BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 11, 2010 0 comments
Sam Spade's (Humphrey Bogart) partner meets an untimely end while tailing a man for a new client (Mary Astor). Before he knows it, the sly detective finds himself in the middle of a mystery involving multiple parties in search of a jewel encrusted statue known as the Maltese Falcon.

Based on the 1930 novel by Dashiell Hammett, screenwriter/director John Huston launched his directorial career and turned Bogart into a leading man. Although the film is nearly 70 years old, the story and characters are timeless and Bogart's depiction as the private detective is the benchmark for other such characters in Hollywood.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Mar 04, 2016 3 comments
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Like Hitler, Guy Ritchie has a certain style. Which doesn’t make either of them an artist. However, Ritchie has finally learned how to make a kick-ass action movie, and in adapting a somewhat silly and camp British 1960s TV series, the director has found something that fits his talents and temperament like a tight, flash suit. By far superior to his laughably bad Sherlock Holmes films, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a slick adventure that moves along at a clip from one set piece to the next, connected by banter—not witty, but efficient in setting up each character.
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Fred Kaplan Posted: Aug 30, 2011 0 comments
John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King is one of those great films the likes of which “they don’t make anymore” (and, in fact, they rarely did), a grand tale of adventure and greed set against the great outdoors and the judgment of Nature. It’s based on Rudyard Kipling’s novel, but in many ways, it’s a throwback to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which Huston also directed, nearly 30 years earlier. This movie’s prospectors are former soldiers in Britain’s colonial army, seeking power and fortune by conquering tribal warlords in the mountains of Afghanistan, rather than American ne’er-do-wells panning for gold in the foothills of Mexico. But the outcome is the same: Our (anti-) heroes win everything then lose it all through avarice and arrogance. In Treasure, they dig up more gold than they can carry (or their capacity for mutual trust can endure); in King, they stumble into a cavern of riches, but one of them starts believing he really is a god (as they’ve tricked the natives into thinking), until the act is exposed.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 08, 2010 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/noname.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In <i>A Fistful of Dollars</i>, Clint Eastwood stars as a drifter who manipulates two rival gangs with the ultimate goal of destroying both. In the second installment, our hero takes on El Indio (Gian Maria Volonte), the territory's most ruthless bandit. The best film of the three concludes the series with Eastwood partnering with two gunslingers in order to obtain a fortune in gold. He discovers that teamwork isn't one of their better personality traits and staying alive isn't guaranteed.

Chris Chiarella Posted: May 13, 2016 1 comments
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Andy Weir’s bestselling novel The Martian was justly lauded for its clever use of hard science facts to tell a thrilling yet believable tale of science fiction. Of course, the characters needed to be compelling as well if this bold survival epic was to work, and on screen as well as on the page, the futuristic drama is a smashing success. We begin a couple of decades from now as a manned Mars expedition is cut short due to a violent storm on the surface of the Red Planet.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Sep 20, 2013 0 comments
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Oscar again made the safe choice for 2012’s Best Picture, choosing Ben Affleck’s blandly competent Argo, virtually ignoring the most provocative film of the year, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. More egregious is that Anderson’s tour de force only garnered Academy nominations in the acting categories. One can’t help but wonder if the film’s Oscar fate would have been different if the subject was any other cult than Hollywood-chic Scientology. One also suspects Argo will occupy a place in film history closer to How Green Was My Valley, Ordinary People, and Driving Miss Daisy than to Citizen Kane, Raging Bull, or Do the Right Thing.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Mar 03, 2007 0 comments

<I>The Matador</I> is an off kilter comedy that works by expertly playing on the audience's expectations without being overly manipulative. Erstwhile 007 Pierce Brosnan plays the the low down and dirty version of JB, a hit man for hire with very bad people skills. He's coming to the end of his run at the top, and has enough money to retire, but nothing or no one to retire to, not a single friend or any other human connection. While on a job in Mexico he runs into Danny, played by Greg Kinnear, who's also in town on a business trip, albeit ina different line of work! The two strike up as mcuh of a friendship as Brosnan's Julian allows, and inevitably when Julian's bosses decide he's more of a lliability than an asset Kinnear's Danny is the only friend he can turn to for help.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 03, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/matrixdigi.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT><i>"Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"</i>

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 07, 2010 0 comments
After The Matrix had a huge box office and became the first title to sell over 1 million DVDs, the brothers Wachowski and Warner decided it was time to cash in on the franchise and create a trilogy (it's the Hollywood thing to do). The second of the three films debuted on May 15, 2003 and went on to earn over $280 million at the box office.

The first film is a classic due to its impeccably shot action sequences and philosophical dialog. Unfortunately, the second is filled with senseless ramblings from Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) although like its predecessor the stunts are fabulous, especially the highway chase scene that runs for over 15 minutes.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 17, 2015 4 comments
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Thomas is disjointed and confused as he wakes up on a rising elevator not knowing who or where he is. When he finally regains his focus, he’s surrounded by a group of teenage boys and realizes he’s not in Kansas anymore. He’s in the Glade, an enclave surrounded by giant walls that hide a maze, a mostly off-limits area that’s protected by the Grievers—cybernetic organisms that come out at night and will kill anyone who has ventured into the maze and hasn’t exited when the sun goes down.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 18, 2016 0 comments
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In cinema, would-be cautionary tales of our current environmental crisis tend to be heavy-handed, and they frequently fall flat as a result. Maybe the secret to an effective global wakeup call is to tuck it neatly into a slapstick romantic comedy about modern-day merpeople.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 18, 2014 0 comments
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In the final months of World War II, as Allied armies smashed across Europe and into Germany, an organization called the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (the MFAA) was assigned the task of recovering and preserving countless art treasures plundered by the Nazis. It included hundreds of art experts from 13 countries, working in small cadres.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 07, 2014 0 comments
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In the final months of World War II, as Allied armies smashed across Europe and into Germany, an organization called the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (the MFAA) was assigned the task of recovering and preserving countless art treasures plundered by the Nazis. It included hundreds of art experts from 13 countries, working in small cadres.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 26, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/mummy.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>About a thousand years before the birth of Christ, high priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) had a forbidden relationship with Anck Su Namun (Patricia Velasquez), the mistress to Pharaoh Seti I (Aharon Ipale). As punishment, he was mummified alive in the city of Hamunaptra and cursed with a living death.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 26, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/mummyreturns.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Set nine years after <i>The Mummy</i>, Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) are married with an eight-year-old son, Alexander (Freddie Boath). Meanwhile, a mysterious woman, Mella (Patricia Velasquez), resurrects high priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), and the pair intend to defeat the legendary Scorpion King (The Rock) to gain control of his army and rule the world.

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