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by Andrew Hudak

Tense thriller features an intelligent alien and not the most intelligent humans.  

Science can be a beautiful, wondrous thing. A scientific breakthrough can lead to a treasure trove of innovation and discovery that propels mankind forward. Science can also be tragically devastating and destructive, unleashing horror that destroys mankind. The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) in “Life” experiences both extremes.

The movie wastes no time in getting right to it, as the station’s chief (and only, for some reason) research scientist Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) discovers a microscopic life form in a sample of the dirt on Mars. After a heroic save of the sample by hot shot pilot Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), the sample is brought on board and is examined by Derry.

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by Andrew Hudak

The action-packed “John Wick: Chapter 2” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

Many a writer has pointed out how Batman and Joker are two sides of the same coin, and in a weird symbiotic way, each one feeds off of the other. This theme was of course most famously explored in Alan Moore’s legendary 1988 comic “The Killing Joke.” But that comic stopped short at actually exploring the relationship between the hero and the villain.

Thank goodness we have “The LEGO Batman Movie” to fill in the gap. It may be animated using LEGO blocks, but that doesn’t mean its story should be dismissed. After an inventive, high-flying opening sequence in which Joker (voice of Zach Galifianakis) and his cohorts hijack a plane full of a ridiculous amount of explosives and threaten to blow up Gotham for the umpteenth time, the citizenry of Gotham remain unfazed. This is because they know that Batman (voice of Will Arnett) will show up and save the day (or night, as it were). They’re right. In a high octane, slam bang action sequence – complete with some pretty funny gravel-voiced singing by the Caped Crusader himself—he plows through Joker’s minions like they’re made from plastic bricks.

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by Andrew Hudak

"A Cure For Wellness” and “Beauty and the Beast” are also new to Blu-Ray this week. 

Movie careers can age in one of two ways: They can either get better and more refined, like wine, or they can spoil and stink something awful, like milk. I’d say that for Arnold Schwarzenegger, his career, much like the actor himself, is transitioning very gracefully into his autumn years—and he has his well-defined, introspective performance in “Aftermath” to back that claim up.

Schwarzenegger plays Roman, a happy go lucky construction supervisor in Columbus, Ohio. As the movie opens, we learn that his wife and pregnant daughter are flying in from overseas for Christmas and Roman needs to pick them up from the airport that evening. We get a quick butt shot while Schwarzenegger showers and gets ready. On the surface this may seem gratuitous, but given the mega wattage of this star, it’s his way of showing off that even at 69 years old, he’s still in amazingly great shape.

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by Andrew Hudak

The deplorable “Fist Fight” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.  

The high concept pitch for “Before I Fall” is pretty straight forward: It’s “Groundhog Day” meets “Mean Girls.” The one key difference is that unlike those two movies, “Before I Fall” is not a comedy and rather takes a darker, more serious approach. For the most part, it works.

The mean girls in question are a clique comprised of the sweet and down to Earth Samantha (Zoey Deutch), queen bee super bitch Lindsay (Halston Sage), and the relatively interchangeable Ally (Cynthy Wu) and Elody (Medalion Rahimi). The date is Friday, February 12—also known as “Cupid Day” at their high school. We go through this one day as the girls drive to school together, get flowers from admirers, go to a party, and get into an accident. Then the day is repeated over and over again for Samantha until she figures out what to do to make things right.

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