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Content by Laurence R. Hunt
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Reviews Written by
Laurence R. Hunt "Laurence Hunt" (Kenora, Ontario, Canada)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Hemingway & Gellhorn [Blu-ray]
Hemingway & Gellhorn [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Nicole Kidman
Price: CDN$ 24.99
14 used & new from CDN$ 7.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling foreground and background stories drive this production (and Clive Owen is brilliant), June 24 2017
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
To begin, this HBO movie was hard to watch, almost all the way through, revealing the hard edges of its larger than life central character (I am referring to Mr. Hemingway). At the same time, I found both the foreground and background stories too compelling to make it possible to stop watching. Clive Owen has been criticized for his portrayal of Hemingway, though I thought he did a stunning job of it --- I found his presentation brilliant and captivating. I don't think Ms. Kidman made any mistakes, though her character never completely captured me. In an interesting twist, Ms. Gellhorn's work was quoted considerably more frequently than was Papa's --- serving to convince me that she was a great writer on her own merits. (I have already been persuaded of Hemingway's brilliance.) So, if you're up for it, and if 20th century literature interests you at all (not to mention early 20th century history), then this film will broaden your horizons, perhaps considerably....


Steppes by Adrian Bellue
Steppes by Adrian Bellue

5.0 out of 5 stars Musical, original and improvisational, June 22 2017
I just saw Adrian live tonight (in Kenora). His fingerstyle guitar work is highly improvisational, and his work is both incredibly musical and strikingly original. I was entranced by every note. A super (currently 28-year-old) talent!


Star Wars: The Force Awakens [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD]
Star Wars: The Force Awakens [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD]
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Price: CDN$ 24.96
28 used & new from CDN$ 12.59

3.0 out of 5 stars "Paint by Numbers" Perfect, March 22 2017
There is nothing "wrong" with the new Star Wars movie. Acting, staging, effects, ideas, even the story... I didn't catch any obvious flaws. Much more consistent than the new "Star Trek Beyond," which was filled with glaring inconsistencies and a really dumb plot (despite nice special effects and very capable actors on board). Further, "The Force Awakens" is a big step back from the brink after the three misconceived prequels, which were embarrassingly weak and not at all in the same league as the original three legendary movies. Despite so many things being done "right," The Force Awakens still fails to inspire. Thinking further, the original three films (now #4, 5 & 6) were intentionally meant to have a Saturday Serial feel to them (like Indiana Jones of the same era), and despite much bigger budgets than the old-time Flash Gordon films ever had, the original Star Wars films were gritty, rough-edged, experimental, and certainly unpredictable, in the same off-the-cuff way that the Flash Gordon films often were. I guess that is the element that has never been recaptured in the Star Wars remakes. A little too much polish, forethought, planning and even calculation, perhaps. One gets the feeling that the screenwriters already know where this is going, and the original Star Wars films were just the opposite. Oh, Darth Vader is Luke's father and Leia is his sister? Really!?!? Maybe Lucas had it all charted out, but it sure didn't feel like it. The original films kept you in the moment, because the future felt unknowable. I don't think anyone has yet been able to get back that level of spontaneity and unpredictability. So, yeah, this is technically a perfectly fine movie. It was easy to watch and it didn't make me impatient. However, I also didn't find it engaging, nor was much of anything intriguing or gripping. I was going to go with 4 stars at the beginning, but now that I've written this out, I can't go that high. And as to the three prequels, one star each, unfortunately, so this gets us about halfway back from the three more recent disasters to the 5 star beginning....


