FROZEN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 16 days ago

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It’s no shock that Frozen — the great animated film by Disney — became a hit, but it’s a little surprising it became a phenomenon.  Currently the film is still in theaters, even though it’s now on DVD and Blu-ray, and it’s about to cross the $400 Million dollar mark domestically, while it’s now the twelfth highest grossing film of all time worldwide (unadjusted, of course), and could cross into the top ten when all is said and done.  What made this so special? Kristen Bell, Josh Gad and Idina Menzel lead the voice actors, and my review of Frozen on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 17 days ago

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Quentin Tarantino recently pointed out that with most directors there’s a notable falling off of quality as they get older.  That their last three films are often their worst.  And it’s true that with most directors that’s the case.  Martin Scorsese is currently 71 years old, and is a notable exception.  The Wolf of Wall Street is one of his best films.  It joins such established masterpieces as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas in the upper echelon of his work, and it’s the best performance that Leonardo DiCaprio has ever given.  My review of The Wolf of Wall Street on Blu-ray follows after the jump.

AMERICAN HUSTLE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 19 days ago

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It may speak to the year or the film itself, but David O. Russell’s American Hustle exploded on the scene, arriving to quickly become an Oscar front runner, and netting ten nominations in the process (while also grossing nearly $150 Million at the box office).  But by the time of the awards ceremony, Hustle went home empty handed, even though stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence we all nominated.  The film turned out to be all sizzle and no steak.  Which is actually the story of the movie as two hustlers are put on the spot by the FBI to help catch bigger swindlers.  My review of American Hustle on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 25 days ago

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It’s hard not to be impressed by blockbusters right now.  2013’s top three films were The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Iron Man 3 and Frozen.  All good to great movies.  Catching Fire proved the most successful of the lot, grossing well over $400 million, and even outperformed the first film.  Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, who is forced to compete in a battle royale yet again in the savage Quarter Quell with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) at her side, and with her love Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) watching from a distance.  My review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire follows after the jump. 

OLDBOY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 31 days ago

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At this point Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy is something of an underdog.  One of 2013’s bigger bombs, the film got shellacked by critics who found it lacking in comparison to Park Chan-wook’s original adaptation of the manga, while audiences had no interest in the movie, which – for whatever reason – opened Thanksgiving weekend.  It’s not that bad, it just is hard to watch without comparing it to the original, which is clearly superior.  This film tries to do its own things, and there are moments of inspiration, but… Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley and Elizabeth Olsen star in the remake, and my review of the film on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

GRAVITY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 34 days ago

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Gravity just won seven Oscars, including two for editor/director Alfonso Cuarón, and was a blockbuster at the box office, grossing over $270 Million domestic and over $700 million worldwide.  It was a theatrical experience, meant to be seen in 3D on Imax in a Dolby Atmos theater.  Which means it’s exactly the sort of film that might not be as much fun to watch at home.  So how does it fare on the small screen? Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in the film, and my review of the 2D version of Gravity on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 55 days ago

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Paul Greengrass has thread the needle with Captain Phillips.  The director has achieved box office successes with his Bourne movies (Supremacy and Ultimatum), but with this film he is able to incorporate his “you are there” faux-documentary approach to a real life story in a way that was appealing to the masses.  Perhaps it helps that Tom Hanks is his star, as there is no greater everyman working in cinema today.  My review of Captain Phillips on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

BLUE JASMINE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 61 days ago

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Though the movie may be currently overshadowed by decades old events that have no bearing on the film itself, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is one of his stronger late-period films, with a brilliant performance by Cate Blanchett as a woman of money who finds herself living with her sister (Sally Hawkins) and on the verge of madness.  My review of Blue Jasmine follows after the jump.  

BAD GRANDPA Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 65 days ago

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When Ryan Dunn passed away, it meant there was a hole in the heart of the Jackass crew, and likely spelled the end of the group’s feature film work.  To sidestep that tragedy, Johnny Knoxville took a character from those shows and movies and spun it off into a feature film: Irving Zisman, the dirty old man who once bellowed he was Lon Chaney’s lover.  Zisman is the focus of the move Bad Grandpa, and here the Jackass group are working within the confines of a narrative feature (which makes it feel similar to the Sacha Baron Cohen films), but get great results.  My review of Bad Grandpa on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

LAST VEGAS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 72 days ago

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Last Vegas is the sort of film that lets you know what it is just by the premise and cast.  Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline star in the film, and all are talented performers, but does anyone really want to see them in a PG-13 version of The Hangover? My review of Last Vegas on Blu-ray follows after the jump.

RUSH Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 82 days ago

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As a director, Ron Howard has always described himself as a journeyman who put the story first.  He’s never embraced a particular visual style, which means he can make something great, or something less than, but it’s always going to be determined by the material and the performers.  2013’s Rush is one of his better films, though it didn’t catch on domestically.  Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl star as ultra-competitive Formula One race car drivers who approach the sport differently, but eventually come to respect each other.  My review of the Blu-ray follows after the jump.

JFK 50 Year Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 102 days ago

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To mark the fiftieth anniversary of his passing, Warner Brothers has assembled a box set that honors John F.  Kennedy, his life, and his assassination.  In it there are three documentaries about him, and the feature films PT-109, and Oliver Stone’s JFK… which isn’t so much about the president, but the conspiracies that surrounded his assassination.  My review of the JFK box set follows after the jump.

RED 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 120 days ago

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Red 2 is a very obvious film.  It’s pleasant enough, but you know what you’re getting, which is old actors engaging in Bond-esque behavior.  It’s all fluffy and light, and seems geared towards Sunday afternoon cable viewing.  On that level it delivers.  But whether it’s demeaning or charming that so many talented performers are doing something so beneath them is up to the viewer.  Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren lead the cast and my review of Red 2 follows after the jump.

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