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Today:  04/24/2019

Review: 'The Witch' is delicious on 4K UHD

Posted April 23,2019 - 03:39 PM

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There are few films that truly shake you to your core. In the last decade, I can probably count on one hand the number of movies that have left me in such a state. The Witch is one of those films.

The directorial debut of young filmmaker Robert Eggers (he also wrote the script), The Witch is a period horror film set in the cradle of America when it was still in its infancy. It's 1630 and a devout Christian homesteader is expelled from his village over religious differences. Left to survive the harsh wilderness alone, the young family is soon tormented by supernatural forces.



I'm not going to lie. I have been waiting for this film to make its way on 4K UHD since the format debuted. With its extended fade to black scenes and eery soundtrack, there are few films more primed to...

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Review: 'The Karate Kid' is still a winner on 4K UHD

Posted April 17,2019 - 05:20 PM

Karate

"Wax on, wax off."

With these words, a whole new generation of teen coming of age films debuted in the summer of 1984. That was also the year that I turned 10, so this film played a significant role in shaping my pre-pubescent development and beyond. In retrospect, as it celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, it's really a simple film with universal themes that would shape the course of teen movies for over a decade and then some.

With the recent debut of the YouTube series Cobra Kai in which original actors Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprise their characters and rivalry from The Karate Kid, the film is just as topical now as it was when it came out over three decades ago. You only have to look around at the state of rampant bullying in our schools to realize that the...

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Review: 'Replicas' will test your limits

Posted April 16,2019 - 05:11 PM

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Ever since John Wick came out, everybody wants to be in the Keanu Reeves business. They especially want Keanu in their heavy action knock offs or sci-fi mind benders.

This is where Replicas comes in.

A good science fiction film asks questions and brings up moral conundrums. A great science fiction film attempts to answer them. Replicas is neither, but gets a B- for the effort I suppose.

Keanu plays a neuroscientist (hold your laughs until the end) who is on the verge of transferring human consciousness into a computer. After his latest failure, his family is predictably killed in a car crash and his grief compels him to do the unspeakable.



To be clear, the high-concept ideas behind Replicas are admirable. What is human consciousness? What are the ethical and empirical...

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Review: 'Jurassic Pet' holds magic for the little ones

Posted April 16,2019 - 12:34 PM

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I don't know if there has ever been such a disparity in tone and subject matter between reviews on the same day as there is today. First up is the family film The Adventures of Jurassic Pet, which is squarely aimed at the younger set who are obsessed with dinosaurs but still watches parts of Jurassic World behind their fingers.

My five-year-old son is squarely within this demographic and I only wish that I would have recorded his reaction upon seeing the review DVD for The Adventures of Jurassic Pet. Needless to say, he became very animated as kids of his age are wont to do and he started demanding that we watch it immediately.

Thankfully, I was able to convince him to wait until a rainy Saturday morning and watch it together as a family. I'm glad that I waited because the experience...

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Review: 'Project Blue Book' is a worthy 'X-Files' successor

Posted April 09,2019 - 04:39 PM

Bluebook

I would say that the first TV show that I became obsessively compulsive about was The X-Files. Scratch that, I was hooked by Twin Peaks first, but that show was more about mere curiosity as it wasn't until I was older that I truly appreciated Twin Peaks for the brilliance that it is.

No, The X-Files debuted during my first semester in college, so you could say that I was the proverbial target demographic for the show. I caught episodes here and there in college. What can I say? I was in college and there were more important things to do on a Friday night. Or at least I like to pretend that I had more interesting plans weekly. Regardless, I really got into the show after college around season four and watched it religiously until its conclusion (?) last year.

So, you have to imagine...

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Review: 'Man on a Ledge' steps out on 4K UHD

Posted April 09,2019 - 02:40 PM

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The problem with most big summer blockbusters is that they usually trade plot holes for bigger and better explosions. It's sort of like a magician and sleight of hand. The filmmakers hope that you don't spend too much time thinking about the plot and more time going "ooh" and "aah" at the pretty pyrotechnics.

Thankfully, Man on a Ledge was released in theaters in January (of 2012) where films go to find a quick death. And yet, much like its more marketed summer releases, Man on a Ledge is an enjoyable popcorn film as long as you don't take too much time to dissect its rather glaring shortcomings.

But, this review isn't going to be a discourse into better plotting for big action movies. No, this is a 4K UHD review of a film that I vaguely remember enjoying more than I expected to seven...

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Review: 'Berlin, I Love You' is a quirky odyssey

Posted April 08,2019 - 04:12 PM

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I have a love/hate (no pun intended) relationship with Emmanuel Benbihy's Cities of Love series. I adored Paris, Je T'aime and New York, I Love You had several stories that really hit home with me. But, I wasn't as enthused by the last installment, Rio, I Love You.

My honest first reaction to hearing the Berlin would host the next stop on the Cities of Love tour was confusion. I mean, love isn't probably in the top 10 list of emotions when you say "Berlin," so basing ten love stories there just didn't seem like a wise choice in my opinion. The obvious next choices would have been something a bit more traditional such as London or Rome, but the producers chose Berlin and it quickly becomes apparent that this installment isn't like the others in the popular film series.

The Cities...

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Review: 'Nancy Drew' gets a modern-day makeover

Posted April 02,2019 - 05:05 PM

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The character of Nancy Drew has been around since 1930 and her books have been read by three or four different generations. As is often the case, a character evolves as the world around her advances. The Nancy Drew of the 1950s was as foreign to the original Nancy Drew as the one in Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase was to the one in the 1950s.

And that's a good thing.

I remember reading the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books growing up mostly due to my insatiable thirst for good mystery stories. I'm a sucker for a young ingenue that uses his or her wits to get one over on the bad guys. The character that I grew up on was much different than the tough and tumble original protagonist that often carried a revolver around. Hey, it was a different time back then.

My wife also grew up on...

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Review: 'Hellboy Animated' films look good on 4K

Posted April 02,2019 - 03:13 PM

Hellboy

Fifteen years to the very day, Hellboy debuted in theaters and an audience's love for a red-skinned son of Satan was born. Well, at least for those that hadn't already discovered Hellboy in comic book form.

Hellboy was a departure of sorts as it followed by Spawn and Blade as non-traditional comic book characters that found a receptive audience on celluloid. Sure, everyone knew that Batman and Spider-Man and Superman would find an audience on the big screen as they all had rather large followings among comic book readers, but these independent, periphery characters were charting new territory.

I would argue that the trails that they blazed emboldened Marvel to branch out from their main rogues' gallery and to take a chance on something such as Guardians of the Galaxy. And we all know...

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Review: 'King of Thieves' is a hit for grumpy old men

Posted March 26,2019 - 03:18 PM

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My father loved Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. I remember watching Buddy Buddy with him over and over again as a child and it still remains one of my fondest memories with my dad. Bonding over films was a way in which we connected across the generational gap and found common ground that we could share.

The pair of iconic actors would go on to star in about a dozen films together and they all pretty much followed the same blueprint, but that didn't diminish our enjoyment. My father is now retired and living it up in Florida, but if we were together, I would throw in King of Thieves and we would stroll down memory lane.

King of Thieves is a mashup of Grumpy Old Men and Ocean's Eleven based on a true story. A band of geriatric misfit criminals seeks one last score and boy do they...

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