Blu-ray Movie Reviews

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Roger Kanno  |  Dec 02, 2022  |  0 comments
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It may not be the equal of his holiday classic masterpiece, It's a Wonderful Life, but Frank Capra's black comedy, Arsenic and Old Lace is one of the great comedies of American cinema. Adapted from Joseph Kesselring's play of the same name, it stars Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, a recently married writer whose honeymoon plans with his wife (Priscilla Lane) are sidetracked by a series of macabre incidents when he visits his doting aunts and eccentric brother.
Tom Norton  |  Nov 25, 2022  |  0 comments
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The War of the Worlds was a huge movie hit in 1953, based loosely on H.G. Wells 1898 classic novel of an invasion from Mars. We're at the center of the action during our military's initial encounter with the Martians' unstoppable machines (the latter very different from Wells' tripod conception). Later we're trapped in a trashed farmhouse and get a frightening glimpse of a live Martian. In a gripping conclusion, the Martians appear on the verge of total victory.
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 18, 2022  |  0 comments
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Technically not a "non-stop thrill ride" (it's a classy commuter vehicle so passengers need to board and disembark periodically), Bullet Train is nonetheless a rousing, violent and quite funny adventure. The story moves as fast as the locomotive itself, indulging themes of fate, luck and revenge as an errand boy (Brad Pitt) dealing with a midlife crisis runs afoul of assassins and international crime syndicates, all of them circling a high-value briefcase while the clock counts down to their ultimate destination.
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 12, 2022  |  1 comments
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Someone once posited that the way to gauge the quality of a sequel is to plot the delta—better or worse—from the movie that spawned it. Employing that metric, Top Gun: Maverick might be the best damned sequel that I've ever seen.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 04, 2022  |  0 comments
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What becomes an iconoclast the most? Some pop culture icons stand the test of time (The Beatles, The Godfather), while others only capture the zeitgeist of the era/movement they oh-so perfectly served (Strawberry Alarm Clock, we hardly knew ye!).

And then there are those larger-than-lifers who ride the sine wave of the popularity index, depending on which way the cultural-acceptance winds are a-blowing at any given moment.

Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 28, 2022  |  0 comments
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Chucky, the possessed plaything who would go on to become one of the premier icons of late 20th-Century horror, got his start right here in this 1988 outing. When a dying serial killer with a fondness for the occult transfers his soul into the only vessel available—the hot new talking doll on display at a toy store—little Chuck winds up going home with a single mom and is soon in the hands of a cherubic six-year-old boy.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Oct 21, 2022  |  0 comments
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Writer-director duo Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, known for their work on Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens and Swiss Army Man, collaborate on this mind-bending and surreal actioner. Michelle Yeoh plays middle-aged Chinese immigrant Evelyn Wang whose family owns a coin-operated laundromat.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 14, 2022  |  0 comments
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Before comic book adaptations became their own industry, this earnest action-comedy take on Lowell Cunningham's lesser-known creation became a runaway hit, spawning a popular movie, TV and merch franchise. These supremely discrete "MIB" government agents monitor the comings and goings of Earth's rather frequent alien visitors, maintaining peace through secrecy. Their newest recruit, Jay (Will Smith), needs to step up when a particularly nasty creature lands with ill intent for the galaxy, and Jay's winning chemistry with his world-wearier partner, Kay (Tommy Lee Jones), combined with many highly imaginative sight gags, yields plenty of laughs. At a brisk 98 minutes--the plot was cleverly streamlined after negative test audience feedback--Men in Black is definitely a fun re-watch.
Mike Mettler  |  Sep 26, 2022  |  1 comments
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Subtitle it, Let It Breathe. When The Beatles: Get Back initially aired across three consecutive nights on November 25, 26, and 27, 2021 on the Disney+ streaming platform, it was, to say the least, a cultural phenomenon. Not only did Get Back grant a new generation access to many of the sights and sounds required to understand the full scope of the ongoing impact of The Fab Four to this day, but director Peter Jackson's almost-8-hour docudrama also served as a redemption of sorts for the lingering, decidedly mixed reactions to the 1970 band documentary directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Let It Be.
Roger Kanno  |  Sep 16, 2022  |  2 comments
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Paul W.S. Anderson's Event Horizon was neither a critical nor commercial success upon its theatrical release in 1997 but found popularity and new life, first on DVD and then on Blu-ray with multiple releases over the years. The film is now enjoying a 25th anniversary Steelbook release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Set in 2047, the story follows a crew of astronauts sent on a mission to rescue a spaceship, the Event Horizon, seven years after it goes missing while on a top-secret mission to test a gravity drive that would give it the ability to travel faster than the speed of light.
Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 09, 2022  |  0 comments
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On the way to cooking up the all-time great spaghetti western, Sergio Leone began here with Rawhide star Clint Eastwood, eager to break out of his "white hat" TV persona and take his craft and career to the next level. Together they birthed an anti-hero who would become known as The Man with No Name, indelible and ultimately at the center of For a Few Dollars More (also new to 4K) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (released last year).
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Sep 02, 2022  |  0 comments
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In The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, co-written and directed by Tom Gormican, Nicolas Cage plays "Nick Cage," a fictionalized version of himself. Facing mounting expenses, dried-up roles, and struggling to take care of his daughter and estranged wife, the aging actor is forced to take a million-dollar gig in Mallorca, Spain to attend a birthday party for superfan Javi (Pedro Pascal). Javi turns out to be a dangerous mobster also trying to sell his screenplay and wanting to collaborate with Cage. All of which leads to the Oscar winner being enlisted by a CIA agent (Tiffany Haddish) to go undercover and spy on Javi to help the government bring down his criminal enterprise.
Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 26, 2022  |  1 comments
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These days you're not likely to see a Quentin Tarantino script directed by someone else, but there was a time when the young filmmaker-cum-video-store-clerk was raising funds to make his directorial debut (Reservoir Dogs) and sold True Romance, which was ultimately helmed by Top Gun's Tony Scott. The movie took a few years to find its audience—and current cult status—but is now hard to see it as anything but inspired and uniquely entertaining.
Josef Krebs  |  Aug 19, 2022  |  1 comments
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Oscar-nominated for best picture, direction, and screenplay, Licorice Pizza is a story of first love between a 15-year-old kid and a woman of 25 who's working at his high school. From their first conversation, Gary (Cooper Hoffman) pushes for a date, which Alana (Alana Heim), resists aggressively, but having already become a minor TV and film star and successful entrepreneur, he's soon able to charm her.
Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 12, 2022  |  1 comments
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Long before Lin-Manuel Miranda set the American Revolution to music, playwright Peter Stone and composer/lyricist Sherman Edwards gave us an entertaining history lesson of their own, set in 1776. An unpopular John Adams, poetic Thomas Jefferson, and impish Ben Franklin are focused on a future free of British oppression, despite the danger of such a declaration, but when the decision is made that such a vote must be unanimous, the challenge becomes much more difficult. While a far cry from the hip-hop beats of Hamilton, the songs here do a remarkable job of conveying facts and weaving a compelling story worth telling again and again.

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