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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 03, 2017 2 comments
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The mind reels at the creativity needed to craft a sequel to Finding Nemo, once the most popular Pixar movie of them all. The results pick up a year after clownfish-dad Marlin went on a quest to locate his missing son, and now traveling companion Dory is the one in need of finding. The lovably forgetful blue tang (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is on her own mission now, to reconnect with her parents, but soon enough she’s “trapped” at a marine biology theme park, reunited with some chums of her youth and aided by some new aquatic allies.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 10, 2017 0 comments
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Bigger-than-life John Wayne stars as Sean Thornton, a mild-mannered American returning to his native Ireland, seeking nothing more than a peaceful life in a charming village. But his homecoming is soon complicated by the sight of a tempestuous redhead (Maureen O’Hara) and by the aggressions of a blustery local bully... who just so happens to be her brother. Sean does his best to blend into the colorful community, occasionally led into an inadvertent clash of cultures, and ultimately forced to confront a dark secret from his past, all culminating in one of the most satisfying two-fisted finales in movie history. Much of the story might seem a bit quaint or even politically incorrect to modern audiences, but The Quiet Man endures as a sweetly irresistible bit of entertainment, quite possibly inspiring an urge to visit The Emerald Isle or at least throw back a pint.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 27, 2017 0 comments
Perhaps by coincidence, many of independent label Shout! Factory’s recent releases hail from the era of big hair and synthesized music, ranging from the little-seen Metalstorm (in 3D!) to the gritty urban thriller, Night Hawks. We donned our day-glo parachute pants and spun four of their most interesting.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 09, 2016 0 comments
It’s time once again to separate the digital wheat from the chaff to find movies, TV shows, and music that make great gifts. Venerable Blu-ray is joined by upstart 4K Ultra HD this year, and even a bit of vinyl for good measure. Whichever holiday you call your own, make it a little brighter with one or more of these.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 02, 2016 0 comments
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So I guess revisiting in live action the catalog of Disney animated classics is officially a thing now. And that’s fine, if they can all manage to be as good as director Jon Favreau’s astutely conceived, beautifully realized take on The Jungle Book. The story here is different enough from the popular 1967 version to make the tale of man-cub Mowgli (endearing newcomer Neel Sethi) fresh and worth watching all over again. He’s been raised by wolves and lives happily among the animals until a ferocious tiger sets his sights on the boy, sending brave Mowgli on a dangerous journey back to the world of man. Yes, there are a couple of familiar songs along the way, but plenty of surprises as well, in addition to some rough beast-on-beast combat that might frighten the little ones.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 18, 2016 0 comments
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In cinema, would-be cautionary tales of our current environmental crisis tend to be heavy-handed, and they frequently fall flat as a result. Maybe the secret to an effective global wakeup call is to tuck it neatly into a slapstick romantic comedy about modern-day merpeople.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 21, 2016 0 comments
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Dawn of Justice brings together the entire trinity of DC Universe heroes, arguably the most enduring characters of 20th-century popular culture. So where’s the thrill? The awe? The “wow,” dammit? Let’s focus on the expanded three-hour Ultimate Edition featured in this set, also available separately on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, along with director Zack Snyder’s other two DC forays, Man of Steel and Watchmen.
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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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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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