Chris Chiarella

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Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 02, 2016  |  0 comments
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So I guess revisiting in live action the catalog of Disney animated classics is officially a thing now. And that’s fine, if they can all manage to be as good as director Jon Favreau’s astutely conceived, beautifully realized take on The Jungle Book. The story here is different enough from the popular 1967 version to make the tale of man-cub Mowgli (endearing newcomer Neel Sethi) fresh and worth watching all over again. He’s been raised by wolves and lives happily among the animals until a ferocious tiger sets his sights on the boy, sending brave Mowgli on a dangerous journey back to the world of man. Yes, there are a couple of familiar songs along the way, but plenty of surprises as well, in addition to some rough beast-on-beast combat that might frighten the little ones.
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 18, 2016  |  0 comments
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In cinema, would-be cautionary tales of our current environmental crisis tend to be heavy-handed, and they frequently fall flat as a result. Maybe the secret to an effective global wakeup call is to tuck it neatly into a slapstick romantic comedy about modern-day merpeople.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 21, 2016  |  0 comments
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Dawn of Justice brings together the entire trinity of DC Universe heroes, arguably the most enduring characters of 20th-century popular culture. So where’s the thrill? The awe? The “wow,” dammit? Let’s focus on the expanded three-hour Ultimate Edition featured in this set, also available separately on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, along with director Zack Snyder’s other two DC forays, Man of Steel and Watchmen.
Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 23, 2016  |  1 comments
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Following a dubious big-screen debut three years prior, the fate of the entire Star Trek franchise was at risk when The Wrath of Khan opened to somewhat skeptical audiences. They needn’t have worried: Khan essentially saved Star Trek from potential doom and has gone on to become probably the most beloved of the Enterprise’s cinematic adventures. This time out, a ship full of trainees—under a familiar command crew—get more than they bargained for when they embark upon one of the most dangerous missions any of them will ever face. Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) returns to active duty only to face Khan (Ricardo Montalban), a figure from his past now consumed by unreasoning hatred. Having recently acquired a dreadful weapon, Khan is a menace not only to his old adversary but to the galaxy at large.
Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 09, 2016  |  1 comments
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Truly, right from the opening credits, Deadpool lets the audience know that it is like no other comic book movie that has come before it. First-time director Tim Miller’s visual style is undeniably bold, while the humor tackles head-on virtually every cliché of the genre… then sets it on fire and pees it out. After the title character’s big-screen debut in the misfire X-Men Origins: Wolverine seven years ago, a complete overhaul was in order. The cinematic Deadpool is now a vastly more accurate embodiment of his persona from the page: irreverent, ruthless, yet possessing at least a little gold in that self-repairing heart.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 15, 2016  |  2 comments
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I’ve seen some bad Star Wars movies and, well, The Force Awakens sure ain’t one of them. Yes, the plot is full of wild coincidences, implausible developments, and groan-inducing character moments. Worst of all, the events and even specific locations sometimes follow well-worn aspects of the classic canon a bit too closely. But these sins perhaps we can and should forgive. Filmmaker J.J. Abrams is a professed Star Wars fanatic, and his love and respect for the material have clearly guided this first new film since creator George Lucas divested himself of the fabled fantasy franchise.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 01, 2016  |  0 comments
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Ever wonder what would happen if the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs missed Earth instead, enabling our prehistoric pals to evolve into the dominant animals on the planet, rather than man? Regardless of your answer, here’s The Good Dinosaur, a rare misfire from the esteemed Pixar gang. While we on the sofa are still wrestling with the ramifications of this bizarre setup, we’re introduced to a family of dino farmers: no, seriously, a pack of apatosauruses that harvests corn and plows the field with their blunt heads.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 17, 2016  |  3 comments
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After an acclaimed reboot that successfully shed the sillier trappings of the long-running James Bond franchise, the creators of the recent Spectre have now curiously chosen to embrace the clunky clichés and cartoon villains not only of the 007 canon but seemingly every thriller of the past decade. Big Brother has arrived! It’s the death of privacy! “We must stop this doomful technology before it goes online, or it will be too late!” (Not an actual quote, but you get the idea.)
Chris Chiarella  |  May 20, 2016  |  0 comments
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We often live in a locked-down world of dread these days, especially when the subject of the World Trade Center arises. But in the summer of 1974, one week before his 25th birthday, Philippe Petit made headlines with a self-propelled trip between the rooftops of the Twin Towers, and it has become a modern legend almost too daring to be believed. Driven by an all-consuming passion for his wire-walking art and unable to resist the majestic pull of those magnificent skyscrapers since first learning of their construction, Philippe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) truly risked everything to fulfill his dream.
Chris Chiarella  |  May 13, 2016  |  1 comments
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Andy Weir’s bestselling novel The Martian was justly lauded for its clever use of hard science facts to tell a thrilling yet believable tale of science fiction. Of course, the characters needed to be compelling as well if this bold survival epic was to work, and on screen as well as on the page, the futuristic drama is a smashing success. We begin a couple of decades from now as a manned Mars expedition is cut short due to a violent storm on the surface of the Red Planet.

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