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Dead Man – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Jim Jarmusch is one of my favorite directors, and The Criterion Collection has seen fit to treat me with a release of Dead Man, his offbeat western from 1995, starring Johnny Depp. Featuring a strong and very Jarmusch supporting cast, beautiful black and white cinematography, and an improvised electric guitar score by Neil Young, Dead Man is the epitome of 90s indie film and one of Jarmusch’s best works as a director. Given my love for 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive and the declaration of Paterson as my favorite film of 2016, Jarmusch has not stopped entertaining me, so I was thrilled to take in a spectacular new release for his acid western.

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Get Ready For The ANNIHILATION on Blu-ray May 29th

ANNIHILATION is coming and it plans to take us all! The film was a great studio programmer from director Alex Garland (Ex Machina) that the studio had little faith in, but certainly worth your time. So get ready for this movie, as you have another chance to see it on Blu-ray. Here are the details: Biologist and former soldier Lena (Academy Award® winner* Natalie Portman) is shocked when her missing husband (Oscar Isaac) comes home near death from a top-secret mission into The Shimmer, a mysterious quarantine zone no one has ever returned from. Now, Lena and her elite team must enter a beautiful, deadly world of mutated landscapes and creatures, to discover how to stop the growing phenomenon that threatens all life on Earth.  The film also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Novotny. The ANNIHILATION Blu-ray Combo Pack includes over an hour of bonus content.

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Bull Durham, Powell and Pressburger & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in July 2018

This July, the Criterion Collection will pay tribute to one of cinema’s most legendary collaborations with Dietrich and von Sternberg in Hollywood, a lavish box set featuring six newly restored classics starring the alluring Marlene Dietrich and directed by the visually extravagant Josef von Sternberg: MoroccoDishonored,  Shanghai ExpressBlonde VenusThe Scarlet Empress, and The Devil Is a Woman. Steven Soderbergh’s disarmingly frank debut, sex, lies, and videotape, the film that changed the course of American independent cinema, will join the collection in a new, restored 4K digital transfer supervised by the director. Ron Shelton’s hall-of-fame baseball comedy Bull Durham, starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins in one of the most beloved sports movies of all time, will also appear in a director-approved 4K digital transfer. And there’s more: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s otherworldly Technicolor romance A Matter of Life and Death and King Hu’s martial-arts classic Dragon Inn will both make their Blu-ray debuts in stunning new 4K digital restorations.

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Molly’s Game (Blu-ray Review)

Acclaimed writer Aaron Sorkin has enjoyed a successful run as a screenwriter. Molly’s Game, his directorial debut, based on a memoir by Molly Bloom, was an attempt to accomplish more, even if he did have to settle for another writing nomination at the Academy Awards. Regardless, one can see why his interest was piqued with a story like this. It places a strong female character at the front of a newsworthy story involving the participation of celebrities, successful businessmen, and mobsters in an underground poker club. Thanks to a cross-cutting narrative approach, the film relies heavily on Sorkin’s ability to let the actors and especially the dialogue build a fantastic flow of the film and the results are quite exciting.

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Eddie Murphy Classics TRADING PLACES and COMING TO AMERICA Available on Blu-ray June 12th

Eddie Murphy demonstrates his incomparable comedic talent in the beloved 80s classics TRADING PLACES and COMING TO AMERICA, available individually on Blu-ray™ + Digital June 12, 2018, from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

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The Sandlot – 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

I tend to not be very shy about my distaste for a lot of kid-friendly films that various members of my generation cherish. It’s not that I enjoy hating on Hook or Jumanji (for being terrible movies), I have no nostalgic love for them because I didn’t like them when I was young, so I certainly don’t have much care for them now. All of this is a way of saying I am completely fine celebrating The Sandlot, as it is a wonderful coming-of-age film that blends elements of underdog sports movies with the mythic storytelling of an urban legend about a great, big dog. The film has seen its share of Blu-ray releases, but this year is the 25th anniversary, meaning Fox decided to put out another edition of the cult favorite, even if there was still hardly any effort going into the disc itself.

