Adrienne Maxwell

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Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Apr 10, 2007 Published: Mar 11, 2007 0 comments
Who says you can't stream HDTV?

As more consumers embrace high-speed home networking and video downloads, one question is gaining prominence: Can't we view this content on something a little more substantial than our computer monitors? Yes, you can, thanks to the digital media receiver, which is a device that lets you stream video, photo, and music files from your computer to your television.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Mar 23, 2007 Published: Jun 23, 2006 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 3
Pixar has spoiled me. Thanks to films like Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo, I don’t just want an animated movie to appeal to my inner child—I also expect it to engage me as a grownup. Chicken Little has all of the elements of a good animated feature: The story is fast and fun, the main characters are memorable, the animation is outstanding, and it’s got a high warm-and-fuzzy quotient. It just lacks that intangible quality that will inspire the same loyalty and repeat viewings in pre- and postpubescents.
Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Mar 23, 2007 Published: Jun 23, 2006 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 5
Extras: 5
As I watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and made my way through the new Special Two-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD, there was something so familiar about it all. Maybe it was the fact that I’ve read C.S. Lewis’ book several times in my life, and director Andrew Adamson (Shrek) wisely chose to remain faithful to the original story, fleshing out certain details but never embellishing. Maybe it’s the archetypal good-versus-evil theme or perhaps the Christ allegory: A powerful but gentle hero chooses to sacrifice himself to fulfill the law and save others. Or maybe it was just so darn similar to The Lord of the Rings in its themes, music, locales, special-effects artistry, and even its DVD packaging.
Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 23, 2007 0 comments
Home Theater's second annual peak behind the Grammy curtain.
Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 05, 2007 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
Let’s do a little math. If a film comes out in 1992, and its 10th-anniversary Special Edition DVD arrives in 2002, what year should the 15th Anniversary Edition DVD be released? Granted, I was an English major, but even I can count to five—something Lionsgate apparently cannot do. How else do you explain the October 2006 release of this two-disc set? Perhaps the more relevant question is, do we need a 15th-anniversary DVD of Reservoir Dogs?
Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 05, 2007 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 3
Extras: 4
Based on a comic strip by Michael Fry and T. Lewis, Over the Hedge follows a group of critters who, after a long winter’s sleep, wake up to find a housing development in their backyard. Enter RJ, a self-serving raccoon who introduces them to the glory of potato chips, cookies, and other human scraps—and dupes the nave foragers into helping him repay a food debt to an ominous black bear. The film serves up likable characters, some laugh-out-loud moments, and a script that cleverly lampoons humans’ tendency to overdo, well, everything—yet it doesn’t quite possess the allure and enduring charm of a Shrek or Finding Nemo.
Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 05, 2007 Published: Jan 05, 2007 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
Many a time have I listened to friends lament that a movie isn’t as good as the book on which it’s based. I just smile and nod, thinking smugly to myself that, if these poor people would just stop reading, they’d be much happier moviegoers. Then one of these friends gave me the novel The Da Vinci Code as a gift. I knew full well that Dan Brown’s insanely popular religious-themed murder mystery would someday become a film, yet I foolishly read it anyhow. And now here I am, forced to utter the same five words I once so smugly dismissed: “Eh, the book was better.”
Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 05, 2007 Published: Jan 05, 2007 0 comments
Video: 3
Audio: 4
Extras: 5
As with most Robert Altman films, A Prairie Home Companion isn’t easy to summarize. It’s an oddly ethereal little film that’s about nothing in particular and yet explores the cosmic everythings of life, love, and death. Written by Garrison Keillor, the man behind the real Prairie Home Companion radio show, the story chronicles the final performance of a radio show much like PHC, as its cast and crew struggle to say goodbye.
Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 02, 2007 Published: May 02, 2006 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 5
Extras: 3
The hardest decision a filmmaker has when creating a biopic is deciding what events to include. It may be easy to pare down the sum of my existence into a tidy, two-hour package, but I’m no Gandhi…or Richard Nixon or William Wallace or Mozart. These men led complicated, dense lives, and their biopics reflect that complexity with running times of three hours or more. In Walk the Line, director and cowriter James Mangold shows remarkable restraint in telling the story of his idol, Johnny Cash, in just over two hours. Cash’s life was no less dense, no less complicated. But Mangold chose to focus on the events leading up to 1968, a pivotal year in which Cash recorded At Folsom Prison, kicked his decade-long drug habit, and married June Carter. Up to that point, Cash lived a troubled, haunted existence, but, in 1968, he found redemption. That, for Mangold, was the story to tell, and he tells it very well.
Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 02, 2007 Published: Dec 02, 2006 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 3
Extras: 3
I enjoy a good black comedy as much as anyone, but Bad Santa just didn’t work for me—and I can’t quite pinpoint why. It’s better than any recent holiday film that comes to mind. Billy Bob Thornton is outstanding as the truly distasteful Willie, a safe cracker who poses as Santa each year to pull off a master robbery. The movie’s ultimate triumph is that you find yourself caring about Willie by the end, not because he becomes much more likable but because his flaws are put into perspective as other characters’ true natures are revealed. Still, in the end, it just didn’t generate enough laughs to offset the cringes.

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