National Board of Review Names Manchester by the Sea the Best Film of 2016

The National Board of Review has officially kicked off awards season by naming Kenneth Lonergan's outstanding drama "Manchester by the Sea" as the best film of 2016. The film also won Best Actor (Casey Affleck), Best Original Screenplay (Lonergan), and Best Male Breakthrough Performance (Lucas Hedges). Looking through the rest of the winners, there aren't any particularly big surprises to be found. Amy Adams has scored a win for Best Actress for her work in the critically-acclaimed sci-fi flick "Arrival," while Jeff Bridges ("Hell or High Water") and Naomie Harris ("Moonlight") took the supporting categories. It's also interesting to see that Martin Scorsese's "Silence" has taken Best Adapte

Don't Breathe: A Horror Outing Riddled with Plotholes (Blu-ray)

The Film: Writer/director Fede Alvarez made his big screen debut just three years ago with his underwhelming and completely misguided remake/reimagining of “The Evil Dead” (retitled to just “Evil Dead”). In terms of horror, it was quite lacking and seemed like it had only been made as an exercise in gratuitous gore, while leaving out the fun spirit of the original film. However, if nothing else, it at least showed that he was a competent filmmaker, though his writing still needed some work. This brings us to his sophomore feature, “Don’t Breathe,” another attempt at bringing a few scares to horror fans. Will his second shot finally be the next great horror film that we’ve all been waiting fo

The BFG: A Surprisingly Uninspired Spielberg Offering (Blu-ray)

The Film: With all of the incredible prestige pictures he does (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lincoln,” etc.), there are times when people forget that director Steven Spielberg has also brought us some excellent films for children as well, including the Oscar-winning “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial,” the incredibly underrated “Hook,” and the outstanding “The Adventures of Tintin.” Now he turns to the realm of kids’ films once again for “The BFG,” an adaptation based on a book from the great Roald Dahl, the man who brought us such classics as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.” “The BFG” is another unusual book to say the least, but given the author

Pete's Dragon (2016): A Charming and Delightful Film for the Whole Family (Blu-ray)

The Film: Earlier this year, Disney had massive success with an updated version of their classic animated feature “The Jungle Book,” a version of the tale that skillfully integrated a child actor with astonishing visuals to deliver a thrilling and heartwarming film. With such an achievement under their belts, it comes as no surprise that they’d want to delve into their massive catalogue once again to update an older children’s film, though I’m not sure anyone would particularly call their next selection a “classic.” 1977’s “Pete’s Dragon” is not regarded all that well today, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement nearly 40 years later. I certainly wouldn’t put it past Disney

The First Stunning Trailer for Martin Scorsese's Silence Has Arrived

It seems like we've been waiting for our first glimpse of footage from Martin Scorsese's latest project, "Silence," for ages, but at long last, Paramount has finally dropped the first trailer for the film, and it's nothing short of stunning. The film, based on the novel by Shûsaku Endô, takes place in the seventeenth century and tells the story of two Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity. This is a project that has been on Scorsese's plate for a long time, with the director originally signing on all the way back in 1990, but after he decided to direct a number of other projects instead, and due to a subse

Hell or High Water: A Lacking Narrative Brings Down an Intriguing Western (Blu-ray)

The Film: Just last year, screenwriter Taylor Sheridan burst onto the scene with the riveting crime drama “Sicario,” which earned him numerous rave reviews and multiple award nominations from prestigious groups that included the Writers Guild of America and the Online Film Critics Society. With such a grand debut, all eyes were on him to see what he would deliver next, which brings us to his second produced work entitled “Hell or High Water,” a project that has him delving into crime once again, but in a significantly different manner than before. As the film opens, we witness a pair of criminals pull off heists at two different branches of the same bank in Texas, leading them to get away wi

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A Forgettable Return to the Wizarding World

Ever since the “Harry Potter” cinematic franchise came to a thrilling conclusion back in 2011, fans (“Potterheads”) have been clamoring for more from the exciting world of wizardry that author J.K. Rowling had created so intricately in her books. Luckily for them, there was still so much more to tell, including further adventures of “The Boy Who Lived” and those of Newt Scamander… the author of a textbook about magical creatures? Admittedly, the latter doesn’t sound like it would be particularly astonishing, but for a chance to return to this wondrous universe, there seems little doubt that fans would give it a try, regardless of what the actual plotline was. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to F

Finding Dory: A Worthy Sequel to Its Masterful Predecessor (Blu-ray)

The Film: Back in 2003, a little film called “Finding Nemo” was released by Pixar, making it the fifth feature in their line of computer-animated cartoons that also included such projects as “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2,” and “Monsters, Inc.” They had already had great success with toys and monsters, so why not delve into the depths of the ocean to see if they could throw together another hit? Of course, it too brought the studio more critical acclaim and an extraordinary return at the box office. To this day, in this critic’s humble opinion, it remains their second greatest achievement, second only to Pixar’s recent supreme masterpiece “Inside Out.” As usual, when the film is massively popular

Bubba Ho-Tep (Collector's Edition): A Fascinating Premise Gets Poorly Executed (Blu-ray)

The Film: Most people probably know the name of director/writer Don Coscarelli because of the plethora of “Phantasm” films he made throughout the 80’s and 90’s. They’ve reached a somewhat cult status as pretty terrible films that people can still get a kick out of, even if it’s just to have a laugh or two. However, there are many others still who know him for something more recent, a little film called “Bubba Ho-Tep” that has reached a cult status of its own since it first appeared at film festivals in 2002. It contains quite an unusual premise about Elvis and JFK fighting a soul-stealing mummy, but surely something so strange would have to make for fascinating viewing. With Coscarelli, it b

Sully Comes to Digital HD on December 6th and Blu-ray/DVD on December 20th

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has just announced that Clint Eastwood's latest film, "Sully," will be coming to Digital HD on December 6th and Blu-ray/DVD on December 20th. The film, which tells of heroic pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his infamous landing on the Hudson River that saved the lives of all 155 passengers, received a fair amount of critical praise (RT: 83%, 7.2/10; Metacritic: 74) and is even thought to be a potential awards contender in the coming months. It certainly looks as though it could be an interesting film. Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is almost always dependable in whatever role he decides to take on, and having an ensemble that includes Aaron Eckh

La La Land Gets a Spectacular Full Trailer

Up to now, most of us have only gotten to see little bits and pieces of Damien Chazelle's upcoming film "La La Land" thanks to two short trailers that only began to give us a taste, but today, Lionsgate has finally unveiled a full trailer that shows us just what kind of dazzling experience we're in for. The film, which tells of a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles, has been receiving a staggering amount of rave reviews (RT: 96%, 8.8/10; Metacritic: 91) ever since it first started its tour of the festival circuit, and it's currently being predicted by many (including myself, sight unseen) to be this year's Best Picture Oscar winner. After winning this year's Audienc

Doctor Strange: Visually Stunning, but Narratively Lacking

Here we go yet again with another Marvel superhero origin story. Following in the footsteps of the immensely popular “Iron Man,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Thor,” “The Avengers,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” there seemed to be very little of this ever-expanding universe that we hadn’t seen yet, which makes it a perfect irony that the next entry in the series would be “Doctor Strange,” a film that is largely about things that your average person doesn’t even know exist. Admittedly, this is a character I knew practically nothing about before seeing the film, but like with all of these wild superhero adventures, I approach it with an open mind in the hopes that it will be just as

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