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BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Ted
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: May 14, 2013 0 comments
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One magical night, a lonely young boy named John makes a special wish that his teddy bear will come to life and be his best friend. And on that special night, the fates decide to grant him his wish. The next morning, John introduces Teddy to his absolutely freaked-out parents. Flash-forward 25 years, and John has grown up into a strapping young man who looks astonishingly like Mark Wahlberg. Best friend, Teddy, now just called plain Ted, has grown up, too, but only in maturity…or lack thereof. John and Ted now spend their afternoons getting high in front of the tube and talking trash about women.
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: May 14, 2013 2 comments
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If it weren’t for the 2012 presidential election and the recent public shaming of Anthony Weiner and David Petraeus, we might have a difficult time finding any credibility in the outrageous humor of The Campaign. Scandals, corruption, lies, and character assassination: It isn’t just for breakfast anymore. It’s become part of our daily diet. Just watch CNN, for Pete’s sake.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 10, 2013 0 comments
When an older and quite esteemed film expert asked me not long ago what my favorite genre was, I was honestly flummoxed. Pixar isn’t a genre, and I’ve just seen too many lame science-fiction flicks. Looking back over a life of film fandom and the past decade in particular, I finally came up with an eyebrow-raising response: comic book movies.
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Shane Buettner Posted: May 08, 2013 0 comments
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Moonrise Kingdom is another witty charmer from writer/director Wes Anderson, this time with a bittersweet tinge of youth’s passing in 1965 New England. The protagonists are two troubled 12-year-olds who run away to marry in the wilderness of insular New Penzance Island. Suzy’s parents are miserable, insufferable lawyers (Frances McDormand and Bill Murray). Suzy sees a lot (often through binoculars) and has discovered her mother is having an affair with the island policeman, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). Sam is an orphan with outstanding wilderness skills, who resigns from his Khaki Scout troop (in writing!) and is not invited back to his foster family if found. His only family is the troop of Khaki Scouts led by the well-meaning but overmatched Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton).
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David Vaughn Posted: May 08, 2013 0 comments
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One of silent film’s biggest stars, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), enlists the talents of a down-on-his-luck Hollywood screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) to help edit a screenplay she wrote in hopes of launching her big comeback. Little does Gillis know, the poor lady is off her rocker. But when you’re broke, you have to take work when you can get it. The pair watch her old movies with her trusty butler—who hides his own dirty secret—at the helm of the camera, but the more time Gillis spends with the ex-starlet, the more he becomes accustomed to the lavish lifestyle she provides him.
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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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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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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.
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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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.
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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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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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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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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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