Hail, Caesar!, a Cheeky Spoof on the Golden Age of Film

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Taking some script ideas from the forties and fifties flicks, Joel and Ethan Coen pen the wacky Hail, Caesar! The movie has a nice feel to it especially scenes with the flashy dance numbers, spectacular extravaganzas and of course the epic “Ben Hur” type historical production. Weaving its way through this film however is a dastardly story about movie stars and their everyday problems on the set. Oh, and an untimely kidnapping. Read more

Bridge of Spies, an Intriguing True Story on Blu-ray

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Probably the most intriguing film in sometime, Bridge of Spies takes on the Cold War with Russia in this compelling true story. Now on Blu-ray and DVD the film is well casted with Tom Hanks in the starring role, written by the ubiquitous Cohen Brothers who gave us No Country for Old Men, and directed by three time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg the film has all the makings of an Academy Award winner. And it is that good. Read more

Martyrs, Takes Horror to a Lower Level

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This very disturbing movie does a fair job of sending chills through viewers, but doesn’t have the power to be considered top notch. After the first frightening three minutes Martyrs loses its punch, then tapers off into a psychological drama before getting into the real meat of the story. I kept hoping that it would keep my interest enough so I would not predict the awful farfetched ending, but that didn’t work. I also would have been satisfied with knowing why the main character would put herself back into the situation and have left well enough alone, but that’s the world of filmmaking. Read more

The Finest Hours, a Heroic Rescue in Face of Insurmountable Odds

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One of the most visually spectacular sea stories The Finest Hours shows the courage, determination and stamina of a small crew of Coast Guardsmen who faced death during rescue operation in a raging storm. The depiction of the factual account gets so realistic and powerful that it will put you on the edge of your seat. The cinematography and CGI take you for a scary rollercoaster ride on huge waves during a tempest that’s one of the most remarkable piece of film footage for the screen. Read more

Burnt, a Scrumptious Film for the Ladies

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Food, romance, comedy, drama and a pinch of pepper the film Burnt has arrived on Blu-ray/DVD and ladies, find a copy and pop it into your player. A lot of good acting makes the story more palatable than it should have been since its pure Hollywood. Not of love story for the ages, the film’s more of a quest for an ultimate ego rush that works its way into the story early on. That said, there’s a lot of eye candy and food prep for the women along with enough matinee side stories that fulfil a couple of entertaining hours. Read more

45 Years, a Romance of Discovery

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Sterling performances, but the script just doesn’t make 45 Years a memorable experience. Charlotte Rampling’s characterization does show her at her best, but the story moves along at a slow pace, gets uninspiring and mundane. It seems like blasphemy that I would not like a drama that has its star up for Oscar’s Best Actress, but if it’s just acting you want to see, then 45 Years should be a must. Sometimes the acting becomes the entertainment prize and for the ladies Charlotte gives her all. Read more

Howl, a Train Ride to Hell

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As horror films go, Howl does an above average job of scarring the pants off of its audience. Gross, ghastly and eerie, the film has moments when even the most hardened thriller fan will jump. The Blu-ray has excellent quality so even the night scenes where most of the film takes place are nicely visible, easy to identify and delightfully sinister. Topping it off, the make-up and costume creators are on their mark with some very ghoulish characters. Read more

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Where Hell Found an Open Door

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After seeing the film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi my feelings for the incident could be summed up as unnerving, unthinkable, unnecessary and horrifying. The reenactment presentation of the true story material becomes so real that it mystifies watching our embassy and military outpost get helplessly attacked. Not for the faint of heart, this movie makes you want to scream “why?’ and “what were we doing there?” in, what the movie declares, is the number one world hot spot in the world?

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Mustang, Coming of Age in Turkey

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One of the best Foreign Language Films in 2015, Mustang now opens in the United States and it’s one of the favorites for a 2016 Academy Award. The film shows the loyalty of sisterhood in Turkey and the trials of being female in a nation steeped with male dominance. Compelling, powerful and sometimes unconceivable, the story delights, excites then becomes heartrending. It tops my list for this year’s Oscar nominations. Read more

Painkillers, Fighting a Lost Cause

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The film Painkillers now on DVD changes direction throughout while setting up a far-out science fiction thriller that’s kind of just average. The opening and midway through get very intriguing, but beyond that its more of a run of the mill story that never really makes a whole lot of sense. The cinematography and special effects are good, the wardrobe department shines and there’s some twists in the film that are fun when revealed. Read more