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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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    Danny Collins

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 7th, 2015

    “The following is kind of based on a true story, a little bit.” 

    In 2005 British folk singer/songwriter Steve Tilston found out something amazing had happened to him but he never knew it. John Lennon had written a letter to him in 1971 providing him with some career encouragement and his home phone number. It was after an interview with the musician in ZigZag Magazine revealed that Lennon was one of Tilston’s idols that got the attention of the former Beatle
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    Woman in Gold

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 31st, 2015

    Most true life stories are remarkable in some way. If you can get to the truth of real-life history, it almost always unearths treasures of understanding. Art is the process of revealing hidden truth and beauty in real life. Woman In Gold is the story of a painting that was sold for $135,000,000 in 2006 to an heir of Estee Lauder. It was the highest price for a painting at the time. There is a remarkable story that takes place around the painting. It involves the Nazi theft of art in World War II. A previous film, Monuments Men, tackled the subject a couple of years ago.
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    Insurgent

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 21st, 2015

    When Divergent ended, it planted the seed for the sequels that would follow.  I really enjoyed the first installment and our introduction into the factions that supported this society.  What I enjoyed most after revisiting the film is how the film handles the budding relationship between Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James), never too sappy but being a couple we could root for since they were both outsiders to their community.  Now that the factions and the characters have all been set up, and with the rebellion beginning to take shape at the end of the first film, Insurgent wastes no time in jumping into the story and delivering one of the better sequels in some time.
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    Cinderella (2015)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 14th, 2015

    “Have courage and be kind.”

    Those words — repeated many times in this newest version of Cinderella — serve as both the title character’s mantra and the film’s unofficial tagline. The message is elegant in its simplicity in a way that mirrors this refreshingly old-fashioned adaptation, which resists the prevailing urge to modernize and/or revise a classic story.
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    Run All Night

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 12th, 2015

    “Tell everyone to get ready.  Jimmy is coming.” 

    If someone were to tell me while walking out of Schindler’s List that 20 years later Liam Neeson would be an action star, I would have thought they were out of their mind.  Between the trio of Taken films and numerous films that seem to be cut from the same ilk, Liam Neeson seems to be walking in the same footsteps as Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood as being the go-to everyman that just so happens to be a badass with or without a gun.
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    The Salvation

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on March 10th, 2015

    It’s hard to understand our relation to the past today, especially in America. Africa, Europe and Asia had ancient history, but the USA only really has the Old West. This country has no real history, and most of its people came from other parts of the world. The immigrants would funnel into New York City to get away from the Old World, looking to build a better life. The West was unpopulated and barely governed. Most small towns were ruled by the man who could hire the most guns. If we think things are bad today, we really don’t understand how it was when people could be gunned down with little consequence. Sheriffs were often scared, alone, and afraid that each day could be their last. Most people tried to stay to themselves and avoid getting shot. It was a dirty and bleak life.
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