BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 27, 2010 0 comments
Aspiring record company exec Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) has the brilliant idea of rejuvenating the career of fading British rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) with a comeback concert at the world-renowned Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Dispatched by his boss (Sean Combs) to transport the notoriously dissolute Snow from London to L.A., Aaron has just 72 hours to get the out-of-control rocker across the Atlantic.

Here we go again, another popular Judd Apatow production that I didn't find the least bit funny. Brand's character is annoying as hell and I was checking my watch after the first fifteen minutes—never a good sign. I did find Combs' role amusing, but maybe I'm getting too old to appreciate this brand of comedy.

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Guido Henkel Posted: Apr 29, 2015 0 comments
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By their very nature, biopics are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they tell the story of a person in the limelight with achievements viewers are familiar with, while on the other, they explore sides of the person that have typically escaped the public eye. Striking the right balance between the two is the key. Get on Up takes a look at the life of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, a man whose musical legacy can be heard and felt in almost every bit of popular music today. The film jumps liberally between different periods of Brown’s life in anecdotal form, covering his childhood, his meteoric rise to stardom, the fall, the comeback, and everything in between. While it feels a bit disjointed at times, the film nonetheless manages to draw a portrait of Brown and what drove him to become one of the most recognizable names in music.
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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 10, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/getsmart.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>When the headquarters of CONTROL are attacked and the identities of its agents compromised, the Chief (Alan Arkin) has no choice but to promote his best analyst, Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell), who has always wanted to work in the field. Partnered with veteran Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), he must rely on a few spy-tech gadgets and his enthusiasm for his promotion to defeat the evil crime syndicate, KAOS, if he wants to save the day and&#151;better yet&#151;get the girl.

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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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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Jan 22, 2015 1 comments
When American radio announcer Herbert Morrison stood watching the Hindenburg disaster unfold before his eyes, he tearfully exclaimed, “Oh, the humanity!” I coincidentally had the exact same thought while watching Ghost in the Shell again for the first time in 20 years—but for a much different reason. I saw this film when it first came out, and I remember having a difficult time identifying with it. I finally figured out why: There’s no humanity in it.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 17, 2012 1 comments
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As Marvel’s comic characters go, Ghost Rider is hellishly hard to categorize. From what I can gather from the character’s two films, 2007’s Ghost Rider and this sequel (I’m not a fan of the comics), Johnny Blaze is a motorcycle stunt rider who sells his soul to the devil to save his father’s life. In exchange, he periodically turns into an ancient, fiery demon that searches out evil to suck out its soul. A bummer for sure, but everybody needs a hobby. His motorcycle has apparently sold its carburetor and tires to Beelzebub as well, since whenever Johnny goes all flames and stuff, he’s also treated to one hell of a ride. Talk about sitting on the hot seat.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 06, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/ghosttown.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Bertram Pincas (Ricky Gervais), a socially- challenged New York City dentist, emerges from a routine colonoscopy with the uncanny ability to see and speak to the dead. When word of his ability gets out in the spirit community of his ability, he becomes the go-to- guy for every ghost with unfinished bisinessbusiness. One such ghost is Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), who is determined to stop a relationship involving his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni), and so he seeks Bertram’'s help in the matter.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 22, 2014 0 comments
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Yes, it’s been 30 years since the original Ghostbusters, the first movie to strike upon that irresistible balance of big laughs and big scares. The story is built around the ridiculously fun idea of professional trackers/capturers of wayward spirits, brought to life by the undeniable comedic talents of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis. The Oscar-nominated special effects also helped Ghostbusters become the biggest box-office hit in a year full of blockbusters. Although young Mr. Murray’s effusive wiseassery dates the movie somewhat (much like the remarkable amount of smoking on display), watching it anew reminds us of his consummate ability to find often subtle ways to make every moment his own—and so many of his lines worth quoting.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 01, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/ghostbusters.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>When ghosts and demons run amuck in New York City, it's up to a team of ex-college professors turned ghost exterminators to capture the unwanted apparitions. The team of Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) must save the beautiful Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and her nerdy neighbor Louis (Rick Moranis) when they inadvertently open the gates of hell.

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Michael Berk Posted: Oct 07, 2011 0 comments

Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction are both out this week in brand-new Blu-ray releases, approved by the director, and we've gotten some copies to give away, courtesy of Lionsgate/Miramax.

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Michael Berk Posted: Oct 07, 2011 0 comments

We've been following the progress of 7.1 audio pretty closely, and this week saw the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon on Blu-ray, complete with a new, home theater-specific Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Jun 12, 2001 0 comments

More Ben-Hur than Spartacus, director Ridley Scott's Gladiator is painted with broad strokes of sentimentality, gory violence, and New Age spirituality.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 05, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/gladiator.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>One of the most eagerly awaited titles makes its debut on Blu-ray with Paramount's new brand&#151;Sapphire Series&#151;promising the pinnacle in both picture and sound. Unfortunately, <i>Gladiator</i> only fulfills half the promise&#151;the audio is outstanding, but the video is a shameful example of using an older master not fit for HD release.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 30, 2010 0 comments
Last October, I was disappointed with one of the debut titles of Paramount's new Sapphire Series Blu-rays, Gladiator. While the audio track was outstanding, the video encode left a lot to be desired due to some excessive digital manipulation and rampant edge enhancement. At the time, I asked Paramount to recall the disc and offer a replacement program as Sony did with the original release of The Fifth Element.

Ask and ye shall receive! The studio has implemented a limited exchange program with a new video encode that drastically improves the disc. If you own the original release, call Paramount at (888) 889-9456 to exchange it. For consumers wishing to buy the new version, it will be available in stores with a yellow barcode versus white on the original release.

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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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