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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 23, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/tropicthunder.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>On the set of a Vietnam War movie, action-superstar Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), Academy Award-winner Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), and fart-king Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) find themselves in a pickle when the hare-brained scheme of misguided director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) goes awry. Along with two other actors, they are thrust into real-life danger and must band together to survive.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 19, 2009 Published: May 20, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/trueblood.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>I didn't connect with this HBO original series based on the books by Charlaine Harris, but the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is to die for. The score features a full-bodied sound, the dynamic range is impressive, and the creative sound design utilizes every speaker in the room. Quiet passages reveal crickets chirping, and dialog is never strained. The video is solid, but I'm focusing on the audio for this Ultimate Demo.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 19, 2009 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/trueblood.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is a sweet and innocent waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana, who has the ability to read minds. When we first meet her, she has difficulty tuning out her various customers and their crude thoughts, but when Bill Compton enters the restaurant one night, she's instantly attracted to him for one reason&#151;she can't hear his thoughts because he's a vampire, and for once in her life, she can get through a date without knowing how badly the guy wants to sleep with her.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 23, 2010 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/trueblood2.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>For its sophomore season, <i>True Blood</i> returns to Bon Temps and its dark secrets. Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill (Stephan Moyer) get closer, although as their relationship grows so does the danger to their lives. Tara (Rutina Wesley) falls in love, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) hooks up with the Fellowship of the Sun, and Maryann (Michelle Forbes) has a very persuasive power.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 01, 2011 0 comments
Season three finds Bill (Stephan Moyer) kidnapped and Sookie Anna Paquin) heading to Mississippi to find him. There she becomes entangled in a world ruled by a powerful Vampire King and the werewolves who do his bidding. Meanwhile, back in Bon Temps, new threats emerge that make previous problems seem tame by comparison.

Am I the only guy that's sick of vampires? I've never been a huge fan of this series but have stuck with it for the sake of our readers, but I'm not sure I can handle another season of it. Sure, through its 12 episodes there is the occasional winner, but overall it's an up-and-down affair and isn't one of HBO's greatest hits.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 07, 2011 0 comments
Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) wants justice when her father is killed by Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Headstrong to the nth-degree, the teenager hires U.S. Marshall "Rooster" Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and insists she's part of the posse. Cogburn grudgingly approves but Matty isn't happy when he allows a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) into the group who's in search of the same man for a murder in Texas.

Filling the shoes of John Wayne is an impossible task, but Bridges did the best he could do and still doesn't measure up to Wayne's Oscar-winning portrayal of the gruff Cogburn. Having watched the original less than six months ago I couldn't help compare each of the respective roles and other than Bridges impossible undertaking, the other two main characters (Damon and Steinfeld) more than make up the difference.

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David Vaughn Posted: Dec 29, 2010 2 comments
Matty Ross (Kim Darby) is the apple of her father's eye and when he's murdered by Tom Chaney (Jeff Corey) she wants justice. Headstrong to the nth-degree, the teenager hires U.S. Marshall "Rooster" Cogburn (John Wayne) and insists she's part of the posse. Cogburn grudgingly approves but Matty isn't happy when he allows an inexperienced Texas Ranger (Glan Cambell) into the group who's in search of the same man for a murder in Texas.

John Wayne was one of Hollywood's most beloved stars and appeared in over 150 films between 1926 and 1976 and won his only Academy award for his portrayal of the cantankerous "Rooster." While his performance is quite good, I think he was better in The Searchers and Sands of Iwo Jima, but I'm glad he won it. The film is very entertaining and the chemistry between Wayne and Darby is outstanding and it was fun to see Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall as the bad guys.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 11, 2016 20 comments
Earlier this year, shortly after the release of the first Ultra HD (UHD) Blu-ray Disc player from Samsung, I wrote about the challenges of getting the player's full-bandwidth video signals to travel over longer distances in “UHD Blu-ray vs. HDMI: Let the Battle Begin”. Unfortunately, nearly 8 months later, consumers whose displays are more than 15 feet away from the Samsung UBD-K8500 are still in a pickle when it comes to choosing the proper HDMI cable to get the menu screen to properly come up on screen.
David Vaughn Posted: Apr 06, 2016 31 comments
With the announcement in January of Samsung's pending Ultra HD Blu-ray player, I got excited to jump right into a new disc-based format offering high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut (WCG), and 4K resolution (3840x2160). It took about five weeks, but on February 11 I was able to purchase a Samsung UBD-K8500 at a local Fry’s Electronics. Sadly, UHD Blu-ray software wouldn't be available until March 1. But I figured I could at least get the player installed in my rack and await the first UHD discs to arrive.
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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 03, 2008 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/403unbreakable.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Bruce Willis stars as David Dunn, the sole survivor of a horrific train accident who escaped not only with his life, but without any injuries to speak of. Dunn's survival prompts a visit from Elijah Prince (Samuel L. Jackson), a crazed man who believes that David possesses superhuman strength and is a comic-book hero come to life.

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