BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 03, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/403magorium.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is a toy store like no other, where imagination comes to life and magic is in the air. But after 243 years, it's time for Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) to hang it up, so he bequeaths the store to its manager, Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman), an insecure young lady who feels she has never lived up her youthful potential. The store recognizes her doubt and begins to undergo a change of its own. Its reluctant new owner will need the help of a loyal patron and a "mutant" accountant to save Mr. Magorium's wonderful store.

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Kris Deering Posted: Apr 02, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3/5
Audio: 3.5/5
Extras: 2.5/5
I always enjoy a good extreme sports documentary. Whether it is big wave surfing, skating or base jumping, I'm always blown away with the level these guys take it to. Steep looks at the extreme skiing side of things including big mountain skiing. These are the guys that are climbing peaks that most would look at in fear only to ski down what looks like a near impossible run. You see quite a few variations on the sport including "Heli-skiing", which requires the use of a helicopter to get to impossible peaks. Crazy is an understatement for some of these guys, but you have to admit it's pretty cool to see what some people are brave enough to do. The documentary is excellent and covers the history of the sport and where it is going. The photography is gorgeous and a mix of new high definition footage and archived film.
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Kris Deering Posted: Apr 02, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 3.5/5
I completely avoided this one during its theatrical run due to the bad taste left in my mouth from the first AVP. The first film had a reasonably good premise, but I didn’t care for the execution. Surprisingly this follow up was far more satisfying, though still short of the original Alien and Predator franchises. The film picks up right where the last one left off with the predator/alien half-breed. The ship gets taken over by the new breed and crashes in the woods in Colorado. From there a small town is essentially taken over by the alien. Back on the Predator home world a warrior is sent out to deal with the issue and essentially becomes the primary source of hope for the small town. There are definitely points in this film where the cheese gets a bit much, but I thought the execution was a bit better this time around and fans of the franchise will probably find this a more satisfying addition.
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Kris Deering Posted: Apr 02, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4/5
Audio: 3.5/5
Extras: 3.5/5
I think most people would say that Juno was the dark horse of the Oscar race this year. It was loved by critics and audiences (based on its nice haul) and was probably the most popular of the Best Picture nominees. I didn't get the chance to see it in theaters but I was excited to finally get to watch it. Honestly, it didn't meet my expectations. The film was solid, of that there is no doubt, but it left me puzzled on the Best Picture nod. For one the film as a whole isn't much different from a lot of the “indie” comedies we see all the time. The story isn't anything new, the acting is good but again nothing new, and honestly I found most of the dialogue contrived. It was almost like they were trying to be too witty most of the film, which comes off as annoying for me. I love the heart of the film, I connected a lot with the end and the idea of losing your child, but I guess I wasn't as affected by the entire picture as the Academy was.
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Kris Deering Posted: Apr 02, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2/5
Sean Penn has been impressing me more and more with both his roles in film and his efforts behind the camera. Into The Wild is a moving film about a young college graduate that decides to go off the radar and embark on an adventure across the country and into the wilds of Alaska. Along the way he makes friends and faces some interesting challenges in the wild. The film is based on true events and I must say it was quite inspiring in spirit. The photography is outstanding, as is the score and original songs by Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder. Newcomer Emile Hirsch also gives a stellar performance as the young traveler finding his place and living his dreams.
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Kris Deering Posted: Mar 30, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2/5
I don't remember even seeing this one in theaters but like so many other films that deal with the current war in Iraq, it seemed to fade into obscurity. Tommy Lee Jones got an Oscar nod for this one and he does do a great job portraying a father on the hunt for his son who went AWOL after returning from the war. When they find his boy brutally murdered in a field he tries desperately to find out what happened. With the help of a local detective he finds more than he bargained for. The film draws some serious questions about how war affects the soldiers returning home and how the average public could probably never comprehend what our soldiers are being asked to do daily. I really enjoyed the film despite the darker tones and sad story, but I can see some people being turned off to something that hits this close to home.
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Kris Deering Posted: Mar 30, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2.5/5
It has been interesting to see all the doomsday films that have been released about biological identity. It has become almost as popular as our fear of computers taking over in some respects. Hopeful this won't be the case as we progress in biological science. Gattaca takes a grim look at the future and how genetics could have a toll on our personal freedoms. Thankfully it doesn't get too preachy and the strong performances go a long way in making the film a satisfying thriller.
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Posted: Mar 30, 2008 0 comments

Struggling songwriter Dave Seville (Jason Lee) opens his home to a talented trio of chipmunks—Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. The three are funny, mischievous, adventurous, and, oh yes, they can talk and sing! When music producer Ian Hawk (David Cross) forces Dave out of the picture, he plans to make millions from the chipmunks' unique abilities.

