BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Corey Gunnestad Posted: May 02, 2013 0 comments
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There’s an old expression: “God is in the details.” This was never truer for a film than Ridley Scott’s visceral dystopian masterpiece Blade Runner. It’s not uncommon for a motion picture to be released in more than one version or cut for the public’s delectation. Many times, a filmmaker’s original vision is compromised in favor of releasing a more commercially marketable product by the studio putting up the money. As a result, director’s cuts, extended cuts, and special editions are much more prevalent now in the digital age and home video market. Few films, however, have seen as many versions or received as much scrutiny as Blade Runner.
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David Vaughn Posted: May 02, 2013 0 comments
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Steve Martin stars as Neal Page, an uptight advertising executive who misses his scheduled flight from New York to Chicago when an obnoxious salesman steals his cab. As fate would have it, the cab thief turns out to be a shower curtain ring salesman (John Candy) who just happens to sit next to Neal on his flight home. Due to inclement weather, their plane is diverted to Wichita, and when they land, Neal fails to secure a place to stay for the evening. Lucky for him, his new “friend” has booked the last room in town. Thus begins a relationship made in heaven—or hell, depending on your perspective.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Apr 26, 2013 3 comments
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Lawrence of Arabia may be the last extravagant blockbuster that was also a great film. It’s nearly four hours long, much of it consisting of men galloping on camels through the desert, shot on location with a cast of hundreds, no sex, almost no women—yet this is riveting, heart-pounding stuff, and witty, to boot. It’s based on the true story of T.E. Lawrence, the romantic British officer who led a gaggle of bedouin armies against Turkish strongholds in World War I, helped bring down the Ottoman Empire, came to believe his own myths and see himself as a demigod—and thus became a delusional monster. The film has the feel of a grand epic and an intimate psychodrama. It’s an adventure, a clash of cultures, and a tragedy.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 25, 2013 0 comments
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Young Merida may be a princess in the misty highlands of Scotland, but she isn’t happy with her lot. She wants only to practice her horsemanship, archery, and all other manner of un-princess-like behavior. Her father is delighted, but her mother is beside herself and arranges for the neighboring clans to vie for Merida’s hand in marriage. Our heroine, however, isn’t all that thrilled by the idea—and even less by the suitors. Fleeing into the woods, Merida stumbles upon a witch and has her cast a spell to make her mother change. Her mother does change, but unfortunately not exactly as Merida intended.
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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
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In many ways, Norman Babcock is a typical kid trying to find his way in the world. He enjoys watching TV with his grandma, gets bullied at school, and what he wants more than anything is acceptance. Unfortunately, Norman has a certain ability that seems to turn people off—he can see and speak with the dead. In fact, his grandma has been dead for a while, and whenever he mentions to his family that he enjoys spending time with her, Mom and Dad kind of freak out. Poor Norman is considered the town freak of Blithe Hollow because of his ability, but little do the townspeople know that the young man is about to save them from a witch who was executed more than 300 years earlier and is seeking her pound of flesh.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
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It’s not exactly a secret that Sony Pictures produced a fabulously successful trilogy of Spider-man films from 2002 to 2007. All three were directed by Sam Raimi and starred Tobey Maguire as the resident arachnid. Though the last of the three laid something of a critical egg, it was nevertheless a golden one at the box office. The Amazing Spider-Man is not a sequel but instead a complete reboot, origin story and all. Clearly, Sony was hoping to re-invigorate the franchise. Judging from its commercial success, I’d say it succeeded.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 03, 2013 0 comments
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Three-time Oscar winner Oliver Stone has made some interesting choices in his career, from instant classics (such as 1987’s Wall Street) to real head-scratchers (2010’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). Leaning more into the latter camp is Savages, a beautifully photographed romantic crime drama about equally beautiful people who just so happen to be drug dealers by trade.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Apr 03, 2013 1 comments
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When your breakout movie, Seven, ends with Gwyneth Paltrow’s severed head in a box, what do you do for an encore? 1997’s psycho thriller The Game is director David Fincher’s emphatic answer. Nobody plays a cold, callous one-percenter better than Michael Douglas. His Nicholas Van Orton here is clearly intended as a through-the-looking-glass play off of his iconic, late-’80s portrayal of Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Mar 26, 2013 0 comments
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Wong Kar-wai, the greatest living Hong Kong filmmaker, is a weaver of smoldering dreams, and In the Mood for Love is his masterpiece. He may be the most intense practitioner of pure cinema. Very little happens in this film, but his brash colors (like something out of a Matisse painting), arch compositions (long shots at slightly off angles, slow tracking shots signifying the passage of time and the ache of waiting), and use of music (a languorous, longing string motif) sow a hypnotic tension and a charged passion (though its beautiful lead actors, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, barely touch each other and show not a smidgen of bare skin).
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 26, 2013 0 comments
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When Seymour Krelborn, a schlub working at Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists, finds a strange and exotic plant, his life suddenly takes a turn for the better. But when the plant begins to speak, it offers him a Faustian bargain, promising Seymour fame, fortune, and Audrey, Mushnik’s flower arranger and Seymour’s secret love. In exchange, Seymour must provide the plant, which he has named Audrey II, with the food it needs to grow—human blood.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 26, 2013 0 comments
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It’s 1941. Eleven-year-old Jamie Graham is living a privileged life in Shanghai’s International Settlement with his English parents. Japanese troops have occupied much of mainland China over the previous four years but remain outside of some of the country’s major population centers, including Shanghai. Following Pearl Harbor, however, the Japanese move into the city. Panic erupts and Jamie becomes separated from his parents and ends up in a Japanese prison camp for Allied civilians.
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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 20, 2013 0 comments
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If you aren’t a fan of 1980s rock music or musicals, stop reading right now and save yourself a few minutes because you’ll absolutely hate this movie otherwise. For those of you who have stuck around, you’ll absolutely love this movie—as long as you aren’t turned off by actors bursting out in song in the middle of a scene.
Corey Gunnestad Posted: Mar 20, 2013 0 comments
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Alfred Hitchcock was a supremely gifted and innovative filmmaker and master of suspense…and a bit of a psycho in his own right, according to recent biographies on him. His films are the benchmark standard that nearly every suspense thriller since has taken its cues from. And in 1954, Hitchcock shot Dial M for Murder in the 3D format at a time when the novelty of 3D films was waning.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 12, 2013 0 comments
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Within the first few minutes of E.T., old-timers like me who remember seeing it on the big screen 30 years ago can’t help but recall why this movie was a bona fide cultural event, the likes of which we seldom see anymore. Oft copied, never equaled, it is an exquisitely crafted piece of cinema by a virtuoso at the top of his game. E.T. tells the tale of a lost, lonely visitor and his equally lonely host, an ordinary boy named Elliott. It celebrates the universal childhood fantasy of a secret best friend…and that other one about the flying bicycles. Rough around the edges though it may seem by today’s standards, this 1982 original version remains one of the most profoundly moving films most people will ever see.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Mar 12, 2013 0 comments
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It’s more than a little ironic that Tim Burton’s best film as a director, from top to bottom, is about one of the most notorious bad filmmakers who ever lived. Actually, Edward D. Wood Jr. (Johnny Depp) is known for two things: spectacularly bad sci-fi/horror movies that are ridiculously fun to watch, and being a cross-dresser before it was cool. Both traits are given full attention in Burton’s 1994 love letter to offbeat movies and their makers, Ed Wood.

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