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BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 28, 2014 1 comments
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Gravity doesn’t waste a single second: After a brief text reminds us of how utterly dangerous space is, disaster strikes a shuttle crew in the midst of a Hubble telescope upgrade. With the help of veteran spaceman Matt Kowalski (the ever-affable George Clooney), scientist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock, ditching her blatant sass in favor of genuine emotion) must find a way to survive her first mission and return home alive somehow. But with one unfortunate twist after another, her ordeal is relentless.
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David Vaughn Posted: May 05, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/grease.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>After a wonderful summer romance, Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) must end their relationship when she has to return to her native Australia. When her trip is extended and she attends Rydell High, she discovers that Danny isn't the boy she fell in love with; he's the leader of the T-Birds, a leather-clad greaser gang.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 22, 2010 0 comments
Roy Miller (Matt Damon) is a U.S. Army officer deployed in Iraq in the early stages of the war who's searching for WMD (weapons of mass destruction). When every search turns-up empty, he begins to questions the veracity of the "solid" intelligence provided by his superiors and goes off the reservation with the help of a CIA operative.

Damon reteams with director Paul Greengrass in this disappointing retelling of the Iraq war. The film is well shot, acted, and edited, but the screenplay is so heavy-handed in its political message it was hard to take seriously.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 15, 2010 0 comments
After suffering a nervous breakdown, Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) house sits for his brother in Los Angeles and tries to reconnect with some old friends. Along the way he falls for his brother's personal assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig), whose screwed-up life seems normal compared to Roger's.

This has to be one of the dullest movies I've seen in years. I give director Noah Baumbach props for creating a strikingly realistic world and coaxing strong performances out of Stiller and Gerwig, but the glacial pacing, meandering script, and constant whining by the characters tried my patience.

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Kris Deering Posted: Jul 09, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/grumpy.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT><i>Two elderly, eccentric, next-door neighbors sustain a rancorous relationship that only a wise observer could recognize as a very special friendship. When a lonely, flamboyant, middle-aged widow moves in across the street from them, the male rivalry begins. One of the great screen duos of all time - Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau - reunite in this romantic comedy that examines the decades-old love-hate relationship between two neighbors and the way their lives are thrown into total upheaval when a lovely, free-spirited widow moves in across the street. </I>

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 10, 2013 0 comments
When an older and quite esteemed film expert asked me not long ago what my favorite genre was, I was honestly flummoxed. Pixar isn’t a genre, and I’ve just seen too many lame science-fiction flicks. Looking back over a life of film fandom and the past decade in particular, I finally came up with an eyebrow-raising response: comic book movies.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 20, 2011 0 comments
Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) have both been married for a long time and even though they love their wives, they just can't help checking out every hot woman in their view. Fed up with their rubber-necking, their wives take a different approach to revitalize their marriages by giving them a "hall pass": one week of freedom to do whatever they want with no questions asked. Be careful what you wish for guys.

While I was never a huge fan of Something About Mary, at least I found its humor to be somewhat amusing and I can see why it was a hit. Unfortunately, Farrelly brother's formula hasn't worked as well since then. I thought the premise had potential but unfortunately it's another stinker filled with sophomoric humor by middle-aged men who think they're still in high school.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Feb 05, 2014 0 comments
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Widely credited as the first “slasher” movie, 1978’s Halloween is a horror trailblazer and a modern classic. It was a highly successful independent film prior to people knowing the term; and before Jason and Freddy could turn horror schlock into movie franchises (or vice versa), the genre’s way was paved by writer/director John Carpenter’s boogeyman, Michael Myers. The story is deceptively simple with fictional Haddonfield, Illinois, terrorized on two Halloween nights 15 years apart.
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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 17, 2010 Published: Aug 18, 2010 0 comments
Penned over 400 years ago, Hamlet is the tale of a young Prince (Kenneth Branagh) who's approached by his father's ghost describing in intimate detail how he was murdered by Claudius (Derek Jacobi), Hamlet's uncle. Filled with rage, Hamlet vows to avenge his father's death and won't rest until he fulfills his pledge.

Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play and actor/director Branagh's adaptation doesn't compromise any of the text. The result is a four hour marathon that virtually flies by, if you're a fan of Shakespeare. I had the pleasure of studying Hamlet three times throughout high school and college and was surprised how much of the text I remembered all these years later. Branagh transports the story from twelfth-century Denmark to the nineteenth, which may raise some eyebrows, but the result is magnificent given the lavish sets and all-star cast.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/hancock.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Will Smith stars as Hancock, a sarcastic, hard-living, misunderstood superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public and is in desperate need of an extreme makeover. Enter idealistic publicist Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), who helps Hancock improve his public relations.

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 08, 2011 1 comments
A rogue CIA agent (Eric Bana) lives in a desolate area of Finland training his 16-year-old daughter (Saoirse Ronan) to become the perfect assassin. Every moment of the girl's upbringing has been spent building up her strength, stamina, and survival instincts she needs to prepare for the day when she becomes the target of a revenge seeking intelligence operative (Cate Blanchett).

I love a good action move as much as the next guy and am willing to suspend a certain amount of belief, but director Joe Wright takes things a little too far. For starters, Ronan maybe weighs 105 pounds soaking wet yet has the strength to take down a plethora of Special Forces personnel and latch onto the bottom of a vehicle moving at over 30 mph. Furthermore, despite all of her training, she's like a fish out of water when she encounters electricity in the modern world.

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Fred Kaplan Posted: Jun 24, 2013 0 comments
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Hannah and Her Sisters is Woody Allen’s most novelistic film: a tale of crisscrossing plotlines, strewn by multiple narrators, each a fully drawn character locked in or out of love with one of the others, and seeking answers to human needs and darker mysteries. It’s also Allen’s most redemptive film. In the end, the strands are resolved, the needs met, the mysteries not solved but set aside for the sake of enjoying life’s pleasures. In this sense, it’s reminiscent of Fanny and Alexander, the similarly titled (and also atypically euphoric) film made four years earlier by Allen’s morose hero Ingmar Bergman. Both films begin and end with lavish holiday dinners, and both chart voyages of infidelity, doubt, and despair, before settling into a celebration of the good life: family, friends, and haute elegance.
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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 11, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/hannahmontana.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In 2007, teen sensation Miley Cyrus performed as herself and her alter ego, Hannah Montana, in the sold-out concert tour. Scalpers were selling individual tickets for over $1000 apiece, leaving thousands of kids out in the cold until Disney got the bright idea of filming the concert for an exclusive, limited-run theatrical 3D presentation. To my surprise, the theatrical concert raked in $31 million its first weekend and collected a cool $65 million in total.

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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 23, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/hmtm.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Being a superstar as well as a normal teenager is getting even more complicated for Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus). Her hectic double life as pop-sensation Hannah Montana is taking its toll on her and her family, so her father, Robby Ray Stewart (Billy Ray Cyrus), decides that a visit to the family farm in Tennessee is just the thing to bring the celebrity teen back down to earth. Away from the spotlight, Miley reconnects with a childhood friend (Lucas Till) and discovers a new perspective on life.

Corey Gunnestad Posted: Oct 24, 2013 0 comments
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In the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel, the titular children are lost in the woods and find a house made of candy. Starving, they devour the architecture with little regard for the occupant inside. The wicked witch who lives there lures them in and tries to eat them for supper. Any homeowner would sympathize. But they overpower the old crone and throw her into her own oven and burn her to death.

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