3D BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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David Vaughn  |  Jun 19, 2013  |  0 comments
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Coerced into playing baseball by his father, Victor connects with the hit of his life and sails one over the fence. His beloved dog, Sparky, thinks it’s a game of fetch, races after the ball, is hit by an oncoming car, and dies. Terribly depressed and lonely, Victor is inspired by his science teacher to bring his dog back to life. Successful in his task, his home-sewn creature draws the attention of an evil classmate when he escapes, and Victor is forced to reveal his secret on how to raise the dead. All hell breaks loose when the town is suddenly overrun by reanimated pets, and it’s up to Victor and Sparky to save the day.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 17, 2012  |  1 comments
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As Marvel’s comic characters go, Ghost Rider is hellishly hard to categorize. From what I can gather from the character’s two films, 2007’s Ghost Rider and this sequel (I’m not a fan of the comics), Johnny Blaze is a motorcycle stunt rider who sells his soul to the devil to save his father’s life. In exchange, he periodically turns into an ancient, fiery demon that searches out evil to suck out its soul. A bummer for sure, but everybody needs a hobby. His motorcycle has apparently sold its carburetor and tires to Beelzebub as well, since whenever Johnny goes all flames and stuff, he’s also treated to one hell of a ride. Talk about sitting on the hot seat.
David Vaughn  |  May 16, 2011  |  3 comments
Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo (Mame McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) must overcome many obstacles to be together. But can this young couple find lasting happiness with their two families hell-bent on destroying each other?

This is a classic example of false advertising. While the trailers made this film look funny and fresh, it's anything but that. The screenplay is pathetically weak, the characters exhibit zero personality, and even the great music from Elton John can't make this anything more than a colossal waste of 84 minutes.

David Vaughn  |  Dec 22, 2014  |  2 comments
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In the 1940s and ’50s, the South Pacific was the testing ground for nuclear weapons as the Cold War was beginning to heat up. But were there actually tests, or was there another reason? Could the super powers actually have been waging battle with some creature of unknown origin? What would Nature’s reaction be to all of the nuclear fallout in the region?
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 28, 2014  |  1 comments
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Gravity doesn’t waste a single second: After a brief text reminds us of how utterly dangerous space is, disaster strikes a shuttle crew in the midst of a Hubble telescope upgrade. With the help of veteran spaceman Matt Kowalski (the ever-affable George Clooney), scientist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock, ditching her blatant sass in favor of genuine emotion) must find a way to survive her first mission and return home alive somehow. But with one unfortunate twist after another, her ordeal is relentless.
David Vaughn  |  Oct 17, 2011  |  0 comments
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, an elite force called the Green Lantern Corps has existed for centuries to protect peace and justice. Each warrior wears a ring that grants him the ability to create anything his mind can imagine, but when an enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, all hopes rest in the hands of their newest recruit and the first human ever selected—Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds).

I've never been a connoisseur of comic books and my exposure to them has come from feature films. My expectations for Green Lantern were quite low given its poor reviews during its theatrical run so it was a big surprise that I actually liked it. Granted, it's no Iron Man or The Dark Knight, although I enjoyed it as much as Thor. Reynolds does a decent job playing the cocky hero, but its biggest shortcoming is the lackluster screenplay that adds too many subplots and drags throughout the second act.

David Vaughn  |  Apr 25, 2011  |  0 comments
To impress the pretty newspaper travel editor Darcy (Amanda Peet), an underachieving mailroom clerk named Gulliver (Jack Black) takes a writing assignment traveling to Bermuda. On his way there he's swept into a giant cyclone and ends up on the island of Lilliput and discovers he's a giant compared to the little inhabitants.

When you take classic literature and modernize its story, sometimes something can be lost in the translation, and that's certainly the case here. While Black is his usual funny self, the screenplay is quite shallow and contains a litany of two-dimensional characters. I have to admit, I laughed out loud on a number of occasions, but I was equally grossed out when Gulliver needed to extinguish a blazing fire and chose a rather unique way to putting it out.

