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Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 12, 2016 3 comments
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The still-thrilling Terminator franchise has certainly experienced its share of highs and lows over the last 30-odd years. And so creator James Cameron’s ringing endorsement for the latest installment, Terminator Genisys—in which he had no direct involvement—carried a lot of weight with fans. While giving major respect to the classic canon, this fifth movie is superbly smart, inventive, and even quite funny at times.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 23, 2015 0 comments
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In an era when Glee was everywhere, moviegoers understandably didn’t flock to see the seemingly similar Pitch Perfect on the big screen, but Blu-ray/DVD and TV showings ultimately brought the charming comedy the audience it deserved. Three years later, the mettlesome young songstresses from Barden University are back, eager to win an international competition with the help of a new recruit. Returning co-star/producer Elizabeth Banks also makes a triumphant directorial debut with Pitch Perfect 2, seamlessly maintaining the ongoing franchise’s breezily mean-spirited humor while staging many memorable new cover versions of eclectic pop tunes.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 18, 2015 0 comments
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Sequels can be a tough nut. Age of Ultron is of course the follow-up to 2012’s The Avengers, but along the way, there were four other Marvel Universe movies that apparently need to be acknowledged here, coupled with the laborious task of tying in TV series and setting up movies yet to come. Throw in too many characters and some extraneous subplots, and the result is a sequel more exhausting than entertaining.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 07, 2015 0 comments
As 2015 draws to a close and gift-giving holidays loom, you can take comfort in knowing that Blu-ray is still the king of physical media, and plenty of studios continue to go above and beyond to release extra-special editions of movies, music, and beloved TV series sure to make a lasting impression. Here are 10 for your consideration.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 13, 2015 0 comments
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After the gasoline (and almost everything else) has dried up, only the baddest of badasses have managed to survive in the barren future of Mad Max: Fury Road. And surviving is enough for Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy stepping into Mel Gibson’s well-worn leather), a former cop with but one stubborn shred of decency remaining. He’s a handsome enough actor, but he finds himself behind another Bane-like mask for much of his screen time: Captured, used as an unwilling blood donor, and thrust into the center of a deadly pursuit by three rival warlords, he unexpectedly finds himself protecting a cargo more precious than “juice,” with a long and furious road ahead.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 23, 2015 0 comments
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Remember reading that Oscar winner and True Blood star Anna Paquin was going to reprise her role as the mutant Rogue in the most recent X-Men movie, Days of Future Past? And then the movie came out and she was in exactly two shots with nary a word of dialogue, and even that moment came a scant four-and-a-half minutes before the end? Well, there was in fact more planned for her, and the new “Rogue Cut” reinstates her scenes as part of a rethought, expanded version of the movie. To be frank, it’s largely the same story you’re probably used to. Rogue’s return has minimal impact on the plot, but there are lots of other little changes along the way too, successfully enhancing the overall drama.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 18, 2015 1 comments
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As popular as 007’s grittier, more credible exploits have been of late, fans raised on the character’s more extreme tendencies have wondered what those movies might be like if he had continued his cheeky, over-the-top evolution. And for them, there’s Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service. Here a small but well-funded super-secret organization, independent of government, is populated by consummate gentleman (and lady) spies, quietly risking their lives to save others and maintain peace. Headquartered in a posh Savile Row tailor shop, they have access to impossible high-tech gadgets, bold training, and virtually unlimited resources.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 24, 2015 0 comments
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If not the first movie to expose the true inner workings of organized crime—in contrast to Coppola’s seminal, romanticized The Godfather—GoodFellas is arguably the most influential, and the most enduring. It is also one of Martin Scorsese’s most popular films, a near-perfect intersection of source material and cinematic execution. Nicholas Pileggi’s book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family recounted bona-fide gangster Henry Hill’s rise from two-bit mob gopher to prolific felon, as well as his ultimate downfall, and the many escapades in between. Adapted with ample violence and profanity, GoodFellas (renamed to avoid confusion with contemporary TV series Wiseguy) is also incredibly funny, often darkly so, for a more deeply entertaining tale.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 09, 2015 1 comments
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Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a swell, resourceful dad… and pilot… and engineer… and farmer. In short, he’s the perfect candidate for a dangerous mission to other worlds to help save mankind. The future that he and his family inhabit is bleak, cynical, and full of toxins that are rapidly making life on Earth unsustainable. The only glimmer of hope requires Coop to leave behind everyone and everything he knows to lead a crew across time and space in search of a new home. Back on Earth, our brightest minds are struggling to do their part, and these home and away teams will intersect in a most unexpected way.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 02, 2015 0 comments
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Genius teen Hiro Hamada has already lost his parents, but when tragedy strikes again, he uses his scientific know-how to turn mild-mannered, inflatable nurse-bot Baymax into a karate-kicking, armor-plated crime-fighter. But is Hiro out for justice...or vengeance? Either way, the duo can’t win this fight without help, and so they join forces with a group of friends to form their own high-tech super-squad, finding plenty of excitement along the way, as well as some important lessons about what it means to be a hero. Inspired by a relatively obscure Marvel Comic, the Oscar-winning Big Hero 6 is an epic origin saga full of heart and humor.

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