AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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HT Staff Posted: Jul 05, 2004 0 comments
DVD: National Lampoon's Senior Trip—New Line
Video: 2
Audio: 2
Extras: 1
The longest road trip you've ever taken won't feel so bad after sitting through this 90-minute "high schoolers-hit-the-road" piece of dreck. The jokes aren't funny, every character is an overdrawn cliché, and there's absolutely no one to hold our interest, let alone root for.
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HT Staff Posted: Feb 28, 2005 0 comments
DVD: Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary Edition—Buena Vista
Everyone wanted Mary Poppins to be their nanny when they were kids. Rosy cheeks, cheery disposition, and never cross? That's just ideal. However, lucky Jane and Michael Banks were the two children who got to enjoy her company, and this fine presentation of the classic musical will make you jealous of those two kids all over again.
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HT Staff Posted: Sep 20, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Walking Tall—MGM/UA
Video: 3
Audio: 3
Extras: 3
It's hard to fathom why a DVD for a movie that runs a scant 73 minutes, not counting credits, would even have deleted scenes. After all, it's not like there wasn't room in the film. Still, we find three of them on the disc for Walking Tall, a silly but rather guilty pleasure for anyone wanting to see a good (fact-based) revenge story or the Rock whup some ass with a four-by-four cedar stick. You don't get to know any of the characters, and others are forgotten about altogether, but the fight scenes are well executed, and there are a few explosive moments.
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HT Staff Posted: Dec 08, 2004 0 comments
DVD: The Alamo—Buena Vista
Audio: 3
Video: 4
Features: 4
I'm not a huge history buff myself, but this version of the story of the men who held the Alamo against Mexican General Santa Ana is compelling and beautifully told, though some may argue that the story isn't historically accurate. As usual, Billy Bob Thornton (as Davy Crockett) steals the show, but the rest of the cast (Dennis Quaid, Jason Patric, and Patrick Wilson) hold their own as well.
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HT Staff Posted: Aug 16, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Purple Rain 20th-Anniversary Edition—Warner Brothers
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
The artist currently (and formerly) known as Prince experienced quite the career resurrection in 2004. The year began with his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he followed that up with his biggest album and tour in ages. With the purple one's place atop the pop world once again secure, Warner Brothers has found the perfect time to release the 20th-anniversary, special-edition DVD of Purple Rain.
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HT Staff Posted: Mar 04, 2005 0 comments
Get Shorty Collector's Edition—MGM/UA
Fresh off his success in Pulp Fiction, John Travolta cemented his mid-'90s comeback with Get Shorty, a fun, clever adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel about a loan shark who decides to get out of the business and into The Business, aka movie-making. Travolta so thoroughly inhabits the character of Chili Palmer that it's hard to believe he initially turned down the role. It was Quentin Tarantino who ultimately convinced Travolta to take the part. (Where was he when Travolta decided to take Battlefield Earth?)
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HT Staff Posted: Apr 26, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Big Fish—Columbia TriStar
Video: 3
Audio: 4
Extras: 3
The volatile dynamic between fathers and sons is as much a part of our collective experience as the need to tell stories. Big Fish weaves the two elements into one tale about a man who loves to tell and retell the fantastic (and somewhat unbelievable) stories of his life and the son who just wants to know who his father really is. Amidst endlessly entertaining, imaginative vignettes brought to the screen as only director Tim Burton can, Big Fish deftly portrays the quiet familial struggle. Burton and crew strike the perfect balance between both story elements, and the result is a wonderfully sweet, poignant film.
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HT Staff Posted: Aug 30, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Dallas: The Complete First and Second Seasons—Warner Brothers
Video: 3
Audio: 2
Extras: 2
Dallas' premiere in 1978 helped to usher in a new television genre: the prime-time soap opera. It had been tried before, but the amazing success of Dallas spawned an instant wave of imitators. Flamingo Road, Falcon Crest, and Dynasty all soon hit the airwaves in an attempt to cash in on the craze. The attentive viewer will notice something similar about these shows: All of the characters are filthy rich. Yes, it seems that America loves to watch shows about miserable wealthy people. They say that money can't buy happiness, but I bet you'll have some trouble convincing Aaron Spelling of that fact.
