BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Shane Buettner Posted: Apr 20, 2007 4 comments

<I>Note: I experienced playback issues with the first screener of this disc sent to me by universal. Trying to play the first copy of this disc in the Toshiba HD-XA2 (with the very latest firmware) I got an error message to the affect that the disc was not the correct format and it wouldn't play. However, that copy did play in the HD-A20 I just received for review. The second copy sent from Universal played in both players. There have been similar reports online.</I>

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Joel Brinkley Posted: Apr 17, 2007 1 comments

From the time it was first announced all the way through the previews, reviewers and the general public alike roundly derided the idea of another Rocky movie. Stallone, now 60, still boxing on-screen?

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Shane Buettner Posted: Apr 14, 2007 0 comments

What a fun surprise this turned out to be! <I>Night at the Museum</I> stars Ben Stiller as Larry, a wannabe entreprenuer who just can't make it happen for himself. His ex-wife is remarried, and Larry's son Nick now wants to be a straight business man like his step-Dad. Seeking to impress Nick that he's a reliable Dad, Larry grabs a job as the night watchman at the Museum of Natural History. There's something immediately off about the orientation given to Larry by the outgoing trio of watchmen (led by Dick Van Dyke in an inspired turn), not to mention the oddly thick packet of hand written job instructions they hand him.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Apr 14, 2007 0 comments

Bond is back, and he's a bad man. Yes, 007 has blond hair and blue eyes for the first time, but it's his character that takes on much darker tones here. His license to kill is his primary occupation, not a smart-ass tagline and Daniel Craig is almost feral under the cool veneer of James Bond. This remarkable and gritty new entry takes the series out of the realm of gadgets (no Q anywhere to be found) and special effects, and back into the realm of hard, breathtaking physical stunts, which is something director Martin Campbell, of <I>Mask of Zorro</I> fame, excels at. Even the theme song is grungy, being sung by former Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell. And it's exhilirating from the opening foot chase to the finale. Not only is Bond back, I can't wait for him to return!

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 1 comments

I'm not sure how you write a screenplay designed to show the origins if the CIA and its operations up to and including the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961. But I'm reasonably certain that no one in Hollywood has an inside track to the straight story, despite research into volumes full of speculation and unverifiable leaks. The true history of the CIA and the details of its operation are not exactly found in the public library or on the Internet, and for good reasons.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

There's nothing like a great dragon movie. And, as the old saying goes, this is nothing like a great dragon movie. But it is an interesting one.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

Another box-office disappointment here, but its failure was undeserved. This is a delightful romantic comedy. While the title appears to reveal all you need to know about the subject, the R-rating here is very soft. Apart from a few minutes near the beginning, this more of a costume farce than a sex-romp. Perhaps that's why it failed in theaters; it wasn't what the audience expected.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 2 comments

With its computer animated video and up-to-the-minute audio mix, <I>Happy Feet</I> is far more dazzling technically than <I>March of the Penguins</I>. Here we have the same sort of penguins as before, but with a smaller species thrown into the story as well. The life-cycle/survival situation here is the same, but in this film it's a backdrop for the plot. The penguins here are a lot more communicative. They talk, sing, and dance almost constantly. Or rather, Mumble, our hapless hero, dances. While the other penguins sing, he can't warble a single tuneful note. But he's Gotta Dance.

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Joel Brinkley Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

The Interpreter is a "diplomatic thriller," if such a thing is possible. And, having been a diplomatic correspondent for several years, I can tell you, the thrills, on the rare occasions they can be found, are wholly intellectual. And so it is with this movie. It offers a long, long windup to a fairly tame denouement.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

Another sports flick about a new coach, a team down on its luck, and a player struggling to succeed. But the variations on that theme are seemingly endless. In the Hollywood vernacular, this one was "inspired by the true story" of a 30-year old substitute teacher/bartender who never played college football but won a shot at a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles roster thanks to an open tryout held by the NFL team's new coach. The tryout was little more than a publicity stunt, but for the player, die-hard Eagles fan Vince Papale, it was a chance to prove himself.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

The critical and box office verdicts on <I>Flyboys</I> weren't exactly glowing. Full of clichs with the usual assortment of standard characters…the dull subplot about the lonely American pilot falling for a beautiful young French girl…wooden dialog...a decidedly old-fashioned tone. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

Thanks to two remarkable films, I've learned more about penguins in the past few weeks than I ever thought I needed to know. The first, <I>March of the Penguins</I> was a surprising hit when it played theatrically in 2005, winning an Oscar that year as the best documentary feature. The second, <I>Happy Feet</I> (review following), won an Oscar as the best animated feature of 2006.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 1 comments

<I>A Scanner Darkly</I> may be animated, but take that R rating seriously. This is not a film for the kids. There isn't a furry animal in sight, and certainly no talking penguins.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

All the clichs are in place. New coach with a checkered past and something to prove. Down-on-its-luck team. Hostile, meddling townsfolk. The big game. You've seen it all before.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

This 2004 remake of an early 1960s B-picture was underappreciated when it first came out, and with good reason. The original starred Jimmy Stewart. A remake of any film starring an icon from Hollywood's golden age has a very steep hill to climb.

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