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    Nightcrawler

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 31st, 2014

    “On TV it looks so real.”

    When I first walked out from the theater after watching Nightcrawler, the thing that stuck with me the most is how great Jake Gyllenhaal was in this film.  This isn’t the first performance he’s caught my attention in; he’s an actor who pretty much any time I see him in a film he’s one of the most memorable aspects of the film.
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    Whiplash

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on October 31st, 2014

    Whiplash has gotten so many raves that I want to make sure I address the things that are bad as well as the things that are good about the film. First thing I will say is that the movie is implausible, and I had a hard time to totally buy into it for different reasons. The film is about a young jazz drummer at a prestigious music academy who gets to play in the band of the top instructor at the school. It becomes apparent early on that the instructor is crazy. He browbeats and actually beats his students into compliance without a hint of mercy.
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    Birdman

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

    Wow! OMG! WTH! This is a towering achievement in every way. It is staggering. It is literally staggering; you will leave the theater drained because all your adrenaline will have been used up. Fragmentary, flowing, electric, and it shows the disintegrating of a man’s mind in a vibrant phantasmagoria. Any director in the world who sees this will slap himself in the face and say, “Why didn’t I do this!” It is a technical tour de force, and everyone in it delivers at full throttle. It is breathless and exhilarating and your mind will be blown.
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    Fury

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 17th, 2014

    “Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”

    David Ayer doesn’t have a huge resume of films to his credit. In his 15 years as a director he’s only given us five films. Add just another three as a writer. What he has done as a writer and/or director appears to explore some of the same themes of machismo under heavy fire that are splattered all about Fury along with the blood and gore that is the natural byproduct of war. He’s the kind of filmmaker who doesn’t appear to tackle a project unless he finds he has something to say. In the past that voice hasn’t always been terribly original.
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    Men, Women and Children

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on October 17th, 2014

    The internet is destroying everything. It seems crazy, but it’s true, and most people know it. I mean that so many businesses have been destroyed by the tumorous growth of the internet and its insidious and unchecked influence. The newspaper business, music business, broadcast business and probably the movie business have been fundamentally and permanently altered. Men,Women and Children addresses how it affects each and every one of us on a daily basis. We’re all aware of this. It’s our lives now, and it wasn’t 10 years ago.
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    The Judge

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 12th, 2014

    “Did that just happen?”

    I have to confess that I entered The Judge expecting a different kind of film than I actually saw. After seeing the trailer I was reminded of some of the classic courtroom dramas I’d seen over the years from 12 Angry Men through …And Justice For All. On the ride to the screening I found my mind was swimming with the “closing arguments” Al Pacino delivered in …And Justice For All and was trying to image how Robert Downey, Jr. was going to try and top that. In the end Downey didn’t top that wonderful monologue. In the end The Judge simply wasn’t that kind of a movie after all.
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    Kill the Messenger

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

    It’s October, which means there’s probably a new, spine-tingling offering coming at you every day. (That’s certainly the case here at UpcomingDiscs.) Kill the Messenger — a thoroughly compelling, true-life drama that channels the crusading spirit of All the President’s Men and The Insider — is no one’s idea of a horror movie. Unless you’re like me, and you happen to be a newspaper reporter.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Dracula Untold

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 10th, 2014

    With the Marvel universe taking off and scoring at the box office for many years now, studios are digging for franchises they can start up or reboot to cash in on the craze.  Warner Brothers is stumbling a bit with DC comics, but Universal has remained quiet, that is until someone in the creative department realized they own the properties to the greatest horror characters of all time.  When Dracula, The Wolfman, and The Mummy were in their heyday, actors like Karloff and Lugosi became instant icons of cinema.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” Annabelle

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 3rd, 2014

    “I like your dolls.”