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HT Staff Posted: Mar 29, 2004 0 comments
DVD: The Final Countdown—Blue Underground
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
This B-grade time-travel yarn about a modern aircraft carrier thrust back in time to the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor has earned a devoted following. However, aside from a rush job on DVD last year from Pacific Family Entertainment, it has never seen a disc worthy of fans' attention. Blue Underground has rectified this, affectionately producing a limited edition (100,000 copies), two-disc set after picking up the floundering rights.
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HT Staff Posted: Jul 20, 2005 0 comments
DVD: 12 Monkeys Special Edition—Universal
Based on the short French film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys follows poor, hapless convict and time traveler Cole. He is tasked with preventing a plague that wiped out most of humanity. Time travel not being an exact sport, he is tossed around a bit, and everybody thinks he's insane. Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam directs one of the best science fiction movies of the 1990s. Bruce Willis plays poor Cole, while Brad Pitt is truly incredible as nutcase Jeffrey Goines.
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HT Staff Posted: Oct 04, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Saved!—MGM/UA
Video: 3
Audio: 2
Extras: 3
Saved! is the heartwarming story of love, redemption, religion, high school, hypocrisy, and teenage pregnancy. Movies have gone after far less heady subjects and done far worse. Remarkably, this film doesn't make fun of religion per se, but the hypocrisy found in far too many people who claim to be religious. It's a funny movie, but its need to tiptoe around heavy religion waters it down to some extent. Jena Malone plays Mary, one of the cool kids in her Christian high school. She sleeps with her boyfriend because Jesus told her that would "cure" him of being gay. She, of course, gets pregnant and disillusioned. I swear, it's a comedy.
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HT Staff Posted: Nov 23, 2004 0 comments
Camille Saint-Sans—Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78 Organ (BMG)
[SACD]
Audiophiles the world over cherish RCA's Living Stereo classical recordings that were originally released on LP in the 1950s and remastered to CD in the mid '80s, and they have eagerly anticipated the transfer to SACD. The wait was worth it—pop on one of these Living Stereo discs, and you'll be listening through the mists of time back to the virtual dawn of the stereo era, and yet the realism of the soundstage trounces many more recent recordings. It's also worth noting that, since the original Saint-Sans Organ Symphony master tapes were lost for many years, this SACD is the first reissue sourced from the first-generation masters since it was released on LP.
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HT Staff Posted: Nov 18, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Elf—New Line
Video: 5
Audio: 5
Extras: 5
Elf is 10 feet tall. Thoroughly entertaining, Will Ferrell's breakout film is now available on two DVDs that are fun, pure and simple. Ferrell plays Buddy, who accidentally ends up in Santa's North Pole Workshop and is raised by the elves, never being told he's really human. . .even though he's 3 feet taller than everyone else. Yearning to find his real father, Buddy heads to New York to do so.
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HT Staff Posted: Feb 21, 2005 0 comments
DVD: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban—Warner Brothers
Audio: 5
Video: 3
Extras: 4
Directing this movie had to be tough. On the one hand, legions of Potter fans don't want a filmmaker to swing too wide of J.K. Rowling's beloved source material. Yet critics and audiences were becoming restless with Chris Columbus' literal interpretations of the first two books. It turns out that director Alfonso Cuaron was an excellent choice to take over the reins. His visual flair gave Hogwarts a much-needed fleshing out; he kept much of the original story intact while stepping up its pacing; and he got some of the best performances yet from Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson as Harry and Hermione. Younger viewers may find this film scarier than the first two, but it's all in keeping with Rowling's move toward darker themes.
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HT Staff Posted: Apr 05, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Good Boy!—MGM/UA
Video: 2
Audio: 3
Extras: 3
What if dogs really came from another world and were sent on a mission to Earth to domesticate humans and assert their superiority? That's the premise of this fetching family film, whose writers never met a canine joke they didn't like. The gimmick of talking dogs—especially when the voice talent includes Carl Reiner and Cheech Marin—carries the movie up to a point, but it runs out of steam about the time the Greater Dane arrives from the planet Sirius to inspect her minions. Still, the visual jokes and awwww-inspiring moments will engage most young viewers and their parents.

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