Mar
4

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Classic movie musicals sparkle on Blu-ray

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MGM produced the best movie musicals of the 1950s and now Warner Brothers presents ‘The Band Wagon,’ ‘Kiss Me Kate’ (in 3D!) and Warner’s own ‘Calamity Jane’ on Blu-ray for the first time. And the wait was worth it.

 

Any die hard movie musical fan knows that MGM produced most of the greatest musicals of all time in the 1950s. The Arthur Freed Unit became the touchstone of musicals with productions ranging from The Wizard of Oz in 1939 to Bells Are Ringing in 1960. While the 1940s was a productive decade for Freed, the 1950s gave us some of the most beloved, classic musicals of all time.

Now, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment has taken two of these MGM classics, plus one from the Warner Brothers library, and has given them a good scrubbing for Blu-ray and the results are astonishing. Best of all, you can purchase your favorite film as a stand-alone disk or get them all in the new Musicals: 4-Movie Collection. The three new titles are The Band Wagon, Calamity Jane, and Kiss Me Kate. Warners has added Singin’ in the Rain as a bonus to the 4-disk set.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Mar
4

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Chicago can still razzle-dazzle ‘em

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It’s the longest running Broadway revival in history, and the touring company of ‘Chicago’ brings the music, the dancing, and all that jazz.

 

“All That Jazz.” “Cell Block Tango.” “When You’re Good to Mama.” “Mr. Cellophane.” “Razzle Dazzle.” If you’re a fan of Broadway musicals — or movie musicals — you know that those songs all came from the Broadway hit Chicago. Chicago first hit Broadway in 1975 under the guidance of the incomparable Bob Fosse. The show ran for 936 performances and was revived in 1996 and is still playing today. That makes it the longest running Broadway revival in Broadway history, and the second longest running Broadway musical behind Phantom of the Opera.

The Broadway show has been sustained by the familiarity of the music and the dancing, and has had a revolving door of big name stars taking on the roles of Roxy Hart, Velma Kelly and Billy Flynn. Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles is currently treading the boards on Broadway, while a new tour is crossing the country with John O’Hurley taking on the role of Billy Flynn in select cities (luckily, Baltimore was one of them). But if you’ve already seen the Oscar-winning movie, is it worth the time to see the show live on stage? In a word … yes!

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Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik
Feb
27

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Focus is a frothy, forgettable, fun heist movie

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‘Focus’ is kind of enjoyable, but it’s also kind of stupid.

 

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. A con man walks into the room and stares at you. He winks and says, “Am I playing you or are you playing me?” After some daring adventure, the “game” becomes increasingly convoluted and less and less feasible. Soon enough, you say to the con man, “Perhaps ’twas I that played you, eh?” After another few twists that only make sense if you had read the script beforehand, you part ways feeling happy but hollow, like you just ate a giant inflatable plate of spaghetti smothered with real cheese. Sure, it was good going down, but it won’t leave you with anything.

Focus is a heist movie in the spirit of The Italian Job or Ocean’s 13 (that’s right, I said 13). It stars Will Smith as Nicky, an older, talented thief who has charisma nearly akin to Will Smith himself! That’s a minor miracle, Will Smith actually showcasing his fun, dangerous side (not too dangerous, but still). The movie also stars Margot Robbie as Jess, a grifter wannabe who stumbles across Nicky and decides she wants a mentor in the “art” of what you might call “gentleman theft.” It’s all slick moves and distractions, nothing violent, but a lot of pickpocketing.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros
Feb
26

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Head on up Schitt’s Creek, no paddle required

Schitt's Creek

Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara join forces again as a husband and wife who find themselves hilariously up ‘Schitt’s Creek.’

 

What’s an upstart network — or a rebranded version of an old network — to do to attract new viewers to the channel? With hundreds of options out there, what’s the best way to get people to sample your new wares? How about purchasing a Canadian sitcom with a provocative title starring two comedy legends!

The new POP TV network, formerly TVGN, has launched with a new scripted comedy from the minds of Eugene Levy and his son Daniel. The show, Schitt’s Creek, also stars Levy’s longtime comedy cohort Catherine O’Hara so you know the show just has to be funny, right? I’m very happy to say that yes, it is very funny.

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Photo Credit: CBC Television
Feb
26

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The Walking Dead: Is there too much going on?

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Robert Kirkman’s brainchild is all about excess. And overkill. And ticking people off.

 

How much is too much?

Based on common sense and experience, it’s not unreasonable to believe we have a pretty good grasp of what “too much” means. Between you, me and every other reader out there, we can attach a reasonable answer to the question in pretty short order.

Take common sense for example: We know when there is too much salt on our food, when it’s too cold to go outside without a jacket, when you’re too tired to concentrate on something. Pretty basic stuff.

On the flip side, the concept of “too much” is not so easy to discern when it comes to some of our television preferences … and especially so with our favorite shows.

Already in The Walking Dead‘s current season’s second half, there’s been a bevy of examples of excess.

