Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

The problem with prequels is that you already know what you’re getting, because you already know what’s going to happen to certain characters within the canon, so, “Solo” doesn’t pack much surprises. I will say though for arguably safe genre entertainment, it’s exciting and also delivers some well timed twists within its narrative. After the much ballyhooed problems during the making of the film, “Solo” ends up being a surprisingly competent popcorn movie that keeps a brisk pace, and channels the original tone of the episodes IV-VI better than the previous prequels/mid-quels (?).

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You Have to See This! Rapid Fire (1992)

It’s hard to believe but it’s been twenty five years since Brandon Lee was accidentally killed while filming “The Crow.” Lee was such a rising talent who wanted to prove himself as an actor more than become the next big action star, and he was well on his way. Lee, like his dad, had to earn a lot of his clout. First: by starring in films in Asia, and then coming to America to try his hand. But unlike his dad, Brandon had the humongous shadow of his father looming over him and he would have had to work extra hard to come out from under it and make Brandon Lee a very different name from Bruce Lee.

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert (2014-2017) [2 Blu-Ray]

The yearly “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” induction ceremony is one of the more iconic and polarizing concerts, often inspiring a slew of controversy from music buffs and musicians alike. There’s always a hailstorm of “Why not this band?” or “Why not this artist?” and you’re always guaranteed to read an interesting headline of someone griping about an overdue band not getting their dues yet. Suffice to say whether the ceremony falls flat or it’s raucous, it’s almost always a promise you’ll get an interesting experience. And that’s from what we get to see on the edited annual broadcast on cable television. There are some bands and or artists excluded from this list as they have been omitted consciously, from what I’ve read, but for your money it’s a pretty solid release from Time Life I recommend.

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Game Night (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

“Game Night” feels like an older concept brought to life in a modern comedy and while it’s not a masterpiece, it does allow for a competent good time and some consistent laughs here and there. The key word is competence as just about everyone here does a competent job. Even Rachel McAdams is very good, and never tries to out do Jason Bateman, but instead meets him at his level. This amounts to some great chemistry and some genuinely fun scenes where you buy that they’re a couple.

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Species (1995): Collector’s Edition [2 Blu-Ray]

If you’re going to watch “Species” for any reason, you have to see it for Natasha Henstridge. Surely, the cast is dynamic with the likes of Michael Madsen, Forrest Whitaker, and Ben Kingsley respectively, but Henstridge is a pretty great scene stealer rivaled only by Marg Helgenberger. I vividly recall “Species” grabbing a ton of attention back in 1995 mainly for the fact that “Species” was such a unique and erotic bit of horror and science fiction, and for the most part, it’s an okay movie. But what saves it is Henstridge and the great effects.

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For the Love of Benji (1977) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

I was never actually a fan of movies where we have to follow an animal or group of animals as we follow along on their adventures. It never dawned on me that animals have such exciting lives and I was never interested In that sub-genre. Save for the “Homeward Bound” movies, but that’s a whole other discussion. “Benji” is considered a classic by many that also begat a ton of copycat films, and “For the Love of Benji” is the follow up that, I assume is intended for kids. It’s kind of dark, all things considered.

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It’s Alive Trilogy [Blu-Ray]

Larry Cohen’s horror film “It’s Alive” didn’t always get the respect it deserved. While it’s certainly a seventies shock horror film about a mutant baby, it’s also about fear of genetic and birth defects, the question of abortion, and the idea of euthanasia in children. It thrives on being a horror cult classic, but it’s also a socially relevant movie that pounces on a lot of important issues. Larry Cohen’s classic film gets a wonderful treatment from the folks at Scream Factory with all three “It’s Alive” films on one box set, and it’s a collector’s set that’s impossible to pass up.

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Of Unknown Origin (1983) [Blu-Ray]

It’s Peter Weller vs. clunky allegory in George P. Cosmatos’ “Of Unknown Origin,” a veritable contemporary take on “Moby Dick” that pits man against nature in an urban setting and sea of bricks and mortars. “Of Unknown Origin” quite obviously fancies itself a wink wink nudge at the famous novel, that Weller’s character Bart even threatens the film’s beast with in his hand while pounding on a ceiling. In “Of Unknown Origin,” the world is a rat race and Peter Weller’s character Bart is so anxious to claw his way to the top of his corporation that he’ll even sacrifice a weekend with a young, taut Shannon Tweed (her first role) so he can get ahead.

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