BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Josef Krebs  |  Dec 14, 2018  |  0 comments
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Set in the early 1400s, Russian writer-director Andrei Tarkovsky’s greatest masterpiece depicts the life of the famous icon painter, Andrei Rublev. But it also keeps everyday village existence, extraordinary events, and medieval Russian history moving from background to foreground in an episodic narrative tapestry. Princes and religion rule every aspect of Russian life, with motivation for actions stemming from belief in God (or the retribution of the church), subservience, and fear of the merciless Tartar invaders. Faith and art are put to the test in this overflowing epic as the painter travels through the decades of his time.
David Vaughn  |  Dec 07, 2018  |  2 comments
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Both a prequel and a sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again tells two stories: the first set in the present day as Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) prepares for the grand reopening of her mother Donna’s (Meryl Streep) hotel, and the second when the young Donna (Lily James) first arrives on the island in 1979. Sophie learns about her mother’s fun-filled adventures with the young Dynamos, Tanya and Rosie, and how she first met her three possible dads, Harry, Bill, and Sam, all those years ago.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 30, 2018  |  0 comments
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“Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try.” That profound statement set the table for the visceral round of revelations John Lennon had in store for us on his second proper solo album following his departure from The Beatles, September 1971’s Imagine. Whereas “God,” the critical denouement on Lennon’s galvanizing December 1970 solo debut Plastic Ono Band, served as a gasp-inducing, barrier-breaking declarative manifesto, “Imagine” proffered more of a “what if” scenario that embodied an inclusively universal yet concurrently subversive scope.
Josef Krebs  |  Nov 30, 2018  |  0 comments
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Writer-director Terrence Malick’s remarkable, poetic The Tree of Life tells the story of a family in 1950s Texas and the impact that losing a son has on them. Using a stream-of-consciousness flow of images and sounds, the film authentically captures a childhood remembered by centering on the lyrical day-to-day, moment-by-moment experiences of the two surviving young brothers. The film examines, from many angles, the questioning of God and the meaning to life in an evolutionary sense. Relationships with Him are expressed in whispered voiceovers and through a long sequence that visualizes the creation of the world.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Nov 16, 2018  |  0 comments
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The controversial 2000 film American Psycho from co-screenwriter/director Mary Harron (Alias Grace) was based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Set in the fast-paced 1980s, it follows the privileged, handsome, and narcissistic Wall Street executive Patrick Bateman (Oscar winner Christian Bale) who is all about greed and self-aggrandizement. By day he builds on the fortune and material things he has already accumulated, but at night the eviler demons inside him slip out to experiment with a dizzying array of sex and violence.
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 14, 2018  |  0 comments
As a year packed with wonderful new high-definition and 4K discs comes to a close, we’ve selected ten standout box sets that are certain to bring a smile to the home theater buff in your life. Each box is special in its own way: some are hefty with gravitas, others have actual heft. All are sure to deliver ample audio/video pleasure plus a bounty of bonus features to enjoy through the new year and beyond.
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 09, 2018  |  0 comments
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The most fun thread in the Earth-bound tapestry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe owes much to the presence of star/co-writer Paul Rudd, whose comedic charms and dramatic sensibilities embiggen an otherwise diminutive hero. Two years after the fallout from Captain America: Civil War, when ex-con Scott Lang (Rudd) illegally fought as Ant-Man, he’s nearing the completion of his house arrest and ready to get his life back on track.
Al Griffin  |  Oct 26, 2018  |  0 comments
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Like its sci-fi counterpart, the horror film genre is packed with “cult classics.” But there are only a few horror titles that can lay claim to “classic” film status. Universal Monsters films from the 1920s through the 1950s notwithstanding (see Boxes of Joy on page 28), my list is limited to The Shining, The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby, Halloween, and Carrie.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 19, 2018  |  1 comments
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The first decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has all been leading to this, an adventure so utterly spectacular that...well, it’s going to need a whole other movie to wrap the story up. Jam-packed with a who’s-who of familiar faces (and masks), Infinity War is a remarkably complex tale of conflict and loss highlighted by thrilling, high-stakes action. No time is wasted in thrusting us into the battle against the malevolent Thanos (Josh Brolin from Deadpool 2).
Josef Krebs  |  Oct 12, 2018  |  0 comments
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This indie revelation explores sexuality, relationships, and the way that both interact with technology. Therapy doesn’t seem to be opening uptight housewife Ann to her feelings; it takes videotaped erotic confessions for her to overcome her inhibitions. Meanwhile, Ann’s sister and husband are deceiving her with a steamy affair and endless lies. Eventually, a candid, oddball drifter comes to visit and uses his video project to untangle the tape tying up this dysfunctional family.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 05, 2018  |  1 comments
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Although never quite as disturbingly dark nor as overtly sexual as the original, Deadpool 2 is nonetheless a more-than-worthy sequel, recapturing that sublime balance between raunchy comedy and edgy action. The story has surprising heart, as super-powered contract killer Wade/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) struggles to cope with a sudden loss while reluctantly coming to the aid of Firefist, a powerful teenage mutant in crisis.
David Vaughn  |  Sep 28, 2018  |  0 comments
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When an IMF agent gets killed in the line of duty, critical files containing Russian nuclear launch codes that he was carrying fall into the wrong hands. With the help of two IMF colleagues, agent Ethan Hunt penetrates the Kremlin to find out the identity of “Cobalt,” a terrorist who wants the codes to start a nuclear war. Things go awry when Cobalt plants explosives in the fortress-like complex, and Hunt and his team get blamed for the resulting carnage. As tensions rise between the U.S. and Russia, the President is forced to disavow the IMF, leaving it up to Hunt and his team to solve the crisis.
Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 14, 2018  |  0 comments
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How many more movies and TV shows will simulate virtual reality to tell a “thought-provoking” story about the fate of society? I gave up on Netflix’s Black Mirror because I could not bear another tale of VR gone awry, but Ready Player One brings the pedigree of Steven Spielberg, plus Ernest Cline’s bestselling novel. How could it miss?
Al Griffin  |  Aug 31, 2018  |  1 comments
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Directed by John Krasinksi (star of TV’s “The Office”) and produced by action film director Michael Bay, A Quiet Place is a curious mashup of sci-fi/horror and family drama. The world is under siege by alien creatures who are blind but have powerful hearing capability, which they use to locate human prey. To survive, a family at the story’s center of needs to remain completely silent at all times— not something that’s easy to do when the clan includes young children.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 24, 2018  |  2 comments
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Miguel, a feisty youngster in small town Mexico, loves music, particularly the work of his hero, the long dead guitar and singing star, Ernesto de la Cruz. But because his great-great grandfather abandoned his wife and daughter for a career in music, his family remains virulently opposed to music and forbids Miguel’s having anything to do with it.

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