Already in The Walking Dead‘s current season’s second half, there’s been a bevy of examples of excess. And many of them have elicited its fans’ displeasure. (This isn’t exactly news to anyone; the show has been doing so from its inception, a big part of its draw and watchability.)

Recent events have caused fans (read “angry villagers”) to wield their pitchforks and lit torches on a vocal little stroll down Main Street, U.S.A.

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Photo Credit: AMC
Feb
24

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Horrible Bosses 2 expands on Blu-ray

Horrible Bosses 2

If you thought ‘Horrible Bosses 2′ was going to be a rehash of the first film, you may be surprised. Find out what you’re missing with the new home video release.

 

Judging from the box office grosses, audiences were not looking forward to another chapter in the Horrible Bosses saga, and who could blame them. The first film racked up more than $100 million in the U.S. but after being burned by the diminishing returns of The Hangover — with a second chapter that was basically the first movie, beat by beat, in a different location — Horrible Bosses 2 grossed about half of what the first made.

But, Horrible Bosses 2 is actually a better film than the first because it’s not simply a retread. The plot expands on the story, making the three leads, Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day), their own horrible bosses as they attempt to start a business of their own. They enter into a partnership with a catalog distribution magnate (Christoph Waltz), but when the deal goes south, the guys revert to their old bad habits and attempt to kidnap the son (Chris Pine) in hopes of salvaging their business. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned and the results are pretty funny.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Feb
24

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Win a DVD of Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness

The Scooby Gang is back in a new animated adventure, and you can win your very own copy on DVD! Find out how.

 

THIS OFFER IS CLOSED. WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL.

CliqueClack has partnered with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to offer one lucky reader a chance to win a DVD of the new animated movie Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster MadnessTo enter, just leave a comment on this post. To be eligible, provide your full name and email address in the spaces provided (NOT in the comment box). Winner will be notified by email. Some restrictions apply: DVD will only be shipped to US residents. No PO Boxes. One entry per person. Contest entry period ends Friday, February 27. Good luck!

Scooby Doo MMM DVD

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Feb
24

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Whiplash marches to the beat of its own drummer

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‘Whiplash’ comes to home video, giving everyone a chance to see why J.K. Simmons is winning every award in sight.

 

After generating a lot of buzz during its theatrical run, and quite a few awards nominations and wins along the way to Oscar night, audiences who may have missed Whiplash in theaters can now check it out on home video. Does the film live up to the hype?

The story is fairly simple: young musician attends a prestigious music school in the hopes of becoming a great jazz drummer like his idol Buddy Rich. The student, Andrew (Miles Teller), doesn’t get much support from his family, is an outsider at school, and is terribly awkward with the opposite sex. Andrew stays focused on his music and thinks he’s on the right path when instructor Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) seems to take him under his wing. But the dream becomes a nightmare as Fletcher goes from mentor to monster.

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Photo Credit: Sony Pictures
Feb
22

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It’s Oscar night, and a year of uncertainty

2015 Oscars

It’s Oscar night and there are few sure-things. Who could win the award in this unpredictable year?

 

It’s that time of year once again when Hollywood congratulates itself for another year of a job well done. Most years have pretty clear front-runners as to who and what will win, but this year has only a few clear-cut winners. The biggest prizes of the night are up for grabs in many categories including Best Director, Best Adapted and Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. The only sure things this year seems to be in the four acting categories.

I’ve made my predictions based on my gut and some internet research to come up with what I think will will. In my Oscar pool last year, I tied for first place but lost out on how long the ceremony actually ran, but last year was less of a game of chance than this year. So, with a deep breath, I’ve made my choices. We’ll see later tonight how close I actually came. Feel free to let us know who or what you think will win! Be sure to check back to see the winners.

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Photo Credit: AMPAS
Feb
20

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The real Scooby-Doo gang returns in Moon Monster Madness

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The Scooby-Doo gang returns for an all-new mystery, ‘Moon Monster Madness,’ but is sending Scooby, Shaggy and friends into space such a good idea?

 

Being a child of the late 60s/early 70s, I am an old school Scooby-Doo fan. You couldn’t get me up early during the week to go to school, but you can bet I was up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning to watch my cartoons. Scooby was always a favorite because it combined the wacky antics of Scooby, Shaggy and the gang with my other favorite things — ghosts and monsters, except not as scary as those old movies that I loved but scared me to death! Of course, the supernatural characters on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? were always some no-goodnik trying to get way with some crime that was always foiled by “those meddling kids.”

Scooby and the gang became entrenched in pop culture, spawning a variety of different series, a run of Scooby-Doo movies featuring animated guest stars like The Addams Family, Sonny & Cher, Phyllis Diller, The Three Stooges, The Harlem Globetrotters and many more. The idea of the “Scooby Gang” even carried over to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character has been kept alive on Cartoon Network/Boomerang and through a series of direct-to-video movies. Our own Kim Tibbs reviewed last year’s Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray. And now Scooby and the gang are back in Moon Monster Madness.

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Photo Credit: Hanna-Barbera/Warner Bros.