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Blu-ray Review: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

The highly controversial 2012 picture "Zero Dark Thirty" comes out on a Blu-ray and DVD combo pack hosting its Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copies. Helmed by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow as a follow-up to her acclaimed war thriller "The Hurt Locker," this intense and thrilling piece of cinema chronicles the decade-long hunt for Al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks until his death at the hands of the Navy SEALs. The story focuses on the life of

Blu-ray Review: ‘Empire of the Sun’ 25th Anniversary Edition

The 1987 World War II epic "Empire of the Sun" releases on a DigiBook package consisting of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. This two-disc set serves as the film's 25th Anniversary Edition offering. A powerful portrait of lost innocence in a foreign land, this tale becomes a compelling adaptation of J.G. Ballard's best-selling, semi-autobiographical novel of the same title. The narrative reflects his own coming-of-age story about living as a prisoner in an internment camp at a young age. This cinematic

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Descendants’

"The Descendants" releases on a two-disc set consisting of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. The package houses the HD, SD, and digital copies of this Oscar-winning family drama by Alexander Payne. Based on the novel of the same title by Hawaiian author Kaui Hart Hemmings, this 2011 film explores the ups and downs in the lives of an American family living in Hawaii. It stars George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, and Beau Bridges.

‘The Descendants’ Film Review: Hawaiian family landscape

Based on the novel of the same title by Hawaiian author Kaui Hart Hemmings, "The Descendants" is a non-preachy family drama packaged as an island-hopping road movie. It examines the depth and complexity of life, love, relationships, and humanity through a fine mix of slapstick and pathos, while also exploring its lush Hawaiian locales with genuine emotionality. Just like the varying waves in its beach locations, this film allows the audience's emotions to naturally rise and fall with laughter and tears

‘The Proposal’ Film Review: Entertainingly derivative

"The Proposal" is contrived and predictable, but nonetheless a crowd-pleasing romantic comedy. Although this fish-out-of-water romantic comedy lacks the creative spark of classic rom coms, it can work as a pleasant time killer offering mindless entertainment and appealing stars. However, not much can be remembered about it after getting out of the theater. The low expectations and good vibes of this "here comes the bribe" story are all in its favor. It is a good example of a predictable, formulaic script

‘District 9’ Film Review: Thinking man’s sci-fi

"District 9" is a hybrid of a film: a Hollywood material that looks like a successful anti-Hollywood venture and a brilliant social commentary. Produced by the people behind the “Lord of the Rings” (LOTR) franchise including its helmer Peter Jackson, this motion picture delivers its universal message about ethnic tolerance through the tale of a doomed extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth, mainly in a South African ghetto, until these beings suddenly find a kindred spirit in a

‘Star Trek’ (2009) Film Review: Warpspeed wow!

Something old reboots as a glorious new. Reinventing a classic sci-fi series is prone to becoming victimized by the blackhole of franchise re-openings, but what this new "Star Trek" presents is a flaring shine of a supernova from start to end. The plot may be preposterous, but the way the film is constructed provides a genuinely rollicking adventure - a fine escapist entertainment that has just validated the tagline, "Live long and prosper." From the first stunning visuals of a pre-Enterprise time

‘Watchmen’ Film Review: Watching a heroic deconstruction

"Watchmen" is visually stunning but flawed in certain ways. An eye-popping, faithful adaptation crafted as a lavish cult movie, it spins a comic deemed "unfilmable" into a blockbuster epic for the specific admirers of the superhero genre and the fan base of the groundbreaking book from writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons. Grappling with the graphic novel's multi-layered storyline, this dystopian film utilizes a deeply dark heart unmasking the world's harsh realities. "Watchmen" is no doubt a love letter to those

‘The Hangover’ Film Review: Hanging over a guy flick

It's a guilty pleasure comedy. Who knew a hangover could be this fun? In terms of concept and plot, this guy flick about a bachelor party gone wrong is nothing special; but the simplest reason for its comedic success is the fact that it achieves a rare balance between character and vulgarity in its storytelling. There is a sort of perverse brilliance, or maybe brilliant perversity, thrown by the characters against the gambling streets of Las Vegas. Director Todd Phillips ("Starsky and

‘Twilight’ Film Review: That willing teen bite

The swoony supernatural romance and the neo-horror motif of "Twilight" can both amuse and bemuse — depending on the type of viewer. From the initial fans of the book to the newly-recruited fans of the Edward-Bella love team, the teen bite of the tale clearly gets deep into their veins. The formula for this movie's charm is very much apparent. It offers that dose of ordinary girl-meets-extraordinary boy who turns out as the prince charming to the damsel in distress. It has

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