BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 23, 2010 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/natural.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is a country hick who has one dream in life; to play professional baseball. But that's not enough, when he walks down the street he wants people to say, "There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in the game." At 19, his boyhood dream catches a glimpse of reality when he's summoned to Chicago for a tryout with the Cubs. On the journey he meets Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey), who turns out to be a psychotic killer who shoots a silver bullet into Hobbs' abdomen. Left for dead in a Chicago hotel room, Hobbs miraculously survives and disappears for 16 years until he finally realizes his dream of playing baseball by signing a contract with the hapless New York Knights.

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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 08, 2010 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/neverend.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Fleeing from a pack of bullies, Bastion (Barret Oliver) finds himself in a used bookstore where he becomes enthralled with a mysterious book, He ends up stealing it the unsuspecting clerk and takes refuge in his school attic. Drawn into a timeless and wondrous world of fantastic beings he discovers his imagination and belief can save it from destruction.

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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 20, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/nightmare.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Bored with his perennial role as Halloween Town's frightening Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington discovers the cheerful village of Christmas Town. Determined to shake things up in Halloween Town, he schemes to kidnap Santa Clause and takes over the job of delivering gifts to the children himself. When his plan goes awry, Jack attempts to restore Santa to his rightful place, but he must first rescue him from the evil clutches of Oogie Boogie.

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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 26, 2011 0 comments
Bored with his perennial role as Halloween Town's frightening Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington discovers the cheerful village of Christmas Town. Determined to shake things up in Halloween Town, he schemes to kidnap Santa Clause and takes over the job of delivering gifts to the children himself. When his plan goes awry, Jack attempts to restore Santa to his rightful place, but he must first rescue him from the evil clutches of Oogie Boogie.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is an unusual film that improves with multiple viewings. Burton cleverly mixes Halloween and Christmas with fabulous set designs and stop-motion photography, creating a whimsical world in which to tell his story. The film was rereleased to theaters in 2008 with a 3D conversion utilizing the talents of Don Hahn and ILM (Industrial Light and Magic). As explained on Mouseclubhouse.com, they used the original film for the left eye and they projected it onto a featureless piece of geometry that looks like a coffee cup. Then the camera was moved to the right three inches and re-photographed. Any gaps are then filled in via Photoshop and the resulting image is outstanding. I loved the original 2D release of the film for its fine visuals and enveloping soundtrack, but this 3D version takes it to a whole new level.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments
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This powerful and moving story (screenplay by Larry Kramer, based on his own play), starts in 1981 with shy screenwriter Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) only able to watch the summer bacchanal at Fire Island, New York—gay-male heaven—too unconfident to join in the revelries. It ends with a gay prom at Yale in 1984 where he’s found his confidence but is now too sad to dance. In between, what starts with the first warning cough from a buff-bodied, seemingly healthy man announcing the arrival of AIDS in the community leads to the spreading of a plague that fills the newly liberated gay men with fear. The mysterious disease is a complete unknown, with no one able to say how it spreads, how to treat it, or how to protect yourself beyond completely abstaining from sex.
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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 14, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/office5.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In the fifth season of this workplace comedy, the employees of Dunder Mifflin are enmeshed in surprise office hook-ups, break-ups, romantic triangles, and new business ventures. Insensitive regional manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) still thinks he's the best boss ever&#151;despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. As he leaves the security of Dunder Mifflin, Andy (Ed Helms) and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) do battle for the affections of Angela (Angela Kinsey), and Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) finally plan their long-awaited nuptials.

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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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Fred Kaplan Posted: May 08, 2015 4 comments
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Preston Sturges, whose rise and fall were as sudden and steep as any in cinema (except for that of Orson Welles), had his peak years from 1940–44, writing and directing seven of the greatest American film comedies ever, and The Palm Beach Story sprung forth in precisely the middle of the run. A head-spinning romp through the joys and foibles of love, marriage, money, and class, it practically defines “screwball comedy,” with its Alpine plot twists, nonstop mayhem, rapid-fire dialogue, razor-sharp wit, and madcap but extremely good-natured characters.
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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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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 05, 2016 2 comments
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I’ve always wondered about Charlie Brown’s crush on the Little Red-Haired Girl. He’s of an age where girls are little more than a nuisance. But no matter: The Peanuts Movie’s plot centers on Charlie Brown’s stumbling attempts to convince her, and himself, that he’s something and not nothing.
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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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