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Haunted sewers are not the only things that stink in this uninspired, tonally jarring screen adaptation of Stephen King's second-longest novel. 

Is “it” worth $10? No 

“It,” Stephen King's sprawling chronicle about outcasts in a Maine town who confront an evil being at two different stages in their lives, arrives on the big screen with an “R” rating it flaunts at every turn and a conspicuous time period change that allows it to indulge in ‘80s nostalgia.

But while that conceptual combo might make a target audience conditioned to idealize both the text and its revised period, the results are lackluster and schlocky. There is a noticeable attempt to capture the prolific horror novelist's voice, his distinctive flavor, but the film fails at blending its disparate thematic elements into a cohesive whole. This long-awaited adaptation suffers from a severe multiple personality disorder.

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“Rough Night” and “Megan Leavey” are also new to Blu-Ray this week.

“Mr. Mom” will always have a special place in my heart for one scene that has two very funny, quotable bits of dialogue about half a minute apart. This happens when laid off auto industry engineer Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) first meets his wife Caroline’s (Teri Garr) new boss Ron (Martin Mull), who is picking Caroline up in the morning:

Jack: Want a beer?
Ron: It's 7 o'clock in the morning.
Jack: Scotch? 

A few moments later, Jack takes Ron to another room where he says he is doing some re-modeling and re-wiring. Jack proves that while he may be a great auto engineer, he’s no electrician:

Jack: Gonna rip these walls out and, uh, of course re-wire it.
Ron: Yeah? You gonna make it all 220?
Jack: Yeah, 220, 221--whatever it takes.

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The summer movie season is officially behind us (thankfully), so it’s time to get excited for the Oscar bait that comes every autumn.

Indeed, a quick look at the upcoming release schedule suggests there’s plenty to look forward to between now and Christmas. Remember release dates are subject to change, but you’ll want to keep this lighthearted preview handy to know what to look for.

September 8
“It”
Not sure what’s scarier: The return of Stephen King’s shape-shifting clown who terrorizes kids, or the fact that the movie is two hours and 15 minutes.

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Sundance darling has wonderful moments but ultimately the songs and story are lacking.

Is it worth $10? Yes

There’s no room for Patricia Dombrowski in the rap world. She’s an overweight white girl from New Jersey who’s laughed at and rejected whenever she dares to ask for a chance. But she wouldn’t be an inspiring dreamer, and we wouldn’t have “Patti Cake$,” if she didn’t try.

She’s earnest and likeable and we want her to succeed, which is why it’s a shame writer/director Geremy Jasper’s movie isn’t more of a success. Contrivances, melodrama and predictability hinder an otherwise engaging narrative that at times has us dancin’ in our seats.

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“Baywatch” is also new to Blu-Ray this week. 

Ah, youth. The impulsivity, the impetuousness, the…well…hard-headed, hormone-driven, emotion-based stupidity. No, it’s not just Millennials who act like brash know it alls. As “My Cousin Rachel,” adapted from the novel by Daphne Du Maurier to the big screen for the second time (first time being 1952, in a movie of the same name starring Richard Burton and Olivia de Havilland) shows, this behavior has been going on for centuries.

“My Cousin Rachel” takes place in England in the early to mid-nineteenth century. Twenty-four year old Philip Ashley (Sam Claflin) is absolutely incensed at his cousin Rachel (Rachel Weisz). He believes that she married and then murdered his other cousin Ambrose (brief and uncredited performance by Deano Bugatti), who took care of him since he was a child. The motive for the murder is uncertain. All he knows is that his cousin fell ill, went from England to Italy to recuperate, met Rachel, married her, then wound up dead. His only proof that Rachel has anything to do with it are some frantically written, paranoid-sounding letters that he received from Ambrose shortly before his demise.

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The third time isn’t exactly the charm, but it’s also not the worst trip you’ll ever take.  

Is it worth $10? Yes 

The problem with a bad ending is that it becomes the only thing people remember. No matter how good a movie is leading up to the conclusion, it can all be undone/undermined by what happens in those precious final minutes. This is relevant in terms of “The Trip To Spain” because, for the most part, it’s a witty travelogue following two British comedians as they try to make one another laugh while waxing philosophical about life and love. They’re smart and the humor is sometimes dry, but we like them.

