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3D BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 17, 2012 1 comments
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As Marvel’s comic characters go, Ghost Rider is hellishly hard to categorize. From what I can gather from the character’s two films, 2007’s Ghost Rider and this sequel (I’m not a fan of the comics), Johnny Blaze is a motorcycle stunt rider who sells his soul to the devil to save his father’s life. In exchange, he periodically turns into an ancient, fiery demon that searches out evil to suck out its soul. A bummer for sure, but everybody needs a hobby. His motorcycle has apparently sold its carburetor and tires to Beelzebub as well, since whenever Johnny goes all flames and stuff, he’s also treated to one hell of a ride. Talk about sitting on the hot seat.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 04, 2012 3 comments
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An old adage (OK, I just made it up) says that if you’re going to make a movie in 3D, you’d better give the audience something interesting to look at. The Mysterious Island does just that, dazzling the eyes with nonstop wonders held together by a wholly adequate plot. Young Sean (Josh Hutcherson) is having trouble living the suburban life of a normal teen after the excitement of his journey to the center of the earth. And soon enough, a cryptic message from his missing grandfather sets him off on a new adventure halfway around the globe, this time chaperoned by his supercool stepdad (Dwayne Johnson).
David Vaughn Posted: Nov 09, 2011 1 comments
The wizards at Pixar discovered that when left alone, toys come to life. In Andy's room his favorite is Woody, an old-fashioned cowboy doll whose status is usurped when Andy is given the latest and greatest space toy, Buzz Lightyear. With the social dynamics thrown into chaos, Woody and Buzz end up in the clutches of any toys worst nightmare—Sid, the crazy young lad next door who loves to blow things up.

In Toy Story 2—arguably one of the greatest sequels of all-time—Woody is kidnapped by a greedy toy collector who plans to complete his collection of the "Woody's Roundup" gang and sell them to a museum in Japan for big bucks. Buzz and the gang come to the rescue and remind Woody what being a toy is about.

David Vaughn Posted: Oct 17, 2011 0 comments
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, an elite force called the Green Lantern Corps has existed for centuries to protect peace and justice. Each warrior wears a ring that grants him the ability to create anything his mind can imagine, but when an enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, all hopes rest in the hands of their newest recruit and the first human ever selected—Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds).

I've never been a connoisseur of comic books and my exposure to them has come from feature films. My expectations for Green Lantern were quite low given its poor reviews during its theatrical run so it was a big surprise that I actually liked it. Granted, it's no Iron Man or The Dark Knight, although I enjoyed it as much as Thor. Reynolds does a decent job playing the cocky hero, but its biggest shortcoming is the lackluster screenplay that adds too many subplots and drags throughout the second act.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 19, 2011 0 comments
Blu is a companion to Linda, and the two are inseparable. But when Brazilian ornithologist Tulio shows up, Linda learns that Blu is the only male blue macaw in existence and must mate to save the species. Linda reluctantly agrees, and she, Blu, and Tulio set off to Rio de Janeiro. This leads to events Linda never dreamed of back home in Moose Lake, Minnesocold. And when birdnappers, together with a particularly nasty jailbird, enter Blu’s world, his adventures parallel hers.

Produced by Blue Sky Studios, the computer animation house behind the successful Ice Age franchise, Rio’s story line doesn’t feel all that promising at first. But it grows on you. While 2011 hasn’t yet equaled 2010 for potential entries in the animation hall of fame, a chameleon, a panda, and now a macaw are more than enough to keep the current golden age of computer animation firing on all cylinders.

David Vaughn Posted: Sep 12, 2011 0 comments
Banished from Asgard by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) lands on Earth without his all-powerful hammer and must learn humility, compassion, and patience before he's allowed to return home. In his absence, his evil younger brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) ascends to the throne when their father falls into a coma, and he hatches a plan to permanently stay on top. On Earth, Thor must enlist the help of a beautiful scientist (Natalie Portman) and her team to survive as a mere mortal until he finds a way to return home and stop the nefarious plot.

Of the Marvel adaptations I've seen thus far, Iron Man is the best due to Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of the superhero. Hemsworth definitely looks the part with his chiseled physique and rugged good looks, but his acting abilities don't come close to Downey's. Despite his shortcomings, the story has enough action and comedy to keep things interesting, and while it's only average, I did find it enjoyable.

