BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 07, 2014 0 comments
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There are many reasons to enjoy RoboCop, still beloved (and now remade) after 27 years. If you don’t like the brilliantly executed action, there’s the biting statement about ’80s greed in America. If you don’t appreciate the scathing satire, there’s the poignant struggle of a good man trying to regain his identity.
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Shane Buettner Posted: May 06, 2014 1 comments
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12 Years a Slave is the true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man kidnapped into slavery, the inhuman condition in which he languished for 12 years, enduring unimaginable sorrow and torment but ultimately making it out the other side, regaining his freedom. Director Steve McQueen is a fearless and unflinching filmmaker, and this film of Northup’s book is the most personal I’ve ever seen about slavery.
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Apr 29, 2014 0 comments
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The American tradition of the spring break was invented to give hard-working college students a much-needed reprieve from their rigorous course studies and a means to blow off some steam in a reasonably safe environment. At what point then did it become a callow justification to take complete leave of your senses and shamelessly plunge headlong into a sexually hedonistic, drug-induced crime spree? Oh, well. You’re only young once, I guess.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 28, 2014 1 comments
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Gravity doesn’t waste a single second: After a brief text reminds us of how utterly dangerous space is, disaster strikes a shuttle crew in the midst of a Hubble telescope upgrade. With the help of veteran spaceman Matt Kowalski (the ever-affable George Clooney), scientist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock, ditching her blatant sass in favor of genuine emotion) must find a way to survive her first mission and return home alive somehow. But with one unfortunate twist after another, her ordeal is relentless.
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Josef Krebs Posted: Apr 24, 2014 0 comments
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Slightly campy, with oodles of gratuitous nudity and violence, writer-director Paul Schrader’s remake of the 1942 Val Lawton classic tells of Irena (Nastassja Kinski), a beautiful young woman who goes to New Orleans to stay with her sinister minister brother Paul (Malcolm McDowell). Irena represses her sexuality, fearing that animal lust will loose the beast and transform her—into a panther. When she falls in love, though, her desire makes her gradually embrace her nature.
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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 23, 2014 0 comments
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White House butler Cecil Gaines has a front-row seat to the inner workings of the people’s house as the Civil Rights era begins. Raised in Georgia as the son of a sharecropper, he’s turned into a house servant when his father is murdered and ventures out on his own into the cruel world as a teenager. Though he makes several stops along the way, he eventually ends up in the White House serving a string of presidents starting with Eisenhower and ending with Reagan.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Apr 17, 2014 1 comments
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The Best Years of Our Lives is the best film ever made about war veterans. That’s not exactly an alluring endorsement, so let me add that it’s a nearly three-hour film without a moment of mind-drift. It’s funny, moving, wrenching—a total tear-jerker that earns its emotional wallop.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 17, 2014 1 comments
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In 1969, Americans first went to the moon. The challenges were daunting, including finding and training the men who would make those early, dangerous, pioneering probes into near-earth space—men who had, in the words of the Thomas Wolfe book on which this 1983 movie was based, “the right stuff.”

This is the compelling story of those first Mercury astronauts, who paved the way for that “One giant leap for mankind” moment. It’s also the story of uber test pilot Chuck Yeager—never an astronaut but the first man to break the sound barrier.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Apr 11, 2014 2 comments
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In a museum of the Old West, a boy experiences an ancient noble savage figure in an exhibit coming to life and telling him about his times with the Lone Ranger. As was the case in Little Big Man, the character is an unreliable witness due to a mixture of his bullshit artistry and mental problems—and the whole incident is probably going on in the imagination of the kid, anyway. So the filmmaker has a lot of leeway for unlikely and implausible events, and he takes this artistic license to the limit.
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Josef Krebs Posted: Apr 10, 2014 0 comments
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Screenwriter-director Woody Allen serves up a delicious modern variation on Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire filled with humor, tragedy, and great performances. Leading the cast is a towering Cate Blanchett as Jasmine, a former New York socialite whose life has fallen to pieces. The story is told by flashing back and forth between her old life of luxury and glamour in her 5th Avenue, Manhattan mansion (and summer house in the Hamptons) and her new humble and humbling existence living with her working-class sister (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco after Jasmine’s successful businessman husband (Alec Baldwin) is sent to prison for fraud and all their funds seized.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 08, 2014 0 comments
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Now celebrating its 30th year, Vacation recalls a bygone era of station wagons, roof racks, sing-alongs, roadside attractions, whiny kids (they never go out of style) and a whole generation that drove everywhere for their summertime frolics. The late, great John Hughes adapted the memorable script from his earlier story in the pages of National Lampoon magazine, and director Harold Ramis scored a sophomore hit following his debut, Caddyshack. But the movie truly belongs to star Chevy Chase...
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Apr 02, 2014 0 comments
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Victor Hugo’s epic novel Les Misérables has seen numerous film adaptations over the years, but this most recent version is the first fully dramatized film adaptation of the celebrated stage musical that has been the toast of London, Broadway, and the rest of the known universe for decades. In the Tony Award–winning stage musical, the plot’s diverse narrative skillfully weaves its way over many years and multitudinous character evolvement through beautiful orchestrations and powerfully emotional songs. In this new film version, however, the story bounces along frenetically from song to song in one hectic rush to get to the ending coda before audience members start fidgeting or exceed their three hours of complimentary theater parking with validation. Heaven forbid.
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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 02, 2014 0 comments
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Clint Eastwood has been a household name for over 50 years thanks to his impressive Hollywood résumé that includes work in TV as Rowdy Yates on Rawhide and as a movie star playing such iconic characters as Dirty Harry, Josey Wales, and Philo Beddoe, but it’s his work as a director that has had the greatest impression on me. Believe it or not, the iconic actor has directed 35 films since 1971 winning two Oscars in the process for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby.
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Josef Krebs Posted: Mar 27, 2014 0 comments
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The idea of great, aging actors running around, dropping their elegant theatrical gravitas, and letting their hair down to play goofy action heroes was an inspired one that produced plenty of humor and charm in Reds. Though the concept doesn’t work quite as well the second time around, it still offers a lot of fun.
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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 25, 2014 0 comments
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Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) have been inseparable from a young age, growing up in a quaint coastal Australian community. When Lil’s husband passes away, the two grow even closer, and their two young boys, Ian and Tom, develop a similar close relationship. Roz’s husband takes a job in Sydney, and with him away, the quartet starts to spend even more time together going to the beach, eating dinner, and drinking heavily with each other. After a night of partying, Ian (Lil’s son) professes his secret love for Roz, she succumbs to his advances, and they wind up sleeping together. Unbeknownst to either of them, Tom spies his mom leaving Ian’s room and decides two can play that game and makes a move on Lil. This opens up Pandora’s box, and the lines between family, friendship, and morality all become blurred.

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