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Kris Deering Posted: Mar 30, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2.5/5
Hidalgo is one of those human stories that really grabbed me. The true tale of an American cowboy haunted by his past who finds himself across the world in a race only the most insane would attempt. But the story does not end there. Along the way the greedy attempt to eliminate potential winners and small battles wager. Mortensen does a great job as Frank Hopkins, and this is a huge departure from his now epic portrayal of Aragon in The Lord of the Rings films. While he still has the courage and honor of Aragon, this is a more down to Earth role. The production and cinematography of this film are also outstanding making this a film with few faults.
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Kris Deering Posted: Mar 30, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3/5
Why is it that everything Jerry Bruckheimer touches seems to turn to gold? Seriously, look at his track record! Almost every film he's done has either gone on to create a new trend in entertainment or in this case a complete line of themed bars across the country. Coyote Ugly isn't anything more than a simple "local girl makes good" story that we see recycled over and over again, yet it launched a chain of bars with the same name across the country. The film has energy to spare and you can help but have a good time with it, but I never would have dreamt it would have the popularity and impact it did. Kudos to Jerry on yet another success. This Blu-ray features two cuts of the film, with a slightly "spicier" cut. Don't expect huge changes though as I barely noticed any difference.
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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 30, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/403alvin.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Struggling songwriter Dave Seville (Jason Lee) opens his home to a talented trio of chipmunks—Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. The three are funny, mischievous, adventurous, and, oh yes, they can talk and sing! When music producer Ian Hawk (David Cross) forces Dave out of the picture, he plans to make millions from the chipmunks' unique abilities.

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Kris Deering Posted: Mar 30, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3/5
M. Night Shyamalan set the bar pretty high with the monumental success of The Sixth Sense. This follow-up didn't make quite the box office splash that one did, but it has created a following since its release on DVD. This is one of the best "comic" movies out there in my opinion and a great start to a series that we may never see finished.
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Kris Deering Posted: Mar 30, 2008 0 comments
Video: 5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: N/A
Last year video guru Joe Kane released the first High Definition test disc to the market with Digital Video Essentials. We'd seen this release before on the short lived D-Theater format but this time around the disc offered a more intuitive menu structure and offered two resolutions for test material. Problem was; it was limited to HD DVD only. This new version is available in both HD DVD and Blu-ray and is slightly scaled down. Some of the more advanced test patterns that are good for display evaluation are missing but most of the patterns for display setup are all there. The disc has both 1080p and 720p content making it very adaptable for the two most popular screen resolutions on the market today. This new disc also features more in-depth instructions on the materials and their benefit on display playback. The menu is still a bit cumbersome at times and I wish they would have allowed for storage of some favorites similar to what we see with some HD DVD and Blu-ray releases that have a bookmark function. All of the familiar demonstration material is here from the previous editions as well.
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Kris Deering Posted: Mar 24, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 3.5/5
Will Smith's post apocalyptic epic finds its way to HD in stunning form. This was a gamble for the actor. The film rests completely on his shoulders and finds him alone for almost the entire picture. Smith shows he has the chops though and delivers a spectacular performance both as an action star and damaged man. I am a fan of the book so my opinion of the movie is a bit hit or miss. They did cover the theme of the book a bit better than previous adaptations, but I still like the 3rd act of the book better than the film. This home video release also features an alternate cut with a completely different ending. In a way the new ending pays a bit of homage to the original material, but it is still a departure. I actually like both endings but if I had to lean one way I would opt for the new alternate ending.
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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 24, 2008 2 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/403bonnieclyde.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Bored with life and looking for adventure, Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) meets the man of her dreams, Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty), right outside her bedroom window. In order to impress the girl, Clyde holds up a local store, marking the start of a vicious crime spree that sweeps the Depression-ravaged South in the 1930s.

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