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BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 08, 2011 0 comments
Shot entirely on location in England's castles and countryside, this modernization of the classic Robin Hood tale combines elements of history, myth, and magic with plenty of action thrown into the mix. The ensemble cast includes Michael Praed as Robin of Loxley, Ray Winstone as Will Scarlet, and Nickolas Grace as the conniving Sheriff of Nottingham.

Broadcast on PBS and Showtime in the 1980s, this British series certainly shows its age with the outdated music, 1.33:1 framed image, and campy production value. The series has a cult-like following and I don't mean to insult the fans, but I don't get it. My wife and I did our best to get through all 13 episodes, but couldn't make it to the end.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 07, 2011 0 comments
Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) wants justice when her father is killed by Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Headstrong to the nth-degree, the teenager hires U.S. Marshall "Rooster" Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and insists she's part of the posse. Cogburn grudgingly approves but Matty isn't happy when he allows a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) into the group who's in search of the same man for a murder in Texas.

Filling the shoes of John Wayne is an impossible task, but Bridges did the best he could do and still doesn't measure up to Wayne's Oscar-winning portrayal of the gruff Cogburn. Having watched the original less than six months ago I couldn't help compare each of the respective roles and other than Bridges impossible undertaking, the other two main characters (Damon and Steinfeld) more than make up the difference.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 06, 2011 0 comments
When a failed hockey player (Adam Sandler) discovers he can hit a golf ball 400 yards, he must check his pride at the door and play the "sissy" sport in order to save his grandmother's home from the IRS. With the help of a retired golfer (Carl Weathers) and a new love interest (Julie Bowen), he must adapt to life on tour in order to win enough prize money to save the day.

I wouldn't call myself a huge fan of Sandler, but I have to admit his juvenile humor makes me laugh. His star was brightest in the 1990s and this is probably his biggest hit. The pacing is excellent at 92 minutes and there's enough of a story to keep it interesting.

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Ken Korman Posted: Jun 03, 2011 0 comments

It’s never easy making a film of a great novel. For director Stanley Kubrick, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita presented not only the fairly typical challenge of translating a story built around characters’ internal thoughts and feelings but also, in 1962, the task of dealing with a taboo subject. 

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 03, 2011 0 comments
A coming-of-age story set against the 1960s backdrop of hot rods, drive-ins, and rock 'n' roll follows two young men as they spend their last night in town before heading off to college. Crusing the streets to the howling sounds of Wolfman Jack, Terry (Charles Martin Smith) is on the prowl for a hot blonde (Suzanne Somers), while Steve (Ron Howard) tries to make up with his girlfriend after suggesting they see other people while he's away at college.

George Lucas is known for his Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, but this film was his first commercial success, and it earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Not only is it wildly entertaining, it's a blast to see future stars Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams, Somers before they became household names.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Jun 01, 2011 0 comments

William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon relates the colorful adventures of an Irish itinerant who tries his hand at war, gambling, and financially profitable marriage while traveling through 18th-century Europe. Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 adaptation, like many of the director’s other films (including Paths of Glory, Dr.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 01, 2011 0 comments
Season three finds Bill (Stephan Moyer) kidnapped and Sookie Anna Paquin) heading to Mississippi to find him. There she becomes entangled in a world ruled by a powerful Vampire King and the werewolves who do his bidding. Meanwhile, back in Bon Temps, new threats emerge that make previous problems seem tame by comparison.

Am I the only guy that's sick of vampires? I've never been a huge fan of this series but have stuck with it for the sake of our readers, but I'm not sure I can handle another season of it. Sure, through its 12 episodes there is the occasional winner, but overall it's an up-and-down affair and isn't one of HBO's greatest hits.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 30, 2011 0 comments
History comes alive with intense and spirited battles during the bloodiest three days on American soil that were the beginning of the end of the South's battle to secede from the Union. Ronald F. Maxwell takes viewers into the strategy sessions of both forces and shows the minor skirmishes that lead General Lee (Martin Sheen) to order a full-scale frontal assault and how the battle impacted the outcome of the war.

