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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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    Transformers: Age of Extinction

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 27th, 2014

    When I was a young boy I loved playing with my toys. We didn’t have Transformers in those days, but we did have Major Matt Mason, plastic dinosaurs, Hot Wheels and Creepy Crawlers Thingmaker sets. Yeah, in those days a toy could cause third degree burns, and no one really worried about getting sued. Kind of takes the fun out of being a kid today. You know who else, I bet, loved to play with his toys? Michael Bay. I bet he had the coolest toys in his neighborhood. He probably wasn’t the best guy to be friends with, however. He didn’t invite the kids over to play with his toys. He likely charged you a nickel to watch him play with them
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    Jersey Boys

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 20th, 2014

    “You sell 100 million records, and see how you handle it.”

    If you’ve ever seen an episode of Behind the Music — or followed popular culture at all in the previous century — then you probably know artists tend to not handle that level of success very well. However, the rise and (inevitable) fall of the original Four Seasons lineup is unique for a number reasons. Unfortunately, very few of those reasons are captured in Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood’s oddly lifeless, workmanlike adaptation of the joyous, wildly-popular Broadway musical.
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    The Rover

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 20th, 2014

    “You should never stop thinking about a life you’ve taken.  That’s the price you pay for taking it.”

    In 2010 David Michod directed his first full-length feature Animal Kingdom. It was a critical success, and he went on to pick up a Best Director award with the Australian Directors’ Guild.  Now Michod has completed his sophomore effort, The Rover, which does explore some familiar ground with criminal families, but the film takes a more introspective approach to life and what matters most in the world when you believe you have nothing left to lose.
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    22 Jump Street

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on June 15th, 2014

    When I see films I don’t like, I tend to dismiss them. I have seen many, many movies over the years, and I have seen many, many terrible movies. In the last few years, there have been an increasing number of post-modern, self-referential meta-movies full of smarmy irony. So many of these films have been made that it seems that I don’t see simple un-ironic movies that are just plain funny anymore. It is actually a great skill to create something really funny. 22 Jump Street is supposed to be a stupid comedy that one can enjoy without thinking.
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    Edge of Tomorrow

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 6th, 2014

    “What I am about to tell you sounds crazy. But you have to listen to me. Your very lives depend on it. You see, this isn’t the first time.”

    No, this isn’t the first time. Tom Cruise seems to be making a habit of these science fiction action movies of late. There was Oblivion and War Of The Worlds, and quite frankly Edge Of Tomorrow looked to be pretty much more of the same. But there’s a huge difference between this film and the previous two. Edge Of Tomorrow is actually good. What looks on the surface to be just Groundhog Day with futuristic toys turns out to be a redemption story that I actually never saw coming.
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    The Fault in Our Stars

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 6th, 2014

    “I believe we have a choice in this world about how to tell sad stories. On the one hand, you can sugarcoat it. Nothing is too messed up that can’t be fixed with a Peter Gabriel song. I like that version as much as the next girl does. It’s just not the truth.”

    With its beautiful leads and an impossibly romantic European interlude, I wouldn’t exactly say The Fault in Our Stars gets at the truth either. But the film has enough authentic touches — and, more importantly, treats its characters with enough unvarnished affection — to make it one of the most effective tearjerkers in recent years.
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    A Million Ways To Die In the West

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 30th, 2014

    With the exception of Blazing Saddles and City Slickers, it’s not easy to come up with a successful western/comedy.  But leave to Seth MacFarlane to venture into this territory with his irreverent humor in tow as he looks to beat the odds and make a successful western with his new film A Million Ways to Die in the West.  Following the success of Ted, I was looking forward to seeing what MacFarlane would do next; after all, I feel he’s the comedian who speaks to my generation better than anyone else out there.  As one of the comedy greats of the time, I had little doubt about his ability to write and direct another hit, but where my concern mainly fell is on how he would fare as the leading man.
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    Maleficent

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 30th, 2014

    If Christopher Nolan’s take on The Joker isn’t the very best example of modern cinematic villainy, then it’s near the top of the list. Obviously, a tremendous amount of credit goes to Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance in The Dark Knight, but I’d argue the real thrill comes from the character’s arbitrary, inexplicable approach to evil. By having its Joker invent tragic (fake) backstories on the spot, the film made a mockery out of the notion of having to explain a movie monster’s past. Disney’s Maleficent, on the other hand, is the latest misguided attempt to redeem a character who was better off being unredeemable.
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    Only Lovers Left Alive

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on May 27th, 2014

    Vampires have been popular since Bram Stoker and Sheridan Le Fanu started writing about them nearly 200 years ago, but vampires have been around much longer than that. That seems to be how the story goes. That’s part of the problem. In Only Lovers Left Alive, it’s difficult for a vampire to overcome  his boredom and disappointment with “zombies”, as he calls the human mortals. These vampires try to subsist on blood banks. Not only is it more humane, but that way they know the blood is tested. They don’t like blood-borne pathogens
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    Chef

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on May 26th, 2014

    Chef has a fantastic cast having fun, being sexy and making us happy. It must have been a blast for everyone involved. Everyone is probably involved because they love writer/director/star, Jon Favreau. Favreau’s directorial efforts are varied and include Iron Man I, Iron Man II, Cowboys and Aliens, Zathura, Elf and Made. He made an early impact in 1996 by writing and starring in Swingers. He is also familiar to audiences as Happy Hogan, Robert Downey Jr.’s security chief, in the Iron Man series
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    Belle

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on May 25th, 2014

    There is a famous painting from 1779 of Dido Elizabeth Belle with her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray which is owned by the present Earl of Mansfield and rests in Perth Palace. It is the inspiration for the movie Belle. The history of events that swirled around Belle are pertinent to this day. The film doesn’t always hold to historical accuracy, but mostly in matters that do not aid the excellent story being told. The historical inaccuracies are minor and mostly irrelevant. Here is what is true. Belle is the daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay and an enslaved African, Maria Belle. Lindsay had his uncle, William Murray, take care of her at his estate
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    X-Men: Days of Future Past

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 23rd, 2014

    “You and I have a lot of catching up to do. What’s the last thing you remember?”

    In 2006 director Bryan Singer appeared to have turned his back on the film franchise he had brought to life. After two successful runs at the X-Men universe Singer was primed and ready for a third when a certain Man Of Steel caught his eye. At seemingly, the last minute Singer dropped out of the third X-Men film to direct the dubious return of Superman. I actually like Superman Returns better than most. I wonder how much of the film’s hatred might have been directed at its director, considered a traitor by many fans. I never really looked at it quite that way. It’s a business, after all, and people come and go.
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    Godzilla (2014)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on May 16th, 2014

    “It’s not the end of the world.”

    I still remember the night I walked out of the screening of the Roland Emmerich version of Godzilla.  I can’t remember a time I had ever been so angry at a film.  It was a film that was an insult to the monster that I had held in such high regard right alongside King Kong.  Sure I had seen the trailers, but when I saw that first reveal of their “Godzilla” I cringed; I hated it.  Had the film been called anything else perhaps my loathing towards it would have been different, but it was a film that was foolish enough to hold the name of Godzilla.
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    Million Dollar Arm

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Paul O'Callaghan on May 16th, 2014

    Baseball is huge, and Bollywood is huge, so imagine if you put them together. In many ways, Million Dollar Arm is about Indian culture and what a separate world it is from ours. The film starts out in Los Angeles where J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm from Mad Men) is a sports agent who has broken off from a big agency to start his own firm. His partner, Aash (Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show), is very nervous about where their next client is coming from since they lost a big one right at the start of the film.
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