BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Shane Buettner Posted: Aug 20, 2014 0 comments
Well, now that I’m Seeing It, What Is It?

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Writer/Director David Cronenberg translated William S. Burroughs’ “unfilmable” book Naked Lunch in a (ahem) novel way, creating an intensely hallucinogenic, psychosexual trip that’s more about the writer himself than the writer’s cultural lightning rod of a book. Cronenberg incorporates bits of the book, but infuses his film with a profound statement on the artistic process, and especially the inner turmoil that fuels many artists’ best work. Cronenberg’s movie sees Naked Lunch the novel through Burroughs’ shame and torment over being a homosexual and his consuming drug addiction. Other aspects of the author’s life are also interwoven into the film’s narrative with the most notorious being that he was married to a woman, Joan, who Burroughs shot and killed during an intoxicated “William Tell Routine.”
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Anthony Chiarella Posted: Aug 13, 2014 0 comments
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Increasingly depressed and agoraphobic since her divorce, Adele (Kate Winslet) relies upon her doting son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith). At the start of the 1987 Labor Day weekend, mother and son are confronted by escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin), who demands their assistance in eluding the authorities. Over the next few days, Frank’s kindness and innocence are manifest, and the trio has become a family—almost. Confused by conflicting emotions and threatened with the prospect of a competitor for his mother’s love, the awkward adolescent facilitates Frank’s capture. Adele has loved and lost again. Or has she?
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 07, 2014 0 comments
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In the final months of World War II, as Allied armies smashed across Europe and into Germany, an organization called the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (the MFAA) was assigned the task of recovering and preserving countless art treasures plundered by the Nazis. It included hundreds of art experts from 13 countries, working in small cadres.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 05, 2014 0 comments
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Embellished from John Cheever’s most famous short story, The Swimmeris a rather artful drama that is ultimately open to individual interpretation. Determined to swim his way home from pool to pool across the county, middle-aged Ned also spends this unusual day wrestling with the very truth of his life, reality coming at him in increasingly hostile waves as he encounters more of his friends. Clad only in bathing trunks—except for one scene in which he removes them altogether—the legendary Burt Lancaster imbues this misguided soul with his bigger-than-life screen presence, carrying the entire narrative on his broad, buff shoulders.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Jul 30, 2014 1 comments
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Touch of Evil is a tale of two cities, or at least two opposite towns sharing the same border. Coming from one side is priggish, by-the-book Mexican drug enforcement official Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston), who finds himself taking on brilliant, highly respected American cop Captain Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles), who plants evidence to bring the guilty to justice.
Her
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Anthony Chiarella Posted: Jul 29, 2014 0 comments
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One of our most visionary filmmakers, Spike Jonze delights in showing us the unexpected. In Her, his most daring script to date (he won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar), Jonze imagines a future in which romantic relationships no longer require two humans. Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a writer of other peoples’ love letters, acquires a cutting-edge operating system. Possessed of artificial intelligence, his OS assumes the female persona “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), with whom Theodore falls in love. Phoenix is brilliant in what amounts to a one-man show, delivering a richly detailed character study of the dark, introverted geek. In many ways, Johansson has the more difficult task, portraying a new and constantly evolving being, who, lacking physical substance, must define herself through words alone.
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Jul 22, 2014 0 comments
It’s all in how you play the game

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There may be no crying in baseball, but for the longest time in America, there sure was no shortage of bigotry and intolerance in it. But in 1947, after nearly a century of incompliant segregation in the big leagues, two men changed the game forever when the color barrier was finally broken and baseball legitimately became America’s national pastime. When team owner Branch Rickey hand-picked a promising young player named Jackie Robinson from the Negro Leagues and brought him to play major league baseball with “dem bums,” the Brooklyn Dodgers, it truly was a milestone in American history.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 18, 2014 0 comments
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In the final months of World War II, as Allied armies smashed across Europe and into Germany, an organization called the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (the MFAA) was assigned the task of recovering and preserving countless art treasures plundered by the Nazis. It included hundreds of art experts from 13 countries, working in small cadres.
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Jul 16, 2014 0 comments
Old wiseguys never die. They just look that way.

