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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 31, 2011 0 comments
While dozing off, young Alice dreams about falling down a rabbit hole that is populated by a peculiar series of misadventures. The always sensible Alice whirls through a world of contradictions, imagination, and surprises where she encounters amazing creatures including a pocket watch-toting White Rabbit, the imperious Queen of Hearts and her army of playing cards, and a Cheshire Cat with a lingering smile.

Walt Disney was one of the most influential movie makers of the 20th Century and had considered adapting Lewis Carroll's famous story in 1933, but shelved the idea after Paramount released its version. He later had artist David Hall create some concept art for the project, but WWII intervened and his animated version didn't hit the screen until 1951. On a recent visit to the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco, I discovered that Walt wasn't too keen on the results of the film and complained that it had no "heart." I tend to agree with him and as a kid this was one of my least favorite Disney productions.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 27, 2010 3 comments
On its return trip to Earth, the Nostromo intercepts a distress call from a distant planet. The crew is awakened from cryo-sleep by the ship's computer and goes to the planet to investigate. It turns out the signal wasn't a call for help; it was a warning to stay clear. When one of the crew is attacked by an Alien lifeform, the other crew members have no idea what they've unleashed upon themselves by letting the man back on the ship.

In the excellent sequel Aliens, we catch up with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) after her harrowing escape in the first movie. Fifty-seven years have past when she's found floating in space in cryo-sleep and no one from "the company" believes her horrific tale of survival until all contact is lost with the colonists from planet LV-426, which is introduced in the first movie. Soon she finds herself headed back to the dreaded planet with a team of Marines to investigate.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 14, 2016 0 comments
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With Erudite’s leader overthrown, Four’s mother is now in control of Chicago, and instead of getting on with their lives, it’s payback time for those who oppressed the people under the previous leadership. Tris wants no part of this, and she and Four lead a team of rebels on a daring escape beyond the wall where they face an even larger threat. Tris is then befriended by the mysterious leader, but Four’s spidey sense tells him to be on guard—and for good reason.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 30, 2011 0 comments
William (Patrick Fugit) is a 15-year-old music fan who gets a dream assignment to travel with an up-and-coming band and write a cover story for Rolling Stone magazine. His mother (Frances McDormand) isn't thrilled with the gig, but the young man hits the road with the band and learns there's more to write about than just music.

Writer/director Cameron Crowe burst on the scene in 1982 by penning Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which went on to become a hit with the teen audience. He wasn't a one hit wonder by writing/directing Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, and then the film based on his own youth, Almost Famous. While I can't particularly relate to the era (I'm more of an 80s guy), there were certain aspects of the film that gave me a chuckle. For example, my daughter is almost 15 and I couldn't imagine her going on the road with a band, so I certainly empathized with his mother's reaction.

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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 30, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/403alvin.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Struggling songwriter Dave Seville (Jason Lee) opens his home to a talented trio of chipmunks—Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. The three are funny, mischievous, adventurous, and, oh yes, they can talk and sing! When music producer Ian Hawk (David Cross) forces Dave out of the picture, he plans to make millions from the chipmunks' unique abilities.

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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 31, 2010 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/squeakquel.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>When Dave (Jason Lee) has an unfortunate accident, the chipmunks end up in the care of his dimwitted nephew Toby (Zachary Levy) and have to face the rigors of high school without any parental guidance. It's there that the three hit singers meet the Chippettes&#151;Brittany, Eleanor, and Janette&#151;whom they must challenge in order to represent their school in a district wide battle of the bands to save the schools music program.

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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 19, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/amadeus.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>In 1781, court composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) is maddened with envy after discovering that the divine musical gifts he desires for himself have been bestowed on the lewd, mischievous Mozart (Tom Hulce), whom he plots to destroy by any means necessary. Salieri appreciates Mozart's miraculous compositions more than anyone while blaming God for his own musical shortcomings.

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 15, 2010 0 comments
Feeling the weight of middle age upon his shoulders, Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) rebels against his cheating wife (Annette Bening) and ungrateful daughter (Thora Birch). Seeking to relive the life of a twenty something, he leaves his high profile job to work at a local fast food joint and along the way develops a dangerous infatuation with one of his daughter's friends (Mena Suvari) that can only lead to trouble.

Time has a strange effect on ones perceptions and tastes in movies and that's certainly the case here. I remember in 1999 how powerful I found this film due to the great performances and wonderful direction from first time director Sam Mendes. As a 41 year old father of a teenage girl, I find the subject matter too disturbing and the behavior of Spacey's character criminal and sickening.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 03, 2011 0 comments
A coming-of-age story set against the 1960s backdrop of hot rods, drive-ins, and rock 'n' roll follows two young men as they spend their last night in town before heading off to college. Crusing the streets to the howling sounds of Wolfman Jack, Terry (Charles Martin Smith) is on the prowl for a hot blonde (Suzanne Somers), while Steve (Ron Howard) tries to make up with his girlfriend after suggesting they see other people while he's away at college.

George Lucas is known for his Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, but this film was his first commercial success, and it earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Not only is it wildly entertaining, it's a blast to see future stars Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams, Somers before they became household names.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 24, 2015 0 comments
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American Sniper introduces us to Chris Kyle, on his first tour of duty in Iraq as he’s protecting an advancing Marine patrol. Through the scope of his sniper rifle, he spies an Iraqi mother as she hands a grenade to her preteen child with the intention of killing as many Americans as they can. Kyle must choose to take the life of this kid or risk losing his brothers in arms. To Kyle, the choice is clear: He must protect the troops at any cost. And so we can understand why he went on to become the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, with 160 confirmed kills during his four tours.

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