Ultra HD Blu-ray Movie Reviews

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Chris Chiarella  |  May 22, 2020  |  2 comments
Enthralling in every way a movie can be, George Lucas' Star Wars (retconned as Episode IV: A New Hopein 1981) is simply one of the greatest achievements to ever hit the screen. A wildly imaginative yet classically inspired adventure, it has been entertaining audiences—and spawning prequels, sequels and spinoffs—since 1977.
Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 07, 2019  |  1 comments
In part because it has now endured for 40 years, but also because it is the sort of thrilling cinematic entertainment we never seem to tire of, Superman has appeared on just about every home entertainment format, and deservedly so. The first comic book blockbuster, director Richard Donner's visually stunning epic stars Christopher Reeve as the only survivor of a brilliant but arrogant alien culture who finds his place in our world as a god-like protector.
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.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Nov 10, 2017  |  3 comments
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Resident Evil: Vendetta picks up the mantle yet again for the Capcom strain of this popular video-game franchise. Sticking to the animé-oriented roots and offering some visceral action without the frenzied camera panning and ADD editing of the live-action The Final Chapter, the film brings together favorites from the franchise. Game characters Leon S. Kennedy (voiced my Matthew Mercer), Chris Redfield (Kevin Dorman), and Rebecca Chambers (Erin Cahill) battle wanted bioterrorist Glenn Arias (John DeMita), who plans to release a deadly virus in New York City as revenge for the government killing his wife.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 22, 2019  |  0 comments
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Few biopics could get away with recurring nonlinear narrative beats the way Rocketman does, but given the larger-than-life nature of its titular subject, Sir Elton John, the movie's storytelling trajectory makes perfect sense. Director Dexter Fletcher's unabashed commitment to occasionally mirroring those classic MGM musical moments of yore—with Elton's full blessing, of course—succeeds with much audio/visual aplomb.
Al Griffin  |  Aug 30, 2019  |  0 comments
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Set in third century A.D. China, Shadow tells the story of the uneasy truce held by the Pei and Yang kingdoms. Years earlier, the Pei kingdom lost possession of the city of Jing following a duel between Pei army commander Zi Yu and the formidable warrior Yang Kang. As the kingdom's debauched monarch aims to maintain power by acquiescing to Yang Kang, Zi Yu plots to retake the lost city, an objective carried out with the help of a lookalike his family has been grooming since childhood. Directed by Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers), a filmmaker known for his elegant visuals and bold use of color, Shadow's palette is mostly restricted to black-and-white and skin tones.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 04, 2019  |  0 comments
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Marvel has undeniably defined the modern comic book movie universe. As a consequence, much of Shazam!, the latest effort from rival DC, feels clichéd, and not just by superhero standards. Good young protagonists facing adversity, otherworldly forces granting extraordinary abilities, bullies who ultimately get theirs— it's all here. Shazam! even borders on outright theft with an end credit sequence straight out of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 11, 2017  |  1 comments
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In a city of human-like animals (think Zootopia), Buster Moon, an ambitious koala theater owner, has fallen on hard times. He hasn’t had a hit in ages, when he suddenly has an inspiration: We’ll pack ’em in with a singing contest! When his loopy lizard assistant mislabels the announcement flyers to offer a $100,000 prize, hundreds of hopefuls show up for the auditions.
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 02, 2018  |  1 comments
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Solo: A Star Wars Story is simply a terrific movie. Fans of Harrison Ford's timeless take on the flawed-but-gallant smuggler should rightly rejoice as Han has been handily rejuvenated by newcomer Alden Ehrenreich in this well-conceived “origin” story. We learn all of the things we never knew we wanted to know about him, like where he got his name, his furry co-pilot, and of course the keys to the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy back when it was shiny and new.
Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 11, 2020  |  1 comments
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The timeless overclass/underclass struggle was never more memorably explored than in Spartacus, a film adapted from Howard Fast's fact-based, heavily dramatized book. Directed by young up-and-comer Stanley Kubrick and starring old-school movie idol Kirk Douglas in the title role, it's the sort of epic spectacle often aspired to but seldom achieved.
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 15, 2019  |  0 comments
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The true superpower on display in the current Spider-Man franchise might be its irresistible charm. Marvel's beloved signature character has certainly had some Hollywood ups and downs, but in his most recent iteration he seems content to exist in the shadow of Tony Stark/Iron Man rather than stand truly alone. Add to that irksome choice an abundance of high school drama and perhaps an over-reliance upon comedy and big-screen Spidey is at risk of alienating longtime fans. Still, Spider-Man: Far from Home somehow manages to engage us from start to finish.
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  |  Apr 19, 2019  |  1 comments
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An animated Spider-Man movie? In the midst of the character's latest live-action reboot? Using six different iterations of the character, all but one of which are only known to die-hard comic book fans? A direct-to-video tie-in, right? Wrong: Not only was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a big-screen box-office success, it also snagged an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of 2018.
Dennis Burger  |  Jul 27, 2018  |  4 comments
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Is Star Wars art or entertainment? The simplest answer to that question is, “It’s both, of course.” But Episode VIII: The Last Jedi proves the question to be less simple than it first appears. Because of all its silly creatures, swashbuckling adventure sequences, million-dollar-a-minute special effects, and cheeky humor, The Last Jedi is at its heart a deeply personal, deeply thematic, deeply deconstructive, big-budget indie film that forces longtime fans to contend with questions about what Star Wars even is and why its unique blend of mythology, arthouse pastiche, and B-movie kitsch works as well as it does.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 31, 2020  |  1 comments
There is nothing like Star Wars. Across its three trilogies of Roman-numeraled Episodes, creator George Lucas and the inheritors of his galaxy far, far away opened the minds of audiences across the globe as well as across generations of fiercely devoted fans, thanks to their unique spin on epic fantasy. Love it, hate it, or anywhere in the middle: Star Wars has left an undeniable mark on the world of entertainment.

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