Captain Fantastic (Bilingual)
Captain Fantastic (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Viggo Mortenson
Price: CDN$ 9.99
5 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Not what you could possibly have expected --- prepare yourself to be refreshed!, March 19 2017
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Captain Fantastic is certainly a unique and deeply refreshing movie. Throw away the Hollywood formula books. It’s not in any of them. It is about choosing to live an examined life – moment by moment, and, more than that, about how one might raise children to join with you in examining their lives as well. Toss in a very rocky landscape of plot devices and near-insurmountable obstacles (symbolized at one point by the sheer rock face that the family climb together as a unit --- great scene, by the way, and one of many). As the story unfolds, the family fall under the microscope while undergoing what for them is the ultimate stress test --- a journey to their mother’s parents’ home in New Mexico. Join Captain Fantastic and his six children on their quirky and tragic, yet ultimately illuminating and liberating road trip across the consciousness of America (as it were). I think I could not have been anything but endeared to a family who discuss string theory as a home school assignment around the campfire at night and celebrate Noam Chomsky Day as an alternative to Christmas, and as an occasion for the exchange of paleo-lifestyle themed gifts. Have you examined your life recently? If so (or if not), you had better see Captain Fantastic now! REWATCHABLE +++

From the film: “My face is mine. My hands are mine. My mouth is mine. But I am not. I am yours.”


Loving [BD + DVD + Digital HD] [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Loving [BD + DVD + Digital HD] [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Joel Edgerton
Price: CDN$ 14.79
5 used & new from CDN$ 14.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't talk about it, just see it., March 14 2017
Best movie of the year.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2017 12:28 PM PDT


Premium Rush (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Premium Rush (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Price: CDN$ 8.00
19 used & new from CDN$ 2.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Levitt excels at speed......, Feb. 26 2017
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I finally got around to watching Premium Rush, and glad I did. I was trying to watch Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which is also a great film... but too slow-paced for me to adjust to. Basically, my mind (and sometimes my body) run at about the speed of this film, which, to be precise, is up to 50 mph on a bike on the (always jammed) streets of New York City. (OK, I do up to 60 kph on my two wheels.) I last stayed in the Lincoln Square neighbourhood, which I recognized during the Central Park sequence. As usual, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is flawless, and his supporting cast were fully up to the task. Not only is Premium Rush easy to watch, it's a glorious accomplishment for athletics and film combined. If you haven't seen it yet, and if your mentality is as fast-paced as mine, this could be the film for you....... (You might want to call it the Run, Lola Run of bicycle movies.)


Captain Phillips [Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Copy] (Bilingual)
Captain Phillips [Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Copy] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Tom Hanks
Price: CDN$ 10.00
21 used & new from CDN$ 3.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than a drama. Viscerally and emotionally engaging --- and never lets go., Feb. 1 2017
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In the trailer, Captain Phillips comes across as a drama. That's what I was expecting, and it is certainly that. And Tom Hanks, in the lead, does what he so often does. You will totally forget that he is Tom Hanks. Surprisingly (to me, at least), Captain Phillips is also loaded with action and suspense. Once it gears up, it runs nonstop to the end and never lets up. Add to that one of the best recent soundtracks I've come across (you cannot appreciate this film without theatre surround --- it takes place on the open sea, and it's NOT a small screen movie). Finally, Captain Phillips makes an honest effort to tell all sides of the story. We understand exactly why the pirates do what they do, and their story is told as well as that of anyone else. This is a really, really good movie.


Morgan (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
Morgan (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
DVD ~ Kate Mara
Price: CDN$ 11.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anya Taylor-Joy stakes out new territory in the dramatic portrayal of an evolved human: This is the reason to watch this film!, Dec 31 2016
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Morgan (the film) was my New Year's treat. Honestly, the plot was weak, as it really felt like a short story, with more pieces missing than filled in (in fact, leaving too many issues unexplored for a full-length feature film). However, the film plays with the question of what is and is not human in the circumstance where we have the option of redesigning ourselves at the genetic template level (which we now actually do). As Hollywood basically always does, it makes our technological capacities out to be scary, so this film borders on the horror and thriller genres. That is frankly stereotyped, and a little on the dumb side.... None of these sketchy plot ideas are what I found interesting, however. Rather, and similarly to Ex Machina (or even Hannah), I liked how the actors filled out their characters, especially when they had to play "something" that was other than human, but not non-human. The challenging dramatizations had to be handled by Kate Mara, who definitely succeeded, and Anya Taylor-Joy, a 20-year-old newcomer, who absolutely excelled. Her characterization was as successful as that of Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina, and may have even moved a step or two beyond Ms. Vikander's achievement. So... story/plot/concept: D+ / dramatic representation of a technologically evolved human by Anya Taylor-Joy: A+. For the post-human character development alone (and not really for that much else), this film marks a milestone, as state of the art. I can't think of any other film that has taken it this far. Worth watching for that alone.


