BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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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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David Vaughn Posted: May 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/052308nt2.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>With his great grandfather implicated in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) enlists the help of his acrimoniously divorced parents (Jon Voight and Helen Mirren) to search out clues to clear the family name. From Buckingham Palace to Mount Rushmore, Gates pursues the <I>Book of Secrets</I>, but he must find a way to speak to the one man who has access to it, the President of the United States.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/052308ps.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>As Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) celebrates her 30th birthday, she receives a most unusual gift from her husband, Gerry (Gerard Butler). It's a cake and a recorded message preparing her for the letters she will be receiving over the next few months from him. The kicker is that Gerry recently died from an illness at the tender age of 35, and his passing has ripped Holly's heart apart. With the help of her mother (Kathy Bates) and her two best friends (Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gerson), Holly learns to live without her soul mate.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/052308compass.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Imagine a parallel universe that is familiar yet strange, where human souls reside not in the body, but in accompanying animal spirits called daemons. A young girl, Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), gains possession of the coveted Golden Compass&mdash;the last example of a mystical, powerful device also known as an alethiometer that can unveil the truth, reveal what others wish to hide, and even see into the future. In order to save her best friend after he is abducted by the Gobblers, a sinister group secretly headed by Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman), she must travel to the frozen tundra of the North with help from the clans, Gyptians, and an armored bear.

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Kris Deering Posted: May 22, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3.5/5
I had a strong feeling going into this film that I wouldn't be a fan. I am not big on Ferrell's brand of comedy (though I did love Stranger than Fiction) and Heder hasn't done anything particularly good since Napoleon Dynamite. The comedy is a bit too over the top for me, and they borrowed a lot from comedies of the past. There are some good laughs here and there, but not nearly enough of them to warrant a purchase. I would stick with a rental on this one.
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Kris Deering Posted: May 22, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.75/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 4/5
V for Vendetta was different than I expected. Its tones on fear and controlling population through it touch the nerve of a lot going on in our own country, though probably not quite to the extent of what is portrayed here. It is a theme that has been in more and more media lately including an excellent book I just read from Michael Crichton.

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