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Also: Fifty Shades of Grey and Selma are new to Blu-Ray this week

Movies don’t get much better than “Goodfellas,” Martin Scorsese’s 1990 masterpiece that helped cement him as one of the greatest directors of all time, introduced the world to Ray Liotta, and entered the question, “What do you mean funny? Funny how?” into our daily lexicon.

Based on the book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi, “Goodfellas” tells the story of Henry Hill (Liotta), a half-Irish, half-Italian Brooklyn native whose biggest ambition as a kid was to grow up to be a gangster. We see young Henry, played by Christopher Serrone, as he gets in good with the mobsters at his local cab stand, headed up by Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino). He helps out in day to day activities like passing along messages, assisting in the numbers racket, selling stolen cigarettes, and starting fires. By the time Henry is in his twenties, he is a full-fledged associate and trusted member of the local mob outfit.

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For a Star Wars fan, this is the best two minutes of your day

This is awesome. A guy with too much time on his hands literally edited himself in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” and did an excellent job of it. Most people dream of being in the movies at some time in their lives; kudos to this guy for taking initiative and making it happen. And to top it off, he even gets in a "that's what she said!" joke!

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High on action, effects and excitement, "The Avengers" sequel delivers for movie lovers everywhere

Is it worth $10? Yes

How do you improve on the third highest-grossing movie of all time? Writer/director Joss Whedon made it perfectly clear: “Avengers: Age of Ultron” had to take the best moments of “The Avengers” (2012), which grossed $1.5 billion worldwide, and do something else with them. It’s as simple as that.

Yeah, real simple.

With an estimated $250 million budget, “Ultron” has more than 3,000 visual effects shots (the most ever for a Marvel Studios film, trumping the 2,750 of “Guardians of the Galaxy”), a layered story geared toward comic book geeks, and some splendid interplay between the characters. It is a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will not end until at least May 2019 when the Avengers reunite in “Avengers: Infinity War – Part II” (part one of “Infinity War” is set for a May 2018 release).

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Whedon knows what we want – Hulk smash action excitement! – and doesn’t hesitate to give it to us. The opening sequence set in snowy mountains is a barrage of high impact kills and death-defying risk, all so Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) can retrieve Loki’s scepter, which was stolen by Baron Von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) at the end of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014). The mission is a success, but Tony is tiring of peril. With the help of Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), he plans to use the Baron’s advanced robotics equipment to create an “Ultron” device that would effectively “put a suit of armor around the world.” 

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Life experiences have no educational value, apparently

It never ceases to amaze me how some people seem to know the cost of everything but the value of nothing (to paraphrase Oscar Wilde). 

Take Principal Rochelle S. Marbury of the Abington, Pennsylvania, School District. Principal Marbury objected to parent Mike Rossi pulling his kids out of school for three days to watch him run the Boston Marathon. Although Rossi advised the school in advance of this absence, Principal Marbury bitch-slapped (figuratively) Rossi by informing him that his kids’ absence would count as “unexcused” and could lead to a referral to a so-called attendance officer (whoever that is) and notice of violation of school attendance law.

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Here's a nice change: A good comedy for men that's about weddings!

Gentlemen, I know what you’re thinking: Wedding movies are for the ladies. It’s the bride’s special day, her parents are usually the ones paying for it, and all you have to do is show up, preferably sober. The fun and adventurous story to be told around a man’s wedding day begins and ends with the bachelor party. Am I right? Well, if that’s what you think, then “The Wedding Ringer” will change your mind.

This is a man’s wedding movie, about all of the hang ups, insecurities, and troubles that a man goes through in preparation for the big day. In “The Wedding Ringer,” that man is Doug Harris (Josh Gad). Doug is engaged to the lovely Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). She plans on having a big wedding with seven bridesmaids. This of course means that Doug has to provide seven groomsmen. His problem? He has no friends.

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Not intended to be an all-inclusive list — just a look ahead to the ten movies I’m most looking forward to this summer, divided into originals and sequels. Release dates in parenthesis. Enjoy!

Originals:

Tomorrowland (May 22)
With “The Incredibles” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” director Brad Bird has earned our trust. At first glance the trailer looks like another glossy sci-fi futuristic action adventure, but in Bird’s capable hands and with George Clooney leading the way this could be something truly special. And who knows? Something (or someone) from the movie could end up inside the Tomorrowland at Disney!

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The trailer has promise, but with M. Night Shyamalan we know better than to get excited

M.Night Shymalan has burned us so many times with twisted endings that we've become the sucker for continuing to have faith in him. After "The Sixth Sense" the gimmick has done nothing but wear thin, and by "The Village" you knew out of the gate what was going to happen. At first glance, "The Visit" looks creepy and has exciting mystery thriller written all over it. Also, I can't get that damn Buddy Holly song out of my head now (Thanks a lot, M.). I can't help but wonder, though, what will be the twist this time? Possessed grandparents, alien kids, bizarre death cult that worships Barney the dinosaur? With M. Night all are possible. And why can't kids just listen to their elders? Stay in your room after 9:30 pm. So what if Grandma is howling like an animal, naked, and scratching on the walls? If your grandparents tell you to get your ass in the oven and clean it, you move your butt, right? I swear... kids these days.

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Recent Articles

Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: Goodfellas
Also: Fifty Shades of Grey and Selma are ...
Dude Edits Himself Into Star Wars: A New Hope
For a Star Wars fan, this is the best two ...
Avengers: Age of Ultron ***
High on action, effects and excitement, "The ...
Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: The Wedding Ringer
Here's a nice change: A good comedy for men ...

Summer Movie Preview!

Not intended to be an all-inclusive list — just a look ahead to the ten movies I’m most looking forward to this summer, divided into originals and sequels. Release dates in parenthesis. Enjoy!

Originals:

Tomorrowland (May 22)
With “The Incredibles” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” director Brad Bird has earned our trust. At first glance the trailer looks like another glossy sci-fi futuristic action adventure, but in Bird’s capable hands and with George Clooney leading the way this could be something truly special. And who knows? Something (or someone) from the movie could end up inside the Tomorrowland at Disney!

Read more
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