Corey Gunnestad  |  Oct 24, 2013  |  0 comments
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In the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel, the titular children are lost in the woods and find a house made of candy. Starving, they devour the architecture with little regard for the occupant inside. The wicked witch who lives there lures them in and tries to eat them for supper. Any homeowner would sympathize. But they overpower the old crone and throw her into her own oven and burn her to death.
Corey Gunnestad  |  Feb 19, 2015  |  1 comments
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Life isn’t easy when you’re the bastard child of Zeus, father of all Gods, and your name happens to be Hercules. In ancient Greece, it was commonplace for the Gods to descend from Mount Olympus to fornicate with humans and leave mortal offspring in their wake. But Zeus’ infidelity incurred the vengeful wrath of his wife, Hera, who wanted to destroy his illegitimate progeny. When killing Hercules proved problematic, she instead did the next best thing and drove him to madness and the murder of his own wife and children. Remorse then prompted him to undertake his twelve impossible labors to purge himself of his crime.
David Vaughn  |  Jun 10, 2013  |  4 comments
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When Toy Story launched the digital animation genre in 1995, you just knew that every Hollywood studio would eventually set up its own department to cash in on the latest movie trend. Throw in vampires with the Twilight phenomenon and 3D with Avatar, and it was just a matter of time before all three concepts would be mixed together into one picture, hence we get this entertaining animated tale from Sony Pictures.
David Vaughn  |  Dec 02, 2016  |  0 comments
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By the mid-1960s, it was estimated that 90 percent of the humpback whales were gone from the Earth when a moratorium was put in place throughout most of the world. Fortunately, the population started to grow again, and there’s now an estimated 80,000 throughout the world. I’m old enough to remember the “Save the Whales” campaign in the mid-1970s as well as George and Gracie from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in 1986 where it took the songs of the humpbacks to save Earth from sure destruction by an alien vessel.
Corey Gunnestad  |  Aug 21, 2014  |  1 comments
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It’s been nearly 200 years since Mary Shelley and her poet friends got together in a mansion in Lake Geneva and challenged each other to write the best ghost story. The fruits of those labors wrought a significantly chilling parable about a mad scientist who foolishly reanimates a deceased man stitched together with spare body parts from other corpses. At a time when science was exploring new territories and pushing boundaries, Frankenstein was conceived as a terrifying morality tale about the dangers of playing God. Rumor has it Shelley dreamt up her classic gothic horror tale in the midst of a whirlwind binge of hedonistic orgies and hallucinogenic substances. Think Jane Austen meets The Wolf of Wall Street.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 26, 2010  |  0 comments
1010sdsoft.iceage.jpgAs the third installment of the Ice Age franchise, you’d expect the latest adventures of our odd herd of prehistoric mammal friends—Sid the sloth, Manny and Ellie the wooly mammoths, Diego the saber-toothed tiger, Crash and Eddie the possums, and (off on his own as usual) everyone’s favorite latter-day Coyote, Scrat, the squirrel-rat. Scrat’s role has grown with each entry in the series, and here he gets a love (or rather love-hate) interest in Scrattle, a challenge to his acorn obsession.

The main attraction, and what makes this film the best of the three Ice Age movies, is clear from the title. It’s hard to make a bad movie featuring dinosaurs (although the recent remake of Land of the Lost took its best shot). Dinosaurs disappeared long before wooly mammoths walked the glaciers, but as they appear here in a sort of lost-world environment, we can forgive this bit of creative license.

David Vaughn  |  Jan 14, 2011  |  0 comments
Narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, Imax Deep Sea guides you on an astonishing adventure that lets you swim alongside our planet's most exotic creatures. You'll follow green sea turtles as they gather at the cleaning stop so surgeonfish can strip harmful algae from their shells, see Humboldt squid change color four times per second like a strobe light, and witness a mantis shrimp fight off an octopus.

This is the second time I've seen this documentary on home video, but experiencing it in 3D blows away the DVD. Our oceans house some of the most interesting creatures on our planet and this Imax presentation takes you right into the action with freakishly realistic visuals.

David Vaughn  |  Jan 13, 2011  |  0 comments
Imagine a world of incredible color and beauty. Of crabs wearing jellyfish for hats or of fish disguised as frogs, stones, and shag carpets. Journey into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef and other South Pacific realms and immerse yourself into 3D from the comfort of your own home.

Here's the first of many Blu-ray 3D reviews you'll be seeing at UltimateAVmag.com. For the sake of full disclosure, our household was divided about 3D. My wife and daughter have always enjoyed it, while my son and I haven't, with one exception—Avatar. Everyone enjoyed the 3D experience of James Cameron's blockbuster at our local theater.

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