“Finding Dory” is a Splash On Home Video

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The latest Disney/PIXAR animated movie Finding Dory shows it’s up to snuff in this family film now on Blu-ray, DVD and in a combo pack. This spin-off of Finding Nemo takes families on another journey with this time looking for Dory’s parents. Although it can be considered a stand-alone film, the trip has many similarities to Nemo’s big adventure. While this shouldn’t be a problem for even the littlest tyke, parents may yawn a bit, get antsy, and even look at their glow in the dark watch once or twice or maybe even three times. Hopefully the new characters will keep the older folks amused, especially my favorite Hank the octopus. Read more

“Army of One” a Wild and Wacky Adventure

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The wild and wacky Army of One arrives on DVD/Blu-ray disc and I could not stop laughing. It’s based on a true story with the guy at the center of it all getting his day in the limelight when the credits start to roll, and he swears to it. The story may sound ludicrous and impossible and most of it probably is, but if you believe it for a real adventure you’ll have more fun. It’s cast perfectly and reminds me a lot of the crazy film Danny Deckchair. Read more

“Game of Thrones: Season 6” Naughty, Wicked, Powerful and Vicious

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Whether you have been watching Game of Thrones since season one or are just becoming acquainted with the wild and wicked sagas, it’s time for the release of Season 6 on Blu-ray and DVD. The plus factor for those who have watched the show on HBO, besides living it again there’s many features and commentaries that gives you additional insight into the world of the salacious kingdoms. This is the first time that a Game of Thrones season has been released so close to one another with Season 5 being released in March of this year so you may also find a copy on a store shelf as well. Read more

“Arrival” a Sci-fi Mystery that Drags

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If you are looking to see an exciting film with a lot of creativity and adventure, then you may want to look elsewhere than Arrival. More of a mystery that spools out like Jodi Foster’s Contact that moves at a slow pace trying to fill in the blanks to the very end. With Arrival however, the film does take some twists that at least give the audience a measure of fun. Read more

“Journey to Space” Reveals Past, Present and Future of Space Exploration in 4K Realism

Narrated by a deep-space captain we all know—Patrick Stewart—Journey To Space reveals in stunning, 4K realism how NASA and other space adventurers are boldly taking on the challenges of interplanetary space travel. Highlighted by extensive interviews with astronauts Chris Ferguson (Commander of the final shuttle mission) and Serena Aunon (a new astronaut chosen for future flights), Journey To Space delivers a breathtaking overview of past space achievements, current projects and future plans, including a number of Mars missions.

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Journey To Space underscores how the Space Shuttle program led the way in moving us into the space station era, a critically important step in preparing astronauts for journeys to Mars and beyond. We see astronauts at work and play in the confines of this tubular home circling the globe every 90 minutes. Perhaps not since the film, Gravity, have viewers been treated to some of the most spectacular space footage—including stunning views of Earth and work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

International Space Station (ISS)
International Space Station (ISS)

Watching the International Space Station (ISS) being assembled is an awesome visual treat. We see how astronauts learn to live, build and conduct science in space, laying the foundation for the next giant leaps to explore the planets.

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Among the major highlights of the film are the many parallel efforts to place humans on Mars. The film explores in fascinating and realistic detail how astronauts will travel, land and live on the Red Planet. We learn the many ways our early Mars pioneers will survive on a lifeless world, the habitats they will build, and the many physical and psychological challenges they will face after years of isolation from Earth.

Mars mission
Mars mission

Also documented in stunning visual detail is Orion, a spacecraft designed to carry humans on long-duration deep space missions throughout the solar system. We learn about Olympus, an inflatable transportation habitat that’s 50-feet in diameter and provides astronauts the work area and living space necessary for long-duration missions. And finally, the Space Launch System (SLS) is presented in detail, showing how its huge rocket will carry spacecraft, Mars landers and ascent vehicles to place astronauts on the surface of Mars.

Mars habitat
Mars habitat

Journey to Space should inspire a new generation of astronauts to explore space, while reminding us of the accomplishments of the Space Shuttle Program, the ISS and the many unmanned Mars missions.

