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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 11, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3/5
Audio: 3.5/5
Extras: 2/5
Gus Van Sant has been working on some great independent titles and forgoing the usual mainstream route. Paranoid Park reminded me a bit of his earlier film, Elephant, and takes the same route of hiring non-actors and using a low budget. Despite this approach Van Sant still delivers a very strong story with good character development. The film follows a high school skater who's involved in an unfortunate accident that costs a security guard his life. The film focuses on how this affects the boy's life and trying to figure out what to do. The narrative is weaved from different timelines allowing you to get a feel for the character before plunging you right into the events. I'm glad to see notable filmmakers start to go against the mainstream Hollywood feel with their films. Films like this show you don't need big names or high budgets to make an effective film.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 11, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3/5
Audio: 3.75/5
Extras: 2.5/5
Independent thrillers and horror films have become the leaders in innovation and original concepts these days. While Hollywood looks to mass produce and remake everything that already been done, independents are fueling the fires with new ways to provide chills. The Signal reminds me a bit of the zombie genre in the way 28 Days Later did but with a new twist. Instead of an infectious disease we have a signal being broadcast through TV and phones that causes mass hysteria and unexplainable rage. The film focuses on a small group of people caught in the horror and is divided into three main acts all written and directed by different people but using the same characters and time line. I must say I really enjoyed the first and last act but found the second act to be a bit disappointing. This writer/director took the tone of the movie in a different direction and added a lot of dark humor that just didn't work for me. Thankfully the third act is strong enough to erase most of the issues and I finished the film with a positive outlook on the work as a whole.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 09, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2.5/5
Step into Liquid is one of those films that can just blow you away with the things that people can do. To me surfing is one of those sports that is full of breathtaking beauty and awe. The film is basically a documentary on what surfing is and the way it is done by those around the world. You see big wave surfing (and I mean BIG waves), pipeline surfing and creative surfing (take the Great Lakes for example). But the underlying theme is that the experience is really the same no matter where you're from or how you do it.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 09, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.75/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2.75/5
Farrell plays a M.I.T. graduate who is recruited by the CIA to become one of their spies. Pacino is brilliant as the recruiter as well as the school's lead instructor. This is the first film that the CIA has actually consulted on with regards to their training program and according to their liaison it's pretty accurate. Farrell's character shows promise throughout the entire school but also finds himself emotionally involved with one of the students. This becomes his Achilles heel and eventual undoing. Or so he thinks. After being kicked out of the school he finds that his dismissal was a front to place him as a deep undercover operative. But the target ends up being the same girl he was falling for in school who is actually a mole that the CIA is onto.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 09, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.75/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3.75/5
I can't count how many times Men In Black was released on DVD in one form or the other, but based on this presentation we shouldn't see it released on Blu-ray again. Sony has brought their popular sci-fi catalog favorite to the new format but surprisingly they didn't opt for the sequel as well. I'm not going to get into a big descriptor of the plot since I don't think there are many out there that have missed this one but I will say this film is just as much fun now as it was when it was first released.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 09, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 3/5
There were quite a few films last year that really resonated with me and by year's end it was a tough call on which was my favorite. P.T. Anderson's newest film was one of them and probably his strongest offering to date (and that's saying something). There Will Be Blood is a haunting look at the early oil industry and namely one oil prospector who is at odds with society around him. Daniel Day Lewis delivers one of the best acting performances of recent memory and continues to solidify his reputation as one of the best in the business. His work here is truly haunting and never lets up throughout the film, despite its long run time. While this film didn't win Best Picture last year it had to have been one of the toughest years for the Academy voters considering the strength of the titles.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 09, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3/5
There has been a dearth of romance or "chic flicks" on Blu-ray. I know that new formats usually cater to big special effects and loud soundtracks but I also think film lovers like breadth of catalog and this is a genre with some solid offerings. P.S. I Love You is definitely not a classic for this genre but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I am not a fan of Hilary Swank and she doesn't win me over at all in this performance but the story and the supporting cast make up for it. Instead of your typical love story here you follow a woman on her journey of recovering from the loss of a loved one. Her deceased husband has decided to send her random notes after his death to try and bring her back into the world and get on with her life.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 09, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.25/5
Audio: 4.75/5
Extras: 3.5/5
I had high hopes for Jumper going in. I'm a big fan of the director's past work and the premise and cast displayed in the trailers certainly got my attention. Unfortunately the end result just doesn't pay off as much as I hoped for. The main character is mainly the problem. The film centers around a young man who learns he can essentially "jump" from one place to another instantly. With this power he journeys around the world. During his journeys he robs banks by jumping into their vault undetected and jumping out with the cash. What he doesn't know is there is a war that has been going on for centuries between a religious group and these "jumpers". Sound good huh? Well the problem is they focus too much on setting up the main character and he isn't that likeable. We spend a good majority of the film getting shots of him in various places around the world but it gets a bit boring, which is not what I'm looking for from an action film. Things get better toward the end but it was hard to wash away the damage that had already been done.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 04, 2008 0 comments
Video: 4.25/5
Audio: 4.75/5
Extras: 2.5/5
Just in time for the upcoming theatrical release of Shyamalan's The Happening comes one of his best films on Blu-ray, Signs. I honestly loved just about everything with this movie. This film excels at keeping the audience on edge and balancing all aspects of the production. This is a solid thriller that delivers great chills but does so with respect to the intimacy of each character. Few films have kept me on the edge as well as this one does and I love the character development and themes on faith. This still stands as probably my favorite film from director M. Night Shyamalan and is a welcome addition to the HD library.
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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 04, 2008 0 comments
Video: 3.75/5
Audio: 2.75/5
Extras: 3.25/5
Short Circuit has always been a fun family film and I can't help but think Image jumped on the opportunity to get this one out right before Disney rolls out a robot that looks very similar to Johnny 5, Wall-E. It's been years since I've seen this film and it is still a lot of fun even if it does feel really dated. The heart is still there and Johnny 5 is still great for laughs. For those not familiar with the plot line Johnny 5 is a government funded military project that goes haywire after an exercise and escapes into the population. Once on his own he befriends a pet sitter and becomes more and more aware of his own existence. The themes are somewhat similar to what I, Robot touched upon in regard to artificial intelligence and when it reaches the point of self awareness.

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