David Vaughn

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 19, 2011 0 comments
Looking to gain the title of "World's Greatest Villain," Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) adopts three orphans in order to steal a shrinking machine from his nemesis, Vector (Jason Segel). What he didn't count on was the three girls changing his outlook on the world and he'll stop at nothing to protect them.

The marketing campaign for this film stunk and I had no desire to see it in the theaters (and neither did my kids) but was willing to give it a try on Blu-ray. Surprisingly there's a touching story behind the fantastic animation as the villain becomes the hero and discovers he does have a heart buried beneath his evil exterior.

David Vaughn Posted: Jan 17, 2011 0 comments
Young owl Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess) marvels at tales of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, mythic winged warriors who battled to save all owlkind from the evil Pure Ones. When he and brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) fall into the talons of the Pure Ones, it's up to Soren to make a daring escape with the help of other brave owls and seek out the Great Tree, home of the Guardians.

The marketing for this film wasn't very enticing, but the story has a lot of heart and is very entertaining. Director Zach Snyder (300, Watchman) makes his animation debut with this fantasy adventure based on the beloved books by Kathryn Lasky.

David Vaughn Posted: Jan 15, 2011 2 comments
Eleven-year-old Coraline Jones (voiced by Dakota Fanning) has just moved with her parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) to a new home in Oregon. With her parents distracted by work and no one to play with except an annoying boy, Wybie Lovat (Robert Bailey Jr.), she spends her time visiting her older neighbors. When she convinces herself that her new home is the most boring place on earth, she uncovers a secret door that leads to a parallel world much like her own—but much better. Is the grass greener on the other side or is it all an illusion?

Pixar has changed the way animated films are made, but the days of stop-motion are far from over as director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) proves with this visually stunning and wildly entertaining tale of a young girl in search of attention. One caveat—this isn't really a kid's movie. There are some intense sequences in the "other world" that may frighten younger viewers, so a prescreening is recommended for parents with young children.

David Vaughn Posted: Jan 14, 2011 0 comments
Narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, Imax Deep Sea guides you on an astonishing adventure that lets you swim alongside our planet's most exotic creatures. You'll follow green sea turtles as they gather at the cleaning stop so surgeonfish can strip harmful algae from their shells, see Humboldt squid change color four times per second like a strobe light, and witness a mantis shrimp fight off an octopus.

This is the second time I've seen this documentary on home video, but experiencing it in 3D blows away the DVD. Our oceans house some of the most interesting creatures on our planet and this Imax presentation takes you right into the action with freakishly realistic visuals.

David Vaughn Posted: Jan 13, 2011 0 comments
Imagine a world of incredible color and beauty. Of crabs wearing jellyfish for hats or of fish disguised as frogs, stones, and shag carpets. Journey into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef and other South Pacific realms and immerse yourself into 3D from the comfort of your own home.

Here's the first of many Blu-ray 3D reviews you'll be seeing at UltimateAVmag.com. For the sake of full disclosure, our household was divided about 3D. My wife and daughter have always enjoyed it, while my son and I haven't, with one exception—Avatar. Everyone enjoyed the 3D experience of James Cameron's blockbuster at our local theater.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 10, 2011 0 comments
The stunning tale of a new breed of cultural insurgent: a punk genius who sparked a revolution and changed the face of human interaction for a generation, and perhaps forever. Shot through with emotional brutality and unexpected humor, this superbly crafted film chronicles the formation of Facebook and the battles over ownership that followed upon the website's unfathomable success.

Until I sat down to watch this, my favorite film of 2010 was Inception—it's now second. Aaron Sorkin, best known for "The West Wing," adapted the script from Ben Mezrich's book "The Accidental Billionaires" and takes what could have been a dull topic and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Under David Fincher's direction, there's plenty of humor, drama, and heartbreak it's interesting to see how Zuckerberg's socially retarded behavior costs him his best friend but in the process he builds his dream.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Two siblings carry on a family tradition as Chicago firefighters and must overcome their rivalry in order to find an arsonist who's torching the city. A twist of fate lands Brian (William Baldwin) in the investigators department working under veteran Donald Rimgale (Robert DeNiro) and is taught what it means to be a firefighter.

I've seen this at least 5 times over the past 19 years and have always enjoyed the characters and the awesome pyrotechnic displays. The plot is loaded with clichés with the sibling rivalry, crooked politicians, and a story line that only has maybe one degree of separation between each of the characters, but hey, it's Hollywood!

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 05, 2011 0 comments
Young Willie Morris (Frankie Muniz) has trouble making friends in school and when his idol, Dink Jenkins (Luke Wilson), is shipped over to Europe to fight the Germans in World War II, his life couldn't get any worse. Sensing his need of a good friend, his mother (Diane Lane) gets him a puppy for his ninth birthday and his life undergoes a transformation. The talented pup helps turn bullies into friends and helps Willie earn the affection of the most beautiful girl in school (Caitlyn Wachs).

Good family films are hard to find, but this is one of the best non-animated one I've seen in years. Granted, I'm a sucker for dog movies, but this has a lot of heart and the relationship between Willie and Skip is genuine and fun. It gets a little corny on occasion, especially when Willie tangles with some moonshiners, but the message of friendship and trust between a boy and his dog overcomes any of its shortcomings.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 03, 2011 0 comments
Season four of the series was an up and down experience for numerous reasons. When it first aired on the SciFi Network (now Syfy), the 20 episodes were spread over 12 months, with a seven month hiatus between the first eleven and last nine, frustrating the audience. Furthermore, the scripts had a "been there, done that" aspect and I think the writers were filling time in order to get to the tidy conclusion.

Season four does have some great episodes that include "Guess What's Coming to Dinner," "Revelations," "Sometimes a Great Notion," and "No Exit." One of my favorite scenes in the entire series is in "Revelations" where Tigh (Michael Hogan) reveals his secret to Adama (Edward James Olmos). This emotional scene captures the essence of the series of being a story about people and relationships and not about technology.

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David Vaughn Posted: Dec 31, 2010 1 comments
A family-services social worker (Renée Zellweger) fights to save a little girl with a haunted past, only to find out that this mysterious new case turns into a nightmare she may never survive.

Originally made in 2007, this stinker didn't hit American theaters until 2010, and for good reason. To call the screenplay unoriginal would be an insult to other unoriginal screenplays—yes, it's that bad. Its only saving grace is the cast, which also includes Bradley Cooper and Ian McShane, who along with Zellweger do their best to take the clichéd-laden script and attempt to make it suspenseful.

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