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BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Shane Buettner Posted: Oct 16, 2012 0 comments
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1971’s Harold and Maude, a cult classic before there was such a thing, undoubtedly remains the weirdest rom-com of all times (classifying this movie as such has me laughing out loud as I type!). Harold (Bud Cort) is an odd young man who lives with his wealthy, high-society widow of a mother and gets his kicks (and much-needed attention) from elaborately acting out his own death. Over and over. While Harold’s mom’s ideas for straightening him out are to put him in the military or marry him off, another of Harold’s hobbies, attending strangers’ funerals, leads him to Maude (Ruth Gordon), a daring older woman and the freest spirit you’ve ever seen. She lives in a renovated boxcar, fights the system in her own inimitable ways, ruffles a lot of feathers, and steals a hell of a lot of cars. She’s a gas and is absolutely as obsessed with life as weird Harold is with death. They fall in love.
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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 22, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/422orphanage.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Returning to her childhood home—a creepy, seaside orphanage—Laura (Belen Rueda) unknowingly unleashes a long-forgotten, evil spirit. When her son, Sim&#243;n (Roger Pr&#237;ncep), mysteriously disappears, she is thrust into a chilling nightmare in which she must confront the memories of her past before the ghosts of the orphanage destroy her.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 13, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/061308boleyn.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, <i>The Other Boleyn Girl</i> is the story of Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary as they rival for the bed and heart of Henry VIII. Discovering that the king's wife, Katherine of Aragon, is unable to provide him with a male heir, the girls' ambitious father and uncle devise a bold plan to advance the family's power and status by courting the affections of the king.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 25, 2010 1 comments
Executive producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman, who brought us Band of Brothers, deliver another WWII masterpiece about the battles in the Pacific. The 10-part miniseries follows the true-life stories of Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), John Basilone (Joe Mazello), and Eugene Sledge (Jon Seda) as they fight their way across the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945. It all starts with the horrific conflict of Guadalcanal, continues to Cape Gloucester and Peleliu, then to the famous combat at Iwo Jima, the terror of Okinawa, and finally their return home after V-J Day and how the mental scars of battle aren't easily forgotten.

Given its massive budget (estimated to be $195 million), I expected the battle scenes to rival those in Saving Private Ryan—which they do in their scope and visceral impact—but it's the psychological struggles of our three heroes that kept me riveted. Not only do they have to fight a relentless enemy in the Japanese, but they must cope with the elements—suffocating heat, malaria, tropical rainstorms—and somehow keep a grasp on their own humanity. If they're fortunate enough to survive and return home, how will they acclimate to the civilized world after spending four years in hell?

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 19, 2010 0 comments
When ten atomic warheads disappear in the former Soviet Union, a newly promoted U. S. nuclear specialist (Nicole Kidman) teams with Colonel Thomas Devoe (George Clooney) to track down the missing weapons before they fall into the wrong hands.

For some odd reason, I missed this in theaters and on DVD last century. The story grabs you in the very first scene and doesn't let go until the end. My one criticism of it is the third act is a little far-fetched with Clooney and Kidman running around New York bossing everyone around and taking matters into their own hands, but hey, it's Hollywood.

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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 20, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/Perfectstorm.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Based on the book by Sebastian Junger, <i>The Perfect Storm</i> centers around one of the deadliest storms in recorded history. In 1991, three weather fronts collided in the North Atlantic&#151;one of them being Hurricane Grace&#151;which caused swells 100 feet tall and winds that reached 160MPH.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Oct 02, 2008 0 comments
For me, the perfect storm is the one that stays far away. But today, I powered up the equipment, strapped myself in, and let loose the sound and the fury of Wolfgang Petersen's film.
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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 05, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/polarexpress3d.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>A boy (Daryl Sabara) has lost the Christmas spirit and doesn't believe in Santa Claus. He awakes on Christmas Eve to the sound of a train arriving in his front yard. Invited to join the Polar Express on its journey to the North Pole by the train conductor (Tom Hanks), a magical world opens his eyes to the spirit of Christmas.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Feb 14, 2007 1 comments

In one sense this film is an unexpected gift. I would never have imagined such intense, mesmerizing human drama could be culled from the story of two rival magicians trying to destroy each other personally and professionally around the turn of the century. Of course, in another sense the success of a film made from such a talented pool of people on both sides of the camera shouldn't seem surprising at all.

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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 19, 2010 0 comments
Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) is a beautiful and driven young woman determined to open her own New Orleans restaurant, but her plans take a detour when Prince Naveen (Bruno Compos) struts into town and is turned into a frog by the evil Dr. Facilier (Keith David). A kiss from Tiana should restore him, but the plan backfires and turns her into a frog. The two must then travel into the bayou in search of a priestess who can hopefully remove the curse.

This is the first 2D hand-drawn animated title from Disney since 2004's Home on the Range. After the mainstream birth of computer animation with 1995's Toy Story, many studios, including Disney, got the impression that families are tired of "classic" animation and only interested in computer-animated titles. Surprisingly, Disney seemed to forget that not only does a film need to look pretty, it needs to have a good story. However, the studio has redeemed itself here, even though the trailers weren't that impressive.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 13, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/proposal.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>There's no other way to put it&#151;Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is not a very nice person. In fact, co-workers, especially her personal assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), fear her because of her management style. But when Margaret discovers she's being deported back to her native Canada because she neglected her immigration paperwork, the quick-thinking executive announces that she and Andrew are engaged to be married.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 28, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/reader.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In 1958, Hannah (Kate Winslet) has a passionate summer affair with a young neighborhood boy named Michael (David Kross and Ralph Fiennes), but then disappears with no explanation, leaving Michael emotionally scarred. Eight years later, she resurfaces as one of the defendants in a war-crimes trial stemming from her actions during World War II. Michael realizes he has information that can set her free and must decide whether or not to save her.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 17, 2014 1 comments
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In 1969, Americans first went to the moon. The challenges were daunting, including finding and training the men who would make those early, dangerous, pioneering probes into near-earth space—men who had, in the words of the Thomas Wolfe book on which this 1983 movie was based, “the right stuff.”

This is the compelling story of those first Mercury astronauts, who paved the way for that “One giant leap for mankind” moment. It’s also the story of uber test pilot Chuck Yeager—never an astronaut but the first man to break the sound barrier.

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Posted: Mar 12, 2008 0 comments

When high-school baseball coach Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) was looking for a way to inspire his perennially losing team to win, he decided to issue a challenge they couldn't refuse. If they made it to the district playoffs, he would try out for a major-league baseball team. Fortunately for Morris, his team fulfilled their part of the bargain, and he went to the tryout in which his fast ball was clocked at 98 mph! It wasn't long before Jim found himself pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a 35-year-old rookie. The best part of the story is that it actually happened in 1999.

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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 12, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/403rookie.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>When high-school baseball coach Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) was looking for a way to inspire his perennially losing team to win, he decided to issue a challenge they couldn't refuse. If they made it to the district playoffs, he would try out for a major-league baseball team. Fortunately for Morris, his team fulfilled their part of the bargain, and he went to the tryout in which his fast ball was clocked at 98 mph! It wasn't long before Jim found himself pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a 35-year-old rookie. The best part of the story is that it actually happened in 1999.

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