    The Conjuring was one of the best horror movies to come along in years. Why? Because it was a good scare with a story that didn’t totally insult our intelligence or leave us scratching our heads too many times. The movie also dealt with its own red herring of sorts in a possessed doll kept under wraps by that film’s hero couple. We’re treated to a tease of her story before we move on to other matters.
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    Gone Girl

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 3rd, 2014

    In 1987 Fatal Attraction was released, and now decades later it is the go-to movie when discussing classic scorned women in cinematic history.  Now a new film is about to take the mantel for the greatest scorned female character, Amy Dunne in Gone Girl. Based off the widely successful novel by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl is perhaps the most haunting film about marriage to ever hit the screen. Director David Fincher is no stranger to directing strong, self-sufficient women on the big screen; look at Panic Room and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — but Gone Girl is the closest he’s come to filming his masterpiece.
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    The Boxtrolls

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on October 1st, 2014

    Stop-motion animation remains a rare treat, but your appreciation of the new film, The Boxtrolls, will likely fall into an either love-it or hate-it camp. I will tell you which camp I fall into shortly. Laika Entertainment Studios produced Coraline and Paranorman, which were both oddball stop-motion fun that I enjoyed immensely. The stop-motion process is a dying art that is only rarely attempted any more, but it is widely beloved by film fans. The stop-motion work in The Boxtrolls is excellent. The cast of voice-over actors are excellent as well. The roster includes Sir Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Elle Fanning and Tracy Morgan.
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    I Origins

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on September 29th, 2014

    The eyes are the window to the soul, or so we have been told. I Origins is about a scientist studying the evolution of sight in organisms. Part of his research seems to be focused on countering creationists who claim that eyes are an obvious indication of a creator in life on this planet. The scientist, Ian Gray (Michael Pitt) is working on proof that the development of eyes is a process of evolution. His new research assistant, Karen (Brit Marling) surprises Ian with intuitive brilliance and fanatical commitment to the task.
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    The Equalizer

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 26th, 2014

    Odds against you? Need help? Call the Equalizer.”

    That familiar classified ad — which receives a clever update toward the end of this film — and a hero named “Robert McCall” are about the only things this bloody, big-screen adaptation has in common with the TV show that (allegedly) inspired it. And that’s fine, especially when you consider a large portion of this movie’s audience is probably not slavishly devoted to a CBS crime drama from the 1980s. (Assuming they’ve seen it at all.) The bigger issue is that, beyond it starring one of the world’s best and most charismatic movie stars, there’s not a ton that’s new or particularly interesting about The Equalizer.
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    Tusk

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on September 21st, 2014

    What if two radio guys sat around and made up a movie on the air? In this case, it actually wasn’t radio guys, because they weren’t broadcasters, but podcasters. I guess the fine distinction between broad and pod is that pod goes out to the world through the internet. It’s kind of like Indie radio. Kevin Smith is a very indie guy and even calls his podcast a smodcast. Smith and his buddy, producer Scott Mosier, were doing their smodcast and talking about a post on GumTree.uk about roommate advertisements. It evolved into crazy talk about what might happen.
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    Calvary

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

    Martin McDonagh is an extremely important and respected playwright. He is also a pretty good filmmaker. His films are In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. His plays have won too many awards to mention, but some of the titles are The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Lonesome West, The Pillowman, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Skull of Connemara and others. His brother is John Michael McDonagh, the writer/director of The Guard and Calvary. All of these works are very good. Calvary might be my favorite.
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    The November Man

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on August 29th, 2014

    The pleasure of The November Man is seeing an ex-James Bond come out of retirement being all cool and mean and efficiently lethal. The ex-James Bond is Pierce… Pierce Bronson. He’s not as old as Sean Connery, but he’s pretty old, and too old to look this good killing people. The November Man is nothing but a cheap and easy, end-of-August bit of popcorn fodder, but it works well. It works so well it already has a sequel planned. I don’t think the budget on this is very large, so it probably was a no-brainer. The locations are all over middle Europe and Russia, but I think that’s cheaper than New York City or London.
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    Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 22nd, 2014

    Sin City: A Dame to Kill For marks the return of the iconic graphic novel since it first splashed across the big screen in 2005.  Sin City set out to make the ultimate comic book adaption in which the audience would see the panels move directly from the page and onto the screen.  For me Sin City was a celluloid masterpiece that blended the Noir stories beautifully with all the Hollywood tricks that were at Robert Rodriguez’s disposal.  Frank Miller’s beautiful black and white imagery was more striking than I could have imagined, and it was the film that had me rooting for the big lug Marv (played by Mickey Rourke who seems to have been born for the role).
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    The Expendables 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 15th, 2014

    Welcome to the 21st century!”

