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David Vaughn

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 17, 2010 1 comments
Destined to spend his life in a wheel chair, paraplegic war veteran Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is brought to Pandora to gather intelligence on the Na'vi, assuming his deceased brothers "avatar" identity. While spending time with the natives, Jake begins to bond with the tribe and falls in loDestined to spend his life in a wheel chair, paraplegic war veteran Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is brought to Pandora to gather intelligence on the Na'vi, assuming his deceased brothers "avatar" identity. While spending time with the natives, Jake begins to bond with the tribe and falls in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and soon the ex-soldier must choose which side he's on.

Writer/producer/director James Cameron has quite a resume with plenty of box office successes, including the megahit Titanic. The idea for Avatar came to Cameron sometime in the mid-1990s, but the technology at the time couldn't realize his vision. Over a decade later, it became technologically feasible to make the film, although it almost broke the bank with a production coast of $237 million.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 15, 2010 6 comments
A high-tech retelling of Charles Dickens' beloved tale about a penny-pinching Scrooge (Jim Carey) and his encounter with three ghosts who take him on an eye-opening journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

It's a story that's been told countless times throughout cinematic history but Robert Zemeckis puts his own spin it and delivers a technological marvel that bored the hell out of my family. The story can easily be told in under an hour but the 95 minutes felt like nine hours, especially when Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. I'm surprised the film received a PG rating due to some scary images of the ghost's visits. Regardless, the beautiful animation couldn't make up for the shortcomings of the screenplay.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 14, 2010 0 comments
The Mystery Inc. gang reunites in Scooby Doo to find out what's behind the jinky-jittery goings-on at Spooky Island, the spring break hot spot run by Emile Mandavarious (Rowan Atkinson). Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed finds our heroes with their hands and paws full trying to find out why Coolsville is overrun with monsters the pals thought they'd defeated years earlier.

While Scooby-Doo is no Casablanca, these live-action recreations of the popular cartoon are harmless family entertainment. When my kids were younger the spooky monsters made them cringe, but now that they've matured a few years they laugh along with Mom and Dad.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 12, 2010 0 comments
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) falls for the girl of his dreams—literally. In order to win her heart he must battle her seven evil exes or die trying. Does he have the power to defeat them?

I'm a big fan of Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead), but this one is a little too quirky for my tastes. I liked how the sounds and graphics from video games were integrated into the picture, but I couldn't relate to any of the characters. Maybe I'm getting too old?

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 10, 2010 0 comments
Massive mother ships arrive over 29 major cities throughout the world carrying the Visitors, human-like beings who know our languages and promise to provide gifts of technology and healing. Some consider them saviors but others aren't so trusting and form a resistance movement determined to find the true meaning of their appearance.

I was a fan of the 1980s miniseries and eagerly anticipated the release of this show on Blu-ray. The first four episodes are quite intriguing introducing the various characters although the show loses steam over the last eight as the narrative becomes rushed to get to the full-scale invasion that's on the horizon. The second season has been picked up by ABC due to good ratings among Adults 18-49, but if the writers don't get their act together I can see a Heroes-like loss of its audience.

David Vaughn Posted: Nov 08, 2010 0 comments
Price: $200 At A Glance: 802.11n Wi-Fi • VUDU HDX, Blockbuster On Demand, and Netflix streaming • Superb video processing

A Streaming Value

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since HD DVD lost the format war. Toshiba bet the farm on HD DVD, and ever since Warner Brothers and several large retailers decided to stop supporting the format, many pundits wondered how long it would take the company to release a Blu-ray player.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 08, 2010 0 comments
Looking for a way to save their home from a group of developers, two brothers and their gang of "Goonies" embark on an adventure in search of One-Eyed Willy's hidden treasure. They get more than they bargained for when they cross paths with the Fratelli family, who are looking for a big score themselves.

1985 was quite a year for teen-centric movies—The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Back to the Future and of course, The Goonies. Four of the five are now available on Blu-ray and those of us who want to relive some of the classics from our youth get to do so with the best picture and sound quality available. This is a fun movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, and director Richard Donner gets the most out of the teenage cast.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 05, 2010 3 comments
A pair of army buddies (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) join forces with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) in order to save a Vermont inn run by their former commanding officer.

The simplistic plot doesn't inspire but the plethora of Irving Berlin classics are mostly enjoyable. The song "White Christmas" was made popular by Crosby in the 1942 film "Holiday Inn," and within the first few minutes he's belting out the tune. My wife enjoys the film much more than I do—I find it somewhat boring—but the HD presentation kept my attention.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 03, 2010 0 comments
Year three at Hogwarts means new challenges for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) as he learns how to approach a Hippogriff, transform Boggarts with hilarity, and turn back time. But there's danger on the horizon as soul-sucking Dementors are on the prowl and a fearsome wizard Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) escapes Azkaban.

In year four, Harry's name emerges from the Goblet of Fire and he becomes the youngest competitor in the famed Triwizard Tournament. Harry must confront a fire breathing dragon, water demons, and a spooky maze in order to claim the top prize. When all is said and done, the young man must face his mortal enemy, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 02, 2010 4 comments
As Andy prepares to leave for college, his mother asks what he wants to do with his old toys. When they end up at a day-care center, Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) must help the old gang escape from the toddlers' torture chamber and find their way back to Andy's room before he departs.

How do you top one of the greatest sequels ever made? Screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) somehow captures lightning in a bottle for the third time by taking our heroes and mixing them up with a new cast of characters that include Ken (Michael Keaton), a thespian hedgehog named Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), and the evil pink teddy bear Lotso (Ned Beaty), who sentences the new toys to the toddlers' room.

Every Pixar release has been a demo showpiece, and this one is no exception. The 1080p video encode is perfect, and the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack features reference-quality dynamics, frequency response, and surround envelopment.

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