BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 07, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/060608vendetta.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Remember, remember the 5th of November. The significance of this date in England goes back to 1605, when a Catholic terrorist by the name of Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament in protest over how Catholics were treated. Fast forward to the near future and meet V (Hugo Weaving), our tragic hero, who struts around town wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and is a terrorist in his own right&mdash;or at least the totalitarian government has labeled him as such.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 07, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/060608butch.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>The president of the Union Pacific Railroad hires the Pinkertons to hunt down and kill Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for repeatedly robbing his trains. With a lucky escape still fresh in their minds, Butch decides it's time to retire to Bolivia, and who is Sundance to argue?

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 07, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/060608next.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Nicolas Cage stars as Cris "Frank Cadillac" Johnson, a small-time magician in Las Vegas. Cris isn’t your ordinary slight-of-hand magician&mdash;he has the ability to see two minutes into the future. Is it a gift or a curse? FBI agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) discovers his ability and will stop at nothing to get him into custody in order to stop a planned nuclear attack on Los Angeles.

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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 04, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 3/5
I had the discomfort of sitting through Cloverfield during its theatrical run and I was actually a bit intimidated by the idea of seeing it again in my own theater room. My discomfort had nothing to do with the story itself, but rather the experience that the camera style offers. My wife and I both suffered from extreme headaches for several hours after the theatrical viewing and my wife thought she would be sick at any moment for quite sometime after. I found myself closing my eyes a lot just to help things during the movie. The film is merely stock footage of the events that happened in New York after a large monster of some sort attacks the city. The footage is taken with a handicam and follows a few young residents as they first try to escape the city and then turn around to try and rescue a friend. The camera work is all over the place and really only provides snippets of the monster and reminded me a bit of The Blair Witch Project at times. While I thought the execution and premise of this film were both excellent, they didn't justify the physical effects watching the film induced. I thought watching this on a smaller screen (120" diagonal in my case) would help, but that just wasn't the case. I would recommend anyone going into this film the first time be prepared.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 04, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.75/5
Audio: 2.75/5
Extras: 3.25/5
Short Circuit has always been a fun family film and I can't help but think Image jumped on the opportunity to get this one out right before Disney rolls out a robot that looks very similar to Johnny 5, Wall-E. It's been years since I've seen this film and it is still a lot of fun even if it does feel really dated. The heart is still there and Johnny 5 is still great for laughs. For those not familiar with the plot line Johnny 5 is a government funded military project that goes haywire after an exercise and escapes into the population. Once on his own he befriends a pet sitter and becomes more and more aware of his own existence. The themes are somewhat similar to what I, Robot touched upon in regard to artificial intelligence and when it reaches the point of self awareness.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 04, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.25/5
Audio: 4.75/5
Extras: 2.5/5
Just in time for the upcoming theatrical release of Shyamalan's The Happening comes one of his best films on Blu-ray, Signs. I honestly loved just about everything with this movie. This film excels at keeping the audience on edge and balancing all aspects of the production. This is a solid thriller that delivers great chills but does so with respect to the intimacy of each character. Few films have kept me on the edge as well as this one does and I love the character development and themes on faith. This still stands as probably my favorite film from director M. Night Shyamalan and is a welcome addition to the HD library.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 04, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4.25/5
Extras: 3.5/5
Lionsgate presents yet another Japanese horror remake, this time The Pang Brother's hit or miss The Eye. This wasn't one of my favorite Japanese horror films but it certainly wasn't at the bottom of my list. The remake is close to the original with some scenes almost playing out shot for shot, but it lacks the overlaying tension of the original. This one relies more on quick scares that usually have more to do with the score than satisfying thrills. Alba is better than normal though and does a fairly good job in the role of the blind patient who is given the gift of sight again after having a cornea transplant. The supporting cast is barely used despite the talent and the ending is a bit too Hollywood happy for me. Overall I found this one to be rental material with only a few moments worth checking out.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 01, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3/5
Boasting a nice list of actors, this ensemble piece reminded me a lot of the recent character intersecting piece Crash, though it didn't deal with the same social themes. The film revolves around seven characters but I would say the chief one is Brendan Frasier's role as a collection man for a local gangster. He has a rare gift in that he can see into the future. This makes him invaluable to his employer but things change when one of his visions turns out wrong. He also comes in contact with a pop star whose future can't be seen. As the film progresses you see how several characters change the course of events and the lives of others. Ultimately I enjoyed this film quite a bit but at times the pacing was a tad slow.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 01, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4/5
