BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Josef Krebs Posted: Aug 05, 2016 1 comments
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Two bounty hunters, a sheriff, and a prisoner walk into a haberdashery store… Such is the rambling setup of this old-dark-house-in-a-storm whodunit shaggy-dog story that writer-director Quentin Tarantino has turned into his meta-Western, The Hateful Eight. The colorful, gabby characters have been thrown together on a stagecoach heading for Red Rock, Wyoming, but are forced to take refuge from a raging blizzard in a log-cabin abode, stuck waiting it out with a rogue’s gallery of grizzled ragamuffins trustworthy as far as you can spit.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 29, 2016 0 comments
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Football Hall of Famer Mike Webster of the Pittsburg Steelers won four Super Bowl rings throughout his 17-year NFL career. He retired in 1990 and was enshrined seven years later, but his life would go downhill from there: Five years later, he was dead from a heart attack. The sad story would have stopped there if it weren’t for a junior pathologist in the Allegheny coroner’s office whose relentless search to know why led to the discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. As more cases came to his attention, this Nigerian-born doctor took on one of the most powerful institutions in the world—the NFL.
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Avi Greengart Posted: Jul 29, 2016 0 comments
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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 is actually the fourth installment in the Hunger Games trilogy. Splitting the last book of a series into two movies can allow for complexity (i.e., Harry Potter), but here it should have been avoided. Part 1 is mostly filler, and even Part 2 has some pacing issues. If you’re new to The Hunger Games, start at the beginning. Of all the teenage dystopian movie series, this one is the best conceived: Underlying the action and drama, it’s a believable look at PTSD and the personal cost of brutal dictatorships. It also has, by far, the best acting.
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Anthony Chiarella Posted: Jul 22, 2016 1 comments
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Jack’s (Jacob Tremblay) fifth birthday is typical: He says good morning to the various objects in his home, brushes his teeth, then exercises with Ma (Brie Larson). Gradually, however, we realize that Ma was kidnapped seven years earlier by a sexual predator, and her son’s knowledge of the world extends no further than the inner walls of the tiny, locked shed he calls “room.”
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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 22, 2016 2 comments
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Leading a fur expedition in the early 1800s, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is left for dead by one of his companions who is afraid of being attacked by Native Americans. Somehow Glass survives and begins to hobble back toward civilization, facing many obstacles, looking to exact revenge.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 15, 2016 2 comments
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I’ve seen some bad Star Wars movies and, well, The Force Awakens sure ain’t one of them. Yes, the plot is full of wild coincidences, implausible developments, and groan-inducing character moments. Worst of all, the events and even specific locations sometimes follow well-worn aspects of the classic canon a bit too closely. But these sins perhaps we can and should forgive. Filmmaker J.J. Abrams is a professed Star Wars fanatic, and his love and respect for the material have clearly guided this first new film since creator George Lucas divested himself of the fabled fantasy franchise.
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Anthony Chiarella Posted: Jul 15, 2016 0 comments
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A team of four Boston Globe journalists headed by Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) is searching for their next exposé when their editor-in-chief (Liev Schreiber) suggests they investigate pedophile priest John Geoghan: a controversial assignment for a newspaper with a 53 percent Catholic subscriber base. Six-hundred articles later, Boston’s Cardinal Law had resigned, and the church was forced to confront an international pedophilia crisis.
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Jul 08, 2016 2 comments
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It’s been said that true genius is never appreciated in its own time. Some of the most brilliant minds in human history have challenged the status quo, pioneered their field, and changed the world with their groundbreaking ideas and their seemingly limitless creativity. But the flip side of that coin almost always meant that their personal eccentricities left a gaping void in their capacity for being likable human beings. The film Steve Jobs explores that theme at great length and begs the question: Just how much leeway should geniuses be allowed before we dismiss them as the douchebags they are?
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Josef Krebs Posted: Jul 08, 2016 0 comments
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In this Goodfellas-wannabe drama, in order to go after and finally bring down the Mafia in the North End of Boston, the FBI are willing to make an “alliance” with South Side–controlling Irish-American gangster Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger. The Feds, in exchange for information about the Italians, are willing to look the other way on the activities of Whitey’s gang. This free pass, and having his rivals federally eliminated, allows this scary, unblinking, psychopathic monster to go on a murderous crime spree, muscling in on Mafia territory to grow into the biggest kingpin in Boston.
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Brandon A. DuHamel Posted: Jul 01, 2016 3 comments
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With Creed, director Ryan Coogler (Frutivale Station) reboots the long-running Rocky franchise for a new generation of fans. Like The Force Awakens, Creed, from a screenplay by Aaron Covington and Coogler, plays it safe, never deviating far from the fundamentals that made the original film such a success.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 01, 2016 0 comments
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Ever wonder what would happen if the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs missed Earth instead, enabling our prehistoric pals to evolve into the dominant animals on the planet, rather than man? Regardless of your answer, here’s The Good Dinosaur, a rare misfire from the esteemed Pixar gang. While we on the sofa are still wrestling with the ramifications of this bizarre setup, we’re introduced to a family of dino farmers: no, seriously, a pack of apatosauruses that harvests corn and plows the field with their blunt heads.
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Josef Krebs Posted: Jun 24, 2016 0 comments
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Set in the late 19th century, Crimson Peak is a Gothic romance, a mystery mixture of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, with a dollop of Young Frankenstein. After the death of her mother from cholera when Edith is 12, the hideously deformed ghost comes back to warn of Crimson Peak. Fourteen years later in bustling, modern Buffalo, New York, the child, daughter of a self-made American building magnate, has become a beautiful aspiring author. She’s swept off her feet by a mysterious, darkly handsome English aristocrat who’s come to America seeking financing for his steam-powered digger of the clay his house is built upon.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 17, 2016 2 comments
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Moby Dick is considered one of the great American novels. Most don’t know—I sure didn’t—that the book was based on the true events that took place in the winter of 1820 when the whaling ship Essex left the port of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and sailed around the tip of South America looking for prey. While in a South American port, they hear a tale of a mammoth whale that can be found in the Pacific, so they venture dangerously far from land and get a lot more than they bargained for when they find that said whale has a vengeance against humanity.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 17, 2016 3 comments
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After an acclaimed reboot that successfully shed the sillier trappings of the long-running James Bond franchise, the creators of the recent Spectre have now curiously chosen to embrace the clunky clichés and cartoon villains not only of the 007 canon but seemingly every thriller of the past decade. Big Brother has arrived! It’s the death of privacy! “We must stop this doomful technology before it goes online, or it will be too late!” (Not an actual quote, but you get the idea.)
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Brandon A. DuHamel Posted: Jun 10, 2016 1 comments
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Based on Michael Lewis’ non-fiction book, The Big Short brings together the ensemble cast of Steve Carell (who plays Mark Baum, a character based on the real-life Steve Eisman), Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling as a number of Wall Street moneymen who discover the fraud underpinning the mortgage lending practices of the big banks and independently make moves to profit from the impending collapse of the system. Additionally, the film makes comical use of celebrities, playing themselves, to explain some of the technical financial jargon in layman’s terms. Margot Robbie in a bubble bath explaining subprime mortgage-backed securities is my personal favorite.

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