Shane Buettner

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Shane Buettner  |  Jul 25, 2006  |  Published: Jul 26, 2006  |  0 comments

Before there was <I>Rocky</I> there was, in real life, James J. Braddock. Braddock was a respectable fighter and contender in the late 20's who fell on extremely hard times during the depression. He was reduced to poverty like so many millions of Americans and barely put food on this family's table between boxing and working the docks. In the mid-30's he went on the right winning streak at the right time, culminating in his capturing the heavyweight title in 1935. Offering some idea of what an underdog Braddock was in his title bout with Max Baer, he entered the ring that night with the very pedestrian record of 44 wins and 23 losses. The "Cinderella Man's" story inspired millions, not to mention the impact it's had on sports movies over the decades.

Shane Buettner  |  Aug 10, 2007  |  0 comments

This is a plausible, compelling look at the artistic process and inspirations behind J.M. Barrie's writing of Peter Pan. It features complex and convincing acting from Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and the still luminous Julie Christie. Not to mention the wild boys, led by Freddie Highmore. Worth mentioning too that director Marc Forster also did 2001's <I>Monster's Ball</I> and last year's sadly underrated <I>Stranger Than Fiction</I>. A filmmaker worth watching.

Shane Buettner  |  Aug 14, 2007  |  0 comments

Oh boy. How about a hilarious, satirical dissection of the buddy cop genre by the cheeky bastards who brought us <I>Shaun of the Dead</I>? This movie is hysterically funny, if relentelessly silly. I do think the gag here isn't quite enough to sustain the full two hour runtime- it would have moved better at closer to 90 minutes. But I feel cranky even saying that. Honestly, how can you not love a movie about buddy cops in which the buddy cops themselves love <I>Point Break</I>?!

Shane Buettner  |  Aug 10, 2007  |  0 comments

I don't think there's a damned thing I can tell you that you don't already know about these two movies. The first is everything a summer movie should be: big, loud, both fun and funnny, and an all around good time at the movies. And yes, the superb filmmaking and acting elevate this material beyond expectations for a moivie based on a beloved theme ride at Disneyland! And yes, the second installment is bigger in every way and not necessarily better (or maybe even as good), but it too works in keeping a smile on the audience's face. And if you think the plots get a bit lost and that these movies are short on character development, well, guess what? You're in the wrong movie! Go see something that's <I>not</I> based on a Disneyland ride!

Shane Buettner  |  Jan 05, 2008  |  0 comments
The CES 2008 news is all Blu so far. Disney announced its first classic animation title, Sleeping Beauty, which wil join Pixar's Finding Nemo on Blu-ray Disc in 2008.
Shane Buettner  |  Aug 11, 2007  |  0 comments

Universal pulled an odd one here, releasing the sequel to this movie on HD DVD over a year ago, but just getting this, the inaugural film in the <I>Bourne</I> franchise onto the format just ahead of the third installment's arrival in theaters. Better late than never!

Shane Buettner  |  Jul 25, 2006  |  Published: Jul 26, 2006  |  0 comments

<I>The Last Samurai</I> is a movie that succeeds more than I expected it to in spite of Tom Cruise giving one of the worst performances of all time by an actor of his stature (and I’m not referring to his diminutive height here). I didn't see <I>Samurai</I> in the theater because I was repelled by its marriage of subject matter and star. And no, I'm not a Tom Cruise hater at all. I just had a hard time imagining him in a Samurai picture of any kind. And even my lowered expectations didn't prepare me for how laughably unconvincing Cruise is here as the adrift Civil War hero Nathan Algren. Cruise's performance is all the more frustrating because the man can be nothing short of brilliant when he wants to be (see <I>Born on the Fourth of July</I>, <I>Magnolia</I> and even <I>Interview with the Vampire</I> for proof positive).

Shane Buettner  |  Jul 25, 2006  |  Published: Jul 26, 2006  |  0 comments

"It was whiskey done it, much as anything else." So says William Munny (Clint Eastwood), a man of notoriously vicious and mean disposition, when asked how he killed so many men so easily in his younger years. <I>Unforgiven</I> deconstructs the myth of the western gunman, a character Eastwood himself played to such great effect earlier in his career.
This is a bleak film to be sure, one in which the kindest characters are inflicted with the cruelest fates. In westerns we typically see some rough form of justice meted out by the gunman/hero, and we cheer when the bad guys "get what's coming to them." According to Eastwood's Munny, "we all have it comin."

Shane Buettner  |  May 11, 2007  |  0 comments

Ever have a neighbor dog's that just keeps coming back over to your house, and acts like he lives there? And if you put him outside, he just stays on the porch until you give up and let him back in? Well, demo disc of yesteryear, <I>Vertical Limit</I> is back at our collective AV house. This time as a Blu-ray Disc spun by Outlaw Audio at HE 2007, which TJN wrote about below. Badder, and louder than ever, and still plain bad as a movie.

Shane Buettner  |  Jan 07, 2009  |  0 comments
On the TV side, LG is pushing its LCD flat panel HDTV offerings with LED backlighting and local dimming with 240 zones. While we weren’t aware that LG had local dimming LCDs in 2008, the 2009 “Mega Conrast” models are at least twice as good- 240 dimming zones compared to last year’s paltry 128. In the numbers game, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratios are claimed. In reality local dimming is very real, and has driven the LCDs we’ve seen that employ it to blacks and contrastlevels that are astounding. They’re on our list for 2009 for sure.