BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: May 22, 2013 1 comments
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The seven Harry Potter novels have sold more than 450 million copies and are the best-selling book series in history. With such a rabid and loyal fan base, it was a foregone conclusion that Hollywood would come knocking on author J.K. Rowling’s door. In 1998, Warner Bros. purchased the rights to the first two novels for more than $1 million, and director Chris Columbus had the pleasure— and challenge—of casting all the various characters who would entertain audiences for the next 10 years.

The three main characters, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, were perfectly cast with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, respectively. Audiences got to see these three kids grow up as people and actors over the years, and Warner Bros. executives were able to keep them and the rest of the all-star cast together until the final film in 2011.

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Posted: Dec 21, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/hp6.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Emboldened by the return of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), the Death Eaters are wreaking havoc in both the muggle and wizard worlds, and Hogwart's is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) suspects that new dangers may lie within the castle, but Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. He needs Harry to help him uncover a vital key to unlocking Voldemort's defenses—critical information known only to the school's former Professor of Potions, Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent). With that in mind, Dumbledore manipulates his old colleague into returning to his previous post with promises of more money, a bigger office…and the chance to teach the famous Harry Potter.

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Tom Norton Posted: Dec 12, 2007 0 comments

Once upon a time witches were acutely schizophrenic old hags who lived alone in the woods, fiddled around with poisoned apples and magic mirrors, and spooked lost little girls from Kansas. Wizards wore pointed hats, looked like a mouse, conjured up armies of brooms, and had major plumbing problems.

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David Vaughn Posted: Dec 07, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/hpue1.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Adapted from J.K. Rowlings bestselling book, <i>Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone</i> is the story of the boy who lived (Daniel Radcliffe). Placed with his unloving Aunt and Uncle as a baby, he grew up in the muggle world until rescued by Professor Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris), headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Harry will spend the next seven years of his life in order to fulfill his destiny.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 03, 2010 0 comments
Year three at Hogwarts means new challenges for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) as he learns how to approach a Hippogriff, transform Boggarts with hilarity, and turn back time. But there's danger on the horizon as soul-sucking Dementors are on the prowl and a fearsome wizard Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) escapes Azkaban.

In year four, Harry's name emerges from the Goblet of Fire and he becomes the youngest competitor in the famed Triwizard Tournament. Harry must confront a fire breathing dragon, water demons, and a spooky maze in order to claim the top prize. When all is said and done, the young man must face his mortal enemy, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 15, 2011 1 comments
At the end of the Goblet of Fire, Harry witnessed the return of Lord Voldemort and barely escaped with his life. The Ministry of Magic doesn’t believe Harry's tale and is doing everything within their power to keep the wizarding world from knowing the truth by orchestrating a smear campaign against the boy who lived and Professor Dumbledore. Furthermore, the ministry is taking an active role in educating of the students at Hogwarts by appointing Dolores Umbridge as the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher. When she refuses to teach practical defensive magic, Hermoine convinces Harry to form Dumbledore’s Army with a select group of students in order to give them a fighting chance.

Director David Yates takes over the helm inheriting the legacy of Chris Columbus, Mike Newell, and Alphonso Cuaron. From a pure directorial aspect, I think he did an excellent job, but my biggest complaint with this movie lies in the writer, Michael Goldenberg, who replaced Steven Kloves who penned the first four movies.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 08, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/heat.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>An L.A. cop (Al Pacino) becomes fixated on a deadly thief (Robert De Niro) and his crew (Val Kilmer, Jon Voight) who are wreaking havoc on the streets of the city. When the cops and robbers clash outside a city bank, one of the most spectacular shootouts in film history takes place.

