarella

Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 30, 2021  |  1 comments
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They are living amongst us, manipulating the entire human race, dominating us using hidden messages of obedience and rampant commercialism. Who they are and why they're doing it are less important than how we will expose them—and who will be brave enough to fight back. A down-and-out working-class hero and all-around good egg (Roddy Piper) stumbles across special sunglasses that block the oppressors' shenanigans and gives him a clear look at them…and he doesn't like what he sees.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 02, 2021  |  2 comments
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This is how director Christopher Nolan does time travel. Actually, to hear him tell it, this is how he does a spy thriller, inspired by the Bonds of his youth and enhanced with all of the mind-bending trappings we've come to expect from one of filmdom's brainiest auteurs. The central conceit of Tenet—one that commands audiences to pay full attention lest they be left behind—is the recent discovery of a temporal anomaly, possibly man-made, that can send certain objects backwards in time, rather than in the usual direction.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 26, 2021  |  0 comments
The Paramount Presents line kicked off last April, reintroducing viewers to some of the most enduring titles in the studio's vast library in reverent new Blu-ray editions. Thomas J. Norton recently reviewed the 13th release, The Court Jester, and three more are now available, spanning quite different eras of filmmaking.
Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 19, 2021  |  0 comments
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Let's never forget that the enduring Mad Max franchise—four movies in with a fifth on the way—began right here 42 years ago with this low-budget car/motorcycle-chase gem. Relative to its more popular sequel, The Road Warrior, Max can be viewed as a sort of origin story, showing how a good cop (Mel Gibson) goes mad after a horrible act of violence befalls his family. He hits the road to exact some fuel-injected revenge, leaving behind the world he once knew. What's striking about this movie today is seeing how much better it is than it needed to be, from the emotional story to the intense acting, superb cinematography, sharp editing, and outrageous stunts.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 29, 2021  |  0 comments
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The Lord of the Rings was a box office phenomenon, which of course meant demand for more movies. And lo, a prequel book had already been written, so after some wrangling Peter Jackson returned to make another trilogy set within J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical universe. Taking place 60 years before the start of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gives us Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), content to go about his safe, humdrum existence, until fate and a tall, pushy friend sweep him up in an incredible adventure.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 22, 2021  |  1 comments
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What a journey. Originally conceived as a simple sequel to his popular children's book, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings grew to become the epitome of epic fantasy. Set in the far-off, long-ago realm of Middle-earth, it introduces the good-hearted, vertically-challenged Frodo Baggins (wide-eyed Elijah Wood), tasked with destroying a cursed ring in order to stop a great evil from conquering the world.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 11, 2020  |  0 comments
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District 9 rises above its disparate components—there are multiple strong influences, everything from Alien Nation to the faux-documentary feel of The Office—to deliver a socially resonant story that's even more relevant a decade after its release. Like all good science fiction, its impact derives from how it weaves in the trappings of everyday life, perhaps illuminating our own foibles.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 09, 2020  |  0 comments
Each autumn, I fret that we won't be able to find ten worthy entries for this gotta-have-'em list, and every year am genuinely surprised at the bounty that has somehow remained heretofore unreleased. I guess there will always be anniversaries and restorations and quadrilogies and the like, and as long as the studios keep investing the time and care to craft these disc-filled boxes we enjoy so much, we'll continue recommending the cream of the crop to help stoke seasonal merriment.
300
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 27, 2020  |  0 comments
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Inspired by the 1962 Cinemascope epic The 300 Spartans that he saw as a lad, writer/artist Frank Miller would go on to create the five-issue graphic novel 300, a wildly stylized, heavily fictionalized account of the Battle of Thermopylae. In his telling, full of indelible images and gruesome violence, the historical events of brave King Leonidas and his 15-score soldiers' resistance against an innumerable horde are elevated to nigh-mythological status. Led by the self-proclaimed god-king Xerxes, Persia was mercilessly conquering much of the world, but the willful Spartans, still renowned as the greatest warriors ever, dared to stand their ground.
Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 11, 2020  |  1 comments
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The timeless overclass/underclass struggle was never more memorably explored than in Spartacus, a film adapted from Howard Fast's fact-based, heavily dramatized book. Directed by young up-and-comer Stanley Kubrick and starring old-school movie idol Kirk Douglas in the title role, it's the sort of epic spectacle often aspired to but seldom achieved.

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