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    The Hitman’s Bodyguard

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on August 18th, 2017

    “It’s my job to keep you out of harm’s way.”

    “I am harm’s way!”

    In The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Samuel L. Jackson is the very definition of badass as contract killer Darius Kincaid. Which begs the question: why would a prolific hitman need a bodyguard? That question is a great source of entertainment throughout the film’s duration. Needless to say, the bodyguard is not necessary, but no one could ever doubt that the pairing of Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds is comedic gold. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is without question one of the best films of the summer.
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    Annabelle: Creation

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 10th, 2017

    Following the success of The Conjuring, it was no surprise that sequels would follow, but I have to admit seeing an Annabelle film was a bit unexpected. While The Conjuring was based on true events (as true as one may or may not wish to believe in the paranormal), Annabelle was mostly a work of fiction. I’ll admit I’m a bit of the fan of the Warrens and have read plenty about their investigations, and I certainly feel their life is ripe for the Hollywood treatment along with the hundreds of case files they developed over the years.  While the first Annabelle did well at the box office, it took a beating by critics, but those involved at the studio see that there is still money to be made as they continue to expand the franchise.
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    A Ghost Story

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 7th, 2017

    It’s difficult to be original and innovative when it comes to tackling a haunted house film. Ghost stories have been around for ages and told just about every way you can imagine, so what do you do to give the audience something they have never seen before? After coming back from directing Pete’s Dragon, writer/ director David Lowry a delivers a small intimate film that manages to take the haunted house story and makes it something unique from all the rest. Though when I say unique, and when I say innovative this may not be a positive for some. The film begins by introducing us to a couple played by Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara; their characters are simply credited as C & M.
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    Atomic Blonde

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 28th, 2017

    John Wick was an action film that seemed to sneak up on everyone. Sure, it had a great trailer, but I don’t think anyone expected to walk away from just how great it actually was. What made it so effective weren’t just the well-choreographed fights and the stylish look of the film, but it was the characters that while over the top, were also ones the audience could relate to. Atomic Blonde is helmed by half the directing team that gave us the first John Wick, and from what the trailers first teased us with, I came into it with hopes we’d get something special.  While on the surface I can’t say that this film surpasses John Wick, what it does is stand alone for being a culturally and socially important film as it delivers not just the ultimate badass female in an action film, but I believe the first that belongs in the LBGT community.  It’s a big deal what this character represents, but how does the rest of the film fare throughout the fistfights and shootouts?
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    Dunkirk

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 22nd, 2017

    When Christopher Nolan has a new release, it’s an event to get excited about. There are few directors I can say this about. Sure, there are directors that I like, but still there are few who manage to capture what makes going to the cinema an experience. Dunkirk is his latest cinematic opus. Despite it being his shortest film, with the exception of The Following; this is the first time he has shot a film entirely in IMAX form. What’s the big deal? Well, aside from the picture being twice the size of the regular format, what he does with these cameras is deliver a beautifully striking picture of destruction and survival.  There’s a lot of buzz going around with this film, and already it’s being looked at as the first real Oscar contender of the year.  Is the film worth the hype?  Is it really Nolan’s best picture?
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    War for the Planet of the Apes

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 14th, 2017

    “All of human history has led to this moment. The irony is we created you. And nature has been punishing us ever since. This is our last stand. And if we lose… it will be a Planet of Apes.”

    I was always a fan of the original Planet Of The Apes series of films. While they often flirted with a camp style, I was impressed with John Chambers’ makeup effects and the performances of Roddy McDowall as both Cornelius and Caesar.
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    Spider-Man Homecoming

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 6th, 2017

    “If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”

    Email hacks have taken over a big part of our nation’s conversation in recent times. Lost in the election leaks is the fact that Sony executives were also hacked, with many embarrassing emails released on the internet. The result was that the Sony Spider-Man plans for an extended universe of their own fell victim to the reveals. Executives were out of jobs, and suddenly Marvel and Sony were at the negotiating table, and while Sony still retains certain film rights to the friendly neighborhood
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    Baby Driver

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on July 2nd, 2017

    For the most part it seems the summer blockbusters tend to be sequels, superhero films, or CGI bonanzas that are simply eye candy to get us to films in the dark auditoriums to escape the heat. It’s rare that something comes along that is so clever and as fresh as Baby Driver.  Personally I’ve been a fan of Edgar Wright from the moment I first saw Shaun of the Dead, he was a writer and director that I felt knew how to make films fun. When he was set to direct his dream project Ant-Man, I was excited to see him finally get a chance to do a giant tent-pole studio film, but weeks before filming was set to begin he got pulled away and replaced. When it got announced he was working on an action-comedy named Baby Driver well I was excited but the film’s title had me scared, fears of him doing something along the lines of Baby’s Day Out ran through my mind
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    Despicable Me 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Delia on July 1st, 2017

    The Despicable Me series that includes Minions never seems to get tiring as they extend their comedy one more time with Despicable Me 3, opening this weekend. The key to the filmmaker’s success is the handling of the characters and inserting them into the animated movie with a plan in mind. That plan consists of starting with a little comedy involving the Minions, then working into some intense action that leads to a champion who either succeeds or fails. In the meantime there are multiple stories going on with each one targeting certain audience members.  Sounds complicated? Well, the best comedy adventure is intricate, and Illumination Studios does that very well.
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    Transformers: The Last Knight

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 22nd, 2017

    “These movies that I’ve done, they are massive movies. They take a lot out of you.”

