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Today:  03/24/2019

Review: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' is animated perfection

Posted March 19,2019 - 05:31 PM

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won the Oscar for Best Animated Picture at last month's Academy Awards, but for me, it was the best film of 2018. Period. Full Stop.

This movie is a perfect example as to why having additional "Best Picture" categories such as "Animation" or "Popular" takes away a bit from the panache of the Oscars. When you give other films a category of their own, they suddenly get left out of the main category and it cheapens the overall impact of the awards. No matter how you feel about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, you can't tell me that it didn't deserve to be one of the ten films honored as the best of the year.

The same goes for Black Panther. Had the Academy followed through with their ill-conceived notion of creating a Best Popular Film category, you...

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Review: 'Mary Poppins Returns' is saccharinely delightful

Posted March 19,2019 - 02:39 PM

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If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, then what would help the digestion of a bloated cash-grab sequel to a beloved family film? The good news is that we don't have to find out with Mary Poppins Returns as it delivers a top-notch experience for the whole family without sacrificing its morals.

I won't lie, I was a wee bit concerned when I threw the film in for the review. My kids watched the original Mary Poppins and they were rather blasà about it afterward. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't conjure up the same feelings of childhood whimsy that I had when I first watched it as a child.

When I re-watched the original with the kids, I was surprised at just how well the film holds up, but again, I grew up in a time where the special effects in Mary Poppins were considered...

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Review: 'Lord of War' rules on 4K UHD

Posted March 19,2019 - 11:39 AM

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There is one important thing that I finally figured out as I was prepping this review. I always thought that Bridget Moynahan and Michelle Monaghan were sisters. As it turns out, they aren't related. In fact, they spell their last names completely different. Yep, my mind was blown.

My mini faux pas aside, Lord of War is that mid-2000s film in which Bridget Moynahan appears for a few scenes, along with some other guys you might know such as Nicholas Cage, Ethan Hawke and Jared Leto. The film is based on the true story of a successful arms smuggler who plied his trade for over 20 years making a very lucrative living.

While the film packs a serious punch at times, there are several satirical scenes that will conjure up the more modern The Wolf of Wall Street. Although, that film takes...

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Review: 'Ancient Aliens' season 11 ends with a bang

Posted March 12,2019 - 04:03 PM

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Aliens.

Aliens, man. Is there anyone in the world who enjoys aliens as much as Giorgio A. Tsoukalos? The man who rose to Internet superstardom thanks to the show Ancient Aliens shows no signs of slowing down, much like the hit show. You know, this guy.


Oh, Giorgio, what would we do without you? I hope we never have to find out. Ancient Aliens just finished airing its thirteenth season and its status moving forward is officially in limbo. There has been no word from History as to whether the cultural phenomenon will return or not, but I would say its return is a foregone conclusion.

I mean, who doesn't want to see how this all plays out? At this point, poor Giorgio is going to wither away before he gets his definitive proof. Don't believe me? Just look at how much the show has...

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Review: 'Ben is Back' triggers all of the emotions

Posted March 05,2019 - 04:58 PM

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Every so often, there is a film that gets ever so close to perfection but ultimately falls just shy of that hallowed ground. For me, Ben is Back is the latest film to make that journey.

That's not to say that Ben is Back isn't a great film. It is. That's also not to say that I didn't enjoy the movie because I absolutely did. No, Ben is Back had the potential to be a truly remarkable movie that has a generational impact, but there's one thing that hinders its aim.

Unfortunately, it is also something that I can't really talk about without completely spoiling the movie. Ben is Back is so good, that I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I would be interested to have a conversation with others after they watch it and see if they have the same major critique that I had with the film.

...

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Review: Season four of 'Fear the Walking Dead' might be best yet

Posted March 05,2019 - 04:06 PM

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As the original Walking Dead appears to be nearing the end of its journey, Season Four of Fear the Walking Dead proves that there is still plenty of stories to be told in this world. I think the biggest mistake that the original series made was its reliance on a core cast of surviving characters.

Sure, one or two quasi-principal characters would die from time to time, but the solid core remained unchanged for nearly six seasons. The draw of the comic book and the original hook of the TV series was the unpredictability from week to week. The Walking Dead tried to course correct with the long-overdue introduction of Negan, but for most of us, it was too little, too late.

Meanwhile, it seems that Fear the Walking Dead has learned from its predecessor and is proving that great storylines,...

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Review: 'The Vanishing' lingers long after it ends

Posted March 05,2019 - 02:42 PM

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They say that the best films are the ones that make you want to talk about them as soon as the credits roll. By this measure, The Vanishing is a very fine film because when it ended, my wife and I couldn't shake what we had seen. Almost a week later, I'm still thinking about the events in the movie.

Based on a true event from a remote Scottish isle in 1900, The Vanishing plays on the unknown to craft a spooky mystery tale that delivers the goods. People love trying to figure out unsolved mysteries. Heck, there was a highly successful TV series dedicated to them and to this day, we are still trying to give a plausible explanation to any number of unexplained occurrences.

Whether it's searching for gold at Oak Island or trying to figure out whatever happened to D.B. Cooper, the unknown...

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Review: 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' is a big hit

Posted February 26,2019 - 05:21 PM

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I certainly didn't envy the filmmakers of Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. They had to somehow come up with a follow-up to the incredibly witty and original Wreck-It Ralph without being too derivative or worse, boring. My concerns were misplaced however as not only did they deliver a film that is every bit as fun as the first one, but also an original story that builds upon the world created in Wreck-It Ralph.

When the credits rolled on Wreck-It Ralph, I didn't know what to expect from the inevitable sequel, but the end result was as much a surprise to me as the original film. In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Vanellope's game is broken and on the verge of being sold off for parts. Ralph comes up with the idea to surf over to eBay on the newly installed wifi and buy the...

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Review: 'The Little Mermaid' is finally part of the 4K world

Posted February 26,2019 - 04:32 PM

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What could I possibly say about The Little Mermaid that hasn't been said before? The massively successful animated film is a signpost in modern animation that literally paved the way to today's animated blockbusters. This year, the film celebrates its 30 year anniversary and Disney is gifting the classic with a proper 4K UHD Blu-ray release.

Disney made its name early on with animation, but a shift occurred in the 1970s and 1980s away from animation and toward live-action films. To wit, The Little Mermaid became the first animated film to break the coveted $100 million box office barrier. In doing so, the 1989 film also trumpeted a return of Disney to its animation roots.

In the years that followed, animated heavyweights such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King would...

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Review: Horror tropes abound in 'Hannah Grace'

Posted February 26,2019 - 02:52 PM

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What's a trope or clichÃ? It's something that occurs so often that it sort of becomes expected of the said thing. Take horror movies for example. During the height of the modern slasher flick (the 1980s), various horror tropes came into vogue such as having sex is a good indicator that would soon be dead and saying something witty like "I'll be back" means that you won't be - save for a bloody corpse during the inevitable reveal.

Many of these clichÃs would be poked fun of in the breakout horror hit Scream and a whole new set of horror tropes would come to rule the roost. Several of these feature in The Possession of Hannah Grace, but is that a bad thing? I mean, the reason they have become clichà is that they work.

So, while some might simply dismiss The Possession of Hannah Grace as...

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