BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Dec 01, 2010 0 comments
Initially released by Walt Disney in 1940 as a "road show" release, Fantasia has gone on to become one of the most popular movies of all time. Featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski, the film has eight musical pieces set to wonderful animation and is narrated by Deems Taylor. (Interestingly, while the music was recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the on-screen musicians seen in silhouette between the musical selections were members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and UAV editor Scott Wilkinson's grandfather was one of them.)

Fulfilling Walt Disney's original vision of continuing to create unique fusions of animation and classical music, Fantasia 2000 picks up where the first one left off with seven completely new segments and the return of the popular "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Roy E. Disney orchestrated a collaboration of more than 1200 artists and technicians to present this tour de force.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 29, 2014 0 comments
In 2009, one of the kings of quirky dramedy, Wes Anderson, managed to surprise us again with a star-studded, fully stop-motion-animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s deliciously absurd Fantastic Mr. Fox. This laid-back bad boy has settled down with his wife and pup, but can a fox ever really change his nature?
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 23, 2013 0 comments
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If you’re a fan of science fiction and haven’t heard of the TV series Farscape (1999-2003) you don’t get out much. If you’re not a sci-fi fan, this series might just make you one. It offers more compelling characters, action, humor, drama, weird plot twists, sudden mood shifts, poignancy, and stunning performances than any other dozen TV shows you might name.

It all begins when astronaut John Crichton encounters a wormhole on an experimental mission. He’s flung to a distant quadrant of the galaxy, encounters a gigantic vessel nearby, and docks with it. It turns out to be a living ship, know to the locals a leviathan, operated by a bonded pilot. The ship’s occupants are alien prisoners escaping from their captors. The latter, the Mr. Bigs in this area of space, call themselves the Peacekeepers, and from all appearances (externally at least) appear indistinguishable from humans.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 29, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/fastfurious.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>When tragedy brings fugitive ex-con Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) back to Los Angeles, his long-dormant feud with FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) threatens to reignite&#151;until they discover a common enemy. Unfortunately, this film is about six years too late&#151;Vin Diesel should have been in the first sequel rather than skipping to the third&#151;but it's quite the demo showpiece. The video encode has excellent shadow detail with bright colors, and the first-rate DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track exhibits outstanding surround imaging and impressive frequency response.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 07, 2011 0 comments
Former cop Brian O'Copnner (Paul Walker) and his girlfriend Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) hookup with her fugitive brother Dom (Vin Diesel) and head to South America to elude the authorities. Tired of running, they assemble an elite team of top racers to help pull off one last job in order to secure enough cash for retirement, but when a hard-nosed federal agent (Dwayne Johnson) shows up in Rio de Janeiro, their job goes from hard to nearly impossible to complete.

Generally speaking, sequels tend to pale in comparison to the original, but here's a case where the fifth film in the series is actually the best. It all boils down to the screenplay, which has more of an Ocean's 11 tone than a racing-centric plot found in the previous films. Regardless, it's a lot of fun to watch and the spectacular audio and video help keep you on the edge of your seat.

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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 25, 2011 0 comments
Revenge is a dish best served cold, and for Driver (Dwayne Johnson), he's been waiting 10 years behind bars to avenge the murder of his brother. Now a free man, he can have his revenge but the hunter is also the hunted with two men trailing him. The first is a cop (Billy Bob Thornton) who's just days from retirement and the other is a young hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who's happy to come across such a worthy adversary.

Maybe I'm getting too old, but I'm really getting tired of gratuitous violence that's so prevalent in today's films. I like an action movie just as much as the next guy, but does the violence need to come along for the ride? That aside, the action is pretty intense and well choreographed, but Johnson and Thornton's characters are hard to root for and I couldn't wait for this one to end.

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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 05, 2010 Published: Feb 06, 2010 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/fearloathing.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson about a journalist (Johnny Depp) and his lawyer (Benicio Del Toro) in search of the American dream while gallivanting around Las Vegas for 48 hours high on drugs. Along the way they meet a cast of real life characters including Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Gary Busey,, Christina Ricci, Mark Harmon, Carmon Diaz, and Lyle Lovett.

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David Vaughn Posted: Dec 15, 2008 Published: Dec 16, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/fearless.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>When an ill-advised fight destroys the reputation of renowned martial-arts champion Huo Yuanjia (Jet Li), his family pays the ultimate price. Shamed and disgraced, Huo must look within himself to find inner peace and discover what his mission in life should be.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 05, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/ferris.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Ferris Bueller (Mathew Broderick), his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck), and his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) ditch school for the day and frolic around Chicago in a Ferrari. Although Ferris's parents think he's the ideal child, his sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) and principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) know better and would like nothing more than to catch Ferris in his shenanigans.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 04, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/fod.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Iowa corn farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) questions his own sanity when he hears a voice whispering, "If you build it, he will come." Eventually, a vision of a baseball field appears in the distance, planting the seed of a most unusual idea. With the help of his supportive wife Annie (Amy Madigan), Ray tears up a portion of his crop and constructs a baseball diamond, leading to the appearance of Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) and seven other White Sox players from the disgraced 1919 team. Play ball!

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Fred Kaplan Posted: Jul 16, 2015 1 comments
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Are you curious? Really? OK then. Yes, Fifty Shades of Grey is a lousy movie, every bit the stinker that you probably expect: dull dialogue, vapid characters, no chemistry either from or between the actors. Here’s what you really want to know: Is the movie hot? Is it at least a little bit funny? And (since you are reading Sound & Vision) how does the Blu-ray Disc look and sound? Here’s the skinny, in that order. The actors who play Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele (the most improbably famous S&M couple on the planet) are very attractive; Dakota Johnson, as Ana, is hot; but their sex is pretty tame soft porn, even by Cinemax standards. (Showtime’s Masters of Sex is way sexier.)
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Kris Deering Posted: Nov 30, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/fightclub.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT><i>A ticking-time-bomb insomniac and a slippery soap salesman channel primal male aggression into a shocking new form of therapy. Their concept catches on, with underground "fight clubs" forming in every town, until a sensuous eccentric gets in the way and ignites an out-of control spiral toward oblivion.</I>

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 01, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/fighting.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>This is a gritty story of a small town boy, Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum), who becomes a street-fighting star in New York City's underground circuit thanks to the help of scam artist Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard). The first act showed some promise, but ultimately, continuity issues and poor plot choices knock out what could have been an interesting story. What kept me intrigued was the excellent VC-1 encode, with deep blacks, amazing dimensionality, and revealing shadow detail.

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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 20, 2007 Published: Sep 21, 2007 0 comments

<I>Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within</I> is a cross-genre blend of sci-fi and computer animation, more Japanese anime than cuddly Disney. Check out the flood of Japanese names in the end-credits. Released in 2001, it was one of the first attempts at photo-realistic animation, and in that respect, at least, was startlingly successful. While you'll never confuse the images here with those of real people, they're as close to it as anyone has come, either before or since. Unlike the more recent <I>Polar Express</I>, the characters here don't have creepy, zombie-like eyes.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 22, 2013 0 comments
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Little Nemo and his dad, Marlin, are the only survivors of a barracuda attack that took his mom and not-yet-hatched siblings. On Nemo’s first day of school (fish in a school—who knew?), he swims out beyond safety and is scooped up by a scuba diver. The distraught Marlin sets out on a journey to find him. In his quest, he meets up with a memory-challenged fish, Dory; a trio of sharks in a fish-anonymous rehab group; a convoy of surfer-dude turtles; a great blue whale; and more.

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