 

“Kickboxer: Vengeance” is a Knock Out

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The sport of ring mixed martial arts fighting has laid low in movies, but rears its mastery in the film Kickboxer: Vengeance just released on Blu-ray and DVD. The film takes the contact sport to a new level with a story that takes you to Thailand where the caged ring is open for battle to the death. The choreography makes the action look real, the use of actual fighters creates excitement and the cinematography and sets put the audience close showing some excellent examples of the contact sport. You don’t have to be a kickboxing fan, but if you are, get ready to watch some of your favorites take on some very realistic acting. Read more

“Hacksaw Ridge” a Gut Wrenching Heroic War Movie

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Cinematically brilliant, the movie Hacksaw Ridge grabs you by the collar and slaps you upside your head with a true story of our fearless military and a hero that earned the respect of his country. It’s a reminder why we are free and why all our American soldiers can hold their head high for battles fought in every conflict. Sometimes it takes the insight of a good film like this to bring us back to reality. Read more

Rocky Mountain Express: A Breathtaking Journey into Railroading History

A giant screen experience that re-ignites the magic of Canada’s historic steam age, Rocky Mountain Express centers on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The film shot in IMAX highlights the nation’s emerging steam technology and the humanity of this enormous project.

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To establish a true sense of realism, the documentary was filmed using a helicopter and gyro-stabilized camera. To give viewers a truly intimate experience of steam power, IMAX cameras were also mounted throughout the train. Employing these extraordinary efforts helped capture the journey of Empress (CPR 2816), a steam locomotive built in 1930 and recently restored by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

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The film explores the heroic journey in mapping routes through impossibly difficult terrain, then goes on to document the construction of the railroad track. Viewers are treated to the stunning and diverse Canadian landscape via breathtaking views of mountains, valleys and hills, through 5-mile long tunnels and soaring bridges and trestles.

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The film also explores the personal pain and struggles of railroad workers, their sacrifices and lost lives as they inched their way through mountains of rock and snow. Animated 3D maps and carefully restored archival images provide insights into the building of this massive 3,000-mile transcontinental railway through some of roughest terrain on Earth.

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Filmed with full 15/70 negative, Rocky Mountain Express employs the world’s largest film format. Every bit of this technology is visible on the screen. Breathing life into the steam engines of yesteryear, the film’s sound has been faithfully captured and rendered in six-channel sound. The original musical score by celebrated composer Michel Cusson adds to the emotional ambiance of this era and to the film’s more poignant moments.

 

“The Handmaiden” A Spicy Mystery with a Tryst

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Spicy and exciting the film The Handmaiden enters select theaters this weekend and for adults it’s a powerful mystery drama with romantic overtones. The fine direction, acting, story and cinematography make the film pleasurable. It’s for those who like a titillating movie experience tied in with a sordid plot that takes some unexpected twists. The film, if it had been rated, could have easily received the highest MPAA judgement possible. Read more

“A Man Called Ove”, Tugs at the Heartstrings

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Heartfelt, touching, compassionate and tragic yet romantic, the film A Man Called Ove comes to America from Sweden. The country’s choice for their entry into the Academy Awards best foreign film, the movie should make the top 5 in that category. All around best in direction, acting, cinematography, music and script the film has the potential for a nomination in the top 10 for overall Best Picture. Read more

“Once in a Lifetime” a Challenging Assignment

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The true story Once in a Lifetime offers a sincere look into the lives of a classroom of teens who get to tackle one of the most challenging assignments of their life. The opening scene however, shows a discord between a Muslim student and a faculty member regarding the wearing of a hijab (Muslim head covering). While this incident never gets fleshed out, according to the press notes supplied, producer Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar includes the scene to show freedom of expression and the principle of secularism. The scene has the power to suggest a whole new plot for a different film on the subject yet does not take away from the production that follows. Read more

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”, a Military Crime Thriller

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Where I was not too fond of the first Jack Reacher film that came out in 2012, the sequel “Never Go Back” delivers much more energy. The action sequences are quite good even though they are not on par with Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible series. In addition the storyline has pangs of déjà vu from other action films within the past years. All that said, if you are a big fan of Cruise or just want to escape to a movie where you can forget a bad day, then this military crime thriller should do the trick. Read more

“The Night Of” a Powerful HBO Mini-Series

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Edge of your seat intriguing, the HBO series The Night Of provides excellent drama for crime fans. Not exactly an original storyline giving it a “CSI” vibe, but the point of view makes it different and gripping. With acts of terrorism in the world and growing in America, suspicions have escalated. This mini-series takes you into the world of bias and bigotry as seen by one trapped in a vicious crime. It’s just a story after all, yet if it hadn’t been a Muslim caught up in the crime it may have not been as powerful. Read more