Chris Chiarella

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 10, 2020  |  3 comments
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Linda Hamilton is back as pistol-packin' mama Sarah Connor and badass as ever, her days dedicated to a familiar mission: ridding the world of killer robots. Dark Fate is James Cameron's first active role in the franchise he created—here as a producer and co-writer—since 1996's T2:3D theme park ride, which surely accounts for much of the movie's old-shoe feel.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 03, 2020  |  0 comments
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The date noted in 1917's title (April 6, to be precise) puts us well into World War I, when young Lance Corporal Blake along with his mate Schofield are dispatched from the Allied trenches with an urgent message. Some 1,600 soldiers, Blake's own brother among them, are heading into certain slaughter if new orders are not delivered to the commanding officer. And so, facing impossible odds, the brave duo embarks on a mission that could change the course of the conflict.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 20, 2020  |  3 comments
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The true story of sports car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles' partnership with the Ford Motor Company to challenge legendary Ferrari and perhaps win racing's ultimate test of endurance, the 24 hours of Le Mans, is can't-miss Hollywood gold. While not quite a David v Goliath tale—we learn that cash-strapped Ferrari was something of an underdog—the results here are a heartfelt ode to cars, speed, second chances and next chapters, and good old American ingenuity.
Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 07, 2020  |  1 comments
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To the annals of unique interpretations and iconic performances of The Clown Prince of Crime we must now add Joaquin Phoenix and his exquisitely tragic turn as Joker. The film's Arthur Fleck is a new creation fully outside any established cinematic or literary continuity, a man barely able to function on the mean streets of Gotham City circa 1981. We can feel him barely hanging on as he goes about his daily grind: caring for an ailing mother, toiling as a professional clown, and dreaming of a career as a standup comedian.

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