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    Under The Skin

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 19th, 2014

    There is nothing wrong with your movie screen. Jonathan Glazer controls all that you see and hear. That tiny speck of light you see is just the beginning. The beginning of an experience you will not soon forget. The light appears distant…cold… foreboding. It’s coming closer to us, or we are coming closer to it. The distant star grows while you are assaulted with some of the most bizarre sounds you have ever heard. It’s somewhat uncomfortable. You squirm in your seat. The light grows; its alien forms finally settles into an unexpected familiar form. Still, it’s all rather unsettling. Jonathan Glazer controls more than all you see and hear. For the next two hours he controls your sanity… your very humanity.
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    Heaven Is for Real

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on April 19th, 2014

    Let me say something about myself. I have a saying. Atheists are stupid and agnostics are smart. The reason agnostics are smart is because they know they don’t know. Faith is belief. The problem is that this is a cynical age. There are so many people who are atheists because they can cite facts about the universe and science. I always think it’s absurd to hear an atheist talk, because they are so insulting to anyone who doesn’t agree with them. So am I an agnostic?
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    Bears

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 18th, 2014

    “Hi, little guys.”

    There was a time, decades ago when Walt Disney Studios was doing quality documentaries on a pretty regular schedule. Many of them appeared on the television show The Wonderful World Of Disney, and more than a few were released as feature films. And while that tradition has continued somewhat, it’s been a while since I was truly impressed by a Disney documentary. That all changes with the release of Bears.
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    Transcendence

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 18th, 2014

    Just about any project that Christopher Nolan has any attachment to is going to get my attention.  And from the first glimpses of the film in the early teasers, Transcendence always felt like a film Nolan would seem right at home making.  Instead taking the helm for the first time as director is Wally Pfister.  Though this may be his first time in the director’s chair, Pfister is no stranger to working on pictures of large scale; after all, he’s been Nolan’s director of photography since Memento back in 2000.  So how does Pfister do with his first at bat?  Well, it could be a lot worse…
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    Oculus

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 12th, 2014

    When I saw the trailer for this film a while back, I was intrigued by what I saw.  Sure, we’ve seen the haunted mirror film before, but that doesn’t bother me; I actually enjoy the notion of haunted mirrors and the notion that what we see in the reflection may not necessarily be real.  With Oculus they take the idea of altered perception and play with us the viewer, and I have to admit I liked everything that this film had to offer; unfortunately what the film actually delivers is something entirely different.
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    The Raid 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 12th, 2014

    When I first experienced The Raid it was a film that simply put my jaw to the floor in awe of the action spectacle.  The Raid was everything I could have wanted in an action film, fun gun play and intense bare-knuckle martial arts brutality just about from start to finish.  This is the kind of film that after you see it you simply have to tell your friends about it and simply gush over simply how awesome and cool this movie is.  So when I first heard about a sequel in the works, already I was excited.  And when the first trailer dropped for the sequel, it teased us with visuals that promised not just an escalation of action but a film that was on a much larger scale. 
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    Draft Day

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 11th, 2014

    “There’s no such thing as a sure thing.”

    That’s the mantra used by the people tasked with evaluating “can’t-miss” college prospects each year. But there’s no surer thing in sports right now than this: if the NFL puts something on TV, people are going to watch it. Regular season games on Thursday night? Sign us up! College prospects running and jumping? Tune in to the NFL Scouting Combine! Even the friggin’ Pro Bowl gets massive ratings, which proves the product doesn’t necessarily have to be worth watching to draw eyeballs. And that brings us to Draft Day.
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    Rio 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 11th, 2014

    “Who cares about a bunch of birds?”

    Well, judging by the fact that the original Rio grossed $484 million worldwide, it seems more than a few people are invested. The avian adventure from Blue Sky Studios may not have soared as high as Disney/Pixar or DreamWorks Animation’s best efforts — or even Blue Sky’s own Ice Age juggernaut — but it proved to be a dazzling, lucrative diversion in the spring of 2011. This charming sequel, which arrives almost three years to the day later, retains the disposable, toe-tapping charm of its predecessor.
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    Captain America: Winter Soldier

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 4th, 2014

    “It’s called compartmentalization. No one spills the secrets because no one knows them all.”

