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David Vaughn  |  Mar 05, 2010  |  0 comments
Roland Emmerich blew up the White House in Independence Day, stomped around New York City in Godzilla, and created a modern-day ice age in The Day After Tomorrow, so it's fitting he would co-write/direct an epic adventure about a global cataclysm. 2012 is essentially a planetary snuff film as the Earth is bombarded by a new type of solar radiation that cooks the planet's core—think of the Earth being stuffed into a microwave.

Surprisingly, the script is quite entertaining and even touching, but Emmerich couldn't resist the urge to create a CGI-infested action flick that causes more laughter than tension. Regardless, it looks and sounds fantastic with an amazingly detailed 1080p/AVC encode and bombastic DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack.

Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 01, 2014  |  0 comments
I don’t always watch my favorite movies and television series. But when I do, I prefer to watch them on Blu-ray. Thankfully, the studios have provided home theater enthusiasts—people who shop for them—with a bounty of exciting new sets, likely to elicit that elusive “Ooo…” as the ribbons and bows tumble to the floor. From film canons to entire classic TV series to the sort of inspired little tchotchkes that can be proudly displayed, these selections go beyond the ordinary, as gifts that will be enjoyed well beyond the holidays.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 07, 2015  |  0 comments
As 2015 draws to a close and gift-giving holidays loom, you can take comfort in knowing that Blu-ray is still the king of physical media, and plenty of studios continue to go above and beyond to release extra-special editions of movies, music, and beloved TV series sure to make a lasting impression. Here are 10 for your consideration.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 09, 2016  |  0 comments
It’s time once again to separate the digital wheat from the chaff to find movies, TV shows, and music that make great gifts. Venerable Blu-ray is joined by upstart 4K Ultra HD this year, and even a bit of vinyl for good measure. Whichever holiday you call your own, make it a little brighter with one or more of these.

David Vaughn  |  Jul 25, 2008  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/21.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a senior at MIT, aspires to attend Harvard Medical School but lacks the means to pay the tuition due to his working-class background. He pins his hopes on winning a rare full-ride scholarship but lacks a "moving" story to separate him from the other applicants. Ben's lucky break comes when Professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey) discovers his uncanny ability to solve complex math equations in his head and recruits him to join his card-counting team of students with the express intent of winning as much money as possible in Vegas. While card counting isn't illegal, the casinos have their own methods of discouraging the behavior. For Ben, this experience will give him one hell of a story to tell Harvard.

Marc Horowitz  |  Oct 02, 2008  |  0 comments
Movie ••• Picture •••½ Sound •••½ Extras •••½
It may seem far-fetched, but this
Chris Chiarella  |  Oct 10, 2012  |  12 comments
Adaptations of old TV shows are a mixed bag, especially when filmmakers take the risky step of amping up the comedy factor of the original. The new gold standard of this bawdy-yet-reverent approach is 21 Jump Street, with much of the credit belonging to star/executive producer/co-writer Jonah Hill. He plays a brainy high school loser who, years later, winds up enrolling in the police academy at the same time as his brawny erstwhile tormentor (Channing Tatum).
David Vaughn  |  Apr 27, 2008  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/27dresses.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Always a bridesmaid and never the bride, Jane (Katherine Heigle) has filled this role 27 times and has a closetful of dresses to prove it. When her younger sister Tess (Malin Ackerman) comes to town and catches the eye of her boss George (Edward Burnes)&mdash;with whom Jane is secretly in love&mdash;she is inspired to put herself first for a change.

David Vaughn  |  Jul 18, 2009  |  First Published: Jul 19, 2009  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/300.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, <i>300</i> recreates the Battle of Thermopylae in 280 BC, when Persia's King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) had his sights set on Greece as the next country to conquer. Xerxes brought his huge army to Thermopylae where he met King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his 300 Spartans, which held the much larger force at bay for three days.

Chris Chiarella  |  Sep 25, 2014  |  0 comments
In true comic book (excuse me, graphic novel ) fashion, Rise of an Empire presents the “origin” of the evil god-king of Persia and his hatred of all things Greek. Set ten years before the Battle of Thermopylae, this wild prologue is very much in the wheelhouse of writer/artist Frank Miller, whose as-yet-unreleased Xerxes comic provides the basis for this follow-up to the epic 300. A great Athenian warrior named Themistokles sets this dark destiny in motion, and we leap forward a decade to the resulting Persian invasion of Greece. An older Themistokles takes to the seas to stand against Xerxes’ overwhelming naval forces, as led by the savage, mysterious Artemisia, their deadly clashes concurrent with the legendary sacrifice of King Leonidas and his brave fifteen-score Spartans.

Kevin James  |  Jul 12, 2011  |  0 comments

If you were around during the launch of high-def TV, you may remember an interesting phenomenon: People with HDTVs became oddly knowledgeable about esoteric topics, such as the migratory patterns of North American birds or the concept of Dark Matter.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Dec 20, 2010  |  0 comments

Most 3D TVs have some sort of faux-3D mode that can add a certain amount of depth to a 3D image. For that real 3D, though, you need original 3D content. There's a fair amount out there, but frustratingly, not all of it is available to everyone.

With this guide, we here at S+V will help you navigate the murky waters of the current state of 3D content.


Josef Krebs  |  Jul 30, 2008  |  0 comments
The Criterion Collection
Movie •••• Picture •••• Sound ••• Extras ••••

A self-taught independent filmmaker, Agnes

David Vaughn  |  Oct 23, 2012  |  0 comments
Four Atlanta businessmen set out in two canoes down the fictional Cahulawassee River before a dam is built to generate electricity for the growing population of Atlanta. Their adventure starts normal enough, but you get the impression that something isn’t right with the inbred people of the backcountry—and their enjoyable river ride turns into a horrific life-changing experience.
Corey Gunnestad  |  Jul 22, 2014  |  0 comments
It’s all in how you play the game

There may be no crying in baseball, but for the longest time in America, there sure was no shortage of bigotry and intolerance in it. But in 1947, after nearly a century of incompliant segregation in the big leagues, two men changed the game forever when the color barrier was finally broken and baseball legitimately became America’s national pastime. When team owner Branch Rickey hand-picked a promising young player named Jackie Robinson from the Negro Leagues and brought him to play major league baseball with “dem bums,” the Brooklyn Dodgers, it truly was a milestone in American history.