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    Hitman: Agent 47

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 21st, 2015

    History of man is defined by war. And war is defined by the men who fight it.”

    Well, it is definitely more high-tech than the 2007 version, but is that necessarily a good thing? That’s what you are here to find out in this reboot to the popular video game of the same name (minus the Agent 47 part, that is). Rupert Friend is Agent 47 in this updated version, and I will say that despite my initial upset feelings about the recasting of the character, he does an excellent job as the highly motivated and proficient assassin. As far as reinvention goes, I was pleased with this despite it being theoretically ridiculous in some areas, but hey, isn’t that what fantasy is anyway?
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    The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 14th, 2015

    Its spy vs. spy in Man from U.N.C.L.E., or at least it starts out that way. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer play Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin respectively in this reimaging of the popular television series from the 60’s. Guy Ritchie is at the helm of the spy flick, which should give everyone high hopes that this will become the first film in a franchise. Though a bit dry at times, Man from U.N.C.L.E. proves to be a clever and engaging movie that stays true to the era it is set in. There is enough action, espionage, and beautiful women to capture the attention of the male audience, and the female audience is likely to be sated just being able to stare at Cavill and Hammer
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    Ricki and the Flash

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on August 8th, 2015

    I’m going to start by listing a number of names that make up a kind of extended family. The names don’t have a lot in common at first, and it seems like a hodgepodge. I’m sure I’m going to leave someone out, but let’s start with Kevin Kline, Johnathan Demme, Diablo Cody, Sebastian Stan, Mamie Gummer, Audra McDonald, Joe Vitale, Rick Springfield, Bill Erwin, Bernie Worrell, Rick Rosas, and Charlotte Rae. I’m forgetting someone. Oh yeah, Meryl Streep. It’s that kind of a movie which is being sold as a star vehicle for the most praised and beloved actress of the modern era, but is really an ensemble piece. We can debate who is as beloved as Meryl Streep in the history of cinema, but let’s not, because Ricki and the Flash is not that kind of movie.
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    Fantastic Four

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 7th, 2015

    I have been hearing buzz about this film for pretty much a year. My first response after hearing about it was confusion. Now, I’m sure that I’m going to lose points for saying this, but I didn’t find the original Fantastic Four film to be that bad.  I’m not proclaiming it as the best, but for the time period, I found it to be an acceptable film. Now, I’m sure I lost of a lot of readers after that declaration, but if you if have remained with me, let’s talk about the latest installment in the Marvel universe, shall we?
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    End of The Tour

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on August 1st, 2015

    I don’t think there has ever really been a great film about a great writer. We naturally compare their lives to works of great fiction. Great fiction tends to distill the tedium and awkwardness out of real life. Real life can be exhausting in the day-to-day disappointments that can sometimes be wrapped in small victories. David Foster Wallace was a great writer. This is almost universally acknowledged. David Foster Wallace no longer is because he hung himself in 2008 at age 46. Many people who were in his life are now very protective of him and his privacy. They are angry at the idea of a movie being made about his life.
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    Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 31st, 2015

    This may very well be our last mission, Ethan…make it count.”

    You wouldn’t know it from looking at him, but Tom Cruise is now 53 years old. So it’s only natural to wonder how many more Missions the indomitable superstar has left in him. Well if Rogue Nation is any indication, the above quote is meant to be more winking than prophetic. Just like its tireless star, the fifth installment of the 19-year-old Mission: Impossible film franchise is sprier, tighter, and more energetic than its age might suggest.
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    Southpaw

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 25th, 2015

    “Don’t get hit too much.”

    Come on, it’s the fight game. Warren Zevon said it best when he told us the name of the game was to be hit and hit back. If Southpaw highlights anything about the fight game, it’s that basic principle. Director Antoine Fuqua makes sure that we see the physical toll of a fight in all its slow motion and gory detail. Such painful detail can be tiresome if there isn’t something else to balance the experience. Southpaw certainly has that. But is it really enough?
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    Mr. Holmes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 19th, 2015

    “Different thing, entirely.” 

