BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/blood.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Daniel Day-Lewis delivers a spellbinding performance as Daniel Plainview, a turn-of-the-century independent oil baron prospecting in California. He is a ruthless man who hates all men, including himself. Plainview manipulates the locals into selling their land to him, and in the process, he makes an enemy of a resident preacher.

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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 23, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.25/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 2.75/5
I really wanted to see this film during its limited theatrical run but unfortunately it wasn't playing anywhere near me that was convenient. Persepolis is one of those rare films that uses animation in an adult way, and I don't mean sex and violence. This is a political message told from a girl growing up in war torn Iran during the eighties and early nineties. It shows the back and forth of the government from the eyes of a young girl watching friends and family go to war and deal with the religious issues of that nation. The animation is very effective in conveying themes and ideas that may not have been as interesting with live action. The black and white style is also a nice touch and provides some very cool stylizations.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 23, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.75/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3/5
Studios are taking advantage of the success of the Harry Potter franchise and jumping in with both feet on any young adult adventure they can find that may or may not be the next big thing. Nickelodeon has gone a different route with Spiderwick though. For those unfamiliar with the books they are actually a collection of novellas for the most part. Instead of doing each episode individually the film encompasses the entire series in one film. Sure they glaze over some side stories and details but overall it has worked really well. The production values of this piece are exceptional, especially the effects work from ILM. The film moves at a brisk pace and the storyline doesn't tone down so much that adults won’t have a good time with it. All things considered I thought it was one of the better family adventure films of late.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/bucketlist.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and scholarly auto mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) have virtually nothing in common&mdash;with the exception of terminal cancer and a shared regret about missed opportunities in their lives. When they end up side by side in a hospital room, the two devise a "bucket list" detailing the experiences they would like to have before they kick the bucket. Together they embark on a journey of self-discovery and friendship as they check off the items on their list.

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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 23, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4/5
Audio: 2.5/5
Extras: 3.25/5
The Sand Pebbles tells the story of a Navy mechanic sent to work on a small gunboat in China in the mid-20's. China wasn't the super power it is now and was going through a civil war. Influences from Communist Russia were coming in and the government was using every excuse it could to separate itself from the American forces in the area. McQueen doesn't play the tough guy as much in this one but instead turns in a more human portrayal of a deck plate level sailor dealing with politics he'd rather stay out of. The story has a nice arc to it and despite the long run time, never bores. Definitely one of the better war classics out there.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 23, 2008 0 comments
Video: 2/5
Audio: 4.25/5
Extras: 3/5
I was pretty surprised when Scorsese didn't walk away with the Best Picture statue for this one. Gangs of New York is one of those amazing productions that just gets so much right. The outstanding photography, set design and attention to detail make this a modern day classic. This is also one of my favorite performances from Daniel Day-Lewis (who should have got the Oscar for this one too). The film looks at early New York and the turmoil the gangs caused as immigrants were coming in to the country in droves and the infamous 5-points area.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 23, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.75/5
Audio: 3.25/5
Extras: 3.75/5
The Dirty Harry films solidified Clint Eastwood as a mainstream Hollywood tough guy and created an icon in gritty police drama. "Go Ahead, Make my Day" is a line everyone knows and I must say this Blu-ray box set did just that. It had been awhile since I'd seen any of the Dirty Harry films and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them back in the day. The box set includes all five films in the series or you can purchase the original Dirty Harry in a coffee book edition on its own. While these films do show their age a bit in pacing and production they are still some of my favorite crime thrillers of yesteryear.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/foolsgold.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Ben "Finn" Finnegan (Matthew McConaughey) is a fortune hunter whose obsession with discovering the Queen's Dowry, a treasure that mysteriously disappeared in the Caribbean in 1715, has consumed him to the point of ruining his marriage to Tess (Kate Hudson). Discovering a clue that he believes will lead him to the cache, he must charm his way into the pocketbook of billionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland) in order to finance the expedition.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 13, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/061308boleyn.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, <i>The Other Boleyn Girl</i> is the story of Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary as they rival for the bed and heart of Henry VIII. Discovering that the king's wife, Katherine of Aragon, is unable to provide him with a male heir, the girls' ambitious father and uncle devise a bold plan to advance the family's power and status by courting the affections of the king.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 13, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/061308master.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Captain “Lucky Jack” Aubrey (Russell Crowe) of the HMS <I>Surprise</I> receives orders to sink or capture the French privateer <I>Acheron</I> off the east coast of South America. In his first encounter with the enemy vessel, the more powerfully built French warship gets the better of his crew and nearly sinks the <I>Surprise</I>. Dr. Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), Aubrey's best friend and ship's surgeon, tries to convince him there is no shame in returning home given the conditions they face. Torn between duty and friendship, the fate of his crew weighs on his mind.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 13, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/061308mib.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Agent "K" (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent "J" (Will Smith) are members of a top-secret government agency charged with monitoring and policing alien activity on Earth. Clothed in their sharp black suits, the men must stop a deadly plot by a bug-like terrorist (Vincent D'Onofrio), who intends to start an intergalactic war by assassinating two ambassadors from opposing galaxies who are currently in New York.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 13, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/061308short.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Struck by lightning, a Defense Department robot malfunctions and, as a result, develops its own consciousness. Escaping the military, it finds refuge with a young woman (Ally Sheedy) who helps hide "Number 5" from its inventor, Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg), and the government who wants its weapon back.

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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 11, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.25/5
Audio: 3.25/5
Extras: 2.75/5
This film didn't seem to get much buzz at the box office despite the popularity of the leads. I didn't have high hopes going in because of this but really ended up enjoying this one. The chemistry between Freeman and Nicholson was great and this one had my wife and I laughing out loud quite a bit. The first half of the film is great and sets up the characters perfectly but I didn't think some of the journeys they took were as involving. But the director brings it back together by the end and tugs on the heart strings. Overall this is a heartwarming film ended up being a really fun ride.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 11, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.75/5
Audio: 3.5/5
Extras: 2/5
Last time we saw this couple together they were trying their best to lose each other while falling in love at the same time. This time isn't too different except the couple is already married and in the process of a divorce. I guess treasure hunting doesn't keep the thrills alive like it used to. Fool's Gold is a fun ride that is good brainless fun with a little bit of action flare. The film is set in the beautiful Caribbean and balances a good mix of adventure, flirting and romance. While I wouldn't put in the same category of adventure as National Treasure or the Indy films, it is still good popcorn fun with a good cast and gorgeous scenery.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 11, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3/5
Audio: 3.75/5
Extras: 2.5/5
Independent thrillers and horror films have become the leaders in innovation and original concepts these days. While Hollywood looks to mass produce and remake everything that already been done, independents are fueling the fires with new ways to provide chills. The Signal reminds me a bit of the zombie genre in the way 28 Days Later did but with a new twist. Instead of an infectious disease we have a signal being broadcast through TV and phones that causes mass hysteria and unexplainable rage. The film focuses on a small group of people caught in the horror and is divided into three main acts all written and directed by different people but using the same characters and time line. I must say I really enjoyed the first and last act but found the second act to be a bit disappointing. This writer/director took the tone of the movie in a different direction and added a lot of dark humor that just didn't work for me. Thankfully the third act is strong enough to erase most of the issues and I finished the film with a positive outlook on the work as a whole.

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