Chris Chiarella

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.

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.
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.
Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 14, 2022  |  1 comments
Filmmaker Ivan Reitman enjoyed a wildly successful career spanning more than four decades, with his name appearing on some of the most popular and enduring comedies of all time. A savvy producer as well as an inspired director, he possessed a shrewd understanding of the business, including home entertainment, and how his movies fit into it.
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."

Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 07, 2021  |  0 comments
It's been a strange year for the entertainment industry, with controversial showdowns involving streaming versus the in-theater experience calling the future of both into question. We continued to hear news of physical media's demise as well, yet here we are again looking at ten gift-worthy new regular and Ultra HD Blu-ray options.

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