Blu-ray Movie Reviews

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Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 24, 2021  |  0 comments
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In what will surely go down in history as a textbook example of a successful online campaign to release a much-wanted movie, the #releasethesnydercut movement ultimately convinced Warner Bros. to complete and distribute director Zack Snyder's original vision for his DC Comics Extended Universe ("DCEU") team-up flick, Justice League. Snyder's departure from the project during production led to the hiring of Joss Whedon to oversee final work on the movie for its November 2017 theatrical debut, writing and directing new scenes on the way to a two-hour cut. That version largely left audiences cold, particularly fans of Snyder's previous DCEU films, despite co-star Gal Gadot's wave of popularity from her Wonder Woman solo film a few months earlier.
Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 10, 2021  |  0 comments
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Movies can reveal a world mainstream audiences might not have been aware of, and in doing so they go beyond mere entertaining to offering actual enlightenment. Such is the case with Nomadland. Winner of 2020 Oscars for Best Picture, Director, and Actress, the film depicts a culture of folks with little in the way of material possessions—really just a vehicle and a few incidentals—who relish their freedom and mobility as they roam this great land.
Josef Krebs  |  Sep 03, 2021  |  0 comments
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The messiah here is Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), preaching and gathering disciples to join him in his efforts to help feed and free the people. Judas is Bill O'Neal, the follower who's secretly working for the oppressive force—the Chicago PD and the FBI circa 1968, who see the BPP as more of a threat than the Russians or the Chinese.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Aug 20, 2021  |  0 comments
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It's the end of the world and Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) doesn't feel fine. He's unhinged and uneasy. He's been sleep- walking, waking up in the middle of golf courses, and experiencing waking daydreams. A jet engine has fallen from the sky and crashed into his bedroom and a giant rabbit named Frank is telling him the world will end soon unless he stops it. But how?
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 13, 2021  |  0 comments
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George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion premiered in London back in 1913. Loosely based on an ancient Greek myth, its plot involves a linguistics professor, Henry Higgins, teaching a bedraggled flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to speak proper English—not only well enough to pass her off as a duchess at an embassy ball, but to "get her a job as a lady's maid or a shop assistant, which requires better English!"
Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 30, 2021  |  0 comments
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Universal Studios needn't have advertised on Nobody's disc cover that it sprang from the mind of Derek Kolstad, writer of John Wick, since it's at its core the same movie. And that's not such a bad thing, since the erstwhile-enforcer-makes-a-violent-comeback formula is a winning one. This time the story lives or dies on the substantial charm of star Bob Odenkirk, who for the most part keeps his renowned comedic chops under wraps, instead allowing the humor to grow from the incongruity of suburban schlemiel Hutch's explosive and deadly skills.
Josef Krebs  |  Jul 16, 2021  |  0 comments
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As a kid in England in the late 1970s, I loathed director Mike Leigh's BBC TV dramas about what seemed like the drab lives of dull, ordinary people because they lacked the glamour and drive of Hollywood classics. Years later, I became enthralled with the pathos of universal pain and struggle shown in Leigh's Secrets & Lies, a microcosm of real relationships and feelings that is as moving and massively encompassing as any film I've seen.
Roger Kanno  |  Jun 25, 2021  |  0 comments
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Gattaca tells the story of a future where genetically engineered humans are provided all the benefits of an advanced civilization while those that are genetically inferior are relegated to more menial jobs and not afforded the same opportunities as society's elite. Ethan Hawke plays Vincent, an "in-valid" who takes on the identity of one of the genetically elite, Jerome (Jude Law), to realize his dream of becoming a navigator at Gattaca, a prestigious space exploration corporation. The film moves slowly, but with stylish cinematography and excellent performances, it holds up well nearly 25 years after its initial release.
Al Griffin  |  Jun 18, 2021  |  0 comments
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As the first film to launch the MonsterVerse, a "cinematic universe" featuring enduring monster movie icons, this 2014 reboot of the Godzilla franchise set the template for several movies to come, including Kong: Skull Island and the late-pandemic sensation, Godzilla vs. Kong. Here's the deal: After escaping a nuclear weapons assault (cloaked by authorities as a "nuclear test") in the 1950s, Godzilla went deep underground.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 11, 2021  |  2 comments
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Legend has it that director Zack Snyder was streaming his Dawn of Justice one day and was unhappy with the color, specifically red, a shade relevant to much more than a certain Last Son of Krypton. And so, the studio took the unusual step of remastering the movie from the existing 4K video transfer and rereleasing it, with the new version addressing Snyder's crimson concerns as well as showcasing the de rigueur IMAX scenes in their full and correct 1.43:1 aspect ratio.
Chris Chiarella  |  May 28, 2021  |  1 comments
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It can be taken for granted that if Tom Hanks is starring in a movie, we will become acquainted with a compelling lead character. Also, if Paul Greengrass is directing, it will be an exciting ride. Following the South's loss in the Civil War, Texas circa 1870 was a complicated place and time in the United States. World-weary Captain Kidd (not Phillips) ekes out a humble existence traveling from town to town, reading the news of the day to small groups of dime-paying customers who might otherwise remain oblivious.
Chris Chiarella  |  May 14, 2021  |  1 comments
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Pixar O.G. and now Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter touched our hearts with Up, then plumbed the intricacies of the human mind in Inside Out. It would follow, then, that his next movie would be Soul.

Together, these are arguably the most grown-up entries in the Pixar canon, not for any sort of overly mature content, but rather for their sophisticated themes and storytelling. And Soul might be the most adult-skewing: It's the longest of the three, exploring The Great Hereafter and even "The Great Before," namely where souls originate prior to their arrival on Earth. This concept requires quite a bit of exposition, and it's executed masterfully by Docter, co-writer/co-director Kemp Powers, and co-writer Mike Jones, through bold visuals and pithy gags.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 16, 2021  |  0 comments
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(Cue deep, sonorous narration.) In a world infested with giant, hungry bugs, what's left of mankind has hunkered down in underground colonies where they're safe (mostly) from being eaten alive. How this post-apocalyptic nightmare began is explained in the brief opening sequence of Love and Monsters, but in short it was mankind (as usual) that messed things up.
Josef Krebs  |  Apr 09, 2021  |  0 comments
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Closing an almost 50-year career that began with Un Chien Andalou, writer-director Luis Buñuel—aided by screenwriting partner Jean-Claude Carrière—created a trio of subversive amusements that savagely poke fun at pillars of French society, including church, military, and figures of the establishment. The master surrealist did so by playing with and disrupting conventional narrative structures, questioning the validity of his protagonists' rationality, and reducing their self-serving behavior and values to nonsense while upsetting cinematic expectations of viewers.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 02, 2021  |  0 comments
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This is how director Christopher Nolan does time travel. Actually, to hear him tell it, this is how he does a spy thriller, inspired by the Bonds of his youth and enhanced with all of the mind-bending trappings we've come to expect from one of filmdom's brainiest auteurs. The central conceit of Tenet—one that commands audiences to pay full attention lest they be left behind—is the recent discovery of a temporal anomaly, possibly man-made, that can send certain objects backwards in time, rather than in the usual direction.

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