Blu-ray Movie Reviews

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David Vaughn  |  Sep 02, 2016  |  0 comments
The film begins with the words, “This is a true story,” not based on one. The screenplay by Chuck Hogan (based on the book from Mitchell Zuckoff) steers mostly clear of the politics surrounding the attack and tells the story from the perspective of the people who were on the ground on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. Regardless of the politics, four Americans lost their lives that night; Ambassador Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs who were civilian contractors working out of a secret CIA annex near the U.S. diplomatic compound.
David Vaughn  |  Aug 15, 2009  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/17again.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>High-school basketball star Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) has a life-changing experience before the biggest game of his career. Just before tipoff, his girlfriend Scarlett (Allison Miller) tells him of her pregnancy, and he chooses marriage over college.

Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 12, 2022  |  1 comments
Long before Lin-Manuel Miranda set the American Revolution to music, playwright Peter Stone and composer/lyricist Sherman Edwards gave us an entertaining history lesson of their own, set in 1776. An unpopular John Adams, poetic Thomas Jefferson, and impish Ben Franklin are focused on a future free of British oppression, despite the danger of such a declaration, but when the decision is made that such a vote must be unanimous, the challenge becomes much more difficult. While a far cry from the hip-hop beats of Hamilton, the songs here do a remarkable job of conveying facts and weaving a compelling story worth telling again and again.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 03, 2020  |  0 comments
The date noted in 1917's title (April 6, to be precise) puts us well into World War I, when young Lance Corporal Blake along with his mate Schofield are dispatched from the Allied trenches with an urgent message. Some 1,600 soldiers, Blake's own brother among them, are heading into certain slaughter if new orders are not delivered to the commanding officer. And so, facing impossible odds, the brave duo embarks on a mission that could change the course of the conflict.
Al Griffin  |  Dec 28, 2018  |  0 comments
Director Stanley Kubrick's seminal sci-fi epic, co-written with author Arthur C. Clarke, takes the whole of human history as its subject—from the initial flicker of intelligent thought in hominids, to the present day where humans live with the assistance of computer-generated artificial intelligence. The film literally works as a space opera: long stretches pass dialogue-free with just classical music serving to enhance the hyper-realistic images of ships and passengers aloft in the cosmos. (2001: A Space Odyssey won an Oscar for best visual effects, the only one it managed to take home from the 1969 ceremony.)
Ken Richardson  |  Nov 23, 2011  |  0 comments

2011 Gift Guide to Blu-ray Box Sets

Scarface or Superman? Jurassic Park or Planet Earth? Star Wars or Looney Tunes? Tom Cruise or Sophia Loren? (Hmmm.) The Lord of the Rings or Pirates of the Caribbean? Ben-Hur, Citizen Kane, Harry Potter, or Willy Wonka?! Check your list twice, or even thrice: There’s plenty to go around. (Note: Prices listed for these and all other boxes are suggested retail. Look for discounts!)


2011 Gift Guide to DVD Box Sets

Yes, only on DVD: 62 discs of Smallville and 104 discs of Law & Order. Plus, modest but no less enjoyable affairs for the likes of Laurel & Hardy, Tracy & Hepburn, and Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends. And more.




2011 Gift Guide to CD Box Sets: Expanded Pop/Rock Albums

These days, the 1970s rule — judging from the number of that decade’s classic albums getting super-duper reissues, including Layla, Aqualung, What’s Going On, Europe ’72, Quadrophenia, Some Girls, and both The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. But there are many more opportunities for giving, from Nirvana to Pearl Jam, and from Ozzy Osbourne to George Michael to Alicia Keys. Meanwhile, in keeping with the retro outlook, some titles include a version of the album on vinyl LP.

David Vaughn  |  Mar 05, 2010  |  0 comments
Roland Emmerich blew up the White House in Independence Day, stomped around New York City in Godzilla, and created a modern-day ice age in The Day After Tomorrow, so it's fitting he would co-write/direct an epic adventure about a global cataclysm. 2012 is essentially a planetary snuff film as the Earth is bombarded by a new type of solar radiation that cooks the planet's core—think of the Earth being stuffed into a microwave.

Surprisingly, the script is quite entertaining and even touching, but Emmerich couldn't resist the urge to create a CGI-infested action flick that causes more laughter than tension. Regardless, it looks and sounds fantastic with an amazingly detailed 1080p/AVC encode and bombastic DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack.

Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 01, 2014  |  0 comments
I don’t always watch my favorite movies and television series. But when I do, I prefer to watch them on Blu-ray. Thankfully, the studios have provided home theater enthusiasts—people who shop for them—with a bounty of exciting new sets, likely to elicit that elusive “Ooo…” as the ribbons and bows tumble to the floor. From film canons to entire classic TV series to the sort of inspired little tchotchkes that can be proudly displayed, these selections go beyond the ordinary, as gifts that will be enjoyed well beyond the holidays.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 07, 2015  |  0 comments
As 2015 draws to a close and gift-giving holidays loom, you can take comfort in knowing that Blu-ray is still the king of physical media, and plenty of studios continue to go above and beyond to release extra-special editions of movies, music, and beloved TV series sure to make a lasting impression. Here are 10 for your consideration.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 09, 2016  |  0 comments
It’s time once again to separate the digital wheat from the chaff to find movies, TV shows, and music that make great gifts. Venerable Blu-ray is joined by upstart 4K Ultra HD this year, and even a bit of vinyl for good measure. Whichever holiday you call your own, make it a little brighter with one or more of these.

Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 14, 2018  |  0 comments
As a year packed with wonderful new high-definition and 4K discs comes to a close, we’ve selected ten standout box sets that are certain to bring a smile to the home theater buff in your life. Each box is special in its own way: some are hefty with gravitas, others have actual heft. All are sure to deliver ample audio/video pleasure plus a bounty of bonus features to enjoy through the new year and beyond.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 03, 2019  |  0 comments
The time has come to not only celebrate the holidays, but also our favorite movies and TV shows, in high- or ultra high-definition, with Atmos sound (where available), and with extras galore. Once again, we invite you to sit back and peruse our picks of the year's most exciting boxed sets to give and to receive.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 09, 2020  |  0 comments
Each autumn, I fret that we won't be able to find ten worthy entries for this gotta-have-'em list, and every year am genuinely surprised at the bounty that has somehow remained heretofore unreleased. I guess there will always be anniversaries and restorations and quadrilogies and the like, and as long as the studios keep investing the time and care to craft these disc-filled boxes we enjoy so much, we'll continue recommending the cream of the crop to help stoke seasonal merriment.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 07, 2021  |  0 comments
It's been a strange year for the entertainment industry, with controversial showdowns involving streaming versus the in-theater experience calling the future of both into question. We continued to hear news of physical media's demise as well, yet here we are again looking at ten gift-worthy new regular and Ultra HD Blu-ray options.
David Vaughn  |  Jul 25, 2008  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/21.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a senior at MIT, aspires to attend Harvard Medical School but lacks the means to pay the tuition due to his working-class background. He pins his hopes on winning a rare full-ride scholarship but lacks a "moving" story to separate him from the other applicants. Ben's lucky break comes when Professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey) discovers his uncanny ability to solve complex math equations in his head and recruits him to join his card-counting team of students with the express intent of winning as much money as possible in Vegas. While card counting isn't illegal, the casinos have their own methods of discouraging the behavior. For Ben, this experience will give him one hell of a story to tell Harvard.