Blu-ray Movie Reviews

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Josef Krebs  |  Sep 25, 2020  |  0 comments
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At first glance, Marriage Story seems like six (or so) characters in search of a Woody Allen film. But it soon settles into writer-director Noah Baumbach's own rhythm and whine as two self-absorbed, narcissistic artistic personalities move toward a break-up and into the clutches of divorce lawyers.
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  |  Sep 04, 2020  |  1 comments
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Star Wars imitators were both inevitable and plentiful in the late 1970s. The Buster Crabbe science fiction/adventure serials of old were a strong influence on that blockbuster, and whereas Buck Rogers was destined for a television reboot, mega-producer Dino De Laurentiis had already acquired the movie rights to Flash Gordon years prior. And so the space-faring hero returned to the big screen, reimagined in a lavish international production.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 28, 2020  |  0 comments
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Composer Michael Kamen had a vision. Back in April 1999, he convinced Bay Area metal overlords Metallica to team up with the San Francisco Symphony in Berkeley, California, for S&M, a 2.2-hour concert wherein classical music met aggro-rock head-on. Not only that, but Kamen's skilled orchestral re-arrangements of 20 Metallica classics also revealed how many of the band's subversive originals were perhaps more progressively inclined than others may have previously thought.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Aug 07, 2020  |  0 comments
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With a heavyweight cast including Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale, and Meryl Streep, 1979's five-time Academy Award-winning (including for Best Picture and Best Director) The Deer Hunter is an at times elegiac look at an America that was. It also explores the domestic woes of the working class, and later takes a brutal view of the experiences and consequences of war.
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.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 24, 2020  |  4 comments
"I miss going to concerts."

It's a common refrain these days. Perhaps you've even said it yourself out loud on occasion to no one in particular but yourself, and/or to whomever you're jointly commiserating and quarantining with, and/or have typed it out as a comment-cum-lament underneath one of those incessant social media "memories" reminders that really only serve to bum you out about what you're missing—not to mention what you most decidedly won't be able to replicate in a comparable fashion in the near future.

Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 10, 2020  |  2 comments
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When we think shark, we think scares, but the incredible thrills that helped propel Jaws to the #1 box office crown in 1975 would not have been nearly as effective without a rock-solid story and engaging characters. (That's one explanation for the many awful rip-offs.) Peter Benchley's best-selling first novel gave director/ uncredited screenwriter Steven Spielberg tremendous fodder, with concrete plot points, clear motivations, and rich backstories.
Mike Mettler  |  Jun 26, 2020  |  0 comments
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ZZ Top ain't been nicknamed That Little Ol' Band From Texas for nothing, you know. But just in case you don't, please bear witness to this highly informative 2019 Banger Films documentary, which delves Rio Grande-deep into the true origins of this tight-knit blues 'n' boogie trio. (Incidentally, said trio also happens to comprise the longest-running unchanged lineup in rock history—51 years and counting, as of presstime.)
Roger Kanno  |  Jun 19, 2020  |  0 comments
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Jumanji: The Next Level is an adventure-comedy with a winning cast featuring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan. The plot is a bit formulaic and doesn't quite take this episode in the Jumanji franchise to the next level as stated, but the action is plentiful and there's enough humorous and family-friendly dialogue to keeps things moving apace. As far as Hollywood blockbusters go, Jumanji: The Next Level is a pretty good offering, with plenty of exciting stunts and special effects and high production values.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 12, 2020  |  8 comments
It's around this time of year that a few disparate "guy" movies new to the format or re-released usually pop up on Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray. That's because, as I've said since the early DVD days, discs make fantastic gifts, and not just for Father's Day. But Sony chose a different path for 2020, opening the door of its vast and prestigious Columbia Pictures vault to debut six titles on 4K Blu-ray as the Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection: Volume 1.
David Vaughn  |  May 29, 2020  |  1 comments
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Def Leppard got its start back in 1977 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England when Rick Savage, Tony Kenning and Pete Willis formed a band called Atomic Mass. Joe Elliott joined the band a short time later and became the lead singer and proposed a new name for the band, "Deaf Leopard," which was ultimately adopted with some modified spelling. Kenning ended up leaving the shortly before their first recording session and was replaced by a fifteen-year-old drummer by the name of Rick Allen.
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.
Mike Mettler  |  May 21, 2020  |  22 comments
One thing our ongoing pandemic lockdown continues to remind many of us music lovers of on a daily basis is just how much we all miss attending live concert events.
Mike Mettler  |  May 15, 2020  |  1 comments
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It would be easy to characterize Chuck Berry, who passed away at age 90 in 2017, as one cantankerously acrimonious fellow, but after revisiting Taylor Hackford's astute 1987 documentary Hail! Hail! Rock 'N' Roll, now available on Blu-ray for the first time via Shout Select, I'm reminded of how captivating, creative, and downright business-savvy the pioneering, guitar-playing singer/ songwriter actually was.

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