BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 15, 2019  |  0 comments
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Wreck It Ralph and his new BFF Vanellope have settled into a familiar routine—starring in their arcade games by day, playing other games after work, and hanging out later at Tapper's (root) beer joint. But Vanellope's Sugar Rush game breaks, and to find the part needed to fix it they sneak into a new WIFI portal at Game Central Station. It takes them to the totally unfamiliar world of the Internet, where chaos is inevitable given Ralph's natural talent for wrecking things.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 08, 2019  |  0 comments
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With his most recent film, First Man, Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle has managed to do something remarkable: take one of the greatest achievements in all humankind and render it as cold as space itself. Astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) sacrifices much and faces incredible challenges on his way to leaving those first-ever footprints on the moon.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 01, 2019  |  0 comments
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A Star Is Born manages to rise above the nigh-unavoidable clichés of the music drama genre through the sheer, undeniable force of Bradley Cooper's love of his craft. Were this not already the third remake of the 1937 film, the potential cinematic pitfalls of this tale of frustrated singer/songwriter Ally (Lady Gaga), who struggles amid the boozy, druggy stumblings of entrenched headliner Jack (Cooper) would still be many.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 22, 2019  |  0 comments
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The indisputable success of Bohemian Rhapsody confirms what many of us have known for decades: Queen was one of the biggest rock bands in the world, and their late frontman Freddie Mercury was one of the singularly most polarizing and mesmerizing popular-music performers of the 20th century.
Josef Krebs  |  Feb 15, 2019  |  0 comments
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Albert (Åke Grönberg), the aging owner and ringmaster of an impoverished travelling circus, takes the troupe to his home town in order to visit his estranged wife and sons with the hope of returning to the safe, bourgeois family nest. In reaction, his jealous young lover (the gorgeous Harriet Andersson), a horseback rider, allows a charismatic actor to seduce her.
David Vaughn  |  Feb 08, 2019  |  3 comments
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Westworld: Season One ended in a cliffhanger with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) taking charge of the adult amusement park. Westworld: Season Two picks up shortly after this event with the puppet show now over and the liberated “hosts” coming after the humans for their own pound of flesh.
Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 07, 2019  |  1 comments
In part because it has now endured for 40 years, but also because it is the sort of thrilling cinematic entertainment we never seem to tire of, Superman has appeared on just about every home entertainment format, and deservedly so. The first comic book blockbuster, director Richard Donner's visually stunning epic stars Christopher Reeve as the only survivor of a brilliant but arrogant alien culture who finds his place in our world as a god-like protector.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 25, 2019  |  0 comments
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In a story so jaw-dropping it has to be true, rookie African-American cop Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the only officer of color on the Colorado Springs police force, initiates an undercover investigation into the Ku Klux Klan amid tense race relations in the 1970s. His part is played over the telephone, and to perpetuate his ruse he is partnered with white officer Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver). Flip attends meetings in the guise of “Ron,” requiring the two men to coordinate their words and actions in order to present a unified front as they pretend to be a single hardcore bigot.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 18, 2019  |  0 comments
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Say what you will about controversial superstar Tom Cruise, his dedication to the big-screen Mission: Impossible franchise he launched in 1996 is nothing short of inspiring. Performing stunts that would give a professional thrill-seeker pause, he literally throws himself into his work with unparalleled zeal. For this sixth go-round, secret agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is in hot pursuit of terrorists out to tear down our world order, bad guys armed with an apocalyptic manifesto, and some nuclear weapons. Expect betrayals and frame-ups that force Ethan to go rogue...again.
Roger Kanno  |  Jan 04, 2019  |  0 comments
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Fresh off the success of his band's appearance in Jonathan Demme's seminal concert film, Stop Making Sense, Talking Heads front man David Byrne tried his hand at making his own feature film in 1986. A comedy styled as a documentary about the fictional town of Virgil, Texas, True Stories centers on the town's quirky residents, whose lives are reminiscent of tabloid newspaper stories. Written by Byrne, Beth Henley, and Stephen Tobolowsky (whom you might remember from memorable roles in Groundhog Day, Thelma and Louise, Californication and Glee), it is also directed by and stars Byrne as the narrator and main character. This enjoyable, offbeat film offers clever and sometimes even brilliant takes on Americana.
Al Griffin  |  Dec 28, 2018  |  0 comments
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Director Stanley Kubrick's seminal sci-fi epic, co-written with author Arthur C. Clarke, takes the whole of human history as its subject—from the initial flicker of intelligent thought in hominids, to the present day where humans live with the assistance of computer-generated artificial intelligence. The film literally works as a space opera: long stretches pass dialogue-free with just classical music serving to enhance the hyper-realistic images of ships and passengers aloft in the cosmos. (2001: A Space Odyssey won an Oscar for best visual effects, the only one it managed to take home from the 1969 ceremony.)
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 21, 2018  |  0 comments
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When we last left our intrepid superheroes (in 2004's The Incredibles) they had defeated the nasty villain Syndrome. The new film opens with the Incredibles battling the Underminer, the same villain they had encountered at the end of the previous film. They win the day with the help of their superhero buddy Frozone, but the resulting chaos puts the Incredibles back in the doghouse with the law and the public.
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.

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