    Sylvester Stallone has dedicated the better part of the last decade to giving moviegoers what they wanted 20 years ago. It started with 2006′s Rocky Balboa, which closed out Stallone’s signature franchise in the satisfying manner fans have been craving since 1990′s Rocky V debacle. We’ve also gotten another Rambo sequel, as well as long-awaited team ups with icons both real (Schwarzenegger in Escape Plan) and cinematic (Grudge Match was “Rocky vs. Raging Bull”). But Stallone’s biggest recent success is the veritable fantasy team of action stars he’s assembled for the Expendables films.
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    Guardians Of The Galaxy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 31st, 2014

    “Are you telling me that the fate of thirty million inhabitants is in the hands of these criminals?”

    Now that we are in the middle of phase two of Marvel’s movie universe, a new batch of characters have been given a movie of their own to help set the stage for what is to come in the ever-expanding Marvel cinematic universe.  The Guardians of the Galaxy announcement for many left fans scratching their heads; after all, just how would a talking raccoon, a lumbering tree and various other space aliens fit in
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    Lucy

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

    Lucy is good science fiction. Good science fiction challenges scientists to think about the possibilities. Good scientists think they don’t know and want to seek the answers and learn more. Bad scientists will tell you the answers because they know. But they don’t know. Science is made by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes and then making new mistakes and learning from them. Through that process myths and half-truths are passed along. For a hundred years science said that we only use about 10% percent of our brain, but now we are told that that was a mistake
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    Wish I Was Here

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

    Zach Braff had a nice long run on the sitcom Scrubs, but he showed the world he was more than that by writing, directing and starring in the indie hit Garden State. Braff starred in some other movies but didn’t get much traction. He’s not really a leading-man type. He did have a nice supporting part in Oz the Great and Powerful, but Braff had already demonstrated he can do it all. Hollywood is not too friendly to original ideas, so Braff went to Kickstarter and had success.
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    The Purge: Anarchy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 18th, 2014

    What a difference a year makes. It was just last summer that The Purge came out of nowhere to become an unexpected smash. The film piqued my interest with a killer marketing campaign that smartly sold its outrageous concept: for one night out of the year, any and all crime is legal in the U.S. Unfortunately, the filmmakers squandered that novel idea by making the most cliched, claustrophobic thriller imaginable. A little more than a year later, this follow-up arrives under considerably different circumstances. Instead of canny summer counter-programming, The Purge: Anarchy is the latest sequel in a summer that seems particularly heavy on franchise films.
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    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 11th, 2014

    “Apes together strong!”

    When French author Pierre Boulle first wrote his novel Monkey Planet, I’m sure he never imagined a film like Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. While I was enjoying the five films that made up the original franchise run, I couldn’t have imagined a movie like Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. When Tim Burton made his pitiful attempt to revive the franchise, it was downright impossible. In fact, the franchise appeared dead and gone by the time that film ran its destructive course
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    Earth To Echo

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 2nd, 2014

    Missed it by that much.” Never before was that Don Adams/Maxwell Smart catchphrase more appropriate to a movie. Sometimes there is a very thin line between instant classic and near miss. Earth To Echo is the best example in decades of a film that could have, should have, would have been so much more if not for just one bad decision. The film has all of those coming-of-age moments that exist in those 1980′s classics like Goonies, Explorers and, of course, ET. The film sports a wonderful cast with plenty of nuance in characters.
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    Begin Again

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 2nd, 2014

    In a summer that has been taken over by giant lizards and robots, it is a little odd to find a little sweet film like Begin Again playing on the screen and competing with the heavy hitters of summer. From the writer/director of indie smash Once we get a film that isn’t just about musicians trying to make their big break, but instead it’s about the heart and pain that goes into the creation we later hear and become fans of.  When we first meet Greta (Keira Knightly) she is nursing some heartbreak in a bar, and her friend drags her up on stage to perform her new song.
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