BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Stan Horaczek Posted: Jan 20, 2011 0 comments

We managed to catch the trailer for the upcoming release of the Star Wars saga on Blu-ray out at CES. During the presentation, which was put on by Panasonic, they marched out an Amazon exec to announce that pre-orders were going live, but there was still no release date to be had.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 10, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/starwarsclonewars.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Anakin Skywalker (voiced by Matt Lanter) and his Padawan apprentice, Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), find themselves on a mission that bring them face to face with crime lord Jabba the Hutt (Kevin Michael Richardson). Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and his sinister agents will stop at nothing to ensure that they fail in their quest. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) and Master Yoda (Tom Kane) lead the massive clone army in a valiant effort to resist the forces of the dark side.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 02, 2009 Published: Nov 03, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/clone1.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>George Lucas did his best to alienate me and other fans from the <i>Star Wars</i> universe with the critically panned feature film <i>The Clone Wars</i>, which felt more like an overlong pilot—as it turned out to be—than a worthy contender for our cinematic dollar. Fortunately for us <i>Star Wars</i> fans, the weekly TV series is much better as we follow Anakin Skywalker (voiced by Matt Lanter), his new padawan Ashoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), and his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) on their trials and tribulations during the Clone Wars. With the help of the countless clone troopers (Dee Bradley Baker) and the Jedi council, they fight against the evil separatists led by Count Dooku (Corey Burton) and General Grievous (Matthew Wood).

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 01, 2010 1 comments
Much like The Empire Strikes Back, season two of The Clone Wars sets a darker tone as the war between the Republic and the Separatists continues. The Jedi Knights are still a central part of the story but they face a myriad of enemies including the ruthless bounty hunter Cad Bain (voiced by Corey Burton), space pirates, a Zillow Beast, mind-controlling worms, and Boba Fett (Daniel Logan) who's seeking to avenge his father's death.

My family fell in love with the series after watching season one on Blu-ray and we watched all of season two on Cartoon Network. As much as we enjoyed the episodes, the experience on cable pales in comparison to the Blu-ray. The video quality is vastly improved with no compression issues and I prefer the look of the 2.35:1 aspect ratio to the 1.78:1 HD cable feed. I'm disappointed the audio is a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track versus Dolby TrueHD, but it's certainly an improvement over the stereo feed through cable.

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 21, 2011 21 comments
George Lucas had a dream of becoming a professional race car driver, but thankfully for the millions of Star Wars fans, he didn't perish in a horrific car accident after his high school graduation. Looking for a new passion, Lucas attended the film school at USC, won a scholarship to observe the making Francis Ford Coppola's Finian's Rainbow, and the pair eventually formed their own studio, American Zoetrope. Their first film was a feature-length version of Lucas's student film THX 1138, but Lucas eventually formed his own studio, Lucasfilm Ltd., and made American Graffiti, which went on to win one Golden Globe and garner five Oscar nominations.

Shortly thereafter, he began working on his next project that turned the small independent filmmaker from Northern California into a Hollywood legend. By luck (or fate) Lucas traded his guaranteed director's salary for a 40% share of the box office and all the merchandising rights (t-shirts, toys, etc.) in order to get Star Wars produced. The rest, as they say, is history.

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 18, 2011 2 comments
Yoda takes a group of Jedi younglings on a field trip to the Galactic Senate chambers when he suddenly feels a disturbance in the force and must leave the children. C-3PO and R2-D2 take over and find themselves in over their heads with the rambunctious force-sensitive group. As the Sith prepare to wreak havoc, it's up to Yoda and a young stowaway to save the day before the children are torn to bricks.

LEGO and Lucasfilm have collaborated on multiple projects including other mini-films, over 200 LEGO models, 275 minifigures, and Saga-inspired video games (which are extremely well done). Featuring situations, characters, and locations from throughout the entire Star Wars Saga, writer Michael Price captures the spirit of the franchise with a story is filled humor, adventure, and a surprise guest or two.

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 03, 2010 2 comments
In the English countryside resides a small village bordering a mystical land which can only be reached by climbing through a wall. Young Tristan (Charlie Cox) crosses through in order to capture a falling star as a gift for a local hottie (Sienna Miller). Unbeknownst to him, in the parallel world the star is a corporeal being (Claire Danes) who's also smokin' hot. Soon thereafter Tristan learns his true destiny that will forever alter his life.

While the first act takes a little while to pick up steam this is a very entertaining movie. It reminds me of The Princess Bride because of the cute romance, adventure, and humor and in many ways is a superior film to the cult classic. The all star cast includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, and Peter O'Toole in important supporting roles. Surprisingly the film didn't receive a lot of press when it hit theaters in 2007 but holds up well on repeat viewings.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Sep 28, 2008 0 comments
Paramount
Movie •••• Picture •••• Sound •••• Extras ••••½

Apart from nailing the tone and look of the c

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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 24, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/state.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Washington, D.C., reporter Cal McCaffrey (Russell Crowe) stumbles into a cover-up that threatens to shake the nation's power structure when a congressman's aide dies in an apparent suicide and buried secrets come out in the investigation.

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Ken Korman Posted: Oct 02, 2008 0 comments
Paramount
Movie ••• Picture •••½ Sound •••• Extras •••
Is America still not ready for a movie that address
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Shane Buettner Posted: Feb 14, 2007 0 comments

It's a big credit to this film that its subject matter is something that has not only been done, but been done very well many, many times. In fact, the film it reminded me the most of, in many ways, is the excellent if not great <I>Truman Show</I>. Yes, like that movie this one highlights the dramatic skills of a genius-level sketch comedy actor, only this time around it's Ricky Bubb-eee himself Will Ferrell. Instead of the being the unwitting subject of a reality TV show, Ferrell's Harold Crick finds that he's the subject of a novel being written by a self-and death-obsessed writer played wonderfully and obsessively by Emmma Thompson.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 08, 2013 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
One of silent film’s biggest stars, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), enlists the talents of a down-on-his-luck Hollywood screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) to help edit a screenplay she wrote in hopes of launching her big comeback. Little does Gillis know, the poor lady is off her rocker. But when you’re broke, you have to take work when you can get it. The pair watch her old movies with her trusty butler—who hides his own dirty secret—at the helm of the camera, but the more time Gillis spends with the ex-starlet, the more he becomes accustomed to the lavish lifestyle she provides him.
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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 23, 2011 0 comments

The video quality of this Blu-ray is impressive, as long as the overused lens flare—a hallmark of director J.J. Abrams—doesn't bother you. But the audio is the real highlight here, easily matching Abrams' outstanding previous hit, Star Trek. In fact, this disc has the best audio-demo scene of any 2011 release I've heard, and it's sure to knock your socks off, as well as those of anyone you play it for. If you want to show off what your surround-sound system can do, this soundtrack is second to none.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 06, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/superhero.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In an homage to <i>Spiderman</i>, nerdy high-school student Rick Riker (Drake Bell) is bitten by a genetically altered dragonfly, giving him superhuman abilities. He soon discovers the secret of being a superhero&#151;it's all in the costume&#151;and becomes "The Dragonfly."

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

Surf's Up (Blu-ray, available October 9), a new computer animated film, isn't as groundbreaking as Final Fantasy. Nor is it likely to grab the Academy Award as best animated feature in a Ratatouille year. But despite all that, and despite the fact that this is the 196th movie in the past two years to feature penguins (OK, the third, unless I somehow missed the other 193), it's still a lot of fun.

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