    I was lucky enough to grow up during Marvel’s wonderful rebirth of the 1960′s and 1970′s. Of all of the comics they produced during that time, I was always least impressed with Captain America. I don’t think I ever read an issue of any of his mags with the notable exception of The Avengers. So how can it be possible that after dozens of Marvel films, and I’m including the Fox and other-studio-produced stuff, that Captain America: The Winter Soldier can end up being my favorite?
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    The Grand Budapest Hotel

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 28th, 2014

    Wes Anderson is not quite a real person. He is more of a concept. He is more of a myth or an approximation of reality, much like Citizen Kane was an approximation of the infamous newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Anderson is real, but has built up a kind of fantasy world around himself. It is full of precisely detailed artifice. His films all have the meticulous perfection of an alternate reality. If the average uninitiated person were exposed to all of Anderson’s films, they wouldn’t quite know what to make of it
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    Bad Words

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 28th, 2014

    Jason Bateman was born in 1969. He was working as an actor in 1982 on Little House on the Prairie. Then he went on to Silver Spoons and The Hogan Family (also known as Valerie). His sister, Justine, was doing well on Family Ties. Jason went on to become an adult. He grew up and became well liked on Arrested Development. That is always the hard part in the career of a child actor; making the transition to becoming a successful adult actor. He has been careful with his career
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    Divergent

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 21st, 2014

    In the wake of the Hunger Games and Twilight studios have been snatching up the rights to young adult fiction and gearing up for franchises all in the name of capturing the hearts and wallets of the legions of fans of these book series.  Though there have been a few hits, the failures have been plentiful i.e.: City of Bones, The Host, and The Vampire Academy.  As a guy approaching his mid-thirties, it’s safe to say I’m nowhere near being the target audience for this film, but call me crazy, I actually dug it.
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    Muppets Most Wanted

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 21st, 2014

    The Muppets debuted in 1955, and the late great Jim Henson’s creations have been delighting audiences (and fellow entertainers) of all ages ever since. They’ve made their mark on the small screen — most notably with The Muppet Show (1976-81) — and at the movies, starring in eight feature films across four different decades. However, 2011’s The Muppets was their first big-screen outing in a dozen years, and the movie spent most of its time wondering if the Muppets’ old-fashioned, irreverent charm still had a place in a more jaded pop culture landscape.
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    Concussion

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 19th, 2014

    A concussion is a brain injury that causes trauma, confusion, loss of concentration, and impairment of judgment balance and coordination. The new film Concussion starts with a woman getting hit in the head with baseball thrown by her stepson. Abby (Robin Weigert) is married to divorce lawyer Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence). They seem happy but bored in their relationship. Kate obviously probably was in a relationship with a man before but gave up on it. The two kids seem distant and grouchy toward Abby.
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    Need for Speed

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 19th, 2014

    Need for Speed is based on a video game. It caters to people who love the experience of speed. There is a huge audience for this sort of thing. To their credit, the writer and director makes every effort to create an actual story and real characters in this presentation. It is easy to compare it to Fast and Furious, but why bother. That gives these sorts of films too much credit. Fast and Furious and Need for Speed are designed to give people a thrill. If anything Need for Speed takes things more seriously than the Fast and Furious series. It also focuses more on beautiful and very expensive cars.
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    Non-Stop

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 28th, 2014

    “I know it may seem scary, but flying really is quite fun.”

    I respectfully disagree. Air travel is terrible. The seats are too small, the air is stale, there’s hardly any leg room, and the food stinks. (Assuming you even get food.) And I haven’t gotten to the part where you’re hurtling through the sky at hundreds of miles per hour at more than 30,000 feet. Ok, so maybe I enjoy air travel a lot little less than some of you out there, but I think we can all agree airliners provide an inherently tense setting for a variety of stories. We’re talking everything from Air Force One to Snakes on a Plane. So while flying may be awful in real life, it’s a reliably thrilling time at the movies.
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    3 Days to Kill

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on February 25th, 2014

    Most action pictures have an aura of super-seriousness, or they are filmed as comedies and everything is meant to be ridiculous. It definitely is a difficult task to mix the two effectively. On some level most action pictures are ridiculous, since most of us will never experience the close proximity to death and danger that is depicted on the screen. Also, life and death are often cheapened with high body counts but little consequence for our hero. In 3 Days To Kill, all sorts of elements are brought to bear in order to reinforce the average everyday family experience and not the lone killer.
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    Winter’s Tale

