Flight to Mars (1951): Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

Well, say what you want about “Flight to Mars” (reaching its 70th anniversary this year) but damn it, they make good on their promise in the title. There is definitely a flight to mars. It’s just a long, drawn out, monotonous, tedious flight to mars involving four boring male characters and one woman whose duties involve getting aggressively hit on by the spaceship’s captain, taking notes, and making the men coffee.

In Sp-a-a-a-a-ce!

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Mortal Kombat (2021) [Blu-Ray/Digital]

Despite being one of the most violent games ever released (of its time), in the nineties studios worked hard to water down the series for a younger audience. With that, they effectively killed off any cinematic prospects for over twenty years after 1997’s embarrassing “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.” Now in 2021, Director Simon McQuoid brings us a new vision for “Mortal Kombat” that’s faithful in many respects, and embraces the gore and grue of the original games. It’s not a perfect movie by any stretch, but it’s a damn good martial arts fantasy when all is said and done.

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Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

It’s kind of ironic that the villain of the sequel to 1996’s “Space Jam” is named Al G. Rhythm, the physical manifestation of an algorithm who decides the fate of not just star Lebron James but of the Looney Tunes. “A New Legacy” (Or “Space Jam 2”) feels like it was directed not by a person, but a committee of people that followed algorithms about what was appealing to modern audiences, and what was “hip.” The film doubles as a two hour EPK for the HBO Max Streaming Service. “A New Legacy” premieres on the aforementioned streaming service (and theaters), so Warner takes full advantage of exploiting every single (repeat: every single) IP that they have at their disposal.

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Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) [4K UHD/Blu-Ray/Digital HD]

Celebrating its 50th anniversary June 30th of 2021, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” is a movie that hasn’t aged since 1971 and shows no sign of aging any time soon. Even with the Tim Burton second adaptation and the upcoming prequel, Mel Stuart’s cinematic version of the Roald Dahl fantasy book still remains on the top of the heap. Even looking at it without nostalgia lens, the Gene Wilder fantasy is excellent in every sense of the word, while Wilder’s titular performance is unrivaled.

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You Have to See This! The Florida Project (2017)

We often tend to classify fantasy movies as movies with monsters, or elves, or space battles. Sometimes fantasy movies can be as simple as a narrative about the world that children can invent in their minds. In the darkest times and most cynical of realities, a child can find beauty and awe in their environment, and Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” is every bit a fantasy as it is a rich art house drama. It’s hard to imagine anything as measuring up to Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” from 2017.

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Pungo: A Witch’s Tale (2020)

The witch of Pungo legend is interesting enough on its own, but when all was said and done, I don’t know if it warranted a movie. Director Cook uses the legend vaguely as a means of setting the stage for a larger scale narrative, as well as paying tribute to Virginia. In fact, the Virginia born director casts all Virginia based actors. It’s an admirable aspect to a movie that sadly falls apart and feels confused both in tone and genre. By the time the climax rolls around it never really makes up its mind.

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In the Heights (2021)

The COVID Pandemic has changed a lot about what we love about New York City; over the years it’s become something of an environment where opportunities have dwindled and the sense of community has been lost. From Gentrification and the Exodus of its residents, the city just isn’t familiar anymore. “In the Heights” is that reminder that once upon a time New York was about tight knit communities sticking together and beating the odds. And it’s a call to the idea that maybe it all can be reclaimed.

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Army of the Dead (2021)

It’s no big secret how I felt and continue to feel about Zack Snyder’s previous zombie outing, and it’s not going to be a big surprise when I say that “Army of the Dead” stinks. A movie like this is virtually critic proof as it wears its silliness on its sleeves and flaunts it unabashedly to the very end. This is the zombie movie for the audience that grew up with “Left 4 Dead” or “Dead Rising 2” as their original introduction to the walking dead, and Snyder knows his audience. He even introduces our core cast like player profiles, even giving them signature weapons.

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