My biggest complaint with this film has always been its length, so I'm not exactly thrilled with the additional 17 minutes in the director's cut. Frankly, Maxwell would have been better served by cutting the run time down at least an hour. It's nearly impossible to get through the entire 271 minutes in one sitting, but having watched it over two nights, I have to admit the history lesson was an enlightening experience.

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Kris Deering Posted: May 27, 2011 0 comments
Video: 5/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 3.5/5
For years, there have been documented cases of UFO sighting around the world - Buenos Aires, Seoul, France, Germany, China. But in 2011, what were once just sightings will become a terrifying reality when Earth is attacked by unknown forces. As people everywhere watch the world's great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. It's up to a marine staff sergeant and his new platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they've ever encountered before.
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David Vaughn Posted: May 27, 2011 0 comments
Recounting the fierce allegiances and combat of the early Civil War, Gods and Generals recreates the two years prior to the historic battle of Gettysburg and delves into the lives of Stonewall Jackson (Stephen Lang), Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels), and Robert E. Lee (Robert Duvall).

I love history (especially American history), so I really wanted to like this film. Unfortunately, the script is all over the place and the pacing is downright awful. It doesn't help that it's been expanded with an additional hour of footage and clocks in at 280 minutes in order to lengthen certain scenes and adds a subplot of John Wilkes Booth (Chris Conner). On the plus side, the battle scenes are well done and Duvall's depiction of Lee is marvelous.

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Marc Horowitz Posted: May 26, 2011 0 comments

When Michael (Transformers) Bay is attached to a project, you know you’re not in for an intellectual workout. So crank up the surround channels and the subwoofer, cue the safely rebellious (and very pretty) boys and girls, and let’s take a PG-13-sanctioned trip into fantasy adolescence.

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Josef Krebs Posted: May 25, 2011 0 comments

A brown leaf floats on brilliantly clear water that flows over rich green seaweed. That’s just one of the many lyrical images that fill the opening sequence of Solaris. A horse trots along in the background. A cup of tea overflows in a momentary thunderstorm — the rain stopping as quickly as it started, leaving the sound of dripping water and then a serene silence.

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Kris Deering Posted: May 25, 2011 0 comments
Video: 5/5
Audio: 3.5/5
Extras: 2.5/5
Bobby Walker is living the proverbial American dream: great job, beautiful family, shiny Porsche in the garage. When corporate downsizing leaves him and co-workers Phil Woodward and Gene McClary jobless, the three men are forced to re-define their lives as men, husbands and fathers. Bobby soon finds himself enduring enthusiastic life coaching, a job building houses for his brother-in-law that does not play to his executive skill set, and perhaps - the realization that there is more to life than chasing the bigger, better deal.
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Kris Deering Posted: May 25, 2011 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 3.5/5
"True Grit" is a powerful story of vengeance and valor set in an unforgiving and unpredictable frontier where justice is simple and mercy is rare. Mattie Ross, is determined to avenge her father's blood by capturing Tom Chaney, the man who shot and killed him for two pieces of gold. Just fourteen, she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn, a one-eyed, trigger-happy U.S. Marshall with an affinity for drinking and hardened Texas Ranger LaBoeuf to track the fleeing Chaney. Despite their differences, their ruthless determination leads them on a perilous adventure that can only have one outcome: retribution.
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David Vaughn Posted: May 25, 2011 0 comments
John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is an extraordinary teen masking his true identify to elude a deadly enemy sent to destroy him. Living with his guardian (Timothy Olyphant) in a small town, John encounters life-changing events such as his first love (Dianna Agron), powerful new abilities, and a secret connection to the others who share his destiny.

With a decent premise to build upon I thought Disney/Dreamworks had the possibility of a new teen franchise on their hands, but boy was I wrong. The paper-thin plot is predictable and bland, the acting is atrocious (especially the two teen leads), and I couldn't help feeling that I was watching the movie of the week versus a feature film.

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