Kris Deering Posted: May 27, 2011 0 comments
Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3/5
In the high-octane, action-adventure "Drive Angry", Nicolas Cage stars as an undead felon who breaks out of hell to avenge his murdered daughter and rescue her kidnapped baby from a band of cult-worshipping savages. Joined by tough-as-nails Piper, the two set off on a rampage of redemption, all while being pursued by an enigmatic killer who has been sent by the Devil to retrieve Milton and deliver him back to hell.
Kris Deering Posted: May 24, 2011 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3/5
Caught up in a feud between neighbors; Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingoes and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness?
David Vaughn Posted: May 16, 2011 3 comments
Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo (Mame McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) must overcome many obstacles to be together. But can this young couple find lasting happiness with their two families hell-bent on destroying each other?

This is a classic example of false advertising. While the trailers made this film look funny and fresh, it's anything but that. The screenplay is pathetically weak, the characters exhibit zero personality, and even the great music from Elton John can't make this anything more than a colossal waste of 84 minutes.

David Vaughn Posted: Apr 25, 2011 0 comments
To impress the pretty newspaper travel editor Darcy (Amanda Peet), an underachieving mailroom clerk named Gulliver (Jack Black) takes a writing assignment traveling to Bermuda. On his way there he's swept into a giant cyclone and ends up on the island of Lilliput and discovers he's a giant compared to the little inhabitants.

When you take classic literature and modernize its story, sometimes something can be lost in the translation, and that's certainly the case here. While Black is his usual funny self, the screenplay is quite shallow and contains a litany of two-dimensional characters. I have to admit, I laughed out loud on a number of occasions, but I was equally grossed out when Gulliver needed to extinguish a blazing fire and chose a rather unique way to putting it out.

David Vaughn Posted: Apr 04, 2011 0 comments
When Sam (Garrett Hedlund) was seven years old, his father (Jeff Bridges) left for work one night and was never seen again. Some thought he couldn’t handle the pressure of being CEO of Encom and fled the country, but little did anyone know he had left our world and was trapped in a digital realm he had created. Now 20 years later, Sam is sent to his father’s old shop to investigate a mysterious page from the abandoned building. It’s there he discovers a hidden room and before he knows it he’s transported into a digital reality he must join forces with his father in order to defeat a rogue program that has overtaken the digital paradise.

I was 13 when I first saw Tron and was disappointed with the story, although I was a huge fan of the video game. The technology talk in the script went over my head because I didn’t discover computers until a couple years later. Surprisingly, the film holds up quite well by today’s standards if you discount the rudimentary special effects and my kids and I really enjoyed it a lot (although my wife fell asleep).

Kris Deering Posted: Mar 28, 2011 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 5/5
When Flynn, the world's greatest video game creator, sends out a secret signal from an amazing digital realm, his son discovers the clue and embarks on a personal journey to save his long-lost father. With the help of the fearless female warrior Quorra, father and son venture through an incredible cyber universe and wage the ultimate battle of good versus evil.
David Vaughn Posted: Mar 28, 2011 5 comments
Pursued by the King's troops, Flynn Rider (voice by Zachary Levi) takes refuge in a mysterious tower, but he's not alone. Before he knows it, he's tied to a chair by Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a spirited teen with 70 feet of magical golden hair. Looking for her ticket out of the tower she's been trapped in for years, she strikes a deal with the handsome thief, and the duo set off on an adventure pursued by a determined horse, a pair of thugs, and an evil woman who doesn't want to lose her fountain of youth.

This is Disney's 50th full-length animated feature, and while I wouldn't consider it to the level of The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast, it's very entertaining. There are a lot of laughs, especially from the horse and overprotective chameleon, but the musical numbers are a mixed bag.

Kris Deering Posted: Mar 22, 2011 0 comments
Video: 5/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 5/5
When the kingdom's most wanted - and most charming - bandit Flynn Rider hides in a mysterious tower, the last thing he expects to find is Rapunzel, a spirited teen with an unlikely superpower - 70 feet of magical golden hair! Together, the unlikely duo sets off on a fantastic journey filled with surprising heroes, laughter and suspense.
David Vaughn Posted: Mar 18, 2011 0 comments
When Yogi (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) finds out that Jellystone Park is being sold, tossing him, Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake), and all their friends out of the only home they've ever known, he and Boo Boo join forces with is long-suffering nemesis, Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) in order to save the park from an evil politician.

This one certainly caters to a younger audience and I doubt viewers without kids would want to give it a look. Regardless, it actually isn't that bad and features surprisingly good 3D effects, a decent story, and the cartoon characters of Yogi and Boo Boo blend seamlessly with the live-action actors.

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