Audio: 4.25/5
Extras: 2/5
Park Chan-Wook made quite the name for himself internationally with his superb "revenge" trilogy. He's probably best known in the US for the middle of the three films, Oldboy. This time around Chan-Wook takes on a different type of film, though the knack for heavy violence is still present. I'm a Cyborg revolves around a young girl who is committed to a mental hospital after attempting suicide at a factory. There she meets several interesting characters with various mental issues and a young man who hides behind a mask. The girl thinks she is a cyborg and talks to various electrical items throughout the hospital and the film takes on a bit of a fantasy role with interesting visual displays that reminded me slightly of the French film, Amelie. Overall this is a slow building film but by the end you realize the full heart of the characters. People looking for a film similar to Chan-Wook's more popular offerings may be disappointed, but this was still a very interesting character piece on its own.
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Kris Deering Posted: May 26, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3/5
Audio: 2.75/5
Extras: 2.5/5
I grew up with this trilogy and looking back I am almost surprised that my parents let me watch these films at such a young age. These films cemented Stallone's status as an action icon and "Rambo" is a name everyone knows. Just in time for the release of the new (and quite entertaining) fourth installment is the original trilogy on Blu-ray. I still consider the first film to be the strongest of the series and I love the message it sends on the treatment of Vietnam Vets after their return home. It is always disturbing to see how those troops were treated. The second and third film suited the Reagan years perfectly and continued to fuel our fear of the Russians during the Cold War. I like the second film a lot more than the third, but even the weakest one is good popcorn fun.
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Kris Deering Posted: May 26, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4.75/5
Extras: 4.25/5
Stallone is definitely doing his best to defy the odds. I never thought that Rocky Balboa would be a good film but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought he may be pushing his luck with Rambo but instead he delivered what I feel to be the best installment in the series since the first film. This is a no hold bar action film that not only turns up the body count and gore, but delivers the best production design and tone of the sequels. Rambo has turned hard in his later years and when a group of activists that he delivered into war torn Burma turn up missing, he joins a group of mercenaries to get them out. The story is simplistic in nature and doesn't try to get too political, but it does shed light on the unfortunate events of that volatile region. Stallone proves that he is still every bit of the action star he used to be and rumor has it another Rambo film is in the works.
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Kris Deering Posted: May 26, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.75/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3.5/5
Dreamworks brings their first animated film to Blu-ray with Bee Movie. Honestly, this is one of the weaker Dreamworks animated films and aside from the colorful animation I didn't think there was a lot for kids here. The film takes on an environmental approach in some ways and the themes of the film don't seem to take the entertainment of kids in stride. Jerry Seinfeld plays Barry, a young worker bee not content to spend the rest of his life working in the hive. When he journeys out into the real world he befriends a florist and finds out that people have been selling honey. The film then focuses on the slavery of bees and then the catastrophic events that could unfold if bees stopped pollinating. While the film does have a few fun moments, it didn't really appeal to me as a story. The animation is jaw dropping at times with some very cool three dimensional moments, but it couldn't make up for the slow script and dull comedy.
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Kris Deering Posted: May 26, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.75/5
Audio: 4.25/5
Extras: 3/5
I'm always a fan of period drama and despite the rather lackluster reviews, The Other Boleyn Girl was quite entertaining. The film is based on the true story of two sisters who started quite the scandal with King Henry VIII after his queen fails to give him a male heir. Anne Boleyn is propositioned as a mistress for the King to give him an heir but he becomes captivated with her married sister, Mary. From there a downward spiral commences as the King is pulled from one to the other which eventually tears the kingdom apart resulting in the annulment of his marriage with the queen, a separation from the Catholic Church and a string of failed marriages. It was these events that set things in motion for Queen Elizabeth and the feud between the Protestant Queen and the Catholics. If I had to complain I would say the PG-13 rating seemed to tone down the film a bit more than it needed to be. This film focuses on very adult themes that would have been better served with an adult rating in my opinion.
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David Vaughn Posted: May 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/052308narnia.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In World War II-ravaged England, four siblings discover a magical wardrobe cabinet while playing hide-and-seek in the rural country home of an elderly professor. The wardrobe is a passageway to the world of Narnia, a charming land inhabited by talking animals, dwarfs, centaurs, and giants. But the evil White Witch, Jadis (Tilda Swinton), has cursed the world into a perpetual winter. Aided by the lion Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson), the children battle to overcome the evil White Witch's powerful hold over Narnia.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/052308shallwedance.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>John Clark (Richard Gere) is in the midst of a midlife crisis. He has a devoted wife and family but feels he needs more. Each night on his way home, he sees an attractive woman staring out the window of a dance studio. On impulse, he decides to drop in to sign up for dance lessons. What will his wife say when she finds out?

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