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Tribeca 2016: KING COBRA Review

Always cautious to recognize that the real-life version of what we’re seeing on screen might have been drastically different from what is presented in the film, I can fully appreciate that King Cobra is filmmaker Justin Kelly’s dramatic interpretation of the real-life story of a young porn star who becomes caught in the middle of a deadly industry rivalry. That said, it is a movie full of interesting characters that is well told, well shot and unlike any other murder-mystery film I’ve seen.

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Tribeca 2016: MAGNUS Review

Not a chess player myself, I was not sure whether I would like, much less understand, Magnus, a documentary about a chess prodigy who became the youngest grandmaster in the world at age 13; drew a tie with the world’s best chess player and 15-year reigning champ, Garry Kasparopv, also at age 13; and who became the world chess champion at the tender age of 22.

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THE LAST MAN ON THE MOON Review

Mark Craig’s The Last Man on the Moon is the story of Eugene “Gene” Cernan, an American astronaut, who, among other things, reached the fastest speed ever attained in a manned vehicle (24,791 MPH) with two of his fellow astronauts, and he was the last person to walk on the surface of the moon.

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SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS Blu-ray Review

The story about a put-upon princess who befriends and is later cared for by seven dwarfs after her evil royal stepmother attempts to kill her has captivated audiences around the world. Arguably Disney’s most important animated feature, its 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is one of the latest classics to get the Blu-ray treatment for modern audiences. For those who don’t know, Snow White more or less launched the Disney empire and is credited for making Disney what it is today.

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Slamdance 2016: HOW TO PLAN AN ORGY IN A SMALL TOWN Review

After the death of her mother, writer Cassie Cranston returns to the small town she grew up in (and was subsequently driven out of) to collect her inheritance money. The professional sex expert, who is harboring a major secret, hopes to get in and out of, ahem, Beaver’s Ridge quickly but finds herself being pulled back in by some of of her childhood acquaintances.

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SUNDANCE Announces 2016 Competition Lineup

The Sundance Film Festival, held annually in Park City, Utah, and surrounding areas, is one of the first film festivals of the year and provides a preview of the year ahead in independent film.

The Sundance Institute announced today the 65 films that were selected for

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THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 Review

The latest and last installment of the Hunger Games saga, which is based on the bestselling books of the same name, brings to an end the story of Katniss and Peeta and their Panem rebellion. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 picks up not long after the last film ends with the districts’ rebels gaining momentum and Katniss continuing to serve as the face of the movement.

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TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGOT Blu-ray Review

Nearly a year after its original television airing on ABC comes the release of Toy Story That Time Forgot, a holiday special continuing the Toy Story saga, on Blu-ray and Digital HD. Clocking in at a mere 22 minutes, fans of the brand will likely be disappointed that their pals Woody and Buzz had such little screen time. And while it was dubbed a “holiday event,” there was barely more than a glimpse of a Christmas tree, so it isn’t exactly a mood-setting short.

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BURNT Review

Coming out of the gate strong, Burnt has an interesting-enough premise. A highfalutin, two-Michelin-star chef (Bradley Cooper) hits rock bottom (off screen) and pays his debt shucking oysters in Louisiana. Having gained international recognition in Paris, the American hothead Adam Jones, felt the need to make amends (to himself?) before trying for his third star. Now, empowered with a renewed confidence, he aims to “get the band back together” for another shot at the industry’s highest honor.

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ROOM Review

With two of the best performances I have seen in a movie for some time, the co-stars of Room, Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, more than carry the film; they have created something of a mini masterpiece.

Emma Donoghue’s story about a 5-year-old boy named Jack, told from the child’s perspective, is treated with dignity and reverence by director Lenny Abrahamson, who brings Donoghue’s riveting tale to life on the silver screen.

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ALADDIN Blu-ray Review

Disney’s 1992 hit classic, Aladdin, is now available in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack that the studio is calling the film’s “Diamond Edition.” The animated tale about a poor thief who manages to get his hand on a magic lamp, release the genie inside and win over the heart of a princess will no doubt be a nostalgic return to the world that so many of us grew up watching in our living rooms on our VHS tapes.

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PAN Review

Joe Wright’s fantasy/adventure/family film, Pan, chronicles the life of a 12-year-old boy, orphaned as an infant, who would eventually become the infamous Peter Pan. On the surface, this origin story had an intriguing premise: where Peter and his lost boys came from; how he came to be in Neverland (or Never Never Land, as I prefer); where he met Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily and the mermaids; etc. I was actually really excited for this one, but sadly, Pan failed to live up to its enormous potential.

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MONKEY KINGDOM Blu-ray Review

With a movie like Monkey Kingdom, you hope for just as much juicy extras on its take-home edition as Disneynature films typically offer in the theater. Monkey Kingdom’s compelling tale about the lives of a family of toque macaque monkeys leaves you wanting more, and the Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD release, now available, satisfies.

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MOLLY MOON AND THE INCREDIBLE BOOK OF HYPNOTISM Review

From its cringe-worthy opening credits to its bizarre climactic heist scene, Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism feels like attempt to create a magic-infused version of Annie (dog and all) but with lower stakes than Harry Potter and less charm than Matilda.

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DESCENDANTS DVD Review

When I was told I would be reviewing a Disney movie about the offspring of its famous villains – Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, the Evil Queen (from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) and Jafar (from Aladdin) – I, naturally, expected to be handed an animated film, not a live-action musical.