Blu-ray Movie Reviews

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Chris Chiarella  |  May 06, 2022  |  0 comments
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Nostalgia--that "twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone" as Don Draper famously explained it--can be a potent ally to the modern filmmaker. With its risky and highly publicized meta-twist (which I won't spoil here, just in case), Spider-Man: No Way Home managed to complete director Jon Watts' arachno-trilogy on an epic scale, capping not only this story arc but one far grander, much as Avengers: Endgame did for the whole of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 29, 2022  |  1 comments
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Let's get right to the point: This new RoboCop boxed set gets my highest recommendation. For starters, director Paul Verhoeven's cheeky tale of a crimefighting cyborg is still thrilling, still funny, and still uniquely satisfying.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 22, 2022  |  0 comments
The Godfather, 175 mins.
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The Godfather: Part II, 201 mins.
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The Godfather: Coda, 158 mins.
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The Godfather still kills. At a recent theatrical re-release marking the 50th anniversary of the first film in the series adapted from Mario Puzo's bestseller, I witnessed the audience hanging on every emotional nuance set forth by director Francis Ford Coppola. Once the highest-grossing film of all time, this operatic tale of the Corleone crime family boasts bigger-than-life characters doing despicable things, spouting irresistible dialogue, and backing it up with copious violence. Part II is both prequel and sequel, with characters new and old seen through a fresh lens in another grand story: the "origin" of Don Vito Corleone, interwoven with son Michael's attempted business expansion into pre-Castro Cuba. Part III was reimagined and recut as Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone in 2020. While improved over past versions, it's by far the weakest of the lot, an outlier and a vain attempt to recapture past glory.

Roger Kanno  |  Apr 08, 2022  |  0 comments
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Halloween Kills, the twelfth film in the Halloween franchise, picks up immediately following the events in the 2018 reboot of the original film of the same name. These latest entries were directed by David Gordon Green with a third installment, Halloween Ends, also to be directed by Green, planned for release later in 2022.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 01, 2022  |  0 comments
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As young Alma and Pedro Madrigal flee from war in their native Colombia, Pedro is killed. Alma clutches their children as a magic candle appears, smiting Pedro's killers and promising endless magical gifts for the Madrigal family—as long as the candle burns. Alma and her children settle in a small village where the candle creates an enchanted Casita (home) for them.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 25, 2022  |  0 comments
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One of the most sensual movies I have ever seen, The Piano owes much to Holly Hunter's central depiction of the voluntarily mute Ada, who communicates through her music (she tickled her own ivories for the role), through sign language, and through her remarkably expressive face. A single mother dispatched with her daughter from Scotland to New Zealand for an arranged marriage, Ada soon finds herself the unwitting target of the affections of an unexpected admirer, igniting love, lust, and no small measure of understandable jealous rage.
Josef Krebs  |  Mar 18, 2022  |  0 comments
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In this classy, hard-boiled, Prohibition-era noir saga by writer-director Joel Coen and co-writer Ethan Coen—with uncredited lifting from Samuel Dashiell Hammett, who actually created the memorable, colorful characters, plot, and mood in his 1931 novel The Glass Key—Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) is right-hand man and wise, cool-headed adviser to powerful political boss Liam "Leo" O'Bannon (Albert Finney).
Roger Kanno  |  Mar 11, 2022  |  0 comments
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Edgar Wright's Last Night in Soho starts off a little slowly, but like many of the director's previous films (Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Baby Driver), it oozes style. The story centers around Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), a talented fashion design student who is transported back to the 1960s in her dreams where she witnesses scenes from the life of an aspiring young singer, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy). Along with her dreams, Eloise has increasingly frightening visions where Sandie's life is beginning to spiral downward. Through her dreams and visions, Eloise ultimately learns the fate of Sandie and those around her in London's Soho District during the 1960s.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 04, 2022  |  1 comments
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When you're all-in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you take the good with the bad, and Jack Kirby's lesser-known 1970s comic book has yielded the latter. With Eternals, we are introduced to a diverse team of never-aging otherworldly protectors, each with a different superpower, who are tasked with defending humanity from some nasty creatures.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Feb 18, 2022  |  1 comments
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Frank Herbert's Dune had turned into a sort of creative graveyard for filmmakers over the years, causing the beloved sci-fi novel to be labeled unadaptable. The first attempt was made by Alejandro Jodorowsky, who started his adaptation in 1974, working with artists including H. R. Giger, Chris Foss, and Jean "Moebius" Giraud for set and character designs, resulting in over 3,000 storyboard sketches.
Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 11, 2022  |  1 comments
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Daniel Craig's fifth and final outing as the world's most famous secret agent (umm...) is a fitting farewell to an era that saw old-school spy James Bond struggling to find his place in the contemporary world. That's no small task when his reputation as a gun-toting, martini-swilling, two-fisted womanizer precedes him, and so the plots often revolve around his apparent unsuitability for the job of protecting England and the rest of the planet—before he proves the haters wrong, of course.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 28, 2022  |  0 comments
Once the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc format showed that it had legs, one question I found myself regularly being asked was, "When is The Criterion Collection going 4K?" The esteemed boutique label certainly didn't rush in, but by the end of 2021, fans and collectors were offered four premiere releases: Citizen Kane, Menace II Society, Mulholland Dr., and Uncut Gems.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 21, 2022  |  0 comments
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Blurring the line between sequel, reboot and remake, The Suicide Squad fairly leaps off the screen with something too often conspicuously absent from the DC Cinematic Universe: a sense of fun. Written and directed by James Gunn after his famous firing from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy series (and before he was rehired), The Suicide Squad gleefully embraces excess in every way imaginable. It's rated R for its gore, language, and nudity, yet seldom misses an opportunity to pause and appreciate the absurdity of it all—a drastic tonal shift from its joyless 2016 predecessor, simply titled "Suicide Squad."

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 31, 2021  |  0 comments
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Guy is an NPC (non-player character) in the hit video game, Free City. He "lives" a happy but chaotic life as the game's active player characters, identifiable by their sunglasses, ravage the city. The NPCs simply go about their business as best they can in the only world they know.
Al Griffin  |  Dec 10, 2021  |  0 comments
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The Green Knight, director David Lowery's film adaptation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an anonymous 14th century poem, is a fantastical, visually intoxicating take on Arthurian legend. Following a night of drinking and carousing at the local brothel, carefree young Gawain of Camelot (Dev Patel) is summoned on Christmas morning to the Round Table, where he is invited to sit beside his uncle, the king. Gawain's feeling of unworthiness is only deepened by Arthur's graciousness, and by his request for the young man to share a story of himself so they may know each other better.

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