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Shane Buettner Posted: May 29, 2013 0 comments
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Released before home video could be counted on to save a studio’s bottom line on just about any flop, 1980’s Heaven’s Gate is one of the all-time box-office bombs. Back then, disasters like this took down careers, and few falls were faster or farther than director Michael Cimino’s, who made this notoriously expensive Western as his follow-up to the Oscar-winning juggernaut The Deer Hunter. His career never recovered, and Heaven’s Gate almost single-handedly ended the reign of the director within the Hollywood studio system that produced so many great auteur films in the 1970s.
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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 10, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/hellboyii.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>A ruthless leader (Luke Goss) defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army of creatures to wage war with the human world. It's up to the planet's toughest, roughest superhero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders. Along with his expanding team in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) battles the forces of darkness in the ultimate battle of good versus evil.

Her
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Anthony Chiarella Posted: Jul 29, 2014 0 comments
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One of our most visionary filmmakers, Spike Jonze delights in showing us the unexpected. In Her, his most daring script to date (he won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar), Jonze imagines a future in which romantic relationships no longer require two humans. Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a writer of other peoples’ love letters, acquires a cutting-edge operating system. Possessed of artificial intelligence, his OS assumes the female persona “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), with whom Theodore falls in love. Phoenix is brilliant in what amounts to a one-man show, delivering a richly detailed character study of the dark, introverted geek. In many ways, Johansson has the more difficult task, portraying a new and constantly evolving being, who, lacking physical substance, must define herself through words alone.
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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 21, 2011 0 comments
A childhood illness gave George (Matt Damon) a unique ability to communicate with the deceased and the ability to lead a normal life vanished in the process. A French journalist Marie (Cecile de France) barely survives a horrific tsunami and for a brief moment enters the afterlife and begins to ask questions. Then there's young Marcus (Frankie and George McLaren), who loses his twin brother in an accident and he wonders where he's gone and if he can ever speak to him again. At some point, these three lives will intersect and set their lives on a better path.

Two time Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood has brought us some outstanding films but his last two, Invictus and now Hereafter, haven't measured up to his better projects. While I wouldn't say this is a bad film by any stretch, but it's pacing is too slow and runs about 20 minutes too long. Overall I thought the topic was interesting and I felt for each of the characters.

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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 03, 2010 0 comments
The theme of the fourth and final season of Heroes is "Redemption." Our surviving Heroes mourn the passing of fallen friends and face a dangerous new foe (Robert Knepper), a carnival operator with a plan to gather those with special abilities and seek retribution against humanity.

Oh how the mighty have fallen. The first season of Heroes was a critical and commercial success with an interesting premise, entertaining storylines, and compelling and likable characters. Unfortunately, the show lost its mojo along with its audience over the following three years. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but I hung in there until the end hoping to recapture the magic of its first season, but sadly it never came. The writers didn't seem to have a long-term strategy they were following and went off on too many tangents. The fourth season showed some promise, but once again the show focused too much attention on Claire (Hayden Panettiere) and her relationship with her father (Jack Coleman) at the expense of the more interesting characters such as Hiro (Masi Oka) and Ando (James Kyson-Lee).

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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 29, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/heroes1.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Evolution is the process of change in all forms of life over generations. In <i>Heroes</i>, this process manifests itself in a random group of humans who start to develop superhuman powers. Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) has the ability to manipulate the spacetime continuum, Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) is unbreakable, and Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) can read people's minds. These are just a few of the characters we meet in season one as they battle the evil Sylar (Zachary Quinto), a serial killer with a unique superpower. Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) is the only man capable of stopping Sylar's murderous plans as he struggles to control his own superpowers.

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 03, 2009 Published: Sep 04, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/heroes3.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Due to the WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike in 2007, season two of <i>Heroes</i> included only 11 episodes, and its tepid start and hasty finale left fans with a glimmer of hope that the series would rediscover the mojo it had during its first season. One complaint was its season-long story arc frustrated viewers, so executive producer/creator Tim Kring decided to split the season into two parts, "Villains" and "Fugitives."

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 10, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/410hidalgo.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Famed horseman Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortenson) enters a grueling competition—"The Ocean of Fire"—with his mustang Hidalgo. Together, they must not only survive a 3000-mile race across the Arabian desert, but they must also prevail over competitors who will stop at nothing to win.

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