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Legion: The Complete Season One (Blu-ray Review)

With superheroes dominating the box office many months of the year, it’s only natural that TV attempt to follow suit in its own way. We have the Arrow-verse, Gotham, and multiple Marvel Studios Netflix series, among other examples. FX got in the game too last year with Legion. Inspired by the Marvel Comics character, Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley took on the property and made an interesting, exciting, and very stylish series about a mutant diagnosed with schizophrenia, resulting in an uneven perspective on his own life, to say the least. Dan Stevens leads a strong ensemble cast in this eight-episode first season that happens to be my favorite of the different superhero shows currently on air. Now, with the second season fast approaching, the complete season one is now available to own.

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Phantom Thread (Blu-ray Review)

It’s fair to say opinion on a film can change over time. I rarely, if ever, feel my take on a movie differs all that much from the words I put together at the time, but appreciation (and vice versa) can grow. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread came at a time when so many films were being assessed for end-of-year lists, but it’s the one that has stayed with me most in the months since watching it (and re-watching it in theaters again). Plenty of intrigue came from watching the central relationships, and it’s made all the more excellent thanks to PTA’s steady hand behind the camera and the masterclass of acting in front of it. Following Phantom Threads awards run, which led to Oscar nominations in major categories, as well as a much-deserved win for Best Costume Design, the film has now made its way to Blu-ray, further allowing for audiences to embrace such a terrific feature.

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Blu-ray Review)

The bar wasn’t very high for me when it came to my expectations for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. 1995’s Jumanji is not a good movie, let alone some untouchable classic. The idea of taking Jumanji and putting a new spin on it may have seemed problematic for some and for a good reason, but this 2017 update manages to be another example of how to do nostalgic appropriation right. While the film takes on the premise that was previously explored already, it has some solid new ideas, a game cast and enough adventure-based excitement to make the movie one of the better video game movies not based on a video game. Now having been a monster smash hit at the box office and one of Sony’s biggest hits ever, there is a solid Blu-ray set to further expand on all the fun audiences had.

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Bergman, Waters, Moore & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in June 2018

This June, John Waters’ outrageous Female Trouble, starring the criminally beautiful Divine, will join the Criterion Collection decked out in cha-cha heels, doused in liquid eyeliner, and restored in 4K. Also appearing in a new 4K restoration is Lino Brocka’s searing urban melodrama Manila in the Claws of Light, widely recognized as one of the greatest films in Filipino cinema. Then, Víctor Erice investigates Spain’s troubled history through the eyes of a child captivated by her father in El Sur, a haunting masterpiece never before available on DVD or Blu-ray. Michael Moore will join the Collection with the Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine, his incisive and perennially relevant documentary on the culture of fear that keeps gun-loving America locked and loaded. And there’s more: Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, a harrowing tale of vengeance and faith, will appear on Blu-ray in a new 2K restoration.

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The Shape of Water (Blu-ray Review)

Thinking about writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s work, it easy to see how much effort he puts into every aspect of his films. Del Toro’s best movies are ones that feel like a symphony of ideas all brought together brilliantly by his love for fantasy and horror. The Shape of Water is the latest example. This movie finds the director using the talents of himself and others to craft a beautiful love story with no shortage of multi-layered characters, detailed sets and attention to the latest weird creatures del Toro and co-writer Vanessa Taylor have come up with. The results show off the magic of cinema and have been accepted by many in a way I could not have predicted, as the film was awarded several Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture of the Year.

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‘The Strangers’ S10: 10 Years Later (Movie Review)

I often credit 2008’s The Strangers as one of the last times a horror film unsettled me. Others have scared me since, but that one was something different. Now, ten years later, we have a sequel, The Stranger: Prey at Night. It’s nowhere near as terrifying and often feels like a different move that happens to have some familiar faces…er…masks, but it’s reasonably effective for what it’s doing. The film suffers from a wider setting and dimmer character choices, but it’s stylish in a way that had me admiring the new direction this follow-up decided to take.

