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BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Tom Norton Posted: Dec 26, 2007 3 comments

Deckard is a Blade Runner. His job is to seek out and eliminate Replicants who….oh, never mind. If you need me to describe the plot of <I>Blade Runner</I> in detail then you must be new to the entire movie game. If you haven't seen it, you should discover it for yourself. And if your reaction is typical you'll likely be blown away by this new 5-disc HD DVD boxed set from Warner Brothers (also available on Blu-ray). (Much of this material is also available on a multi-disc DVD package, but be careful; the 4-disc standard DVD set omits the work print version of the film described below.)

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Tom Norton Posted: Dec 12, 2007 0 comments

Once upon a time witches were acutely schizophrenic old hags who lived alone in the woods, fiddled around with poisoned apples and magic mirrors, and spooked lost little girls from Kansas. Wizards wore pointed hats, looked like a mouse, conjured up armies of brooms, and had major plumbing problems.

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Tom Norton Posted: Nov 14, 2007 0 comments
Ratatouille, Cars, and Pixar Short Films Collection
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Tom Norton Posted: Nov 14, 2007 0 comments

I don't count myself a big fan of this widely praised film. It was directed by Steven Spielberg during his "good aliens" period&mdash;a period that included the far superior <I>ET: The Extraterrestrial.</I>

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Tom Norton Posted: Oct 28, 2007 1 comments

When does a trilogy become a quadrilogy? (Is there such a word? There is now.) When they release the third sequel, of course. And the Spider-Man films have been such a rousing success that you can be sure another one is in the pipeline.

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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 20, 2007 Published: Sep 21, 2007 0 comments

When it was released in 1998, <I>Elizabeth</I> (HD DVD) was nominated for a bushel of awards, but most of them went to a competing Elizabethan drama, <I>Shakespeare in Love</I>. The latter was more accessible, crowd-pleasing, and fun. <I>Elizabeth</I> on the other hand, was a dark take on the early years of Elizabeth I, with the emphasis on the international intrigue and court politics that both preceded and followed her accession to the throne.

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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 20, 2007 Published: Sep 21, 2007 1 comments

I confess to a serious weakness for <I>The Last Starfighter</I>. Even by 1984 standards, the year of its release, it wasn't a great science fiction film. But there is something immensely appealing in its old-fashioned innocence.

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Posted: Sep 20, 2007 Published: Sep 21, 2007 0 comments

Surf's Up (Blu-ray, available October 9), a new computer animated film, isn't as groundbreaking as Final Fantasy. Nor is it likely to grab the Academy Award as best animated feature in a Ratatouille year. But despite all that, and despite the fact that this is the 196th movie in the past two years to feature penguins (OK, the third, unless I somehow missed the other 193), it's still a lot of fun.

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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 20, 2007 Published: Sep 21, 2007 0 comments

<I>Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within</I> is a cross-genre blend of sci-fi and computer animation, more Japanese anime than cuddly Disney. Check out the flood of Japanese names in the end-credits. Released in 2001, it was one of the first attempts at photo-realistic animation, and in that respect, at least, was startlingly successful. While you'll never confuse the images here with those of real people, they're as close to it as anyone has come, either before or since. Unlike the more recent <I>Polar Express</I>, the characters here don't have creepy, zombie-like eyes.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Aug 14, 2007 0 comments

Oh boy. How about a hilarious, satirical dissection of the buddy cop genre by the cheeky bastards who brought us <I>Shaun of the Dead</I>? This movie is hysterically funny, if relentelessly silly. I do think the gag here isn't quite enough to sustain the full two hour runtime- it would have moved better at closer to 90 minutes. But I feel cranky even saying that. Honestly, how can you not love a movie about buddy cops in which the buddy cops themselves love <I>Point Break</I>?!

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Shane Buettner Posted: Aug 11, 2007 0 comments

Universal pulled an odd one here, releasing the sequel to this movie on HD DVD over a year ago, but just getting this, the inaugural film in the <I>Bourne</I> franchise onto the format just ahead of the third installment's arrival in theaters. Better late than never!

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Shane Buettner Posted: Aug 10, 2007 0 comments

I don't think there's a damned thing I can tell you that you don't already know about these two movies. The first is everything a summer movie should be: big, loud, both fun and funnny, and an all around good time at the movies. And yes, the superb filmmaking and acting elevate this material beyond expectations for a moivie based on a beloved theme ride at Disneyland! And yes, the second installment is bigger in every way and not necessarily better (or maybe even as good), but it too works in keeping a smile on the audience's face. And if you think the plots get a bit lost and that these movies are short on character development, well, guess what? You're in the wrong movie! Go see something that's <I>not</I> based on a Disneyland ride!

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Shane Buettner Posted: Aug 10, 2007 0 comments

This is a plausible, compelling look at the artistic process and inspirations behind J.M. Barrie's writing of Peter Pan. It features complex and convincing acting from Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and the still luminous Julie Christie. Not to mention the wild boys, led by Freddie Highmore. Worth mentioning too that director Marc Forster also did 2001's <I>Monster's Ball</I> and last year's sadly underrated <I>Stranger Than Fiction</I>. A filmmaker worth watching.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Jul 11, 2007 Published: Jul 12, 2007 0 comments

Talk about a win-win. Not only is the BBC's <I>Planet Earth</I> series spectacular hi-def eye candy, it's so well-made and narratively compelling that it holds up to an insane number of repeated viewings. And I should know- my two-year old son has us watching several of these episodes (especially <I>Shallow Seas</I> and <I> Ocean Deep</I>) several times a week.

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John Higgins Posted: Jul 02, 2007 Published: Jun 29, 2007 0 comments
Video: 5
Audio: 5
Extras: 4
When the ad campaign for the theatrical release of Happy Feet started, I was amazed and perplexed. The animation looked fantastic, but, for the life of me, I had no idea what the movie was about. The most amazing part was that not a single person I knew had any idea what the movie was about, but it had dancing penguins and an all-star cast, leaving us all mesmerized. Not only was everyone mesmerized, they all planned on seeing it without any clue what it was about.

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