Chris Chiarella

Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 18, 2022  |  0 comments
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Technically not a "non-stop thrill ride" (it's a classy commuter vehicle so passengers need to board and disembark periodically), Bullet Train is nonetheless a rousing, violent and quite funny adventure. The story moves as fast as the locomotive itself, indulging themes of fate, luck and revenge as an errand boy (Brad Pitt) dealing with a midlife crisis runs afoul of assassins and international crime syndicates, all of them circling a high-value briefcase while the clock counts down to their ultimate destination.
Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 12, 2022  |  1 comments
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Someone once posited that the way to gauge the quality of a sequel is to plot the delta—better or worse—from the movie that spawned it. Employing that metric, Top Gun: Maverick might be the best damned sequel that I've ever seen.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 28, 2022  |  0 comments
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Chucky, the possessed plaything who would go on to become one of the premier icons of late 20th-Century horror, got his start right here in this 1988 outing. When a dying serial killer with a fondness for the occult transfers his soul into the only vessel available—the hot new talking doll on display at a toy store—little Chuck winds up going home with a single mom and is soon in the hands of a cherubic six-year-old boy.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 14, 2022  |  0 comments
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Before comic book adaptations became their own industry, this earnest action-comedy take on Lowell Cunningham's lesser-known creation became a runaway hit, spawning a popular movie, TV and merch franchise. These supremely discrete "MIB" government agents monitor the comings and goings of Earth's rather frequent alien visitors, maintaining peace through secrecy. Their newest recruit, Jay (Will Smith), needs to step up when a particularly nasty creature lands with ill intent for the galaxy, and Jay's winning chemistry with his world-wearier partner, Kay (Tommy Lee Jones), combined with many highly imaginative sight gags, yields plenty of laughs. At a brisk 98 minutes--the plot was cleverly streamlined after negative test audience feedback--Men in Black is definitely a fun re-watch.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 07, 2022  |  2 comments
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With the theatrical re-release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture earlier this year, a new generation of fans has discovered its charms, thanks in large part to an extensive upgrade to the creator-approved Director’s Edition released on DVD in 2001 — the version personally overseen by director Robert Wise to better represent the movie the way he wanted to debut it back in 1979. But, now, a stunning new version of the film has emerged in the 2022 Director’s Edition, which presents this classic movie in 4K/HDR and Dolby Atmos for the first time.
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 06, 2022  |  5 comments
Ambitious, original, yet largely underappreciated, the first Star Trek film stands alone. Rushed into theaters in December 1979 with unfinished special effects and a studio-mandated runtime of only 130 minutes, it was not the version director Robert Wise intended.
Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 09, 2022  |  0 comments
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On the way to cooking up the all-time great spaghetti western, Sergio Leone began here with Rawhide star Clint Eastwood, eager to break out of his "white hat" TV persona and take his craft and career to the next level. Together they birthed an anti-hero who would become known as The Man with No Name, indelible and ultimately at the center of For a Few Dollars More (also new to 4K) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (released last year).
Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 26, 2022  |  1 comments
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These days you're not likely to see a Quentin Tarantino script directed by someone else, but there was a time when the young filmmaker-cum-video-store-clerk was raising funds to make his directorial debut (Reservoir Dogs) and sold True Romance, which was ultimately helmed by Top Gun's Tony Scott. The movie took a few years to find its audience—and current cult status—but is now hard to see it as anything but inspired and uniquely entertaining.
Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 12, 2022  |  1 comments
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Long before Lin-Manuel Miranda set the American Revolution to music, playwright Peter Stone and composer/lyricist Sherman Edwards gave us an entertaining history lesson of their own, set in 1776. An unpopular John Adams, poetic Thomas Jefferson, and impish Ben Franklin are focused on a future free of British oppression, despite the danger of such a declaration, but when the decision is made that such a vote must be unanimous, the challenge becomes much more difficult. While a far cry from the hip-hop beats of Hamilton, the songs here do a remarkable job of conveying facts and weaving a compelling story worth telling again and again.
Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 05, 2022  |  0 comments
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Those seeking an accurate account of notorious gangster Al Capone's downfall should continue their search elsewhere. But anyone wanting two thrilling hours of fact-influenced entertainment need look no further. Director Brian De Palma's artful take on Eliot Ness and his squad of incorruptible treasury agents on a quest to clean up Prohibition-era Chicago blends hard-hitting dialogue and career-best performances in an almost operatic tale of good versus evil.

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