Digital Downsizing

Downed DownloadersI am no prophet. I don’t see into the future, and if I make any prognostications that turn out to be correct, it is only because I have looked at the existing situation, connected the dots, and extrapolated ahead. I don’t imagine my track record on predictions is any better than most peoples’. Yet it appears that I may have been onto something when I said that digital delivery for movies weren’t going to take over from DVDs right away. I’m not saying the idea is a complete failure, of course; nothing of the sort. But it’s apparent that it’s a more difficult sell than the media distributors were expecting.

Why do I say that? Well, it’s related to the reason there haven’t been any Tech Reviews on the site since summer 2013. The last two times I was ready to write a review of a new service, the service went under before I had the review written. And now a third, which had been one of my earlier reviews and one of my favorite services, has just been scheduled for shuttering. Continue reading

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A Clockwork Orange

Clockwork Orange Poster1971 Best Picture Nominee

One thing you have to give Stanley Kubrick credit for: his films are seldom easy to dismiss from one’s thoughts. I’ve seen four of his films now, and arguably the least memorable of them would be The Shining — and that’s one of the greatest horror films ever made, so it should be clear that “least memorable” is not a strong descriptor in this case. Of the other films, both 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr. Strangelove are very dense films, requiring a lot of thought to process afterward. A Clockwork Orange is no different in that respect. I’ve been digesting this bit of mental gristle for nigh on a year now, and for multiple reasons. The first is that it really does have some thought-provoking concepts behind it. The other is that, despite those concepts and a high degree of technical quality, I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience. Continue reading

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Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI

Jason Lives PosterAfter the frankly dire quality of the fifth Friday the 13th film, I was feeling a bit jaded about the idea of continuing the blog’s tradition of watching and reviewing a Jason Voorhees movie every Friday 13. Not that I wasn’t going to do it, mind you; just that I was keeping my expectations really low.

With the sixth film in the franchise, I think it’s reasonable to say that it’s probably never going to return to the quality of the very first film. However, it is substantially better than its predecessor, and is a relatively high mark for the franchise so far. Continue reading

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Frozen

Frozen PosterI’m a fan of Disney, but I wouldn’t say that they knock it out of the park every single time. Brother Bear comes to mind as a fairly mediocre offering, and there are several others in the late 90s/early 2000s era that look a bit sketchy. Still, there’s a reason why any film in the “Disney Animated Canon” that I haven’t seen is on my watchlist: Disney is pretty reliable about putting out a quality film. Not universally, but often enough that it’s the expectation, not the exception.

And when one really expects Disney to excel is when tackling a classic fairy tale. It’s how the company got its start, and though many of their films have other origins, the fairy tale stories are still the most recognizable ones. Frozen, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, is their latest offering in the genre, and it is clear that it will have as much staying power as any of the others. Continue reading

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Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror PosterHollywood seems to prefer revisiting fairy tales and putting new twists on them to coming up with genuinely novel fantasy stories. And one of the ones they keep going back to time and again is the story of Snow White. 2012 had two competing films that both told different tales of the errant princess and her dwarven cohorts. Snow White and the Huntsman was the serious take on the story, directed by Rupert Sanders, and it was mediocre.

Mirror Mirror is the more comedic take on the tale, directed by Tarsem Singh, and it is also mediocre. Continue reading

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Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy PosterAs both a fan and a reviewer, it’s sometimes possible to skeptical of a company even after it has shown some success. Such was the case with me and Marvel Studios. Yes, I had full faith that Marvel would continue to put out quality superhero movies. They’ve had a few marginally-weak ones since they’ve started producing their own films in-house (Iron Man 2 probably being the weakest of the bunch), but really, most of it’s been pretty solid. But I wondered if they would really be able to branch out their brand, do something that wasn’t just a lead-in or spin-off of The Avengers, if they’d be able to be successful with a more obscure property, and — perhaps most importantly — if they could do something that was substantially different in tone and in feel from their other films and still have it be of high quality.

With Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn delivers a solid “Yes” in response to my skepticism. Continue reading

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Truth (2015)

TRUTH_EPK 2Michael Cramer and Troy Scoughton Jr.’s Truth starts with a premise that sounds familiar enough. The government has been engaging in covert experiments, combining viruses with nanotechnology to create the “ultimate truth serum” in its war against terror. The virus mutates, disaster strikes, and the black ops facility is shut down. Several years later, a group of students discovers the abandoned secret facility and decides to investigate.

It sounds like the typical setup for a typical zombie movie. But this film, which has a limited release pending, is not a zombie movie. Instead, it takes things in a different direction. Continue reading

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