Blu-ray Movie Reviews

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Mike Mettler  |  Sep 13, 2019  |  0 comments
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Oliver stone first heard The Doors while serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam in the late-1960s, and the impact of their music never left him. Amid much controversy, the Oscar-winning director brought his singular vision for The Doors biopic to middling box-office success in 1991. Though some disagreement lingers regarding particular story beats and extrapolated mythologizing, there's no denying Stone conveyed much of the perpetual mystique surrounding Doors frontman Jim Morrison with an altruistic eye.
Roger Kanno  |  Sep 06, 2019  |  0 comments
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Expectations for the release of Alita: Battle Angel, the long-awaited film adaptation of the Japanese cyberpunk manga series, Battle Angel Alita, ran extremely high, no doubt due to the high-profile names involved in its production. Co-written and co-produced by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez, it stars Rosa Salazar as cyborg-warrior Alita, with supporting performances by past Academy Award recipients Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, and Christoph Waltz.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 23, 2019  |  0 comments
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The rock and roll circus was coming to town. In 1968, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, The Who's guitar wizard Pete Townshend, and Small Faces bassist Ronnie Lane had collectively decided to organize a perpetual traveling show that would consist of equal parts live performance, grand spectacle, and mobile art installation, all rolled into one never-ending carnival bacchanal.
Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 16, 2019  |  1 comments
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There is simply no precedent for a cinematic event of this magnitude. Avengers: Endgame is not merely the latest installment in the Marvel canon, but one that builds upon all that has come before to complete story arcs begun as far back as 2008's crucial Iron Man. It also concludes the most recent dramatic "phase" in the 22-film series, and of course drops the other shoe from the 2018 Avengers set-up, Infinity War. And it does all of this with a deft touch, despite its plethora of fantasy characters and an absurdly brisk three-hour running time.
Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 09, 2019  |  0 comments
An unprecedented fusion of science fiction and horror, Alien burst upon the scene some 40 years ago in a spray of blood to the screams of audiences everywhere. Envisioned by artist H.R. Giger, realized by craftsman Carlo Rambaldi, and brought to life by performer Bolaji Badejo, the intruder of the title has remarkably little screen time, which only enhances his terror, Jaws-style, as he stalks the hapless crew of the spaceship Nostromo.
Josef Krebs  |  Jul 19, 2019  |  0 comments
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S&M, voyeurism, murder, rape, violence, and torture. . . some of the typically wholesome activities to be found in small-town America. This psychosexual possible-murder mystery—set in a neo-Fifties 1980s logging town—soon gets weird when an innocent local finds a severed human ear in a field. Writer-director David Lynch uses various tactics to keep the viewer as off-balance as his attracted-to-the-hidden-underbelly protagonist.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 12, 2019  |  0 comments
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The village of Berk is now the overcrowded home not only of our favorite Viking clan, now led by a grown-up Hiccup, but also a huge and motley assortment of friendly dragons. After they encounter a revived gang of dragon-hunters led by the ruthless Grimmel, Hiccup decides that their only solution is to evacuate Berk, where they're an obvious target, and search for a new home where they'll be safe.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 05, 2019  |  0 comments
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Capturing zeitgeist moments as they happen are a filmmaker's dream. Lucky for us, drummer/rhythmatist extraordinaire Stewart Copeland picked up a Super 8 film camera when The Police were but budding bleached-blonde young punks, and he filmed, well, practically everything they did both onstage and off.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 28, 2019  |  0 comments
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Intergalactic Kree warrior Vers (Brie Larson) is a total badass. And that might be the problem with the latest MCU solo outing, Captain Marvel. If the cryptic flashbacks of her former life are to be believed, she's always been tough as nails, even as a kid, so there's no real character arc—an essential component for Marvel superheroes.
Us
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 21, 2019  |  0 comments
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With Get Out, his first film as writer/director, Jordan Peele introduced us to a refined new form of horror. He was the only filmmaker who could do justice to his Oscar-bound script, finding just the right tone and wringing that last bit of mood from every line, every shot, every performance. Now, with Us, he has raised the stakes, telling a deeper story on a much grander scale.
Roger Kanno  |  Jun 14, 2019  |  0 comments
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Black Hawk Down concerns an ill-fated U.S. Army Ranger and Delta Force mission on the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993. The story can be difficult to follow at times with its large cast of characters, but it's still effectively told. Made in collaboration with über-producer Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down definitely does not want for production values and is a well-crafted, straight-ahead drama.
Fred Kaplan  |  May 31, 2019  |  0 comments
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For my money, Capernaum was the best film of 2018—similar to Roma (slice of life, untrained actors), not as cinematically breathtaking (though still impressive), but emotionally more gripping (fuller characters, deeper drama). The title is an Arab word meaning Godforsaken chaos (taken from a Biblical tale of a city literally forsaken by God), and that's a fair description of the impoverished section of Beirut where the film takes place.
Chris Chiarella  |  May 17, 2019  |  0 comments
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If your crystal ball predicted that someday the writer/director of There's Something About Mary would take home an Academy Award for Best Picture, let's hope you bet big and didn't smash the thing. Peter Farrelly's Green Book is an emotional smorgasbord, one that would no doubt be appreciated by its ever-famished "hero," Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen). He's a gleefully ignorant yet strangely lovable tough guy (what my people would call a cavone), albeit one who needs to learn a thing or two about race relations. Tony gets his chance when, on a hiatus from his job as a bouncer at The Copacabana, he's hired to chauffeur piano virtuoso Dr. Don Shirley (two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali)—a black man—on a concert tour of the Deep South in 1962.
Roger Kanno  |  May 03, 2019  |  1 comments
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Bumblebee is the sixth entry in the live-action Transformers franchise, but for much of this film, the title character is the only robot that appears onscreen. Directed by Travis Knight, who previously directed Kubo and the Two Strings, it has its share of action scenes, but also makes an effort to be character-driven by exploring the relationship between Bumblebee and the teenage girl who discovers him, Charlie. Set on Earth in the 1980s, Bumblebee can be a little predictable and even a bit corny at times, but nonetheless remains thoroughly enjoyable throughout.
Josef Krebs  |  Apr 26, 2019  |  0 comments
"What are we doing here?" "I don't know." Stranger Than Paradise, the delightful deadbeat breakout film by writer/director Jim Jarmusch with its whack-character studies, unactorly acting, absurdist deadpan humor, and minimalist style brilliantly captured the mood of its time. It also established him as an instant auteur of the $100,000-budget, low-production-value indie-film scene and inspired many others to do likewise.

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