BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 17, 2011 0 comments
Things come full circle for Harry Potter in the thrilling conclusion of the popular franchise. At the end of Part 1, Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape from the clutches of the Death Eaters, but their loyal friend Dobby the former house elf perishes. The trio has little time to mourn as they continue to hunt down and destroy the horcruxes that hide tiny pieces of the evil Lord Voldemort's soul. Their quest takes them to Gringots Bank and into the vault of Bellatrix Lestrange and eventually back to Hogwarts, where Harry confronts the new headmaster, Professor Snape.

While Part 1 was a slow build toward a cliffhanger ending, Part 2 is a pure adrenaline action film from the first moments that Voldemort steals the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's casket. As a huge fan of the books and the movies, I was more than happy to see Warner split the final book into two films—something that should have been done with every movie starting with The Goblet of Fire. Even with the extended time given to the story, there are quite of few characters who don't receive as much screen time as they deserve.

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Ken Korman Posted: Nov 17, 2011 0 comments

It’s always fascinating to see how important films age over time, especially those that elicited strong, visceral reactions from audiences and critics when initially released.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 02, 2011 0 comments
Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) heads overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world's fastest car, and his quirky friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) is along for the ride. While attending the pre-race party, Mater is mistaken for a secret agent by the master British super spy Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and his partner, Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). Can the redneck tow truck help his best friend win the Grand Prix while fighting the forces of evil?

I've pretty much loved everything Pixar has released, but I have to admit that Cars was my least favorite of its movies. Maybe it's because I'm not a grease monkey or a NASCAR fan, but I never really connected with the story. After hearing the negative reviews of Cars 2, I didn't exactly have high hopes for this one. While it isn't a great movie, I did find myself entertained, and the spectacular 3D visuals certainly helped. Furthermore, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack features everything you want from a Pixar title—great sound design, plenty of dynamic range, and a plethora of discrete effects.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 31, 2011 0 comments
Straight-laced Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the dream with a good job, nice house, and a seemingly happy marriage to his high school sweetheart. But when his wife drops the bomb that she's been having an affair and wants a divorce, he becomes a fish out of water when he enters the dating game again. Enter young Jacob (Ryan Goling), a guy Cal meets at a local bar who takes the older man under his wing in order to teach him how to be a ladies' man and to forget his ex-wife.

As far as romantic comedies go, they rarely break from the script, but that isn't the case here. In many ways, this film pokes fun at the clichéd moments found in the genre and the stars do a good job portraying their characters. I especially liked the young actor, Jonah Bobo, as he swoons over his babysitter (Jessica Tipton).

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 28, 2011 0 comments
Steve Rogers, a frail and patriotic young man, wants nothing more than to serve his country by joining the Army in order to fight the evil Nazis. On multiple occasions, he's been deemed unfit for service and is rejected, but he refuses to give up trying. On his latest attempt, he catches the eye of Dr. Abraham Erskine, a scientist working for the Army who has developed a serum that enhances one's muscles, brain power, reflexes, and mental abilities in order to create a "super soldier."

Thus far, the movie studios haven't had a lot of success in converting 2D films into 3D in post-production and delivering satisfying results. Fortunately, the 2D-3D conversion here is one of the best I've seen. Separation between objects is exemplary, and the added depth enhances the texture and intimacy of the cinematography. Even more impressive is the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack that features reference-quality dynamic range, an engaging score from Alan Silvestri, and plenty of window-rattling explosions.

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Eric Alt Posted: Oct 28, 2011 0 comments

We know. . . Halloween movie rentals can be as tired and well-worn as the costumes. How many Draculas do you think you're going to see? How many Freddy Kruegers? How many Jason Vorheeses? If you're tired of seeing them hogging the punchbowl, why are you still cramming them into your DVD and Blu-ray player every year? This All Hallow's Eve, get creative and infuse some fresh blood into your horror viewing routine. Read on for some ideas.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 26, 2011 0 comments
On a remote tropical island, an amazing living theme park becomes a game of survival for humans foolhardy enough to set foot on it. Meticulously recreated dinosaurs spring to astonishing life as a multimillionaire (Richard Attenborough) bankrolls an effort to use advanced DNA technology to bring dinosaurs back to life. When an employee shuts down the security system for personal monetary gain all hell breaks loose when the dinosaurs escape forcing the visitors to play a game of cat and mouse with the deadly prehistoric creatures.

Throughout movie history there are certain films that change the way movies are made and Jurassic Park certainly qualifies due to its cutting-edge use of CGI effects. Even to this day, the dinosaurs depicted in the film look so lifelike it's kind of creepy. When it hit theaters in 1993, it blew audiences away and became an instant classic.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 23, 2011 1 comments
Captain Jack Sparrow is back with a new adventure on the high seas as he's on the hunt for the Fountain of Youth. After a daring escape from the King of England, Jack becomes enslaved on Blackbeard's ship and learns that a woman from his past has some hidden daddy issues that could cost him dearly. In pursuit are Sparrow's nemesis Barbossa and a separate Spanish armada, who have their own nefarious plans for Ponce De Leon's legendary spring.

3D conversions are all the rage in Hollywood, but thankfully this isn't one of them and it shows from the outset while Jack is loose on the streets of London. Detail is excellent in both foregrounds and backgrounds and separation between objects adds a lot of depth to the image. But as good as the 3D is, it's the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack that's the star of the show. It features plenty of discrete effects, strong bass response, and virtually unlimited dynamic range.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 14, 2011 0 comments
Deep in the heart of the African savanna, a rivalry between two lion prides takes place while a cheetah family tries to stick together. Mara is an endearing lion cub who strives to grow up with her mother's strength, spirit, and wisdom, but an accident threatens to make her an orphan. Then there's Sita, a fearless cheetah and single mother of five newborns who must try and keep her cubs alive until they can fend for themselves. Finally, there's Fang, the leader of the pride who must defend his family from a rival lion clan that is looking to take over his land.

This is the first Disneynature production I've had a chance to see, and while the narrative is geared toward younger audiences, I still enjoyed it. The young cheetah and lion cubs are adorable, and I kept wondering how the filmmakers were able to get such close-up images. The story can turn a tad dark at times, but Disney provides a great vehicle to introduce kids to the African savanna.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 12, 2011 0 comments
Three friends, Nick (Jason Bateman, Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dales (Charlie Day), are slaving away at their jobs in Los Angeles and have one thing in common; they each have horrible bosses. One night they hatch a foolproof plan to murder them and hire an ex-con (Jamie Foxx) as an adviser. Well, he isn't what they expected and their foolproof plan has a very likely chance to get them thrown behind bars for the rest of their lives.

At some point in your life, you're going to end up with a horrible boss. In fact, I've been unfortunate enough to have a few of them over the years. But as bad as things were, I never once contemplated murder (torture, maybe, but never murder!). Anyway, I found this movie to be mostly entertaining for the first two acts and I actually felt a little something for the characters. Sadly, the third act falls apart with childish antics and plenty of foul language.

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