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Blu-ray Review: ‘Gangster Squad’

"Gangster Squad" debuts in home video format via a two-disc set housing the film's Blu-ray, DVD, UV digital, and iTunes digital copies. This 2013 picture's theatrical release was infamously delayed for a few months in the wake of the tragic Aurora theater shooting in 2012. The production decided to reshoot its mid-movie shootout in order to remove the sequence involving a massacre in a movie theater. Ruben Fleischer helms this period actioner that stars Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma

‘Rio 2’ Film Review: Perfectly fine, perfectly forgettable

"Rio 2" is a delightfully bright and breezy bit of computer-generated entertainment. As an acceptable family fare, this sequel maintains that blockbuster flavor that is expected of such an animated flick. It mostly hits the sweet spot when it comes to eye-popping visuals and feisty song-and-dance sequences. However, its predictable narrative plays too safe that it simply crafts nothing more than a fine commercial blend of heart-warming and toe-tapping moments for its target demographic. For this second installment in the "Rio"

‘Sky High’ Film Review: Soaring HS heroes and sidekicks

This is a Disney hybrid superhero movie: "The Incredibles" meets "X-men" via "Harry Potter." If you think Hogwarts is the only secret school for extraordinary kids, well there's also the heroic children's world of "Sky High." This film is a hybrid superhero flick: "The Incredibles" meets the "X-Men" via "Harry Potter." It may be a Disney flick with a big celebration of superhero cliches; but it is entertaining enough for its target market. As a derivative, it never claims to be genuinely superior to its more successful blockbuster sources. Despite having a

‘Shrek the Third’ Film Review: The slapstick third

While it offers nothing new on the table, this third movie of the "Shrek" franchise compensates with its laid-back familiarity and comedy. The Shrek Franchise The best thing about the "Shrek" movies is that you are offered a patented comic blend of fairy tale tradition and pop-culture references. These recreate a comic flavor and moral implications for its wide commercial range of movie viewers. The franchise's main charm is its organic ability to mix fairy tale sweetness and pop-culture tradition with a

‘Shrek Forever After’ Film Review: Happily ogre after?

While it occasionally provides good laughs, this fourth "Shrek," like its main ogre, is confused and way beyond its prime. For its long-time followers, "Shrek Forever After" is passable entertainment. It is for those who grew up with the franchise and not the type that could easily add new toddler fans. In any case, the "Shrek" brand still works for the DVD and Blu-ray market with a potentially good spot for top home video sales charts. "Shrek Forever After" begins so mediocre.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Rio’

The "Rio" Blu-ray release features a two-disc set consisting of a Blu-ray disc and DVD, along with some digital download materials. Aptly set in Rio de Janeiro, this 96-minute 3D animation is helmed by Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha, also the man behind "Robots" and the "Ice Age" films. The filmmaker shows love for his hometown with this movie project that showcases the fun and festive culture of the Brazilian city. Filled with dazzling imagery and contagiously fun music, "Rio" tells the

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Impossible’

"The Impossible" is based on the real-life account of Spanish survivor Maria Belon and her family during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that struck the coast of Thailand. This moving tale directed by Juan Antonio Bayona debuts on a single-disc Blu-ray package containing the film's Blu-ray, UV digital, and digital download copies. Its main stars include Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland. Watts' utterly convincing and visceral performance led to her Best Actress nomination at the Academy Awards and her

‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ Film Review: A travelogue drama

This movie features a heartwarming episodic tale of four best friends and their adventures from miles away. At first, this teenybopper movie may seem like a typical adaptation riding on the popularity of the young adult book and best-selling novel "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" by Anne Brashares. Apparently, it’s a heartwarmingly episodic travelogue drama featuring four best friends spending their first summer apart and sharing a magical pair of jeans fitting each of them perfectly — despite the differences

‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ Film Review: A chocolific, expressionistic confectionery

Director Tim Burton breathes new life to Roald Dahl's 1964 sweet tale and turns it into a new celluloid confectionery. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is a gothic yet colorful fantasy filled with the eccentricity only Burton gets to achieve in the Hollywood mainstream. Burton is undeniably a patron of German Expressionism with the film's pale make-up, weird props, sets and costumes, exaggerated moves, and out-of-this world characterizations. He creates a dream world inspired by some dark and cartoony elements. The

‘Angels and Demons’ Film Review: From suspense novel to audio-visual flair

This "Angels and Demons" film adaptation is a less contemplative and a more motion-driven version of Dan Brown's novel. "Angels and Demons" mounts the visuals the way I imagined them while reading the Dan Brown novel. That part is impressive. However, the suspense part that hooked me to the book gets lost in the film adaptation. For a movie based entirely around a beat-the-clock goal, the momentum gets significantly lost and the far-fetched plot surfaces more without the packed intensity and

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