BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 23, 2016 1 comments
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Following a dubious big-screen debut three years prior, the fate of the entire Star Trek franchise was at risk when The Wrath of Khan opened to somewhat skeptical audiences. They needn’t have worried: Khan essentially saved Star Trek from potential doom and has gone on to become probably the most beloved of the Enterprise’s cinematic adventures. This time out, a ship full of trainees—under a familiar command crew—get more than they bargained for when they embark upon one of the most dangerous missions any of them will ever face. Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) returns to active duty only to face Khan (Ricardo Montalban), a figure from his past now consumed by unreasoning hatred. Having recently acquired a dreadful weapon, Khan is a menace not only to his old adversary but to the galaxy at large.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 09, 2016 1 comments
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Truly, right from the opening credits, Deadpool lets the audience know that it is like no other comic book movie that has come before it. First-time director Tim Miller’s visual style is undeniably bold, while the humor tackles head-on virtually every cliché of the genre… then sets it on fire and pees it out. After the title character’s big-screen debut in the misfire X-Men Origins: Wolverine seven years ago, a complete overhaul was in order. The cinematic Deadpool is now a vastly more accurate embodiment of his persona from the page: irreverent, ruthless, yet possessing at least a little gold in that self-repairing heart.
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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 02, 2016 1 comments
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The film begins with the words, “This is a true story,” not based on one. The screenplay by Chuck Hogan (based on the book from Mitchell Zuckoff) steers mostly clear of the politics surrounding the attack and tells the story from the perspective of the people who were on the ground on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. Regardless of the politics, four Americans lost their lives that night; Ambassador Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs who were civilian contractors working out of a secret CIA annex near the U.S. diplomatic compound.
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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 26, 2016 0 comments
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Earth is being reshaped by mysterious alien invaders. Their first wave took out electricity, the second caused earthquakes and tsunamis, the third was a virus leading to mass death, the fourth is the invasion of the planet, and the fifth…you’ll have to see the movie—no spoilers from me!
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 19, 2016 1 comments
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Judy Hopps is an ambitious little bunny. Stuck in a zillion-rabbit town, she longs to join the police force. Topping her class at the police academy, and despite the misgivings of her conventional, veggie-farmer parents, she heads off to Zootopia, the Big Carrot in the film’s all-animal universe, to forge a career in the ZPD.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Aug 12, 2016 1 comments
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Phoenix was one of the best films of 2015 (the U.S. release date): taut, nerve-racking, gorgeous in a lurid way. It has a Vertigo vibe, leaning heavily on Hitchcock’s German Expressionist influences, but marked with Angst of a more sociopolitical nature, as if the likes of F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang had shot films just after WWII instead of the two decades before. It begins with a woman, an Auschwitz survivor (played by Nina Hoss), entering a hospital for facial surgery to repair the damage done by brutal guards. She wants to look the way she did before, so her husband can recognize her. After the operation, she finds him waiting tables at a nightclub called Phoenix.
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Brandon A. DuHamel Posted: Aug 12, 2016 0 comments
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Director Wilson Yip returns to helm the third and ostensibly final installment in the Ip Man saga with Ip Man 3. As with the previous films, international star Donnie Yen returns to the role as wing chun legend Ip Man, and the film also, questionably, brings Mike Tyson on board as a ruthless and violent American real estate developer.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 05, 2016 2 comments
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I’ve always wondered about Charlie Brown’s crush on the Little Red-Haired Girl. He’s of an age where girls are little more than a nuisance. But no matter: The Peanuts Movie’s plot centers on Charlie Brown’s stumbling attempts to convince her, and himself, that he’s something and not nothing.
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Josef Krebs Posted: Aug 05, 2016 2 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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Avi Greengart Posted: Jul 29, 2016 4 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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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 29, 2016 2 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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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 22, 2016 6 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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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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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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