BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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HT Staff Posted: Aug 14, 2013 0 comments

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You know that old saying, “Life begins after 40”? Well, it’s true. That’s because it’s the exact moment when you become aware of your own mortality. In your twenties and thirties, you’re still technically invincible as far as you’re concerned and blissfully naive, but when 40 hits, it’s “Holy crap, I’m gonna die!” Suddenly you’re on numerous prescription medications and seeing far more of your doctor than you’d like; proctology exams, mammograms, prostate checks, pap smears, the works.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 14, 2013 0 comments
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Four of the 10 Best Picture winners of the ’60s were musicals, but as Hollywood transitioned to a post–Easy Rider era, they had to make even song-and-dance extravaganzas more relevant. And so in 1972, Cabaret redefined what a movie musical could be.
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SV Staff Posted: Aug 13, 2013 0 comments
Shane, Olympus Has Fallen, The Company You Keep, Seconds, Emperor, The Damned.
Corey Gunnestad Posted: Aug 09, 2013 0 comments
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I was a senior in high school when Top Gun came out in 1986. After that, every guy in my class, including myself, wanted to be Tom Cruise. He just epitomized coolness in a way that transcended even his iconic turn in Risky Business. Our Navy recruitment officer was extremely happy that year because enlistment was at an all-time high. No, they didn’t ensnare me, thankfully. My admiration for Mr. Cruise and this film went only as far as the box office and not swabbing decks on some aircraft carrier. But I remember we drove an extra 20 miles out of our way to see Top Gun at a brand-new theater that was the first in the state equipped for THX sound. And it made all the difference.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 31, 2013 0 comments
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Ralph plays the bad guy in the decades-old video game Fix-It Felix, Jr. Each time the game is reset, he trashes the high-rise apartment building that serves as the game’s main setting, only to have Felix instantly repair the damage. It’s a living, but Ralph lives alone in a junk pile, the other characters in the game want nothing to do with him, and he finds relief only in a Bad-Anon support group. As another member of that group argues, he may be a bad guy, but he isn’t a bad guy.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Jul 26, 2013 0 comments
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To my mind, Lincoln was the best film of 2012. In any case, it’s a rare thing: an old-fashioned biopic, a 19th century costume drama, a “talky” set piece about a debate in Congress—and yet it’s riveting, stirring, transporting. This is a film about the struggle over the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery; but it’s also about the nature of hard-boiled politics, the tension between compromise and principle, and the meaning of leadership—and, somehow, it doesn’t come off as preachy (except, a bit, at the very beginning and ending, though what comes in between almost earns it the right of a little sentimentality).
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Jul 18, 2013 1 comments
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In early November 1979, a mob of hostile Iranian extremists stormed the U.S. embassy and took 52 American hostages and held them captive for 444 days. Seconds before the Iranians seized control of the embassy, six American officials managed to escape and find refuge at the residence of a Canadian ambassador. When the absence of the six Americans is discovered, an intense search for them ensues. Once found, they will almost certainly be executed publicly as spies.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 18, 2013 0 comments
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James P. “Sulley” Sullivan is the pride of Monsters, Inc., the power company for Monstropolis. As Sulley and the other Monster scarers pass through doors leading into children’s bedrooms, the energy generated by kids’ screams is captured and stored. Sulley is the champion scarer, and Mike Wazowski is his coach, right-hand monster, and best pal.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 10, 2013 0 comments
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Kai, a young falcon, yearns to spread his wings and explore the world, more specifically an avian community called Zambezia. There he hopes to join the Hurricanes, the skilled and brave flying corps that defends the city. But his father is unalterably opposed to his leaving their safe but boring life for reasons Kai does not at first understand. Kai leaves the nest on his own anyway, joining a flock of geese headed to the fabled bird city. Once there, he finds the city in danger from a terrifying enemy.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 10, 2013 4 comments
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Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s “unfilmable” book is a hypnotic rumination on the nature of religion as a source of strength and inspiration but also exploring faith’s common tendency toward allegory as the means to an end. We meet a very spiritual college professor named Pi whose past comes alive in a series of flashbacks as he tells his story to a novelist eager to write his next book. Pi was once shipwrecked and lost at sea for 227 days, already a sufficiently fascinating tale, but to make the ordeal even more extraordinary, he had to share his predicament with a fully grown Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Their surprising relationship is masterfully dramatized in a series of indelible images, their odyssey recounted with an unending sense of wonder and a contagious love for the beauty of nature.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jul 01, 2013 0 comments
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Few films are worthy of a movie about the movie, but director Terry Gilliam’s 1985 dystopian fantasy Brazil is among the legendary few. A flawed but inspired masterpiece, the film remains a Hollywood cautionary tale for the standoff between Gilliam and Universal’s then-chief Sid Sheinberg, who refused to release the film and even ordered a sappy, discordant re-edit that excised some 40 minutes from Gilliam’s original cut. In retrospect, the heavy-handed efforts of Universal’s “black tower” to wrest artistic control from Gilliam only underscored Brazil’s anti-totalitarian satire and unwittingly aided its underground success.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 01, 2013 0 comments
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Written by novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie and produced as a London stage play in 1904, Peter Pan has become a timeless classic, finding its way onto stage, screen, and television. But it’s this 1953 Disney film that defines the story for most modern audiences.
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Jun 24, 2013 0 comments
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A tenacious woman is in the forefront of the greatest manhunt in history. Jessica Chastain is Maya, a lead member of a CIA think tank assigned with the task of tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden. Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal both won Academy Awards for their work on The Hurt Locker. Now they’ve taken another stab at the turmoil in the Middle East with Zero Dark Thirty. The title refers to the military designation of half an hour past midnight, when it’s dark enough that no one can see you coming.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Jun 24, 2013 0 comments
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Hannah and Her Sisters is Woody Allen’s most novelistic film: a tale of crisscrossing plotlines, strewn by multiple narrators, each a fully drawn character locked in or out of love with one of the others, and seeking answers to human needs and darker mysteries. It’s also Allen’s most redemptive film. In the end, the strands are resolved, the needs met, the mysteries not solved but set aside for the sake of enjoying life’s pleasures. In this sense, it’s reminiscent of Fanny and Alexander, the similarly titled (and also atypically euphoric) film made four years earlier by Allen’s morose hero Ingmar Bergman. Both films begin and end with lavish holiday dinners, and both chart voyages of infidelity, doubt, and despair, before settling into a celebration of the good life: family, friends, and haute elegance.
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Jun 19, 2013 1 comments
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Director Robert Zemeckis makes his dramatic return to live-action feature films with Flight after a decade-long foray into performance-capture animated films like The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol. His last live-action film before this was Cast Away with Tom Hanks in 2000, which either coincidentally or ironically also featured a crashing jetliner.

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