Ultra HD Blu-ray Movie Reviews

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Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jul 24, 2023  |  1 comments
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After several Hollywood adaptations for both the big and small screens, Edward Berger is now the first German director to adapt his countryman Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front. Here, Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer) is a young German man who finds himself caught up in the patriotic fervor of World War I Germany and, along with his friends, enlists in the military to fight. Upon arriving at the Western Front against France, Paul and his friends are confronted with the reality of trench warfare, which is vastly different from the glory they imagined.

Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 12, 2023  |  0 comments
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My long-suffering dad is probably still haunted by our trip to the cinema those many years ago, with me a wee lad and my sister — a naïve young fan of the musician David Bowie — eager to see what we thought would be perhaps a slightly offbeat sci-fi movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth. Two hours of nudity and jaw-dropping weirdness later, we were proven wrong as we were introduced to mysterious interplanetary traveler Thomas Newton (Bowie), an entrepreneurial genius who strikes it rich quick with a host of advanced technologies. He’s also quite thirsty, a clue to his secret intentions which become more difficult to bring to fruition as he is increasingly sidetracked by the new vice and excess of his wealthy American lifestyle.

Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 16, 2023  |  1 comments
Generations, 118 mins.
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First Contact, 111 mins.
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Insurrection, 103 mins.
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Nemisis, 116 mins.
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Like The Original Series before it, Star Trek: The Next Generation was a product of its time. Whereas Kirk & Co. embraced broad drama and the two-fisted clichés of ‘60s television on their space-faring adventures, Next Gen was more refined, drawing upon our greater understanding of science fact and taking lots and lots of time to discuss the characters’ feelings, too.

Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 13, 2023  |  1 comments
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As editor Mark Henninger and I discuss on the regular, physical media has become not only about entertainment but collectability, and so we have seen the arrival of new editions that look snazzy on the shelf and that we can flaunt to our friends. Quite a few of the discs I've reviewed recently for S&V have arrived in step-up steelbook cases adorned with exclusive, genuinely inspired artwork. (Take that, streaming!)

Ralph Potts  |  Jun 02, 2023  |  0 comments
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In Rebel Without a Cause, James Dean captured the nation’s attention with a performance that still electrifies the screen decades after his untimely death. Its archetypal coming-of-age drama involves three high school students whose seemingly idyllic suburban lives crack under the weight of teenage angst and rebellion in post-war America.

Ralph Potts  |  May 27, 2023  |  0 comments
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In sixth-century England, an ill-tempered, fire-breathing creature—ominously known as Vermithrax Pejorative—terrorizes the inhabitants of a small kingdom. In response, their king institutes a lottery whereby each year, a virgin maiden is sacrificed to him.

Chris Chiarella  |  May 05, 2023  |  2 comments
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Endless kudos to Kubo’s studio, Laika, for doing more than anyone to keep the waning art of stop-motion animation feature films alive. Shout! Factory has been celebrating their most popular titles in recent 4K upgrades (available in standard or steelbook); among them The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Coraline; and now Kubo and the Two Strings. An original story with classic underpinnings, Kubo takes us along on a boy’s quest to acquire some mystical armor in anticipation of a showdown with a powerfully malevolent foe.

Ralph C. Potts  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  0 comments
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From the pages of DC Comics, Black Adam begins in the ancient land of Kahndaq, where a young slave is bestowed with the almighty powers of the gods. After using these powers for vengeance and freeing Kahndaq from its oppressive king, he was seen as a menace and imprisoned. In the present day, Kahndaq is under the control of the “Intergang,” a mercenary organization, that is opposed by a small group of resistance fighters

Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 14, 2023  |  0 comments
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We haven't reviewed a title from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a while, so let's check in with the residents of the fictional African kingdom, Wakanda. In a deeply emotional opening scene, leader T'Challa dies, echoing the too-soon loss of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.

Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 07, 2023  |  3 comments
Rocky II, 120 mins.
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Rocky IV, 119 mins.
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Rocky, 100 mins.
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Rocky III, 92/94 mins.
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Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Mar 31, 2023  |  2 comments
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When Douglas Trumbull, the wizard behind the visual effects on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, finally took to the director’s chair, the result was 1972’s Silent Running. The environmentally themed adventure set in the distant future stars Bruce Dern in a gripping early career performance as botanist Freeman Lowell.

Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 17, 2023  |  1 comments
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Does anyone else miss the glory days of Pixar, when they were cranking out hit after hit, putting story and character above all? This was the era of WALL·E, a film of overwhelming visual and emotional beauty about the last working waste allocation load lifter assigned to Earth cleanup in the distant future. His endearing combination of kindness, a yearning for companionship and an eagerness to find value in all things set the stage for a memorable, nigh-wordless first act wherein he falls for the newly arrived EVE, a very different robot with a very different directive…

Ralph Potts  |  Mar 11, 2023  |  0 comments
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In 2023, it would be fair to say that Steven Spielberg is a household name. His body of work as a filmmaker transcends generations and has been entertaining moviegoers for decades. I am certainly a fan, and as such, I was very interested in his latest, The Fabelmans. The semi-autobiographical film revolves around young Sammy Fabelman, Spielberg’s onscreen doppelganger. Most of the story takes place in post-World War II Arizona where Sammy and his family live before relocating to Los Angeles after his father, Burt, accepts a job offer.

Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 03, 2023  |  2 comments
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The problem with writer/director David O. Russell’s most recent outing, Amsterdam, might be summed up as “too many”: too many famous faces cast as too many characters possessing too many quirks to the point that it feels like a great big party for them but rather a chore for us, especially considering the two-hour-plus runtime. Much like his overwrought American Hustle, it combines a fictitious storyline intertwined with historical events, and this time at least it sheds light on some forgotten but worth-remembering chapters from our past.

Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 24, 2023  |  0 comments
In Bruges, 107 mins.
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The Score, 124 mins.
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Tropic Thunder, 107/121 mins.
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The Usual Suspects, 106 mins.
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Boutique label Kino Lorber Studio Classics has been coming on strong the past couple of years, and their recent Ultra HD 4K output has been second to none. With the freedom to work with a variety of studios, they’re amassing an enviable catalog of time-honored films in uncompromising video quality. We spun four of their newest, all utilizing Dolby Vision HDR and proffered on roomy triple-layer 100GB discs. All of them use pre-existing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtracks, maintain key legacy bonus features, and also include the movie on freshly minted 1080p Blu-rays.

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