BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 20, 2017  |  0 comments
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If you’re going to steal, the saying goes, steal from the best. Like many a filmmaker, Dario Argento was strongly influenced by the works of a certain British director, so much so that he earned the nickname “The Italian Hitchcock.” His debut film, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, embraces many a cliché of the thriller genre while also forging its own path. Shot and scored with genuine inspiration, the film boasts a clever plot, with twists that are not easy to predict, as well as a distinctive sense of humor.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Oct 20, 2017  |  0 comments
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Donnie Darko is the 2001 indie cult film from Richard Kelly (Southland Tales). Set in the 1980s, the film is an amalgam of sci-fi, psycho-thriller, and horror that’s an early new-millennium answer to the John Hughes films of the 1980s. The titular character, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is a disaffected high school student in suburban Middlesex living with his college-age sister (played by sister Maggie), his mother and, and younger sister. Donnie deals with psychological problems that cause him to see a 6-foot-tall rabbit named Frank that tells him the world is going to end in less than a month.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 13, 2017  |  2 comments
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It’s 1973, and a U.S. survey and mapping expedition, supported by an Army helicopter unit recently released from the wind-down of the Vietnam War, heads toward the previously unexplored Skull Island.

If they’d brushed up on their old movies, they wouldn’t have been gobsmacked, and soon simply smacked, when they spot and engage with a really big ape. Big enough to squish all previous versions of the character under his big toe. Big enough to easily challenge the helicopters and crews. I mean really, really big.

David Vaughn  |  Oct 13, 2017  |  0 comments
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Discovering life on Mars would be the crowning achievement in any scientist’s career, so when a team on the International Space Station receives a care package of samples from the red planet, they can’t wait to begin their experiments. To their surprise, they discover there was once life on Mars after all, and they unleash a creature that evolves at an accelerated pace that has its eyes on the planet below them.
Josef Krebs  |  Oct 06, 2017  |  0 comments
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From the get-go in this hugely provocative and highly challenging essay on violence, there’s a disconcerting, menacing montage of images that tilts you off balance. The setting is a small, insular, isolated, Wicker Man–ish Cornish community where Deliverance-like locals sit and wait.
Corey Gunnestad  |  Oct 06, 2017  |  0 comments
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I never understood why MI-6 always gave James Bond the most expensive and exotic sports cars on the planet to take with him on his missions. Q Branch must know by now there’s no way in hell that thing is coming back in one piece. That same basic logic applies to the Fast & the Furious films: Why would you ever give a Lamborghini to someone who’s going to a demolition derby?
David Vaughn  |  Sep 29, 2017  |  2 comments
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Korben Dallas, a retired space fighter pilot, has been relegated to driving a cab in New York City, and since leaving the military, his life has been on a downward spiral. His luck begins to change when a beautiful girl named Leeloo drops into the back of his cab, and before he knows it, he’s stuck in the middle of an intergalactic feud that happens every 5,000 years. It turns out the lovely young lady is the Fifth Element, who when combined with earth, wind, fire, and water becomes the perfect weapon to save the human race from destruction.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Sep 29, 2017  |  0 comments
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The long-running Japanese franchise Power Rangers is rebooted in this 2017 film from director Dean Israelite and writer John Gatins. The somewhat camp story follows a group of teen misfits who uncover a collection of ancient artifacts and a buried alien ship; endowed with superpowers, the teens must muster their new powers and learn to work together to save the world. Power Rangers is hardly high art, and it never has been. The American version of the series was culled from stock Japanese footage edited together with new English-speaking scenes.
David Vaughn  |  Sep 22, 2017  |  1 comments
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It’s been several years since Xander Cage has been on the scene, but he’s brought back into the fold when a device called Pandora’s Box falls into the wrong hands. It has the ability to bring down any satellite and turn it into a weapon of mass destruction as it crashes down on the planet. One of his conditions for coming back to the CIA was that of recruiting his own team so he can ensure their absolute trust and his own personal safety.
Josef Krebs  |  Sep 22, 2017  |  0 comments
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Michael Mann is a thief—a damned good one. In telling this bigger-than-life tale of a career-criminal takedown crew and their nemesis, the writer-director robs from the best, especially for his brilliant set pieces. He steals heavily from crime-caper master, Jean-Pierre Melville; the overnight break-in on a precious metals storage facility has all the precision and intense silences of Le Cercle Rouge, and the wham-bam bank holdup takes the look and military precision of Un Flic. Mann’s grand, operatic airfield finale is snatched straight from the end of Bullitt, while others scenes echo The Godfather or Goodfellas, and he even jacks himself by reworking Thief.
Mike Mettler  |  Sep 15, 2017  |  1 comments
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Much as 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause and 1969’s Easy Rider defined the youth-culture zeitgeist of their respective decades, 1977’s Saturday Night Fever deftly captured the me-decade essence of the 1970s, instantly catapulting John Travolta to the A-list in the process.
Corey Gunnestad  |  Sep 15, 2017  |  0 comments
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In 2002, Sony Entertainment kicked off the Resident Evil film series based on the popular zombie apocalypse video game of the same name. Fifteen years and five sequels later, the beleaguered franchise comes to a close… sort of. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is technically the last installment in the long-running series, but plans are already afoot to reboot the entire franchise and start over again from square one. The expression “beating a dead horse” springs to mind, but I digress.
Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 01, 2017  |  0 comments
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There have certainly been terrific comic book movies, but Logan is a terrific movie that just so happens to be inspired by comic books. The proper balance of story, character, and juicy action set pieces is an elusive one. (Think back to the disappointing first two solo Wolverine flicks.) But in his ninth and reportedly final portrayal of Logan, charismatic star Hugh Jackman— in the role that will surely define his career—is at the center of a remarkably original, powerful film.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Sep 01, 2017  |  0 comments
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Director Bill Condon brings his experience adapting the Broadway smash Dreamgirls to this lavish, live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1991 Golden Globe–winning (Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical) animated film Beauty and the Beast. The CGI-laden visual spectacle stars the lovely Emma Watson as the titular beauty Belle who is imprisoned in a castle by an irascible prince cursed by a witch for his failure to aid her on a stormy night and forced to live life out as the Beast (Dan Stevens).
David Vaughn  |  Aug 25, 2017  |  0 comments
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When we last saw John Wick, he’d come out of retirement to take out the Russian mobsters who were responsible for stealing his prized muscle car and killing his puppy. In this well-made sequel, we are greeted by an angry Wick who’s still on the hunt for his Mustang Mach 1, which he finds in a local chop shop. Needless to say, Wick dispenses some brutal street justice on the thugs—and he does recover his car.

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