    I have been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was a kid. Mixed amidst those Universal horror films I watched with my Pop on weekend chiller shows was an occasional Universal Holmes film with Basil Rathbone as the master of deduction. Soon followed the Doyle books, and a new world was opened for me forever. Since those days we have seen every kind of incarnation of the character possible, or so I thought. I’ve seen Holmes as a child in Spielberg’s Young Sherlock Holmes. There have been several comedies and even a musical or two. Robert Downey Jr. has turned him into an action hero, and Benedict Cumberbatch has brought him into the modern world.
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    Trainwreck

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dustin P. Anderson on July 18th, 2015

    We follow Amy, a reporter for a men’s magazine, who does not want to be tied down by a relationship and hates intimacy. Her father has ingrained a knowledge of mistrust and flippancy into her, so she goes from guy to guy, having sex with whoever she likes at the moment and always following her “no spending the night rule.” When “the guy she is seeing” breaks up with her for sleeping with other men, she is assigned to interview Aaron, an up-and-coming doctor who cares for professional athletes. After she sleeps with him Aaron becomes attached, Amy finds herself unable to stay away from him. Amy must figure out if she can learn to be intimate without wrecking the relationship out of habit.
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    Ant-Man

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 17th, 2015

    Just imagine…a soldier the size of an insect.”

    The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now seven years into an unprecedented run of success. It’s a consistent, well-oiled machine that has engendered enough goodwill to allow the company to take chances on properties that were previously considered deep cuts. (Before last summer, most people’s reactions to Guardians of the Galaxy likely would’ve been, “Who?!”) Then again, if you believe in the idea of a “Marvel machine,” it could just as easily conjure something heavy or mechanical. As a result, the thing I enjoyed most about Ant-Man is that it felt refreshingly (and appropriately)…small.
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    Self/Less

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on July 9th, 2015

    Big blockbusters rule the summer. Sequels and reboots and remakes are demanded by a public that wants sure things. There are no sure things any more, but the big Hollywood studios try to form committees that take as much chance out of the equation as possible. But even in the middle of a summer ruled by big blockbuster, there is a school of thought that counter programming can work. You have to give the makers of Self/Less credit for releasing a non-sequel and one with such an odd title
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    Terminator: Genisys

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on July 3rd, 2015

    “A straight line…you just go, and you never…look…back.”

    Well, I hope you’re ready to have everything you know about the Terminator franchise turned on its head. As a franchise known for his alternative timelines where the things we come to know are often turned around, my previous statement may sound like the usual bread and butter to you. However, I must say that I feel like the latest incarnation of the franchise, Terminator Genisys, has really outdone itself this time. As far as reboots go, this may be one of the best that I have seen in quite some time as we are introduced to a completely new cast (well, almost completely new cast) portraying characters already near and dear to our hearts.
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    Me Earl and the Dying Girl

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on July 1st, 2015

    Me, Earl and the Dying Girl is not the perfect movie by any means, but it is pretty darn good. Sometime it is too clever for its own good, and sometimes its cleverness is what makes it good. It is a movie about a precocious high school teenager much in the tradition of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It has an offbeat and anarchic take on the high school experience, because the titular Me is giving his point of view. As with many narrators in the tradition of literature, his opinions can be unreliable. Me shall be known from now on as Greg (played by Thomas Mann) (no relation to the famous German novelist) (which I mention because German film maker Werner Herzog is all over this film).
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    A Little Chaos

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 27th, 2015

    Are you a believer in order?”

    The natural order of things during the summer movie season is to be pummeled by one would-be blockbuster after another, each aiming to be louder and more extravagant than the last. So debuting A Little Chaos — a 2014 British period drama about a seemingly esoteric chapter of French faux-history — amidst all this noise is a curious decision. While the film certainly nails the “extravagant” part and largely adheres to costume drama conventions, there’s just enough here to make it a thoroughly pleasing alternative to the typical multiplex fare.
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    Ted 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on June 26th, 2015

    The original Ted movie gave us the answer to what would happen if a beloved toy came to life. I know what you are thinking; Toy Story provided us with the same answer, except Ted went a step further and revealed what happens when the little boy and the beloved toy grow up. Ted was a hard-drinking and drug-taking movie that was beloved by many. When it came to that movie I was thoroughly satisfied, and I did not believe that it could be improved upon, so when I heard the announcement of the sequel, I had reservations. In my opinion, the sequel was clear money grab that was going to ruin all that the original accomplished. I told you that to tell you this: I stand corrected. As it turns out, there was more story to tell, and I am glad that I got to experience it.
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    Inside Out

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on June 25th, 2015

    I should say right up front, it seems like everyone loves this film but me. That is pretty much true of all Pixar films. They seem to be above reproach, regret and retribution. I love some Pixar films very much, but many I find to be overpraised. In the case of the new film Inside Out, it is not so much bad as disturbing. It is well made but suffers from two problems. It is not overwhelmingly profound while being somewhat bewildering. Some people might say it is a film for kids, so I should give it a pass, but I disagree.
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    Jurassic World

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 12th, 2015

    “We need more teeth.”

