Movie Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

While much of the Star Wars universe revolves around the hero’s journey of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), looking back on the series reveals that a lot of the characters were rather flat and uninteresting. Luke himself was the farm boy in the big city. What made the series really fly was the extraordinary imagination of the entire crew and the Lucas special effects team that did a remarkable job converting dreams into images on the…Read More

What is a “Steelbook” DVD or Blu-Ray Movie?

Here’s one that came up for me this morning: I got a press release about the upcoming DVD release of the smash hit Black Panther. I’ll watch that again, I might well succumb and buy physical media. But this wasn’t just about the movie and its release on disk, it was about what the industry calls a “steel book”. As in Black Panther Collectible Steelbook edition. Which got me wondering… what the heck is a “steelbook”? And…Read More

Film Review: Rampage

While I’m a big fan of Dwayne Johnson, my expectations going into the theater to see Rampage were pretty darn low. The trailer certainly makes it seem a daft monster movie and the video game to movie curse seemed likely to strike again. And then the film started and I was startled to realize that it was way better than I expected. In fact, the opening scene was terrific and completely unexpected. As the story…Read More

Film Review: Chappaquiddick

It’s the late 1960’s and the nation’s attention is focused on something amazing: A man is about to walk on the moon. As it turns out, the same weekend that Apollo 11 is hurtling towards the lunar surface, Senator Ted Kennedy and pals are hosting a party at a remote cabin on Chappaquiddick island, one of the many islands that make up the Martha’s Vineyard area of Southeastern Massachusetts. After one drink too many, the…Read More

Film Review: Ready Player One

The future is a grim place in the world of Ready Player One and the only escape for people is through virtual reality. The headsets that we can buy today at the local store have evolved into full body haptic suits, infinity treadmills and completely immersive headsets that grant users a full sensory experience. It’s the OASIS where everyone spends their time and it’s become a massive, multi-trillion-dollar industry. Created by tech genius James Halliday (Mark…Read More

Film Review: Pacific Rim Uprising

Monsters versus huge robots. What’s not to love about the fundamental premise of the Pacific Rim franchise? When the original came out back in 2013, I reviewed it here on my site and said “If you’re a science fiction fan, if you love mecha, comic books and have a soft spot for those old B-movies, especially from Toho Films (Godzilla, et al), if you can suspend your disbelief and enjoy a film that’s really just…Read More

Are The Thor: Ragnarok Blu-Ray Extras Worth Watching?

As the world moves increasingly digital, it’s hard to get excited about buying a physical disc and figuring out storage for any but your very favorite movies. Streaming can also be crystal clear, in full HD or even 4K, and it’s just about always cheaper than a physical product. Better yet, a streaming solution through iTunes or similar is faster and more convenient too, less than 60 seconds between deciding you really want to go…Read More

Film Review: Tomb Raider

There’s a curse surrounding movies based on video games. Try as they might, studios can’t quite seem to translate the fun and interactive nature of a good video game, whether it’s something as simple as Pac-Man [see the daft film Pixels] or more complex stories like Max Payne or Postal, into a compelling and entertaining cinematic experience. One of the few exceptions was the original Tomb Raider film, starring Angelina Jolie as the hero of…Read More

Film Review: “A Wrinkle in Time”

There are classic young adult stories that are deep, complicated and expand your mind. They’re perfect for the adolescent set and a good read for adults too. Then there are books in this category that become popular because they bring up an important theme, but in a superficial and shallow manner. They’re good books too, of course, but most adults tend to find them tedious and obvious both. Madeleine L’Engle’s classic A Wrinkle in Time is…Read More

Film Review: Annihilation

Most genre films are trapped in their formula, a sequence of tropes and cliches that leave you confident you understand what’s about to happen next and unsurprised by the Big Twist ending. Science fiction is no different, and there are so many films that take place in a future that’s ripped right out of Blade Runner or on a space station “inspired” by Alien or in the midst of an epic space battle that’s just…Read More

DVD Extras Review: “Blade Runner 2049”

I’ll admit it, I loved Blade Runner 2049. It’s no surprise, I think the original dark Ridley Scott movie Blade Runner is one of the best sci-fi films ever made and even when it was released loved its grit and texture, the surprisingly lyrical dialog and the imaginative noir-inspired sets and setting. And I’m not alone; it’s clear how much Blade Runner inspired the genre every time another movie or TV show — like Altered…Read More

Film Review: Maze Runner: The Death Cure

There’s an entire category of films which I call teen dystopia cinema. You’ve seen some of these movies, I’m sure, whether it’s The Hunger Games, Divergent, City of Ember, The Golden Compass, The Mortal Instruments, The Fifth Wave, and, of course, The Maze Runner. Maybe it’s simply because teens make up such a large percentage of the movie-going public that this is such a popular theme. Then again, odds are good that we adults are…Read More

Film Review: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The line between gaming universes and reality has always been a bit fuzzy, whether it’s the 70’s angst some parents felt towards their children playing D&D and being adversely influenced to more modern video games that make us all raving maniacs. Prior to the introduction of engaging computer and video games, stories that blurred the lines revolved around board games. The imaginative original 1995 film Jumanji revolves around three children who are pulled into the…Read More

Film Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The great Star Wars saga last ended on a dark note at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens [my review] with scrappy rebel fighter Rey (Daisy Ridley) having finally found the semi-mythic Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in his remote island hideaway. The Rebel Alliance was in a shambles and the Empire was clearly on the ascendancy with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) as heir apparent to its new incarnation, The First Order. In the latest…Read More

TV Review: “Knightfall” on The History Channel

One of the great joys of studying history is that there are so many fantastic and exciting stories left untold. The bravest of heroes, the most cowardly and despicable of backstabbing conspirators, the obsessive greed of despots and the nobility of commoners, all captured in the pages of history. From both a historical and religious perspective, few groups are more interesting than the Knights Templar, however, whose exploits have been mostly hinted at or obliquely…Read More