Self/Less [Bluray + DVD] [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Self/Less [Bluray + DVD] [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Ben Kingsley
Price: CDN$ 8.00
4 used & new from CDN$ 8.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction That Makes You Think --- and Feel: This is what scifi is supposed to do!, Dec 27 2016
The movie Self/less has a lot of the typical mainstream plot devices --- evil scientists, way too many faceless bodyguards with powerful weapons, and the usual high speed car chases... but, that said, it burns through these marketable plot devices to tell a real story about who we are, how much relationships mean to us, and what we would sacrifice for another. Bottom line, it tells the right story the right way, and Ryan Reynolds doesn't skip a beat as the lead. He connects effortlessly at the deepest human levels, and is able to create (two) characters that you care about. As Reynolds' characterization evolves, it gets really, really interesting, and I think the story will stay with you long after your screen has gone dark. Most current science fiction isn't really about what an alternative future might look like --- or feel like. That is, genres such as action, battle and horror are passed off as scifi, but actually aren't. Despite a few gaps in the setup, this movie ultimately succeeds. It makes you think and it makes you feel. One of the better recent science fiction movies. Recommended. I really like this one a lot. 4.5 stars.


Star Trek Beyond [Blu-ray]
Star Trek Beyond [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Zoë Saldana, John Cho, Karl Urban, Sofia Boutella, Anton Yelchin and Idris Elba Chris Pine
Price: CDN$ 20.00
9 used & new from CDN$ 10.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 21st Century Special Effects Blended with a 1930s Saturday Morning Serial Script --- Science Fiction Minus the Science...., Dec 25 2016
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Star Trek Beyond is basically a 21st century update of the Saturday morning serial (as was Indiana Jones, to the credit of the producers of those movies). There were a couple of bright spots in the dialogue, and there were quite a few clever quips, but the character development is at the cartoonish level, as is the plot, and as are, indeed, the action sequences, almost none of which are credible to a viewer with a basic knowledge of physics, whether it's characters bouncing back up to fight again after many-storey falls, starships plunging through (extremely slow-moving) asteroidal debris in "the nebula" or through jagged mountain peaks on the planet where the film takes place --- or through various structural components of the "Yorktown" space colony. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that hull breaches may occur (which doesn't seem to affect the ship's internal atmosphere). All alien characters have human facial expressions and vocal tone, and, I guess it's Star Trek tradition --- they look like humans wearing rubber masks. On the upside, the characters (human and in some cases, aliens) are likeable and attractive (despite the weak script), the special effects are as grand as one would expect (if defying most known laws of physics), and if you liked the original Flash Gordon with Buster Crabbe and Jean Rogers, then the level of sophistication of this version of Star Trek should work for you. I watched it because JJ Abrams is in on the project, and he has done some good work in the past, even on earlier versions of Star Trek. However, in balance, I was simply unable to suspend disbelief at any point in this production --- start to finish (I really didn't care that much about how the plot resolved). With stunt motorbike riding thrown in, the 8-12 year olds should like it. The soundtrack also seemed to be aimed at younger ears. Honestly, this is not really recommended for adult viewers with a knowledge of science (which is perhaps less an anomaly for a science fiction production that one might expect). In summary: despite expansive special effects, breathtaking sets and likeable characters, this film is just barely watchable.


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