David Vaughn

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 22, 2011 1 comments

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Price: $499 At A Glance: Flawless playback of Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D Discs • Outstanding build quality • The best customer support in the industry

Oppo Ups the Ante

The Blu-ray format has seen its fair share of changes since its introduction in 2006. Its initial launch included players with base playback functionality and poisonously slow boot-up and disc-loading times. Then came BonusView-enabled players, which added a minimum 256 megabytes of local storage with secondary audio and video decoders for picture-in-picture. Next were the BD-Live-capable players. These required an Internet connection via Ethernet or Wi-Fi and a minimum of 1 gigabyte of local storage (sometimes purchased separately), which allowed access to mostly useless online content. After the wild success of Avatar, the studios have jumped into 3D with both feet. Blu-ray 3D players now support a maximum data rate of 72 megabits per second (up from 48 Mbps in previous generations), include HDMI 1.4, and of course, these players support 3D video, 3D menus, and 3D subtitles.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 20, 2011 0 comments
Country music superstar Kelly Canter (Gwyneth Paltrow) enters alcohol rehab after tumbling during a concert and meets Beau Hutton (Garrett Hedlund), an aspiring small town country singer. Once out of rehab, she wants to give Beau a shot at the big time by having him open her comeback concert, but her husband/manager James (Tim McGraw) has chosen a beauty queen (Leighton Meester) instead.

I'm not a big fan of melodramatic stories, and this has over-the-top sappiness seeping over the edges. Writer/Director Shana Feste can't keep seem to make up her mind on what direction she wants to take the film; is it a story about a pair of up-and-coming singers or about the superstar trying to regain her footing? Overall, it's a tiring two hour experience with mediocre music and horrendous dialog.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 18, 2011 0 comments
After the death of his father and the scandalous abdication of his brother King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth), who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all of his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually forge a genuine friendship.

Taking home the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Firth), Best Director (Tom Hooper), and Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler), I had extremely high expectations of this film and they were mostly met. That being said, I don't think this was the best picture of 2010, my pick would be The Social Network, but I can see why the Academy chose this film due to the lavish sets, decadent costumes, and historically significant story.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 15, 2011 0 comments
The wizarding world has become a dangerous place. The long-feared war has begun and the Dark Lord has seized control of the ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting all who might oppose him. Harry, Ron, and Hermoine are on the run in search of the magical Horcruxes and must discover a way to destroy them in order to defeat Voldemort once and for all.

Having two kids who are part of the Harry Potter generation, I've had the pleasure of reading each of the books and watching every movie with them. I love how Warner finally decided to split the final book into two parts (something they should have done starting with Goblet of Fire), and we finally get to see more of J.K. Rowling's outstanding story grace the silver screen. Be advised, the story is quite dark and may be disturbing for younger audiences.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 11, 2011 0 comments
Once one of the world's top crime fighters, Bob Parr (a.k.a. Mr. Incredible) fought evil and saved lives on a daily basis. But 15 years later, he and his wife Helen (the former Elastigirl) have been forced to take on civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs. Itching for action, Mr. Incredible gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top-secret assignment.

Pixar has quite a track record with its films, and this is one of their best. I love how they take something from our society (rampant personal injury lawsuits) and weave it into a story about superheroes that can no longer practice their craft because someone gets a sore neck when being saved from certain death! The cast is brilliant here with Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter as the husband and wife crime fighting team along with Samuel L. Jackson as Lucius Best/Frozone.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 08, 2011 1 comments
In the future, the polar ice caps have melted, the sea waters have flooded coastal cities, and you must obtain a license to have a child. Science has evolved to the point of creating artificial beings, called mechas, to serve humans and preserve precious natural resources. One such mecha, David (Haley Joel Osment), is the first of its kind; an artificial kid that can give and receive unconditional love to his adoptive parents.

Of all of Spielberg's films, this is probably my least favorite. Its pacing is horrendous, it runs much too long at 145 minutes, and its last 40 minutes are a bizarre waste of time. While the acting and special effects are very good they can't overcome the boring second act and the horrendous ending(s).

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 06, 2011 0 comments
After his brother-in-law ruins his marriage with his philandering ways, Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is his father-in-law's (Robert DeNiro) last hope to assume the role as the family patriarch (aka, "The Godfocker"). When a beautiful pharmaceutical rep (Jessica Alba) enters the scene, Greg must repel her sexual advances in order to keep his marriage sacred and not lose the new found admiration from the family patriarch.

After being skewered by critics in its theatrical run, I had extremely low expectations for the third installment of the trials and tribulations of Greg Focker. While it doesn't measure up to the first film (or the second), there are quite a few laughs, especially when Stiller and DeNiro share the screen together. Unfortunately the screenplay doesn't flow very well and I expected to see more of the kids given the title of the film, but their time on screen is very limited.

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).

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 01, 2011 0 comments
During the Labor Day weekend in 1959, a group of friends go in search of a young boy's dead body on the outskirts of a woodsy Oregon town. The two day trek turns into an adventure of self-discovery as Gordy (Wil Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman), and Vern (Jerry O'Connell) must overcome some town bullies and find an inner strength they never knew they possessed.

Based on the Steven King novella "The Body," Stand by Me is one of my favorite films from my high school years. Director Rob Reiner takes you on a wonderful journey and reminds me of some of my own adventures (although I never went looking for a dead body). The performances from the young cast showed each had the talent to become Hollywood stars, but Phoenix threw it all away with a drug overdose in 1993.

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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 30, 2011 0 comments
In this beloved Biblical epic, Moses (Charlton Heston), once favored in the household of the Pharaoh (Yul Brynner), turns his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom with the help of God and his Ten Commandments.

Few motion pictures in the history of Hollywood reach the heights of this masterpiece. Cecil B. DeMille's last picture made Charlton Heston a superstar and holds up extremely well 55 years later. Filmed in Egypt and the Sinai with one of the biggest sets ever constructed, the special effects seem rudimentary today, but they look fabulous when put into the proper historical context.

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