Movies

Blu-ray Review: BACK TO THE FUTURE – 25TH ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY

BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY - Blu -ray

It’s hard to believe it was only five years ago when Universal released all three BACK TO THE FUTURE films remastered for DVD with loads of bonus features and retrospectives. Now, it’s time for a Blu-ray reissue with BACK TO THE FUTURE: 25th ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY and if you thought the first set was great, this one blows it out of the water.

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Movie Review: TRON: LEGACY

TRON LEGACY movie poster - final

TRON: LEGACY opens with a very cool, TRON-ized rendition of the traditional Walt Disney Pictures logo, with the fairytale castle rendered in black, white and silver. This suggests that we’re in for a film of mild subversion that makes what we’ll see just that more wonderful. Actually, what we’re in for is a surprisingly faithful follow-up to the original 1982 TRON. Will we see an alternate universe where anthropomorphic computer programs are rendered primarily in shades of black, white and gray? We will. Will the light cycles of the first film have been updated to be more exciting and dynamic? Yes, they will. Will TRON: LEGACY have the same issue as its predecessor when it comes to thin characterizations and talk about changing the world so grand, broad and vague that it could mean practically anything? Yes, it will.

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Movie Review: YOGI BEAR

YOGI BEAR movie poster | © 2010 Warner Bros.

In an attempt to capitalize on the success of 20th Century Fox’s ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS film franchise (which combines CGI creatures with live action antics), Warner Bros. has dug into their archives to create a live-action version of the classic cartoon YOGI BEAR, but with lesser results.

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Movie Review: CASINO JACK

CASINO JACK movie poster | ©2010 ATO

Sometimes, you just can’t make this stuff up. Most Americans have heard of Jack Abramoff, if only because he wound up going to jail. Exactly what he did to land in prison is addressed in CASINO JACK, a pitch-black comedy of greed, crime, politics and the intersection of all three.

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Movie Review: THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA - THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER movie poster | © 2010 20th Century Fox

For those who take the pace, wit and generally immersive atmosphere of the HARRY POTTER films for granted, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is the latest example of the fact that making family-friendly fantasy is not as easy as it looks. The third of the films based on C.S. Lewis’ CHRONICLES OF NARNIA follows characters introduced in THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE and its sequel, PRINCE CASPIAN. Siblings Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), now in their teens, are waiting out WWII at the home of their aunt and uncle; older siblings Peter and Susan are in America with their parents. Edmund and Lucy miss their days of adventure in Narnia and are coping with annoying, resentful younger cousin Eustace (Will Poulter), who can’t understand why they keep nattering on about an imaginary country. Then a painting on the wall comes to life and Edmund, Lucy and Eustace are all transported to a Narnian ocean, where they are rescued by a vessel captained by now-King Caspian (Ben Barnes). Caspian is happy to see his old friends again – he and his crew are off to find what became of seven missing lords. There’s an evil mist, a dark island, temptations and some deus ex machina up ahead.

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DVD Review: STARCRASH – 2-DISC SPECIAL EDITION

STARCRASH - special edition DVD | © 2010 Shout Factory

Some times movies are bad because they don’t try hard enough to be good. Other times, movies are so bad, they’re amazingly good, which is the case of the long-lost 1979 Italian science-fiction cult flick STARCRASH. It’s badness comes from its earnestness and ambition. It has terrible dialogue, the occasional crappy special effect and a story that really doesn’t make a lick of sense.

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Movie Review: BLACK SWAN

BLACK SWAN movie poster | © 2010 Fox Searchlight

Dancing can be dangerous, and not just physically. The canon of ballet narratives is full of tales of people (mostly women) who dance themselves to death. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s seminal 1948 THE RED SHOES famously turned a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale into a fable set in the world of ballet. Now director Darren Aronofsky uses the classic SWAN LAKE as the backdrop and catalyst for the potential implosion of his heroine.

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Movie Review: RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE

RARE EXPORTS - A CHRISTMAS TALE - U.S. Poster | © 2010 Oscilloscope Laboratories

If THE X-FILES had decided to do a Christmas episode for the R.L. Stine set, it might have been something like RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE. Made and set in Finland, general vicinity where the mythical Santa supposedly dwells, RARE is a horror movie pitched at kids, with bits of gore (dead animals, a bitten ear) but mostly a sense of menace and black comedy.

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Movie Review: I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS

I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS movie poster | ©2010 Roadside Attractions

To clear up one possible area of confusion at the outset, I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS is not about someone who has fallen for the tobacco company of that name. Instead, it is the fact-based story of Steven Russell, a con artist who managed to non-violently escape from jail on four different occasions and for awhile pulled off a number of astonishing cons, many of them to assist the love of his life, Phillip Morris.

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