    That’s director Michael Bay talking about his decade-long work on the Transformers franchise on the eve of the fifth(!) film’s arrival. The movie also doubles as Bay’s swan song in the director’s chair, so when he says, “They take a lot out of you,” the filmmaker is presumably talking about the massive amount of energy and manpower (and horsepower) these big-budget bonanzas require. The problem is “They take a lot out of you” has also applied more and more to each subsequent movie in this series. Transfomers: The Last Knight isn’t just a bad movie…it is painful and exhausting to watch.
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    Cars 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 17th, 2017

    “I’m about to commit a moving violation.”

    When I go to a Pixar film, I always find myself in a situation where I’m predisposed to love the movie. There have been so many greats like Toy Story and Monsters Inc and so few horrible examples like Ratatouille. So, I never really expect a Pixar film to be bad, and Cars 3 certainly wasn’t bad. There are more than a few things to love about the latest collaboration between Disney and their Pixar division. The animation company also continues to push the boundaries of digital animation technology.
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    47 Meters Down

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 16th, 2017

    It’s summertime, and that means it is time for those bikini-clad bodies to start decorating the beaches and become bait for everyone’s favorite predator of the ocean. For those who don’t tan and manage to only burn in direct sunlight, there is a safer alternative to the beach, and that is your local theater with the new film 47 Meters Down.  Last year we had the surprise hit The Shallows that made a valiant attempt at making the beach terrifying once again. I love a fun, cheesy shark film; it’s one of those cinematic pleasantries I feel we just don’t get enough of. With the wait for Meg being another year off, it seems 47 Meters Down is going to have to tide me over till then. Is it worth taking a dip?
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    My Cousin Rachel

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 12th, 2017

    I think we can all agree that at some point we’ve all managed to make a fool of ourselves in the name of love. It’s almost a rite of passage so to speak. As for that forbidden love, well, I’m not so sure how many people will be so eager to admit to this one. When it comes to the film My Cousin Rachel, it’s a love story, but far from what you’d find on the Hallmark channel. Instead this is a film about the nightmare of what love can be and what it can do to you. Back in the 90’s, Roger Michell directed one of the sweetest and optimistic romances of that decade when he did Notting Hill.Now it’s 2017 and his return to romance could not be any more bleak, but how beautifully bleak it all is.
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    It Comes At Night

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Dan Holland on June 9th, 2017

    A large majority of horror fans would agree that when sitting down to screen a horror film, they are not accustomed to being challenged intellectually. Sure, horror films might have a message that you can theorize about, but you can just as easily turn off your brain and watch the carnage mindlessly. That is not the case with It Comes at Night:  it demands your full attention from the start and then intensifies like a white-hot light. Cut from the same cloth as The Babadook and It Follows, It Comes at Night is a film that confronts you with very real anxieties that permeate our modern-day societies.
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    Megan Leavey

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 9th, 2017

    Armies have been using dogs in battle for thousands of years. The Romans would turn the dogs on their enemy as a signal of the approaching legions, hence the expression “Let loose the dogs of war”. But in recent decades dogs have found a new, perhaps more noble calling during wartime. Dogs have been used to search for lost soldiers. They have been trained to assist wounded soldiers. They have also learned to sniff out explosives, helping to clear mines and saving the lives of their handlers and hundreds of soldiers and civilians. That’s the kind of dog Rex is. And you’ll fall in love with him just as the titular character Megan Leavey did. The movie Megan Leavey is a bit of a character study, and one of those characters is a German Shepherd.
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    Wonder Woman

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 2nd, 2017

    You have been my greatest love. Be careful, Diana…they do not deserve you.”

    Ever since Richard Donner made us believe that a man can fly with 1978’s Superman — considered by many to be the first modern superhero film — we’ve gotten three different Men of Steel, along with five different versions of Batman (if you don’t count Will Arnett’s voiceover work). Heck, in the last 15 years alone we’ve had three Spider-Men and (incredibly) gone through three Hulks! Yet in all that time, a movie starring Wonder Woman — a superhero just as iconic as all the ones I just mentioned — could never get off the ground…until now. I’m happy to report it was worth the wait.
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    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 26th, 2017

    This may seem a peculiar request…but could someone explain why I’m here?”

