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David Vaughn Posted: May 30, 2011 0 comments
History comes alive with intense and spirited battles during the bloodiest three days on American soil that were the beginning of the end of the South's battle to secede from the Union. Ronald F. Maxwell takes viewers into the strategy sessions of both forces and shows the minor skirmishes that lead General Lee (Martin Sheen) to order a full-scale frontal assault and how the battle impacted the outcome of the war.

My biggest complaint with this film has always been its length, so I'm not exactly thrilled with the additional 17 minutes in the director's cut. Frankly, Maxwell would have been better served by cutting the run time down at least an hour. It's nearly impossible to get through the entire 271 minutes in one sitting, but having watched it over two nights, I have to admit the history lesson was an enlightening experience.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 27, 2011 0 comments
Recounting the fierce allegiances and combat of the early Civil War, Gods and Generals recreates the two years prior to the historic battle of Gettysburg and delves into the lives of Stonewall Jackson (Stephen Lang), Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels), and Robert E. Lee (Robert Duvall).

I love history (especially American history), so I really wanted to like this film. Unfortunately, the script is all over the place and the pacing is downright awful. It doesn't help that it's been expanded with an additional hour of footage and clocks in at 280 minutes in order to lengthen certain scenes and adds a subplot of John Wilkes Booth (Chris Conner). On the plus side, the battle scenes are well done and Duvall's depiction of Lee is marvelous.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 25, 2011 0 comments
John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is an extraordinary teen masking his true identify to elude a deadly enemy sent to destroy him. Living with his guardian (Timothy Olyphant) in a small town, John encounters life-changing events such as his first love (Dianna Agron), powerful new abilities, and a secret connection to the others who share his destiny.

With a decent premise to build upon I thought Disney/Dreamworks had the possibility of a new teen franchise on their hands, but boy was I wrong. The paper-thin plot is predictable and bland, the acting is atrocious (especially the two teen leads), and I couldn't help feeling that I was watching the movie of the week versus a feature film.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 23, 2011 0 comments
Hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) is put between a rock and a hard place when he's confronted with saving his family or doing whatever he can to save over 1,200 Tutsi refugees from being massacred by Hutu extremists.

The world can be an ugly place and in 1994 the situation in Rwanda resulted in over 1 million deaths. Men such as Rusensabagina show us that despite all the bad in the world, there are truly good people that will stop at nothing to do what is right, even if it means sacrificing their own life. Cheadle's performance earned him an Oscar nomination, but in my opinion he was robbed when Jamie Foxx won for his portrayal of Ray Charles.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 20, 2011 1 comments
A $91 million cocaine heist...a devastating boat explosion...two survivors. U.S.Customs agent David Kujan (Chazz Palminterir) is determined to find out who and what's behind the melee. As he pieces the clues together with the help of a half-charred Hungarian gangster and an outspoken, crippled con man from New York (Kevin Spacy), Kujan soon finds out this story actually begins with five criminal minds and one infamous mastermind.

Second-time director Bryan Singer showed he had the chops to direct feature films with this classic hit from 1995. The ensemble cast includes Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollack, and Benicio Del Toro, but it's Spacey who steals the show as the con man Verbal Kint. Like The Sixth Sense, this is a movie that actually gets better the second time around because you start to notice the subtle hints that point towards the surprising resolution at the end of the film.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 18, 2011 0 comments
A ruthless killing machine (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent back in time by Skynet in order to kill Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton), the woman who will soon give birth to the leader of the resistance movement in the future. But her future son isn't going to let his mother be exterminated and sends Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) back in time in order to save her from certain destruction and give the human race a chance to survive.

This is about the umpteenth time this classic sci-fi/horror/action film has been released on home video, but I'm sure the fans will pick it up agian in order to have the digibook packaging. Regardless, this is one of the best movies of the late 20th Century and launched the careers of both Schwarzenegger and writer/director James Cameron.

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.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 13, 2011 0 comments
Based on the true story about French ex-convict Henri Charriére (Steve McQueen), a petty criminal who is unjustly convicted of murder, and his constant struggle to escape to freedom from the brutal French penal system at Guiana's infamous Devil's Island. On the way to the hellhole, he meets Dega (Dustin Hoffman), a convicted counterfeiter who relies on Henri for protection. The two men end up becoming good friends and they rely on each other for their survival.

While the performances are marvelous from both McQueen and Hoffman, the pacing of this movie is horrendously slow. I understand that director Franklin J. Shaffner is trying to show the struggle that Charriére endured to secure his freedom, but a good 45 minutes could have been left on the cutting room floor improving the overall enjoyment of the film.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 11, 2011 0 comments
Looking to track down his best friend's killer, fast-talking Detroit Police detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) travels to Beverly Hills to follow-up on some clues. Once there, he's put under the watchful eyes of two local cops (Judge Reinhold and John Ashton), and draws the ire of the local officials with his unorthodox detective skills.

Saturday Night Live showcased Murphy's comedic talent and 48 Hours made him a star, but it was his role in Beverly Hills Cop that turned the talented comedian into a box office sensation. He would later reprise the role of Axel Foley in two follow-up films, but the first of the trilogy is by far the best.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 09, 2011 0 comments
Meeting in camp as teenagers, Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) almost had a hook-up, but Adam's advances were repelled at the time. Fifteen years later, the two meet again but with Emma's busy schedule as a resident doctor, she doesn't have time for a relationship. In lieu of that, she proposes that she and Adam become sex buddies with no strings attached.

Portman is one of my favorite female stars in Hollywood and I had high hopes for this one. Wow, what a disappointment, but I shouldn't be surprised when Kutcher's name is on the cover. How does he keep getting roles? He can't act worth a damn and virtually every project he's involved with stinks. The screenplay had some potential, but it drags way too much and the only reason to watch it is to see Portman romping around half-naked.