David Vaughn

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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.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 06, 2011 0 comments
Since college, confirmed bachelor Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and happily married Nick (Kevin James) have been through it all. Partners in an auto design firm, the pair are vying to land a dream project with Chrysler that will launch them into the big time, but when Ronny inadvertently sees Nick's wife kiss another man, he makes it his mission to get answers.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a bad film Ron Howard has directed over his career, so I'm going to cut him some slack for this middling effort. While the two stars are supremely talented when it comes to comedy, the editing is this film is terrible and it really kills the pacing. Scenes drag on forever and there are certain subplots that could have been cut altogether (sorry Queen Latifah) that would have improved it immensely.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 02, 2011 0 comments
Join the boys as they publish award winning novels, struggle with a ban of fried chicken, fight off an invasion from New Jersey, and reveal the true identity of Mysterion. For them, it's all part of growing up in South Park!

Despite its crude writing, sophomoric behavior, and over-the-top potty humor, you have to hand it to Trey Parker and Matt Stone for catering to their audience and giving them what they want. I'm well outside the intended demographic, but still find myself laughing occasionally despite the low-brow one liners.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 29, 2011 0 comments
Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) are returning to their everyday existence in the wake of a shocking, sudden loss. Just eight months ago, they were a happy suburban family with everything they wanted. Now, they are only posing as normal, blindly looking for footing in a sea of new emotions after the loss of their young child.

Adapted from David Lindsay Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Rabbit Hole is one of the more disturbing films I've watched in a long time. It hit home with my wife and I since one of our friends lost a child last year and we've seen firsthand how difficult it can be for a young couple to put their lives back together after such a devastating loss. Kidman certainly deserved her Oscar nomination for her gripping performance as the emotionally strapped mother, but this certainly isn't a pick-me-up by any stretch.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 27, 2011 0 comments
From Greenland to Mongolia, Cambodia to Kenya, people are living by their wits, braving the elements, seizing opportunities, and overcoming huge obstacles to survive and thrive. Whether it's a line of woman and children who use star and sand dune patterns to traverse the Sahara in order to trade their wares, or dozens of young Pa-aling fishermen who breathe air through a tangled web of pipes attached to a diesel engine, humans find a way to endure.

BBC Earth has quite a pedigree with hit documentaries such as Life, Planet Earth, and Blue Planet. They've taken us all around the globe and given us a better understanding of what a marvelous place we live. In Human Planet, they weave 80 different stories over eight episodes (Oceans, Deserts, Arctic, Jungles, Mountains, Grasslands, Rivers, and Cities) to show humanity's uncanny ability to adapt and live in every corner of our diverse world.

David Vaughn Posted: Apr 25, 2011 0 comments
To impress the pretty newspaper travel editor Darcy (Amanda Peet), an underachieving mailroom clerk named Gulliver (Jack Black) takes a writing assignment traveling to Bermuda. On his way there he's swept into a giant cyclone and ends up on the island of Lilliput and discovers he's a giant compared to the little inhabitants.

When you take classic literature and modernize its story, sometimes something can be lost in the translation, and that's certainly the case here. While Black is his usual funny self, the screenplay is quite shallow and contains a litany of two-dimensional characters. I have to admit, I laughed out loud on a number of occasions, but I was equally grossed out when Gulliver needed to extinguish a blazing fire and chose a rather unique way to putting it out.

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 22, 2011 1 comments
Precocious siblings Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Heynes), along with their cousin Eustance (Will Poulter), are sucked into a painting and transported back to Narnia. They join King Caspian (Ben Barnes) and the noble mouse Reepicheep in a quest to rescue lords who had been lost fighting evil on a remote island. Aboard the magnificent ship The Dawn Treader the courageous voyagers travel to mysterious islands, confront mystical creatures, and reunite with the Great Lion Aslan on a mission that tests their characters to determine the fate of Narnia itself.

I haven't been a big fan of this theatrical franchise (nor the books, for that matter), but I do appreciate the family friendly message and just adore Georgie Henley's character. Fortunately, the director keeps the runtime under two hours and the brisk pacing helps keep the film more entertaining than the bloated second installment Prince Caspian. Disney decided the dump the franchise after the poor box office showing of the second film and Fox stepped in to the mix, but with a much lower budget (about $80 million less), and it shows in the finished product. The CGI isn't nearly as good and the cinematography takes a step back compared to its two predecessors.

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