    That question is posed slurred by Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp’s perpetually sloshed swashbuckler, during his very first appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Given that this is the fifth film in a faded franchise — and that Depp probably needs the money — the answer for why any of this is happening appears to be painfully obvious. Which is why I was delighted (and frankly a little shocked) by how much fun I had watching this latest entry, which manages to entertain while openly plundering the original movie’s winning formula.
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    Baywatch

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 25th, 2017

    In the vein established by 21 Jump Street of taking a serious television series and transforming it into a comedy comes Baywatch. I’m sure everyone remembers Baywatch, possibly one of the most watched television series of all time that featured buxom ladies like Pamela Anderson and Yasmine Bleeth in tight swimsuits, running in slow motion.  Transplanted for a moderate time period, this film adaptation features this generation’s hard bodies such as Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, and Alexandria Daddario (those eyes are hypnotic) taking on the established and iconic roles of Matt Brody, Mitch Buchannon, and Summer Quinn.
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    Alien Covenant

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 18th, 2017

    Alien Covenant is a perfect example of making a plan and sticking with it, because if you don’t you may be infected by an alien organism that will explode out of your chest. Graphic, I know, but informative, right? The latest installment in the Alien franchise picks up sometime after Prometheus and continues to pursue the critical question that was posed in the previous film: who created life? An intergalactic colonial expedition comes to face to face with their worst nightmare. It’s ironic how a mission to preserve life results in so much death.
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    The Wall

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 12th, 2017

    Director Doug Liman has been a director whose career I’ve enjoyed following since I was in high school and first saw Swingers. It was one of those cool independent films that appeared in the mid-90’s when independent films were all the rage.  A couple years later he did the film Go which I felt beautifully captured the rave culture that had taken the states by storm but the film was quickly overlooked.  Then he got his big break with The Bourne Identity and as his career expanded to Mr. and Mrs. Smith so did the budgets ie: Edge of Tomorrow. Now with the release of The Wall Liman seems to have gone back to his roots in a way in creating one of the most intimate and intense war films to hit the cinemas, despite its major release being set by Amazon Studios.
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    King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on May 12th, 2017

    So it finally happened; I found a Guy Ritchie film that I didn’t enjoy. I wasn’t expecting much from King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, but it is worth noting that I got even less than I expected. I know that sounds cruel, and I will admit that there were a few thing that I did enjoy, but the amount of things that went wrong versus what went right is not a close margin. Before we get into it fully, let me issue this disclaimer: the sword in the stone, which is known in the film as Excalibur, according to Arthurian legend is not really Excalibur, which is a different sword that Arthur was given after he became king.
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    Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 4th, 2017

    “Of course I have issues; that’s my father.” 

    When I walked out of the theater in 2014 after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy I knew I had just seen something special, and knowing a sequel was already guaranteed had me excited to see what was next for this band of misfits.  Since the release in 2014 the film hasn’t just become my favorite Marvel film; it is one of my favorite films, period.  So as photos and trailers began to trickle out, I began to wonder if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 could actually hold up to the first.  For many the first film was a surprise hit that no one saw coming, something so toe-tapping fun between the soundtrack and action scenes, but most importantly it was the chemistry of the Guardians that had won over the audiences.
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    Free Fire

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 22nd, 2017

    One of the hardest things to pull off in a movie is the minimalist “ship in a bottle” trick. Television shows do it often to try to save money on their seasons. Most of the time it doesn’t work. There are notable exceptions. The same is true for a movie. You have to limit your running time. You have to quickly set up a small group of characters, and you can’t waste any time getting to the point. Ben Wheatley hits all of the right buttons in Free Fire, and he’s promising to take you on a hell of a ride without ever changing locations. It looks so simple. You figure anybody can do it…and they can. But few can do it well. The entire action in the 85-minute film could have easily been a throwaway scene in another feature film.
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    The Lost City Of Z

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on April 21st, 2017

    The best way to describe this film is epic; they really don’t make films like this anymore, and leave it to Amazon Studios to present us with such an ambitious film.  At one time Brad Pitt was set to star in the film, and then the lead role was offered up to Benedict Cumberbatch. Due to his conflicting schedule with Doctor Strange, he too had to drop out. Eventually Charlie Hunnam (Crimson Peak, Sons of Anarchy) was given the role, and to be honest, I don’t think there is another actor who is more suited for the role. Percy Fawcett (Hunnam) was a loyal soldier in the British army who seemed to never get the recognition that he deserved, and frankly this is something I feel Hunnam can relate to. He’s been in some great roles over the years, but somehow he’s a guy who’s been overlooked and hasn’t quite gotten the spotlight that he deserves.
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    The Fate Of The Furious

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on April 14th, 2017

    Family is everything to Dominic Toretto. He has said as much in Furious 7, “I don’t have friends, I have family.” Over the course of seven films, we have seen him undertake impossible task including driving a car off a plane or through a building in order to rescue or avenge a member of said family. So what would make him make him betray that very family? In The Fate of the Furious, the team will face the biggest challenge they have ever faced when they find themselves working against their very leader. The long-running film franchise continues to up the ante with the action, producing its most action-packed film to date. Every time I think that there is no way the series can top itself, they add a tank or drive off a plane. This time, they got a submarine, y’all.
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