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on February 23rd, 2014

    In 1983, a massive 672-page novel by Mark Helprin called Winter’s Tale was published. In 2006, The New York Times Book Review named it one of the 22 best books of the last 25 years. It is an almost universally acclaimed book, and one that is nearly impossible to translate into any one movie because it covers many characters over a long period of time. Screenwriter/Director Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code, I Am Legend) has taken on this difficult task. Some of his famous friends have joined him. He has admitted in interviews that he had no choice but to cut many large sections and story lines from the sprawling book.
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    About Last Night (2014)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 14th, 2014

    “What are we fighting about now?”

    About Last Night isn’t the first — and certainly won’t be the last — movie about adults taking clumsy, tentative steps toward commitment. Heck, it’s not even the first movie called “About Last Night” to tackle the subject. The film is one of a whopping *three* remakes of 1980s hits descending on screens this week. I could easily bemoan the general lack of imagination in Hollywood, but by now that sort of rant is almost as unoriginal as all these remakes. Besides, I’d rather spend my time talking about this engaging, formulaic, frequently funny movie.
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    Robocop (2014)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on February 12th, 2014

    What makes us human? That is the primary theme of Robocop, the remake of the 1987 film of the same name. The 1987 film was a huge blockbuster success, spawning two sequels, and no doubt that is the hope for the remake at the very least. Joel Kinnaman steps into the suit made famous by Peter Weller, and he is not the only big name to grace the film: Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, and Jackie Earle Haley, as well as the great Gary Oldman playing the doctor that made Robocop possible; with such a top-notch cast how could the project fail?
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    The Monuments Men

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on February 7th, 2014

    The World War 2 genre has been done to death by Hollywood, but The Monuments Men gives us a fresh look at the war and delves into a story that is a breath of fresh air to the genre.  Despite all my history classes that delved into the atrocities of World War 2, it was never discussed about what happened to the great landmarks that were spread throughout Europe and encountered the cold hand of war.  Granted, when measured against the staggering amount of lives lost throughout the war, the thought of a sculpture being destroyed or a Picasso painting being incinerated simply seems petty by comparison.
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    Labor Day

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on February 4th, 2014

    There have been complaints that there are not enough films that have decent lead roles for women. There are those that say that Hollywood does not make enough movies for women. Then when they do, critics tend to dismiss them as “Lifetime” movies (a term that is dismissive because of the cable channel that churns out generic movies for women). It seems far easier to accept excessive violence or male-oriented films with sexual content. If a movie tries to legitimately capture real situations from a woman’s point of view, it can be patronizingly categorized as pap and schmaltz.
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    That Awkward Moment

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 31st, 2014

    The title refers to the junction in every romantic relationship when a couple has to decide between moving forward and moving on, but That Awkward Moment could also describe the dicey transition between squeaky clean teen star and legitimate adult performer. (Hi, Miley.) To his credit, Zac Efron has already dipped his toe and other body parts in provocative waters. (Including Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire.) But That Awkward Moment is the star’s first big, commercial, R-rated swing. The real awkwardness happens the moment you realize the movie isn’t nearly as clever or subversive as it seems to think it is.
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    The Invisible Woman

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on January 24th, 2014

    One of the most famous men who ever lived is responsible for over 200 movies and TV shows, yet there has never been an autobiographical film until now. He has been loved and revered for over 100 years, but much of his life is shrouded in privacy due to the constraints of the times in which he lived. The books Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol and others are towering achievements in English literature. We finally can now see what Charles Dickens might have really been like
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    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 16th, 2014

    “You’re not just an analyst anymore. You’re operational now.”

    Witness the birth of– actually make that rebirth of –one of the most popular action heroes in literature. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan has been a character of many jobs and many faces over the years. Baldwin, Ford, and Affleck have all stepped into the role of the man who has been a soldier, analyst, an operative, and a president. Now Chris Pine looks to fill the shoes left behind by some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters and try his hand at a retelling of the legendary character which also stars Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, along with Kenneth Branagh who doubles as the film’s director.
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