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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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    The Zookeeper’s Wife

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 3rd, 2017

    “What have you been up to in your little zoo?”

    It appears that we have been due for one of those untold stories amid the many tales of courage and bravery both fact and fiction, real and imagined, that have been told of the World War II era. There have been plenty of the battlefield hero films that include last year’s exceptional Hacksaw Ridge from Mel Gibson. Then there are the quiet and unlikely heroes. These are people who did incredible things that were often unknown during the war and often even after it was all over. Schindler’s List has become the gold standard for these kinds of emotional war movies. The Zookeeper’s Wife is set in the mold of that kind of a film, telling essentially that very kind of tale.
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    Life

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 1st, 2017

    “In space no one can hear you scream”

    Yes, Life is very much a knockoff on the basic premise of 1979’s Alien. That’s not so much of a problem for me. It’s become increasingly true that there are few truly original ideas remaining, at least in Hollywood. And while it’s trendy to complain that this is the unique state of affairs of our time, that isn’t really true either. Alien itself was pretty much a knockoff of the 1958 classic It The Terror From Beyond Space, where a vicious life-form is a stowaway on a ship sent to rescue the lone survivor of a Martian expedition. In all three films we are treated to a claustrophobic rendition of Agatha Christi’s Ten Little Indians as an alien creature picks off the confined astronauts one at a time.
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    Trainspotting 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 31st, 2017

    “First, there is an opportunity.  Then…there’s a betrayal.”

    It’s been 20 years since the release of Trainspotting, and it’s fair to say a lot has changed in the past two decades.  I remember going out to the United Artists Mission Bell Cinemas to see Trainspotting the weekend it came out.  I was with my best friend at the time, and neither of us was old enough to buy tickets for the film, so we ended up having to sneak into the film.  We’d seen the trailers, and in a time before the internet, there just wasn’t much we could find out about it aside from reading articles in the entertainment magazines.  To this day, I remember walking out of the auditorium simply floored by the film.
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    Wilson

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on March 25th, 2017

    Daniel Clowes  is one of a handful of writers in the industry that when I see his name attached to a project I can’t help but be curious to see what he’s up to.  In 2001 he wrote Ghost World, which was based on the comic he created. It was an independent film smash, and I’d consider it a cult sensation.  Then he had Art School Confidential that had the same humor and a great cast, but it just didn’t seem to connect as well with audiences.  I love the odd little characters Clowes manages to bring to life, despite many being so over-the-top, he manages to somehow keep them grounded in reality.  So when the offer came along to review Wilson, the new film he’s written based off his graphic novel, it was an offer I couldn’t pass up.
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    Power Rangers

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on March 24th, 2017

    “Did you just slap me?”

    “Yeah….weird, right?”

    Well, to steal the most popular catch phrase of the television series: “It’s Morphin Time!” That’s right, folks; the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are once again coming to the silver screen.  Personally, after experiencing several remakes as well as more television reboots than I can even count, I found myself highly skeptical about this undertaking. Childhood nostalgia is the only thing that motivated me to see this movie, and even then I went into the screening expecting a cheesy and cliché film that was going to tarnish the memory of the show that I once loved. I am proud to say that I have never been so wrong.  Not only was this action movie great, it is going into the top five of movies that I have seen this year.
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    Beauty and the Beast (2017)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on March 17th, 2017

    “Who could ever learn to love a beast?”

    Although it’s not quite a tale as old as time, people around the world have been enchanted by the story of “Beauty and the Beast” for centuries. The French fairytale was first published in 1740 and has subsequently spawned everything from a classic 1946 big-screen romance to Ron Perlman. Still, the most popular iteration of this story is Disney’s beloved 1991 animated musical, which helped solidify the Mouse House’s cartoon revival and serves as the most direct inspiration for this dazzling live-action adaptation. Then again, the fact that this new version is essentially a pretty close copy of a copy takes some of the bloom off this particular rose.
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    Kong: Skull Island

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

    Every year it seems the “summer” movie season starts sooner than the year before.  Here we are, the second Friday of March, and already we’ve seen the huge box office weekend for Logan, and now this weekend we have the release of Kong: Skull Island.  Ever since Kong first graced the big screen back in 1933, every film that followed was a mega-event. Personally it wasn’t till 2005 that theatergoers got to fully experience the massive beast in all his glory as he became worthy of the title “the 8th wonder of the world”.  Now we have Legendary Entertainment playing in the giant monster movie sandbox with plans to set up a series of monster films.  All this leads up to the inevitable clash of the kaiju monsters where we will finally see the showdown of Godzilla vs. King Kong.  Before we begin to get too excited, how does our current trip to Skull Island fare?
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    Logan

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 2nd, 2017

    “I always know who you are. It’s just that sometimes I don’t recognize you.”

    Logan is perhaps one of the most interesting, endearing and popular characters in the Marvel universe. Wolverine has the distinction of having been created by someone other than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. While they invented the X-Men team from which the adamantium-clawed warrior was born, he was actually created by the team of Len Wein and John Romita, Sr. in the mid 1970’s. Since that time the character has taken on a life of his own, a life that is as much owed to actor Hugh Jackman as anyone else.
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    Get Out

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on February 24th, 2017

    Sometimes…if there’s too many white people, I get nervous.”

    Some of the very best horror films/psychological thrillers succeed by taking a relatable source of anxiety and cranking it to 11. For example, The Exorcist can be viewed as the worst-case scenario for anyone suffering a crisis of faith, while The Shining taps into the madness of being cooped up with your family for too long. Get Out works because it uses the nerve-wracking experience of meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time as a jumping-off point to tell a subversive, insightful, and entertaining story that mashes together Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and The Stepford Wives.
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