    That’s the problem with sequels, isn’t it? There’s always the belief that you have to go bigger and stronger than you did before. It’s an ideal that is also reflected quite literally in the story of Jurassic World. You know what kills worse than dinosaurs? Expectations. It is those expectations that will turn what is a pretty solid action movie into a disappointment for so many. No doubt, Jurassic World is a fun and entertaining movie. But it’s not Jurassic Park, and the truth is it never could be. If you go to this movie hoping to recapture what you felt the first time you heard the words “Welcome to Jurassic Park”
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    SPY

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on June 11th, 2015

    I don’t enjoy writing negative reviews. It’s a struggle when the film experience was joyless and then to have to go back and relive that. I also don’t enjoy reading reviews by other critics that get everything completely wrong. It’s even worse when almost all the critics get it wrong. Even worse than that is when I see critics dumping on a film that’s actually good, but that’s a story for a different day. How can I say Spy is so bad? Because I had to sit through the movie. I can get some enjoyment out of even the worst movies, and that’s true here, but I would not recommend it to unsuspecting viewers.
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    Insidious: Chapter 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 5th, 2015

    If you call out to one of the dead, all of them can hear you.”

    This lesson is very familiar to anyone who has seen either of the first two Insidious films, a pair of old-fashioned (no sex, no gore), highly-profitable chillers. Of course, a potential problem for this third installment was that the characters in these movies really should have learned that lesson by now too. The makers of Insidious: Chapter 3 smartly sidestep that issue by turning back the clock on the franchise. I just wish the rest of the film had more of that ingenuity and fewer blatant, unearned jump scares.
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    San Andreas

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 29th, 2015

    We’ll get hit again…and it’s going to be a bigger monster.”

    The character who utters these words in San Andreas is referring to an impending earthquake that could literally rip California apart. But he could just as easily be talking about the summer movie season, when audiences who have just been rocked by a catastrophic quake have to deal with something called “Indominus Rex” a mere two weeks later. San Andreas almost certainly won’t end up as the biggest bully on the Hollywood block, but it’s a big, dumb, fun disaster flick the whole family can enjoy.
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    Pitch Perfect 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on May 19th, 2015

    We all love underdogs. Even if we think we’re the greatest thing since chipped beef on toast, secretly we think we’re the underdog.  No matter how great our life is, we don’t think it’s good enough, and everyone’s out to get us. Pitch Perfect was a movie about underdogs, and it was an underdog itself. It was a movie about women, nerds and dorks. Just in case you think I’m being insulting, I actually think all three of those things are great, but they are not always given the respect they deserve. The first movie was thrown out in the marketplace with the expectation that it would starve and die.
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    Mad Max Fury Road

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 15th, 2015

    It is one of the most anticipated movies of the summer and another subject in the category of can Tom Hardy do no wrong? Mad Max: Fury Road is the reimagining of the iconic film that helped launch Mel Gibson’s career decades earlier. This is not new territory in Hollywood by any stretch of the imagination; remakes have happened so often in recent years that they have practically become their own genre. However, I would like to point out something that will hopefully set this film aside in the eyes of the audience: how often do you see a remake that is overseen by the creator of the original film that you know and love?
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    Unfriended

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dustin P. Anderson on May 12th, 2015

    The entirety of this movie is shot from the perspective of our main protagonist’s (Blaire) computer screen. Her friends start a video conference, and they are soon haunted by the memory of their friend who committed suicide due to cyber bullying (and I guess some regular bullying too). Her friends start dying from forced suicide (or suicide from being possessed by a spirit), and they must play this spirit’s game in order to survive. I was pretty excited to see if this movie could accomplish being scary from a bold new way of filmmaking.
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    Avengers : Age of Ultron

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 1st, 2015

    “It’s called The Ultron Program.”

    Remember when you were a kid and one of your friends would come over and ask if you could come out and play? You would head for the door with a grin from ear to ear, because you knew you were about to have a blast. You might not have had any idea what it was you were going to do. Often you made it up as you went along. It didn’t matter. You just knew fun times were on the other side of your front door. That’s exactly how I felt going to catch The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. It was as if Joss Whedon had come to my house and asked me to come out and play.
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    The Age Of Adaline

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 24th, 2015

    “All these years you’ve lived, but you’ve never had a life.”

    Every woman’s fantasy: to remain young and beautiful forever. That is the fantasy, if I am not mistaken, correct? Well, women will be treated to the cost of said fantasy in The Age of Adaline, which shows the other side of the coin of the coveted fantasy. In my experience there are two fantasies that are popular among young ladies. The one mentioned above, and the opportunity to love, marry, and grow old with someone who loves them unconditionally. The Age of Adaline shows the latter is not possible with the former.
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