A Raisin in the Sun (1961): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

It’s surprising that “A Raisin in the Sun” is just as socially and politically relevant today as it was in 1961. Deep down while “A Raisin in the Sun” is a family drama, it’s also a film about inequality both in housing and socially. It’s about the poor and have nots looking for their own big break in a world that’s unfairly balanced in another direction entirely. It’s very easy to see where the stage play ends and the film begins, as “A Raisin in the Sun” is primarily a one setting drama about people looking for their own exit from a situation that offers them absolutely no future of wider horizons.

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The Princess Bride (1987): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

It’s not hard to figure out why “The Princess Bride” is considered one of the all time great cinematic fantasy classics. Even today it manages to stand as a movie that’s way ahead of its time and deconstructs a lot of the fairy tale and hero’s journey tropes way before “Shrek” ever popularized the idea. Rob Reiner injects a meta-mold to “The Princess Bride” helping it stand apart from a lot of the other fantasy epics we would have seen from the decade. His choice to make the story of Princess Buttercup told by a grandfather to his sick grandson is a testament to the incomparable experience of being swept away in a good book.

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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

The best thing I can say about “Bohemian Rhapsody” is that it aims to become a surefire Oscar contender, and the only aspect deserving of an Oscar is Rami Malek (bad fake teeth and wigs be damned). If you have to absolutely see “Bohemian Rhapsody” see it for Rami Malek, whose portrayal of Freddie Mercury is heartfelt, sublime, and much too fantastic for a movie that’s pretty much a sanitized version of the story of Queen and Freddie Mercury. When you have a biopic of the group that’s been authorized by the surviving members and is PG-13, there’s only so much flexibility allowed, and Malek thankfully rises to the occasion. And then there’s the rest of the movie.

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Prehysteria! (1993): Special Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD]

No one loves miniature things more than Charles Band and Full Moon Entertainment (in this case, Moonbeam), and “Prehysteria!” is a great example of such a statement. Not only does Charles Band manage to find a way to squeeze dinosaurs on to a film with such a small budget, but he does so in a very creative way. In the decade, dinosaurs were in vogue with everyone putting dinosaurs in to pop culture, and “Prehysteria!” is one of the better products of the time. It takes dinosaurs and makes them cute little critters with rock star names. And yes it’s a childhood favorite.

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Short Circuit (1986)

In the decade that gave us “E.T.” and droids, “Short Circuit” introduces a hero that’s a little bit of both. “Short Circuit” is very much like “Chopping Mall” except when lightning strikes a military grade robot he becomes hyperactive and charming like Robin Williams. I wouldn’t call “Short Circuit” a childhood favorite but I fondly remember re-visiting the movie time and time again on network TV when I was a kid and didn’t hate it. In the spectrum of “Mac and Me,” and “E.T.,” its right there smack dab in the middle with “Batteries Not Included.”

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Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation (2018)

If anything, I’m glad Genndy Tartakovsky’s off beat humor and fun animation has been embraced by Sony, but like the previous “Hotel Transylvania’s” this threequel is a mixed bag. Some of it is genuinely funny, and other times it’s either flat or kind of dull. Tartakovsky is usually so very off beat and original, it’s sad that Sony pretty much went the formulaic route with all movie series. There’s the romance, the baby sequel, and inevitable second romance with the series’ arguably most popular character. And the movie, like the formula is pretty predictable, which is what keeps “A Monster Vacation” from really taking off.

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Venom (2018)

Ruben Fleischer’s cinematic treatment of the Marvel super villain “Venom” feels a lot like it someone was making this movie in 1997, and it remained in the vault for twenty years. Then Fleischer and Sony dusted it off and finished it. “Venom” feels so out of date and ridiculously nineties you can almost expect the home video release to come with a hologram. That might be due to the character of Venom who looks less like an amorphous sentient Alien organism that creates kind of symbiosis with its host, and more like alien Jello that covers its host and causes trouble. The titular Venom is so random and bafflingly stupid, especially in its basic behavior that varies between mischievous, to downright evil. How do we root for a being who tells the film’s hero “Do what I say or I’ll eat your head”?

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Ride (2018)

It’s saying a lot when you finish with a movie and the best thing you can say is “Well, at least it was a short movie.” At seventy six minutes in length, “Ride” is never quite sure what it wants to be. It tries to be this thriller about a villain kind of bringing two people out of their shells with violence, and then other times it feels like some goofy drama with a thriller bent injected in for the sake of broader appeal. Really it just feels like writer and director Jeremy Ungar loves that segment from “Fight Club” with the convenience store worker and decided to extend it in to a feature film.

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