BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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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
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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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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 05, 2010 0 comments
In the near future, humans live their lives through perfect robotic surrogates controlled from the safety of their homes, and murder becomes a thing of the past. But when the son of the surrogates' creator is killed, an FBI agent (Bruce Willis) must reenter the real world to unravel the mysterious death.

To witness the effect of technology on our society, all you have to do is sit in a restaurant and watch families spend more time texting on their smartphones instead of talking to each other. Surrogates takes this to the extreme as humans completely withdraw from society, but it's certainly thought-provoking. Nevertheless, the pulsating DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is loaded with demo scenes featuring pinpoint discrete effects, multidimensional imaging, and some foundation-shaking bass.

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Michael Gaughn Posted: May 31, 2008 0 comments
DreamWorks
Movie ••• Picture •••• Sound •••• Extras ••

With serial killers all the rage (in both fiction and reali

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 21, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/swingvote.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner) is a regular guy with a dead-end job content with coasting his way through life until his daughter, Molly (Madeline Carroll), sets off a chain of events that results in a presidential election coming down to a single vote&#151;Bud's. All hell breaks loose when political operatives from both parties, including the incumbent president (Kelsey Grammar) and the Democrat challenger (Dennis Hopper), swarm his hometown to vie for the winning vote.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 25, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/taken.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>One of the best action movies I've seen in a long time offers a great picture and kick-ass audio. The AVC encode reveals phenomenal shadow detail and offers a razor-sharp image. The audio is just as impressive with an enveloping surround stage, first-rate frequency response, and pervasive ambience.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 20, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/taken.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is an ex-CIA agent trying to reestablish a relationship with his 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Against his better judgment, he bows to pressure from his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and signs a release enabling her to spend the summer in France. She's not even in country for 24 hours when she's kidnapped and sold into a slavery/prostitution ring. Utilizing his special skills, he tracks down her kidnappers and metes out justice in order to rescue his daughter.

Ted
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: May 14, 2013 0 comments
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One magical night, a lonely young boy named John makes a special wish that his teddy bear will come to life and be his best friend. And on that special night, the fates decide to grant him his wish. The next morning, John introduces Teddy to his absolutely freaked-out parents. Flash-forward 25 years, and John has grown up into a strapping young man who looks astonishingly like Mark Wahlberg. Best friend, Teddy, now just called plain Ted, has grown up, too, but only in maturity…or lack thereof. John and Ted now spend their afternoons getting high in front of the tube and talking trash about women.
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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 15, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/tmnt.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>The quartet of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael emerge from the New York City sewers to rescue their ninja mentor Splinter. The live-action characters go on to deal with their evil nemesis, Shredder, in the second film and time travel in the third. The last film in the series, <i>TMNT</i>, is an animated affair with our heroes dispensing justice to an army of monsters.

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David Vaughn Posted: Dec 02, 2009 1 comments
Early in the 21st Century, a military defense program called Skynet becomes self-aware. Viewing humanity as a threat to its existence, Skynet decides to strike first. The survivors of the nuclear fire call the event Judgment Day. They live only to face a new nightmare—the war against the machines.

The first two Terminator movies directed by James Cameron were excellent, but the franchise hasn't fared so well with the subsequent directors—especially the horrendous job by McG (yes, that's what he calls himself) with Terminator Salvation. Character development is neglected in lieu of nearly nonstop action, although the soundtrack is very impressive with superior dynamics, frequency response, and surround imaging. If you're looking for a new audio demo disc, this certainly fills the bill, but don't expect the story to captivate your imagination.

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Mike Mettler Posted: Oct 02, 2008 0 comments
Warner
Movie •••½ Picture •••• Sound •••• Extras •••½
Can a great TV drama have an endoskeleton
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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 20, 2014 0 comments
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It’s the summer of 1964 and Guy Patterson is back from the Army and working in his parents’ appliance store in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. When the shop closes down for the night, Guy puts on his favorite jazz album and plays the drums to his heart’s content. Some old friends have started a band, and when their regular drummer breaks his arm, they come looking to Guy to fill in for a college talent show—which they win thanks to Guy’s decision to pick up the tempo in their breakout song. They end up getting a gig at a local pizza parlor and eventually catch the eye of a roving talent scout. Before they know it, their song is on the radio, they’re signed by Play-Tone records, and they’re off to California.

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