BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Josef Krebs  |  Jun 16, 2017  |  0 comments
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With Café Society, Woody Allen cleverly combines 1930s Pre-Code romantic comedies like Red-Headed Woman with the glamour-and-gangster nightclubbing of Manhattan Melodrama, all delivered with Purple Rose of Cairo–type old-school Allen evocation of era. Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) leaves his Bronx Jewish family to work as an errand boy for his powerful Hollywood agent-to-the-stars uncle (Steve Carell). When Bobby falls in love with his uncle’s secretary (Kristen Stewart)—despite her having a lover—things get complicated, especially on Bobby’s discovery that her boyfriend is his boss.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 16, 2017  |  0 comments
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The brave, spirited non-princess of the title is still learning how to lead her village when a when a mysterious curse befalls their island. Despite a lifetime of warnings from her father the chief, she sets sail upon an epic journey to save her people, seeking the help of a misunderstood demigod along the way. A tale of destiny, selflessness, and family, Moana is filled with beauty, magic, and wonder and is among the very finest films to ever come from Disney.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  0 comments
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An undeniable dramatic masterpiece, High Noon has lost none of its considerable power to enthrall an audience with its relentless suspense born of inexorable doom. We know at once that Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is a damned good man. Yet when news breaks that a murderer he sent to hang is instead returning with his gang for revenge, he is heartlessly shunned by the townsfolk he has risked his life to protect.
David Vaughn  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  0 comments
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Symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) finds himself in Italy suffering a bout of amnesia. When he awakes, he’s in a strange hospital room where an attractive doctor, Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), is caring for him and tries to explain how he ended up in Florence, Italy. Before you know it, an assassin attacks the hospital, and Langdon and Brooks are on the run trying to figure out who wants him dead. As the pieces fall into place, Langdon discovers he’s on the hunt for Dante-inspired clues leading the pair on a chase to save the world from a crazy billionaire (Ben Foster) who has a diabolical plan for the planet.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jun 02, 2017  |  0 comments
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The entertainment glitterati love a work that glorifies the history and existence of themselves. Just look at the praise lavished upon such films like the neo-silent The Artist or the arguably overrated La La Land to get a sense of how much Hollywood is willing to revel in its own nostalgia. Writer/director Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 semiautobiographical paean to the films that framed his coming of age in Southern Italy revolving around the titular Cinema Paradiso movie theater is a prime example of such a work.
Corey Gunnestad  |  Jun 02, 2017  |  0 comments
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Tom Cruise is back as Jack Reacher, the ex-Army major, now aimless drifter hitchhiking around America carrying nothing with him but the clothes on his back and his cell phone. When an Army colleague that he’s never met, Major Susan Turner, is arrested on suspicion of espionage, Reacher takes it upon himself to investigate and clear her name. He of course knows she’s innocent because they’ve flirted on the phone and she’s surprisingly hot for an Army major.
Fred Kaplan  |  May 26, 2017  |  0 comments
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This is the funniest classic film that doesn’t star the Marx Brothers and one of the best—certainly the most frantic—newspaper movies (outgunned only by the very different All the President’s Men). It also marks the peak in director Howard Hawks’ fling with super-fast pace and overlapping dialogue, which he’d pioneered over the previous two years, with Bringing Up Baby and Only Angels Have Wings, and which influenced many future directors, notably Robert Altman.
Fred Kaplan  |  May 19, 2017  |  1 comments
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McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Robert Altman’s best film by far, has often been called an “anti-Western,” but that’s a bit off. The plot is pure Western: A stranger comes to a frontier town, builds it up; bad guys come to kill him and take it away; he tracks them down on the street and kills them first; and oh, yes, there’s a whore with a heart of gold. The difference here is that the plot is infused with circa-1900 realism: The stranger’s a bit of a dunce; the town is a muddy mess; the bad guys are corporate poachers; our man kills them by shooting them in the back, and afterward he dies in the snow from gunshot wounds while the townsfolk put out a fire in an unused church; and, oh, the whore is also a shrewd merchant with an opium habit.
David Vaughn  |  May 19, 2017  |  0 comments
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April 20, 2010 started out like any other day for oil rig chief of maintenance Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and superintendent Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell). As its shore leave ends, the crew boards a helicopter for the flight out into the Gulf of Mexico to begin their duty on Deepwater Horizon, an offshore rig. Standard protocol is broken when the old crew leaves and the new one arrives, raising the suspicions of Harrell that something is amiss. The project is overdue and over budget, and BP is doing whatever it can to cut costs—penny wise, pound foolish.
Chris Chiarella  |  May 12, 2017  |  0 comments
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When a gaggle of gigantic, otherworldly objects parks itself at various points around the Earth, life as we know it is paused while collective humanity figures out our next move. Our finest minds—tempered by the military—seek to determine the mysterious visitors’ even more mysterious purpose, leaving us with the complicated business of learning how to communicate with them. The best hope is brilliant language professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams), who is tasked with deciphering a bizarre form of “speech,” impossible for humans to emulate. But if she doesn’t make meaningful contact, and soon, all hell might break loose, with no guarantee of how such a conflict would end.
David Vaughn  |  May 12, 2017  |  0 comments
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With the FBI hunting them after their last “show,” the Horsemen have been in hiding, honing their skills in preparation for their next Robin Hood–inspired adventure. Their target this time around is an unethical tech mogul, whose new product isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Unfortunately for our heroes, their plan backfires when the FBI crashes the show and they must make a fast getaway. They end up on the other side of the world where they’re blackmailed into performing their most impossible heist yet.
Fred Kaplan  |  May 05, 2017  |  0 comments
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Jerry Maguire is the middle work in writer-director Cameron Crowe’s trio of deeply pleasurable movies, flanked by Say Anything and Almost Famous (after which…what happened, man?), and it holds up very well. Tom Cruise plays the title character, a callow sports agent, incapable of alone time or failure, who suffers a brief bout of conscience, bats out a moral manifesto, and loses his job, along with all but one of his clients, as a result. As Crowe explains on the commentary track, it was co-producer James Brooks who came up with the idea of starting the movie where most rom-coms end (selfish go-getter has his wee-hours epiphany), then following our anti-hero’s glide to the bottom before carving a new path of success that enshrines intimacy and commitment as well as ambition. It sounds corny, but Crowe and his ensemble cast (at the time all unknowns, except Cruise) pull it off.
David Vaughn  |  May 05, 2017  |  0 comments
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When industrialist Bartholomew Bogue starts to terrorize and take control of the town of Rose Creek, its concerned citizens pool their money in order to hire a group of mercenaries to drive the villain—and his private army—from the town. The widow of one of Bogue’s victims hits the road and meets Sam Chisholm, who accepts the job and goes about recruiting six other men to the task, all with varying skills that complement one another in order to bring justice to Rose Creek.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
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Anchored by a disquietingly reserved performance from star Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy), this Portrait is an artful character study of a very bad man. Loosely based upon documented events, Henry explores the unspeakable crimes of an unrepentant murderer, a dark soul whose bleak existence is punctuated by frequent acts of violence. And when he brings his particularly loathsome roommate into the fold, no one in Chicago is safe. The matter-of-fact dramatic style makes the instances of gore hit that much harder, and yet plot developments are sometimes revealed in clever, original ways.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
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Max is living a great dog’s life. But one day his owner brings home Duke, a huge, stray shaggy-dog from the pound. Duke makes himself at home, much to Max’s chagrin. But one day, when the apartment house’s loopy dog walker is distracted, both Max and Duke get into a tussle, break free, and end up lost in New York.

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