And then the ending happens and you’re thinking “what the?” as the credits roll.

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“Kill Switch” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.  

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” provides all of the action and special effects spectacle promised in the trailer. It also refuses to settle to be just another superhero movie. Along with the action comes a much deeper theme of family, and the importance of those bonds. If that’s too much to handle, then also know that it comes with a huge heaping dose of some of the most hysterically funny moments I’ve seen on screen in a long time. Seriously, most comedies out there wish they were this funny.

The movie kicks off with a perfect mix of action and comedy to set the tone. Baby Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) dances around to a selection off of Peter Quill/Starlord’s (Chris Pratt) “Awesome Mix Vol. 2”—an audio cassette tape near and dear to Peter because it’s his only connection to his home planet of Earth and a reminder of his deceased mother. While Groot gets his groove on, Starlord, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) fight off a very thick skinned inter-dimensional alien who wants to steal some precious batteries from a race who call themselves the Sovereign.

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Like its protagonist, this drama never finds it way. 

Is it worth $10? No  

“The farthest distance in the world is between how it is and how you thought it was going to be,” Cynthia Nixon’s Judith says in the middle of “The Only Living Boy in New York,” and darn if that’s not true about the movie itself.

It has a great cast. A wonderful director in Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”). A story ripe with possibilities. And yet the movie is an off-putting, depressing tale about malcontents who hate what New York City has become, but don’t do anything to make it better. Webb also shows so little regard for mass appeal that it’s hard to believe he made the first two “The Amazing Spider-Man” movies. The limited target demo here – New York social elites and those aspiring to be one – will likely (ironically) find the film’s pretentiousness a tad off-putting, making it hard to say what audience will connect with this misbegotten narrative.

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Fun heist movie is a delightful way to end the summer. 

Is it worth $10? Yes 

Steven Soderbergh has directed many types of films with great success (he won an Oscar for “Traffic” in 2000), but it’s clear he has an affinity for heist movies (he made “Oceans 11” and its two lesser sequels). Yet it’s still odd to see him on the big screen with “Logan Lucky,” about a robbery during a Nascar race, for a number of reasons.

For one, you may recall Soderbergh announced his retirement from feature film directing in 2013. This didn’t last – few thought it would – but it is true that this is his first feature since then (he’s been quite busy with “The Knick” on Cinemax).

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Chilly murder mystery features solid performances and a decent story until it starts to lag in the end. 

Is it worth $10? Yes 

The Wind River Indian Reservation is a terrible place to call home. In “Wind River,” all the locals hate it. It’s cold, isolated, unforgiving and horribly dull. It’s also, through the eyes of writer/director Taylor Sheridan, a pretty effective setting for a murder mystery.

Jeremy Renner stars as Corey Lambert, a hunter/tracker in this remote and frigid Wyoming territory. When working in the vast mountainside he discovers the body of Natalie (Kelsey Asbille), a local teen whose father (Gil Birmingham) is an old friend of Corey’s. With the well-meaning tribal police, led by its chief (Graham Greene), of little help, F.B.I. Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) enlists Corey’s assistance to find out who raped and murdered Natalie.

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Recent Articles

It **
Haunted sewers are not the only things that ...
Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: Mr. Mom
“Rough Night” and “Megan Leavey” are also ...
Fall Movie Preview 2017
The summer movie season is officially ...
Patti Cake$ **1/2
Sundance darling has wonderful moments but ...
Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: My Cousin Rachel
“Baywatch” is also new to Blu-Ray this ...
The Trip To Spain **1/2
The third time isn’t exactly the charm, but ...
Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
“Kill Switch” is also new to Blu-Ray this ...

Best Movie In Theaters Now: Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan is in expert form in this dramatization of the important WWII battle.  

Is it worth $10? Yes 

Dunkirk, France, 1940. Roughly 400,000 Allied soldiers are trapped on the beach of this northern enclave, surrounded and dominated by German firepower. The only hope for survival is evacuation, and that becomes less likely by the hour.

In a Hollywood story, these underdog Allies would fight their way out. But writer/director Christopher Nolan (the “Dark Knight” trilogy) isn’t interested in a Hollywood story. Instead, “Dunkirk” focuses on the sometimes heroic, sometimes selfish, and always-brave actions of individuals on land, at sea and in the air, and how each contributed to the evacuation of more than 330,000 men.

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