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Oscar Nominated Best Motion Picture THE POST Available on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray This April

OSCAR ® winners Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks team up for the first time in this thrilling film based on a true story. Determined to uphold the nation’s civil liberties, Katharine Graham (Streep), publisher of The Washinton Post, and hard-nosed editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) join forces to expose a decades-long cover-up. But the two must risk their careers –– and their freedom –– to bring truth to light in this powerful film with a celebrated cast. Add THE POST to your digital collection on Movies Anywhere™ beginning April 3 and enjoy the ultimate home viewing experience on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD on April 17.

 

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Own Paddington 2 on Blu-ray This April and Shower It With Love and Marmalade!

Bring home the critically-acclaimed family film when “Paddington 2” arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital. Following the worldwide hit “Paddington,” one of the most successful family films of all time, this much-anticipated sequel finds Paddington (Ben Whishaw) happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. This incredibly well-reviewed sequel will be available via purchase from digital retailers beginning March 27 and on Blu-ray combo pack April 27th. Keep going to learn more about this exciting release.

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PROUD MARY Kicks Butt on Blu-ray This April

Fans will see Academy Award® nominee (Best Supporting Actress,The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008) and three-time Emmy® Award nominee (“Empire”) Taraji P. Henson as she’s never been seen before in the action-packed gritty crime thriller PROUD MARY. Henson explodes in the title role, playing a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses during a professional hit. Billy Brown (“How to Get Away with Murder”), Jahi Di’Allo Winston (The Upside), Danny Glover (Shooter, Lethal Weapon) and Neal McDonough (“Legends of Tomorrow”) also star in the film that blasts onto digital March 27 and Blu-ray and DVD April 10 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Blu-ray Review)

Films do not need to provide easy answers to every question they bring up. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (a title that will never roll off the tongue) is a movie analyzing the plights of multiple characters and has no desire to let any of them off easy. In fact, the film practically revels in contradicting itself. Here’s a story that presents angry characters dealing with a dilemma, but also takes time to put their worldviews into perspective. In a year where Americans on all sides seem to have bitter reactions to events taking place, an Irish filmmaker has come along to make a dark comedy set in the South that manages to inject brilliant dialogue and a sense of empathy into the situation to remedy things in his own way. Now, following heaps of awards-related praise, the film is available on Blu-ray, with a nice collection of extras to go with it.

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You Don’t Play ‘Game Night’ It Plays You (Movie Review)

There seems to be a brand of studio comedies in the 2010s that do enough to hold you in place for 90-100 minutes and then instantly evaporate afterward. It’s not unlike other decades, but there’s the addition of flashy direction that makes me think the film was at least trying hard. That’s the sort of mold Game Night fits into. It’s perfectly enjoyable, complete with a solid core cast, some fun cameos, and ample shock humor. This is the sort of film where a ridiculous premise is enacted, while we get all the principal characters putting just as much focus on their personal lives, which will no doubt take a turn for the better, just as the plot concludes as well. There’s nothing wrong with this; it just ends up feeling hollow.

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Midnight Cowboy, Mishima, Moonrise & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in May 2018

This May, John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, the era-defining classic of New American Cinema whose sexual frankness helped earn it both an X rating and an Oscar for best picture, will join the Criterion Collection in a new 4K digital restoration. But first, a major rediscovery: Moonrise, the long-unavailable final triumph by neglected Hollywood master Frank Borzage, will appear in a new, restored 4K digital transfer. Then, fresh from its celebrated theatrical run, Aki Kaurismäki’s award-winning The Other Side of Hope, the dryly comic tale of a Syrian refugee and the restaurateur who helps him find a foothold in Finland, arrives on home video. Cristian Mungiu, leading light of the New Romanian Cinema, examines the fine line between faith and fanaticism in Beyond the Hills, and shows how a father’s concern for his daughter draws him into a network of corruption in Graduation, both new to home video. And that’s not all: Robert Bresson’s profoundly compassionate masterpiece Au hasard Balthazar and Paul Schrader’s wildly unconventional biopic Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters will make their first appearances on Blu-ray, in new restorations.

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