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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 07, 2011 0 comments
High school can be the best of times or the worst of times, depending on your experience. For Marnie (Kristen Bell), it was the latter. Teased throughout her years because of her acne and not being part of the "in" crowd, her memories are anything but fond. Years after graduation, she heads home to see her brother tie the knot and discovers he's marrying her nemesis (Odette Yustman) from high school.

With a cast that includes Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and Betty White, one would assume these stars wouldn't attach their names to anything but a surefire hit. Wrong! The laughs are hard to come by, the slapstick is anything but funny, and the ending is vomit educing.

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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 06, 2011 0 comments
A remarkable story about one of America's great entertainers, Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx). From his humble beginnings in the South through his meteoric rise to the top of the American music charts, Charles overcame many obstacles to become a music icon.

I'd always had been a fan of Charles' music throughout the years, but it wasn't until I saw this biopic in 2004 that I realized how high a mountain he had climbed to become a success. He never wanted any special treatment because of his blindness, but his stubbornness led him to drug addiction like so many other entertainers.

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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 04, 2011 0 comments
An ordinary businessman (Luke Wilson) becomes embroiled in a dark and dangerous world of questionable morals and organized crime during the early days of the Internet. The family man has a successful career and idyllic live until he gets involved with two troubled geniuses who need business advice on getting their Internet scheme off the ground.

One would think a story about the birth of Internet porn would sizzle with excitement, but that's far from the case here. The screenplay lacks direction with silly subplots and then suddenly takes a bizarre turn in the third act. It can be funny at times, but mostly it's boring and uninteresting.

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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 02, 2011 2 comments
Video: 4/5
Audio: 3.5/5
Extras: 2/5
Puppy mayhem turns the lives of newlywed Chihuahua parents Papi and Chloe upside down when their rambunctious, mischievous puppies present one challenge after another. But when their human owners end up in trouble, the tiny pups will stop at nothing to save them, because in good times and hard times, the family always sticks together. So Papi, Chloe, and the puppies embark on a heroic adventure, proving once again that bug heroes come in small packages.
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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 02, 2011 0 comments
Holly (Katherine Heigl) and Messer (Josh Duhamel) can't stand each other but share a love for their goddaughter Sophie. When tragedy strikes and takes the young girl's parents away, the pair is forced to raise the child under the same roof and must learn to set aside their differences. Well, it's easier said than done.

There's definitely a female slant to this story and my wife enjoyed this much more than I did, but watching nearly two hours of Heigl in high-definition certainly makes up for the far-fetched story. Even though I wasn't the target demographic, I did find myself laughing-out-loud a few times, especially when the novice new guardians had to change a diaper for the first time and had the joy of baby proofing the house!

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 31, 2011 0 comments
While dozing off, young Alice dreams about falling down a rabbit hole that is populated by a peculiar series of misadventures. The always sensible Alice whirls through a world of contradictions, imagination, and surprises where she encounters amazing creatures including a pocket watch-toting White Rabbit, the imperious Queen of Hearts and her army of playing cards, and a Cheshire Cat with a lingering smile.

Walt Disney was one of the most influential movie makers of the 20th Century and had considered adapting Lewis Carroll's famous story in 1933, but shelved the idea after Paramount released its version. He later had artist David Hall create some concept art for the project, but WWII intervened and his animated version didn't hit the screen until 1951. On a recent visit to the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco, I discovered that Walt wasn't too keen on the results of the film and complained that it had no "heart." I tend to agree with him and as a kid this was one of my least favorite Disney productions.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 30, 2011 0 comments
William (Patrick Fugit) is a 15-year-old music fan who gets a dream assignment to travel with an up-and-coming band and write a cover story for Rolling Stone magazine. His mother (Frances McDormand) isn't thrilled with the gig, but the young man hits the road with the band and learns there's more to write about than just music.

Writer/director Cameron Crowe burst on the scene in 1982 by penning Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which went on to become a hit with the teen audience. He wasn't a one hit wonder by writing/directing Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, and then the film based on his own youth, Almost Famous. While I can't particularly relate to the era (I'm more of an 80s guy), there were certain aspects of the film that gave me a chuckle. For example, my daughter is almost 15 and I couldn't imagine her going on the road with a band, so I certainly empathized with his mother's reaction.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 27, 2011 0 comments
Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) is a southern black woman virtually sold into a life of servitude to a brutal husband, sharecropper Albert (Danny Glover). Celie pours out her innermost thoughts in letters to her sister Nettie (Akousa Busia), but Albert has been hiding the return correspondence making Celie believe she's dead. Finally, Celie finds champions in her daughter-in-law, the take-no-shit Sofia (Oprah Winfrey) and the glamorous Shug Avery (Margaret Avery), a local entertainer.

Up until Steven Spielberg produced and directed this film, he was more known for "popular" cinematic titles such as Jaws, Indiana Jones< and E.T and he hadn't had to deal with meaty subjects such as rape, incest, and woman's rights. Ultimately the film received 11 Academy Award nominations (winning none) and Spielberg proved he was up for the challenge and went on to become one of the best director's of his generation.

David Vaughn Posted: Jan 26, 2011 1 comments
As a war rages between men and kings and kings and god, the battle amongst the gods is the one that could ultimately destroy the world. Hope rests with Perseus (Sam Worthington), son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), who was raised as a man and sets off on a hazardous journey deep into forbidden worlds to avenge the death of his family and defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus and unleash hell on earth.

With only a 29% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I had extremely low expectations. I wouldn't consider the movie a classic, but it's a hell of a lot of fun and features adequate acting, a compelling story (revenge is a dish best served cold), and tons of action, especially compared to the slow-paced original from 1981. There's an occasional line of cringe-inducing dialog, but the positives far outweigh any negatives and even with a second watching I found myself drawn into the story.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 24, 2011 0 comments
Behind every legend lies and impossible dream. Witness the spectacular journey of an incredible horse named Secretariat and the moving story of his unlikely owner (Diane Lane), a housewife who risked everything to make him a champion.

Disney is never one to shy away from an inspirational sports story and while this doesn't live up to the magic of Miracle, it has a lot of heart and explains the struggles Penny Chenery had to endure to be a woman in a male dominate world. I'm sure there were some liberties taken with some of the facts to liven-up the story, but that's not uncommon in Hollywood. Regardless, the performances are very good, especially by Lane and John Malkovich, who plays the eccentric Canadian horse trainer.