• Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Extraction’

    In Extraction, Chris Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, a black market mercenary who is fearless but only because he’s at the end of his rope. He’s solicited to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord. But it’s not so cut and dry. A rival kingpin in the murky underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers is making things ever more difficult for Rake and the boy (played by Rudhraksh Jaiswal).​ Sam Hargrave‘s first feature-length film (after working as stunt coordinator and second unit director for many of the most recent Marvel movies) is what action-junkies live for. If you want something hard-hitting, then this will deliver. For close to two solid…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Avengers: Endgame’

    ​If you’re reading this now, Avengers: Endgame is, at the moment, the most financially successful film of all time. There are a lot of factors and responsible parties who can take credit for this film reaching that milestone, and even from a logistics standpoint, this film should be celebrated. It helps that the characters are so beloved (let’s face it, there is huge brand awareness), and the studio has such reverence for the material. Further, the actors playing these iconic superheroes have done so well with the roles. So well in fact, you could probably make a movie about these guys having lunch or hanging out in the living room (see…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Solo: A Star Wars Story’

    In the post-trilogy landscape, there have been some really great Star Wars films that exist beyond the hallowed Episodes IV, V and VI. The Force Awakens, even as a thinly veiled remake of A New Hope is so much fun. Rogue One is the prequel you’ve been looking for, and along comes Solo: A Star Wars Story attempting to flesh out the mythology of everyone’s favorite smuggling scoundrel. Did it work? Let’s just say that in our theatrical review of Solo, we were not very kind (check that out here). But having seen this four times now, I have warmed to this story which is serviceable and quite thrilling in…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Avengers: Infinity War’

    Avengers: Infinity War hits Blu-Ray this week, and it is just as thrilling as it was in theaters. An event ten years in the making, Avengers: Infinity War is the best Marvel movie to date. Like the events in the story, the success of Infinity War is a team effort for which you can credit the studio, the producers, and the directors they trust with these dense narratives to ensure that each new story will top the previous effort. Joe and Anthony Russo have outdone themselves and raised the bar for all future MCU endeavors. Each of these iconic characters have grown in the last decade, and you really can feel…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Captain America: Civil War’

    While we were not entirely fond of the previous installments in this series, Captain America: Civil War is a vast improvement in terms of dramatic storytelling. This third entry is much more sophisticated, and capable of handling multiple characters as opposed to the sluggish blur that was Avengers: Age of Ultron. The most memorable part of this (you can thank the Civil War comic series) is that there is motivation – true, legitimate impetus and consequences – for each character taking a stance. It’s easy to see why each character is so resolute, but don’t feel bad if you can’t easily take a side. Really, neither one is wrong. It’s amazing how…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’The Jungle Book’

    Everybody loves The Jungle Book, or, at least, a great deal of people claim to love the 1967 film. Truth is, whether or not you have nostalgic leanings towards it, it’s not that great a picture. Now, faults aside, there are some redeeming and rather endearing qualities. But on the whole, it’s not one of the studio’s best efforts. Further, just because something is old, it doesn’t exactly make it good – take that hilarious “Honest Trailer” for instance which really sends up the film. So now that Disney is on this live-action kick, Jon Favreau has taken the helm of this 2016 adaptation. His undying love for the original aside, this…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Netflix Queue…’Stranger Things’

    If you want one good example why television and long-format stories are continually trumping modern cinematic endeavors, look no further than The Duffer Brothers‘ Netflix series, Stranger Things. When thinking of all the positive and glowing attributes this tiny show encapsulates, it’s almost too much to put into words. The feelings and emotions you’ll have experiencing this exceptional show cannot easily be transcribed (hence this lengthy review). That may not make sense, but don’t worry about it too much; once you’ve seen the show, you will more than likely know what we mean. In just eight episodes, Stranger Things tells a perfectly paced story, replete with a wonderful ensemble cast…

  • Features,  Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf,  Reviews

    Off the Shelf…Hollywood in Vienna: The World of James Horner

    To anyone even remotely interested in film or film music, James Horner should be more than a household name. With over 130 original compositions for a variety of film and television productions, Horner has put an indelible stamp on the entertainment world and, as a result, pop culture in general. Horner’s work became so essential to the project that he was not merely a consultant to each production, it was the narrative, characters, and editing that needed to keep pace with and adapt to what he’d written. That’s an exaggeration, sure, but to film fans, it sure feels that way. Arguably the poster child for the profession, John Williams, will be remembered…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…Disney’s ‘Zootopia’

    Disney’s latest Blu-Ray offering is something that feels classically Disney, yet has the awareness and modernity of something like the studio’s frigid Princess pic. Zootopia trades ballgowns and musical numbers for a sweet-natured but surprisingly adult story. Sure it gets a candy coating, thanks to the conceit of a civilized mammalian populus, but while not intended as a straight-up comedy, this cuddly whodunnit is an all-out laugh fest. We loved it in the theaters, and this is just a blast at home; now we can go frame by frame to take in all the grandeur of the flora and fauna directors Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush, and their team crafted. It’s a delicious…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

    J.J. Abrams, after years in TV, proved his mettle revitalizing the Star Trek franchise on the big screen. He later left the galaxy where people boldly go, and ventured into another – this one far, far away. The first non-Lucas involved Star Wars episodic story expands on everything which came before. However, Episode VII, smartly, does not rely on nostalgia. The Bad Robot team knows this universe well, and they pick up on the previous saga’s material in ways both reverent and forward-thinking. Here, with a seemingly limitless canvas, Abrams and company offer, more or less, a new origin story and a true passing of the torch, err lightsaber to the likes of Daisy…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Ant-Man’

    These days, the world of home video sees trends come and go with the arrival of each subsequent “big thing”. 3D is falling off fast, almost non-existent at this point, but once in a while it translates well from the big screen to the small(er) ones. Ant-Man, Marvel Studios’ little engine that could made a big splash earlier this year, and it is just as welcomed at home in this Blu-Ray release. Even if you don’t have a 3D set up, the film and its supplements won’t disappoint. Now those that do have the already outdated technology will revel in scenes that simply sing in the third dimension. As far…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Inside Out’

    Pete Docter has long been a fixture of Pixar, and like he said in his commentary on 2009’s Up (he also reiterates it here as well), “when something is a success, it perpetuates the myth that it came fully formed out of someone’s head“. He wants everyone to know, that is so not the case. In a meta way, Inside Out is a filmic representation of how the studio tries to find the story through experiences, rather than create it. At the animation powerhouse, there’s no genius locked away in an ivory tower who comes up with all three acts of the story perfectly. Nor does the production team go on auto pilot…