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“Logan” and “The Great Wall” are also new to Blu-Ray this week.

“Get Out” is a tough movie to write up in a review. While I can’t recommend this movie highly enough, part of the fun is the way the story unfolds and how everything comes together and makes sense, so I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s one of those movies where you see something happen in the beginning, then it’s called back at the end and you say, “Ah-ha—I get it now.”

The movie centers around Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a black photographer living in the city. His white girlfriend is Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). The two travel from the city to the country estate of Rose’s family, where they meet Rose’s dad (Bradley Whitford), mom (Catherine Keener), and brother (Caleb Landry Jones). He also meets their black gardener Walter (Marcus Henderson) and black maid Georgina (Betty Gabriel). Their behavior is a bit strange, to say the least.

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It’s the best “Alien” movie in 30 years! 

Is it worth $10? Yes 

Admit it: We all despised “Prometheus” (2012), right? It was too long, too confusing, and didn’t seem to have much to do with the “Alien” franchise at all.

Thankfully, with “Alien: Covenant” director Ridley Scott (“The Martian”) has his act together: The action is exciting, the visuals are bold and impressive (see this in IMAX if you can), and the story has clarity that nicely anticipates future installments. This is how you make a good prequel. 

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“xXx: Return of Xander Cage” and “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” are also new to Blu-Ray this week.  

When the term “visitor from another planet” is used, most folks conjure up visions of aliens landing on Earth, their space craft hovering high in the sky above. There is no such imagery as that in “The Space Between Us,” even though a visitor from Mars does come down to Earth. The twist is that he’s a human born on a Mars colony, and his first-time visit to Earth is shepherded through the auspices of NASA.

The visitor is Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield). His mother Sarah (Janet Montgomery) was pregnant with him throughout her seven month journey from Earth to Mars and gave birth to Gardner shortly after landing. Then she died. This sent mission director Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman) into a tailspin, unsure of the best way to deal with the news, and left Gardner in the care of the crew.

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It’s a long-awaited return to the big screen for King Arthur, but you’ll wish he stayed away.  

Is it worth $10? No 

In spite of its Old English roots, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is undeniably made for a 21st century audience. This has nothing to do with modern filmmaking technology, and everything to do with the fact that we are a population that has trouble paying attention to anything for longer than five minutes before being distracted by our cell phones. Accordingly, “Legend of the Sword” can’t stay in one scene to save its cinematic life, and as it constantly shuffles around you can’t help but think, “why?”

More times than you’ll want to count, a scene will proceed along until a character starts talking about future plans, or the past. Director Guy Ritchie and editor James Herbert, who are either unwilling or unable to pay attention to their own movie, frequently cut to a visualization of those past or future events. To use this technique a few times, as Ritchie did in “Sherlock Holmes,” can work as a storytelling device, especially when driven by Holmes’ divine intellect. But relying on it frequently makes it a distraction, a narrative apoplexy that does little to create intrigue and results in the constant disservice of two steps forward one step back. What’s particularly galling is that the story would’ve been just fine if told as a straight narrative.

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What should have been a legendary comedic pairing doesn’t live up to expectations. 

Is it worth $10? No 

If you combine part of the movie "Romancing the Stone” with Amy Schumer’s latest comedy special, you get “Snatched.” Not extremely funny or original, but still entertaining enough to keep your attention. Don't get me wrong, there are some hysterical moments that are scattered throughout, but an unoriginal story and a fairly incomplete film add up to squandered opportunity.

When selfie obsessed dreamer Emily (Amy Schumer) is dumped by her boyfriend, she convinces her play-it-safe mom, Linda (Goldie Hawn), to accompany her to Ecuador for a vacation that was originally planned for Emily and her guy. After meeting some unique characters, the two find themselves kidnapped and on a dangerous and zany trip to make it back to civilization.

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A pleasantly paced, observational documentary about a family of poetic Argentinean goatherders gratifies the eyes and soothes the soul. 

Is it worth $10? Yes 

In their perfect honesty, droves of goats and sheep, sharply urged ahead on a dirt path by a pair of snap-happy dogs, overtake the frame in the opening shot of the Argentinean documentary “Arreo.” The dust kicked up by prancing hooves temporarily obscures the ruggedly handsome panorama of rural Malargüe’s rolling hills. Director-cinematographer Tato Moreno’s film, as promised by this dynamic first sequence, often drifts easily into moments of Zen where nothing is lacking and everything thrives.

In this way and others, “Arreo” serves as a cool cocoon against the overheated political pollution of the United States today. Though the politics of “progress” don’t pardon even the peaceful, affable Eliseo Paradas clan of herdsmen, their way of life in the country endures. More than that, their hard work in the day and simple family time at night evoke mainly one thing: joyful contentment.

