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BluRay/DVD Spotlight

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (March 12th, 2013)

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In lieu of completely spoiling the film’s conclusion, I will reveal that it’s suitably ambiguous and will speak differently to people from all walks of life, religious or not. When the clunkiness of the first act fades away, we’re left with a heartbreaking tale of growing up as a primal force of nature. (more…)

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (February 26th, 2013)

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Despite its significant successes, “The Master” is not a film about big moments. It won’t appease those looking for a cathartic narrative or relatable characters. It’s difficult to digest in one sitting and one’s opinion of it is likely to change from viewing to viewing. The pacing is tight but the narrative is formless, making it a formidable challenge for less experienced moviegoers. (more…)

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (February 19th, 2013)

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Credit goes to both Affleck and writer Chris Terrio (in addition to historical events, the screenplay was based on an article from “Wired” magazine by Joshuah Bearman) for applying such a delicate touch to the film. The Hollywood angle doesn’t always mesh with the more weighty portions of the film, but when it does, it says something profound about how important movies are to us and how we use them to cope, mourn, celebrate, and blur the lines between fantasy and reality. (more…)

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (February 12th, 2013)

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I can’t fault the filmmakers for not continuing the storyline of the previous films, but a self-contained Bond story has no business being so incongruous with the rest of the 007 canon. “Casino Royale” was beloved for its sweeping action and sharp sense of humor, while the underappreciated “Quantum Of Solace” was still praised for its sense of momentum and overall grittiness – all hallmarks of the series, albeit at different points in its history. (more…)

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (February 5th, 2013)

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“Flight” is soulful and bluesy and not at all the crowd-pleaser that you might expect. In that way it’s a bit of a conundrum. The less you know, the better, but no one should walk in cold. It’s rampant with drug and alcohol abuse, short on action, and high on emotional turmoil – and it’s one of the best films of 2012. (more…)

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (January 8th, 2013)

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This new incarnation of “Dredd” has no business working as well as it does, but its cinematography and astonishing special effects (not just in relation to its budget) carry it to heights unseen by many high-financed comic book films – the lowly “Ghost Rider” and pathetic “Fantastic Four” come to mind. Karl Urban does his damndest to sell the titular Judge as the ultimate action hero, but it’s the visuals that steal the show and make “Dredd” a lock to be a late-night staple on Spike TV for years to come. (more…)

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (December 18th, 2012)

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Anna Kendrick can sing, but bad lip-syncing doesn’t do her, nor anyone else, any favors. The soundtrack, featuring years-old hits like Jessie J’s “Price Tag” and Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” (already featured on “Glee”), is forgettable at best. The most interesting musical performance, a “songs about sex” medley featuring Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” is out of place within the confines of a PG-13 comedy starring a mostly Caucasian cast. Nonetheless, the pic will do well with teenagers because of a strong advertising campaign and will pull in other viewers with false promises of clever comedy and an appealing musical bent. See the film for Rebel Wilson’s performance, if you must, but be prepared for an avalanche of vomit gags and eye-rolling “aca” wordplay. Aca-awesome! Better yet, stay home and watch “The Breakfast Club.” (more…)

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (December 11th, 2012)

The crowd-pleasing nature of the original trilogy is in short supply here and the newfound intimacy of the story will put off a lot of viewers. The understated nature of Gilroy’s screenplay brings a breathability that’s all new to the series, and I expect the reaction to be rather diverse. But, the commitment to reinvention on the part of the filmmakers is admirable and the open-ended nature of the conclusion suggests that we haven’t seen the last of these characters – including Jason Bourne. Despite a few hiccups in the story, there’s nothing “wrong” with the film on a technical level. It’s a film of small but definite victories. But, I suspect it won’t provide the cinematic jolt that many are looking for in a “Bourne” film. (more…)

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (December 4th, 2012)

The intense, primal rhythm of “Begins” and the escalating “hold onto your seat” tension of “The Dark Knight” aren’t fully realized here, but the series is allowed to come full circle, which greatly enhances its emotional resonance. Despite promises that this is Nolan’s last Batman picture, the door is left open for more (or at least spin-offs). This entry into the series is only disappointing because it’s Chris Nolan, and he’s capable of more. “The Dark Knight Rises” is enjoyable, thought-provoking, and deeply flawed. (more…)

Blu-ray / DVD Spotlight (November 30th, 2012)

Tommy Lee Jones’ presence is definitely missed beyond his 15 minutes of screen time, but Josh Brolin is a suitable fill-in. More importantly, the film successfully recaptures the spirit of the first “Men In Black,” correcting course from part II. Jemaine Clement and Michael Stuhlbarg are standouts in supporting roles. (more…)
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