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For the first time ever, two of Hollywood’s most respected and iconic tough guys are finally sharing the screen together. Putting Christopher Walken and Al Pacino together in a mobster movie seems like a no brainer and you have to wonder why it took so damn long. You’d think that a pedigree like that alone would be worth the price of admission but the tragic irony is that hardly anyone saw Stand Up Guys when it came out.
Mud
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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 16, 2014 0 comments
Beware of men who don't traffic in the truth.

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Two young boys, Ellis and his best friend Neckbone, meet a mysterious drifter named Mud who’s hiding out in an abandoned boat that’s beached on a deserted island in the middle of the Mississippi. Like a good Southern boy, Mud has a way with words and fascinates the boys with a series of stories about his life and why he’s hiding out on the island. He says he’s there to meet the love of his life, Juniper, who’s waiting in town for him, but he can’t go and get her because a group of bounty hunters are after him for killing a man in Texas. Neckbone is very suspicious of the stranger, but Ellis is a sucker when it comes to love and makes an executive decision to help Mud extricate himself from his predicament.
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Anthony Chiarella Posted: Jul 01, 2014 0 comments
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Perhaps America’s greatest working filmmaker, Martin Scorsese continues to refine his stream-of-consciousness directorial style, a motif that reached its zenith in 1990’s Goodfellas. His latest film, which chronicles the rise and fall of stock shark Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), might lack the depth and poignancy of Scorsese’s gangster classic, but it takes his staccato storytelling techniques to an even higher level of commercial appeal. Starring in his fifth Scorsese film, DiCaprio interprets the larger-than-life Belfort with essential hubris, though his portrayal sometimes strays into heavy-handedness. Not so Jonah Hill, who, as DiCaprio’s lieutenant, delivers the best performance of his meteoric career, not to mention this movie. (Both DiCaprio and Hill were nominated for Oscars.) Matthew McConaughey and Rob Reiner conjure delightful caricatures in their supporting roles, endowing Wolf with the dimensionality that has become a Scorsese trademark.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 26, 2014 0 comments
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Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fable The Snow Queen, Frozen opens by introducing us to two princesses, Anna and Elsa. Elsa has been born with power over cold—a curse she can’t control. To protect Anna and others, Elsa locks herself in her room as the two siblings grow into young adulthood.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 25, 2014 0 comments
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When you think about the serial nature of comic books and the virtually limitless stream of new stories published each month, big-screen sequels in this genre should be a slam-dunk, right? Unfortunately, Kick-Ass 2 loses its way; its themes becoming at once muddled and more clichéd. High-schooler/hero Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is upping his crime-fighting game under the tutelage of 15-year-old Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), who soon faces her own identity crisis. Inspired by the duo’s exploits, an all-new team of masked heroes has assembled, just as the vengeful son of a dead mob boss begins recruiting his own evil army, and a showdown is inevitable.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Jun 19, 2014 0 comments
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Set in 1978, this entertaining film tells the “some of this actually happened” story of a brilliant grifter (Christian Bale) and his co-conspirator lover (Amy Adams), who, on getting busted in a scam sting, are forced to work for an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) in bringing down four fellow crooks. But the crazily ambitious fed ups the ante to entrapping corrupt politicians willing to accept kickbacks to grease the wheels of the sheik’s scheme to rebuild Atlantic City casinos. But this, of course, will mean mafia involvement and taking down a decent New Jersey mayor (Jeremy Renner) who just wants to help his community. And out of all these fast-talking con artists, who’s really zooming whom?
Corey Gunnestad Posted: Jun 18, 2014 0 comments
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The legend of the 47 ronin is a long-cherished Japanese story about a group of dishonored samurai who set out on a dangerous quest to avenge the death of their village lord. Technically, their lord was deceived and tricked into killing himself, but as far as they’re concerned, it still counts as murder. And in the Japanese feudal code of samurai conduct, there’s no greater shame than failing to protect and serve your lord and master. Masterless samurai are called ronin, and it sucks to be one. The story is simple enough: The dishonored and banished ronin stage an impossible attack on their enemy’s stronghold to avenge their fallen master and perform ritual suicide when their task is done to regain their honor. The End. It sounds like a great idea for a movie, and it probably would have been in the hands of someone like Kurosawa or Kubrick, but tragically, both were unavailable.

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