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Tense war drama is one-dimensional and wonderfully engaging because of it.  

Is it worth $10? Yes  

We occasionally forget that movies don’t need globetrotting escapades, emotional histrionics or lavish visuals to soar on the big screen. Sometimes the simplest premise can yield the greatest drama. All a movie really needs, as “The Wall” reminds us, is quality writing, sturdy directing and solid performances.

A soldier. A wall. A sniper. That’s the core of this gripping war drama set in 2007 Iraq. American soldiers Allen Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Shane Matthews (John Cena) are on a 20-hour stakeout monitoring a cobbled, crumbling wall they erroneously believe is hiding a sniper. All they can see are dead security guards and contractors who were working on an oil pipeline.

Nothing’s happening.

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“Fifty Shades Darker” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

There’s a moment early on in “A Street Cat Named Bob” where homeless heroin addict James Bowen (Luke Treadaway) endures something dreadful and rough. No, I’m not talking about the hours spent playing guitar in the London streets for spare change. Nor am I talking about the moment a ruthless restaurant owner throws a perfectly good steak dinner away because James can’t pay for it, forcing him to eat half a soggy sandwich in the rain. Even after he and his companion Baz (Darren Evans) nod off in a stranger’s car, and James is picked up by the police and sent into a rehab program, he has not yet faced this most terrible of ordeals.

I’m referring to a moment shortly after James meets a stray ginger cat that he names Bob (played by the actual Bob the Cat, around whom the best-selling novels this movie is based on were written). Bob has a nasty gash and has to get stitched up at the vet. As a result, Bob has to be on antibiotics for two weeks. James’s choice between food money and paying for the pills is the least of his worries. This poor man has to go through the horror and agony of giving a pill to a cat. Anyone out there who has had to give an uncooperative feline a pill knows all too well of the troubles and tribulations it entails. It is its own special brand of hell, unmatched by few other things one must endure. Granted, life on the streets was pretty tough for James. But it wasn’t until he had to give a cat a pill that I said to myself, “You poor, suffering man.” My heart immediately went right out to him.

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The fun, action and great visuals of the first “Guardians” all return, but the story makes this sequel a bit of a letdown.

Is it worth $10? Yes

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” starts great, has inspired moments, teeters with lulls, and then ends with a planet-sized bang. The great start comes with Baby Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) cutely dancing to the tune of ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” as the rest of the Guardians – Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) – fight a nefarious beast. The humor and one-liners are on point, the visual effects dazzle in IMAX 3D, and the grandeur of it all reminds us why we love summer movie season.

Then the story kicks into gear, and we’re reminded why we hate summer movie season. The Guardians divide, and when they do the story splinters and doesn’t recover until the end. Writer/director James Gunn seems intent on exploring family dynamics, as seen in Peter’s connection with Ego (Kurt Russell), who claims to be his father, and Gamora’s strained relationship with her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). Add in Peter’s complex dealings with Yondu (Michael Rooker), who is the only father figure Peter’s ever known, and you have a few too many personal issues for a zany space adventure. 

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

Most rags to riches movies start the main character off in the hard times, show how he or she got to the pinnacle of success, then show the downside/downfall from the main character’s own self-destruction or struggles with excess. “Gold,” inspired by true events, tells a rags to riches story, but without the typical formula.

In fact, Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) stars off relatively successful. It’s 1981, and Kenny works for his dad (Craig T. Nelson) at Washoe Mining in Nevada. He shows promise, and while the old man may not have any immediate plans to retire, it appears that the company will be in good hands when he does. Wells is doing so well in prospecting that he can even afford a very nice gold watch for girlfriend Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard).

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Recent Articles

Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: Get Out
“Logan” and “The Great Wall” are also new ...
Alien: Covenant ***
It’s the best “Alien” movie in 30 years! Is it ...
Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: The Space Between Us
“xXx: Return of Xander Cage” and “Resident ...
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword **
It’s a long-awaited return to the big ...
Snatched **
What should have been a legendary comedic pairing ...
Arreo ***
A pleasantly paced, observational documentary ...
The Wall ***
Tense war drama is one-dimensional and wonderfully ...

Best Movie In Theaters Now: Alien Covenant

It’s the best “Alien” movie in 30 years! 

Is it worth $10? Yes 

Admit it: We all despised “Prometheus” (2012), right? It was too long, too confusing, and didn’t seem to have much to do with the “Alien” franchise at all.

Thankfully, with “Alien: Covenant” director Ridley Scott (“The Martian”) has his act together: The action is exciting, the visuals are bold and impressive (see this in IMAX if you can), and the story has clarity that nicely anticipates future installments. This is how you make a good prequel. 

Read more
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