Burning (Beoning) (2018)

There’s so much about Chang-dong Lee’s dramatic mystery that I had a good time picking apart. It’s a long and occasionally trying film, I’ll admit, but director Chang-dong Lee slowly but surely takes every single element of his narrative and places them in their proper order, allowing for a character study about class warfare and paranoia that is quite satisfying. I wasn’t really privy to what “Burning” was about when I first stepped in to it, but I had a difficult time looking away from it as it unfolded, as Chang-dong Lee dissects a lot about the haves and the have nots, the idea of love, and obsession.

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Ben is Back (2018)

With America’s opioid crisis, much of the most acclaimed dramas involved stories about family, and two of the most interesting involved drug addiction. While “Ben is Back” completely drifted under the radar, it’s an interesting and often compelling drama about drug abuse, and how often times drug abusers can drag much of their personal demons and past in to the lives of those that they love. I won’t say that I completely loved “Ben is Back,” but I appreciated its inherent tale of a mother racing to help her son, in spite of the odds being stacked against her over and over.

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Aquaman (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

While comic book movies are almost always a guaranteed money maker, it’s quite a shock to many that one of the highest grossing comic book movies of all time is a movie about Aquaman. After spending decades being a basic punch line for all of pop culture, Aquaman swoops in and basically has changed the course of how we think of the character and DC’s Comic book movies. All it took was a skilled director like James Wan, and the undeniable charisma of Jason Momoa.

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I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

Robert Zemeckis’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is a charming, if flawed tribute to the Beatles and the rampant Beatles Mania that ran throughout much of the late sixties. I’m sure Zemeckis bear witness to a lot of the “Beatlemania,” and his film seems to come from a place of experience. For folks that loved movies like “American Graffiti” or “Dazed and Confused,” Zemeckis’ 1978 comedy is one of those movie set over the course of a night that centers on a group of teenagers that are so devoted to the Beatles, they risk just about everything to see them on the Ed Sullivan Show.

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Kolobos (1999): Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

I know “Kolobos” mainly from late night cable where I was able to watch the final half of it back in 2000 was kind of blown away by it. Granted, this was before I’d seen a ton of movies and I was still young, but I remember loving it. Over the years it’s garnered a pretty loyal fan base and cult following, all of whom love it, warts and all. I mainly know it for being one of the last hurrahs of the video store age where low budget horror fare was reduced to straight to video on shelves, and not Saturday premieres on the Syfy channel.

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Audition (Ôdishon) (1999): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD]

It should just about go without saying that “Audition” is basically Takashe Miike’s masterpiece. If not then it’s the most accessible in where Miike is able to basically cut loose in a horror movie that begins as a romance about a man finding love again that descends in to darkness and torture. Twenty years later, “Audition” is a masterpiece of the genre, of film, and hasn’t aged a single bit since its release in 1999. It embraces romance, drama, a hint of dark comedy, and builds up to a fever pitch of a climax that’s both horrifying and will leave audiences feeling physically pained.

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Kalifornia (1993): Collector’s Edition [2 Disc Blu-Ray]

In 1993, Brad Pitt was one of the golden boys of Hollywood depicted as nothing more than a sex symbol. For years Pitt tried to reverse that image, and “Kalifornia” is one of his many efforts to break that sex symbol pigeon hole in favor of revealing his inherent acting ability. Paired with the right material, Pitt is a very good actor, but “Kalifornia” isn’t one of his best performances, no matter how hard he tries to channel his inner slime ball. That’s because “Kalifornia” is a bland and forgettable thriller with a great idea that it manages to piss away quite well.

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Creed II (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

Ryan Coogler came storming out of the gate with “Creed,” a spiritual sequel to “Rocky” that was so good, it stood side by side comfortably with the original “Rocky.” As all things in Hollywood, despite Stallone’s attempted justification for re-visiting old story lines, “Creed” made money, so we have “Creed II.” I mean, there is room here for the writers to explore the whole dynamic between Adonis confronting the man who murdered his father, but much of that is sidestepped in favor of usual “Rocky” movie tropes, boiling down to a sequel that’s pretty damn—erm, okay. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not “Creed.”

It’s not even “Rocky II.”

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