• 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…’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 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…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Tomorrowland’

    Brad Bird has an affinity for telling heartfelt stories and infusing them with incredible amounts of whimsy and delight, charm and inventiveness. The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and now Tomorrowland, Bird is proficient in spinning yarns that are as nostalgia-fueled as they are forward-thinking. Tomorrowland presents itself as a duality, which is to say Bird shows us the best we as a society might hope for in a distant future, but also offers a cautionary tale about not taking action while we have the chance. Now it’s not doom and gloom. In fact, it’s fun and fanciful and more so because of the characters, not just the inventions. We are thrown…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Aladdin’

    It is no surprise that 20 years later, Aladdin, quite possibly the most amazing and crowd-pleasing film in the Disney Renaissance, still holds up. While the film is ever more than the sum of its parts, two decades of having songs and characters ingrained in our brains and pop culture have shown just how transcendent the film was, and continues to be. A colorful mix of great voice talent, witty writing, dazzling visual splendor, and of course the songs that nearly everyone knows the words to contribute in making this animated effort an outstanding cinematic achievement. There are plenty of other places to find gushing and glowing reviews of this…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Cop Car’

    In Jon Watts‘ simplistic thriller, Kevin Bacon portrays a shady police officer who oozes unsavory from the very first moment we see him. Forget that the film starts with him dragging a body to dump in makeshift, yet well-worn pit in some clandestine location. Most of the time, Bacon has a uniquely effortless way of telegraphing that he’s a bad dude with very little effort. Still, his insidious delivery can be as charming as it is nebulous. Playing a corrupt Sheriff, he’s prepared to go great lengths to conceal his nefarious deeds, but also keep the fact he’s a dirty cop under wraps. Yet, like a modern-day Scooby-Doo episode, he would have gotten away with it…