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Today:  11/20/2017

Review: Hit the snooze bar on 'Amityville: The Awakening'

Posted November 14,2017 - 04:48 PM

Amityville

Amityville: The Awakening was originally set to be released in theaters on January 2, 2015.

Then, it was moved to April 15, 2016.

Of course, that date didn't last and it was pushed up to April Fool's day 2016.

Bad test screening scores pushed it to January 6, 2017.

For Christmas 2016, fans of the long-running horror series were given coal in their stockings when Amityville: The Awakening was moved yet again to June 30, 2017.

Sadly, that date didn't stick and finally, the film was dumped in a very limited release over Halloween weekend a couple of weeks ago (I bet you have a new appreciation for all of the release date work we have to do now). How limited was the release? It played in 10 theaters and earned a measly $742 total, that's like 5 tickets sold per each theater.

Films...

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Review: 'Hamilton: Building America' strikes at the perfect time

Posted November 14,2017 - 03:23 PM

Hamilton

Before Lin-Manuel Miranda introduced the world to the "forgotten founding father" with his smash hit play "Hamilton," most people only knew who Alexander Hamilton was when they looked at their $10 bills. Sure, we learned about him in our history classes, but among the myriad of brave rebels that helped to shape and form our country, he was given the short shrift.

That all changed with a little hip-hop and some sick beats. Now, there's probably no other revolutionary figure with greater name recognition save for maybe George Washington. That's the power of music and Broadway. And yes, before you ask, I'm listening to the soundtrack of the musical as I write this review ("Rise Up!").

And yet, as slick as the musical is, it really does gloss over many of the important details of...

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Review: Noomi Rapace is lethal in 'Unlocked'

Posted November 14,2017 - 12:02 PM

Unlocked

If you ask the typical American who Noomi Rapace is, they might be able to tell you that she was the lead in Prometheus - maybe. The talented Swedish actress is much more than the sum of one commercial flop and true cinephiles appreciate her large body of work.

Namely, she skyrocketed to fame as the original Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish trilogy of films based on author Stieg Larsson's series of books. It was evident in those films, and before, that Noomi is the type of actress that can carry a film and is on the cusp of a major breakout. While the lackluster reception of Prometheus may have delayed her progression to a household name, she is still a commanding presence in any film.

In Unlocked, she again commands the spotlight as a disgraced CIA interrogator dealing with a failed...

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Review: Pixar comes full oval with 'Cars 3'

Posted November 07,2017 - 04:17 PM

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In my little world, I like to pretend that Cars 2 was never made. In this alternate reality, we weren't subjected to the lame James Bond spoof that ultimately spawned the abomination that is Planes. I would argue that Cars 2 is the only bad film that Pixar has made (Planes and its sequel were spinoffs created by DisneyToon Studios so they don't count).

That's an exceptional track record, but I have to admit that I had a bit of trepidation when I waded back into this world for Cars 3. Thankfully, the filmmakers treat Cars 2 as the abomination that it is and there is barely a reference to the wayward globetrotting installment.

Instead, Cars 3 is a faithful romp that tugs at the heartstrings of anyone who has come face-to-face with the natural progression of things. It is only fitting...

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Review: 'The Show' needs a mid-season twist

Posted November 07,2017 - 02:38 PM

Show

I have to admit it. There was a time when I was addicted to reality TV. It was my crack and I was a willing addict willing to do anything to get my fix. Thankfully, my obsession subsided before the Kardashians rolled into town, but it was a close call.

Given my reality TV past, I think that I was well-qualified to review The Show (formerly This is Your Death). Given our society's infatuation with reality TV in every form imaginable, this is a film that I think will resonate strongly with many of its viewers. The only problem is that the film has trouble finding its tonal direction and Josh Duhamel is often left trying to steer a rudderless ship.



The premise of the film is strikingly simple, yet also complex. When a Bachelor-esque reality TV show takes a violent turn on live...

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Review: Antonio Banderas tries on comedy in 'Gun Shy'

Posted November 07,2017 - 01:27 PM

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When it comes to Antonio Banderas and comedy films, he usually has much more luck when the film is animated. He enjoyed great success voicing Puss in Boots in the Shrek films and his own spin-off, but his attempts at live-action comedy have been rather pedestrian.

I mean, who can ever forget Miami Rhapsody or Two Much? And not in that good way of being unforgettable.

No, Antonio Banderas is one of those actors that is better suited for action, so at first glance of the artwork, you would think that he would be safe in Gun Shy. But, looks can be deceiving and while Gun Shy is touted as an action film and is directed by all-star action director Simon West, it's anything but an action film.



Sure, there are explosions and plenty of gunfire, but the film more resembles box office...

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Review: Halle Berry is one-woman show in 'Kidnap'

Posted October 31,2017 - 11:17 AM

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Let's be honest for a minute. The only reason that the film Kidnap exists is to showcase Halle Berry in her own version of Taken. With that out of the way, the end result is a moderately suspenseful thrill ride that long overstays its paltry 82-minute run time.

And yet, there's just something about Halle Berry and her dogged mama-bear mentality that tugs at the heartstrings.

As a new parent, this film is a rising fastball right down the middle of my greatest fear: that my child may be kidnapped. We all hear about the horrible reality of child abductions on the TV, but we never think it will happen to us. I'm sure that's what was going through Halle Berry's character Karla's mind when she took the call from her divorce lawyer.

And just like that, her son is taken and the film's...

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Review: 'Slaughter High' is a bloody good time on Blu-ray

Posted October 31,2017 - 10:14 AM

Slaughterhigh

I recently took my kids to the local video store for the first time. It had been ages since I had last visited one, a perk and a downfall of working in "the business." Since it was right before Halloween, they had all of their classic horror films prominently displayed together up front.

As I perused this section, I wasn't shocked to find Slaughter High among their curated picks. This is a film that has been a fan favorite since its release in 1986 and has only grown in popularity as it reached cult classic territory. Unfortunately, this is also a film that had never been made available on Blu-ray.

Well, that oversight was corrected today.

Thanks to Lionsgate's Vestron Video Collector's Series, a number of classic horror and slasher films are getting a facelift on Blu-ray. This...

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Review: 'Warrior' dominates on 4K UHD

Posted October 24,2017 - 04:26 PM

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Warrior is a film that I have been wanting to see for a long time. You'll forgive me for missing it when it first came out, I was busying adjusting to fatherhood with the birth of my daughter at the time. It's probably a happy coincidence that this life event helped to delay a film about an alcoholic father until I had a few years to get comfortable with the role of father myself.

So, it was with fresh eyes and a slightly more realistic view of parenting that I sat down to review Warrior for the first time. It also happened to be the 4K UHD version which made the experience even more satisfying.

The one thing that immediately jumped out at me was how much the film paralleled my own life. I have a brother and we both have mixed feelings about our father. No, neither one of us was a war...

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Review: Universal reaches peak 'Hitchcock' with 'Ultimate Collection'

Posted October 19,2017 - 03:26 PM

Hitch

There are few filmmakers that have made a bigger impact on American film than Alfred Hitchcock. While he was known as the "master of suspense," Hitchcock was a terrific all-around filmmaker that influenced young movie makers for half of a century and counting.

I was fortunate to review the Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection on Blu-ray and it gave me an opportunity to reflect on his film catalog. The Ultimate Collection contains 15 of Hitchcock's most iconic films and two discs full of television episodes from his various TV appearances.

It is the latest in a long list of Alfred Hitchcock collections that Universal has released in order to maximize their catalog of the director's most prominent films. It seems that each collection is a bit different, so I suppose it just depends...

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