BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 13, 2018  |  0 comments
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The 1982 science-fiction opus Blade Runner remains an undeniable visual spectacle that fired the imaginations of many a viewer. While neither a bona fide critical or commercial success upon debut, it visualized a Los Angeles of the future beyond anything we’d seen before and set the stage for endless fan speculation that has led to five different studio-sanctioned cuts thus far. The sequel, 2049, was released to much of that same indifference. Thirty-five years coming, it still failed to generate a response befitting a cult franchise of this magnitude.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 06, 2018  |  1 comments
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England’s super-secret civilian intelligence agency, Kingsman, is dealt a devastating blow by a mysterious new enemy. It’s been one year since ballsy-yetcompassionate Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and his crew saved the world from an eccentric criminal mastermind, but with their resources and personnel all but eliminated, they must now seek the help of Statesman, their American counterpart. Together, this unlikely team travels the globe to uncover the truth behind the recent attack, as well as the details of another ruthless plot that could soon kill millions.
Josef Krebs  |  Apr 06, 2018  |  0 comments
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Young Mr. Lincoln is a biography that avoids dramatizing any major achievements or historical events that make up a person’s destiny. Instead, they are alluded to by visual metaphor, audio clues, or pieces of Civil War music. At a local fair, we see Lincoln judging a pie contest, having to choose between a Georgia peach and an American apple pie, winning a logsplitting competition by dividing the body in two, and helping a tugof-war team succeed by hitching their end of the rope to a wagon; all subtly stand in for Lincoln’s moral struggles with slavery, justice and rule of law, and the coming Civil War.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 02, 2018  |  3 comments
Haters be damned, Justice League is actually pretty good. I just wish it was great.

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The theoretically-can't-miss combination of DC's legendary "trinity" of heroes — Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman — has a far greater chance of failure when two-thirds of that crew is already on difficult footing. In the rightly reviled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, an irrational, homicidal Dark Knight (Ben Affleck) sets his sights on a mopey, defeatist Man of Steel (Henry Cavill), resulting in tedium and the sudden death of the Man of Steel. It did however introduce audiences to the new Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), who has since captivated audiences with her own solo movie and who now elevates this team tale.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Mar 29, 2018  |  2 comments
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In a not too distant future, the wealthy plunk down big bucks to enter Westworld, a Disneyland for adults populated by “hosts”—human-like A.I. androids capable of fulfilling their every desire. With a cast of A-list names such as Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, and Ed Harris, this psychological, character-driven drama series goes beyond the gimmickry of its 1973 original to offer up a well-crafted exploration of what it means to be human as well as the blurred lines between good and evil and past and present. Could it be a replacement for Game of Thrones? Only time will tell.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 29, 2018  |  0 comments
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Following his introduction to Marvel’s well-established “Cinematic Universe” in Captain America: Civil War, the beloved Spider-Man has been fully rebooted (again) in the wildly enjoyable Homecoming. Decked out in a new high-tech costume, he’s eager for big adventures, but until then, he occupies himself as a local do-gooder in his Queens neighborhood—when not attending high school. Young star Tom Holland is a perfect fit for Peter Parker and his alter ego, an agile dancer/athlete with an irresistible wide-eyed enthusiasm.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 23, 2018  |  0 comments
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It’s time to remind everyone what a big deal Terminator 2: Judgment Day still is. The action/adventure genre underwent a serious evolution in the ’80s, and by 1991, to be taken seriously, T2 had to be bigger and better than anything that had come before.

And it was.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 23, 2018  |  0 comments
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Less than three weeks after the Germans invaded France in May 1940, the British Expeditionary Force found themselves backed up against the English Channel. The evacuation that followed sought to rescue over 300,000 British and French troops using a combination of British warships and hundreds of “little boats.”
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 16, 2018  |  0 comments
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Director/Producer Steven Soderbergh is an admirably free thinker, a true creative with an eye on the future of filmmaking. He’s very particular about the projects he chooses, emerging from pseudo-retirement to direct his latest, Logan Lucky. Made largely outside the Hollywood system he walked away from, it still managed to score some A-list talent on a modest budget, with James Bond and Kylo Ren likely welcoming the opportunity to play against type, as a down-on-his-luck explosives expert and a goodhearted sad-sack, respectively.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Mar 16, 2018  |  1 comments
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The dramedy action film American Made from director Doug Liman (Swingers, Edge of Tomorrow) is based on the true story of airline pilot Barry Seal (played here by Tom Cruise), who in the late 1970s was recruited by the CIA to become a drug runner for the Medellin cartel in Central America. Seal eventually became a key figure in what would turn out to be one of the biggest political scandals in the following decade, the Iran-Contra “gate.” While this might sound like heavy material, American Made is far from a heavy film.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 09, 2018  |  1 comments
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War for the Planet of the Apes concludes a trilogy that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. It tells the story of Caesar, from a nascent, intelligent ape to the leader of a band of smart simians. Humankind here has been nearly wiped out, with the survivors fighting to retain their freedom and humanity. In a twist from the classic 1968 original, however, the humans here are the villains, and the apes, fleeing the remnants of an army led by an obsessed, Ahab-like colonel, are the heroes. We’re driven to root for the Apes, from the story’s beginning to its near-biblical conclusion.
John Sciacca  |  Mar 09, 2018  |  0 comments
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Bringing Stephen King novels to the big screen is always fraught with conundrums, the expansive detail not often translating well to film. Condensing the eight Dark Tower novels into a single sub-100 minute movie seemed especially ambitious. The Dark Tower screenwriters plucked bits and pieces from the series, beginning in the middle and crafting a tale from there.

Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Mar 02, 2018  |  1 comments
David Leitch is known mostly as a stunt coordinator on big action films like Tron: Legacy, but for Atomic Blonde he steps behind the camera as the big man in charge to direct an adaptation of the graphic novel series The Coldest City by Antony Johnson and Sam Hart. The movie is fairly dripping in neon and ’80s nostalgia. Charlize Theron stars as sexy Cold War MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, tasked to go into East Berlin and work with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) in order to find a sensitive dossier.
Avi Greengart  |  Mar 02, 2018  |  1 comments
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Valerian is director Luc Besson’s passion project: He wrote and directed it based on a French comic book he loved as a child. It’s also the most expensive independent film ever, with a budget of around $180 million. It’s quite the spectacle, and the plot—involving displaced aliens amidst a multi-species space station—could be a reasonable foundation for a sci-fi adventure or sci-noir procedural. Unfortunately, the acting, character development, and dialogue are simply terrible. Ironically, the only believable character is a shape-shifting burlesque dancer played by Rihanna.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 23, 2018  |  0 comments
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In the original Cars, from 2006, hotshot racecar Lightning McQueen learned to be a gracious winner but a winner nonetheless. In Cars 2, Pixar learned that they could produce a less than sparkling sequel. Now, in Cars 3, the second Disney-Pixar property to produce a threequel (after Toy Story 3), McQueen is getting older, losing his edge, and suffering both losses and trash talk from newer, sleeker, faster racers. But he goes back into training, gets up to speed (so to speak), and is on the verge of motoring back to the top when….OK, you don’t expect spoilers, do you?

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