Tag Archives: animated

Movies That Need To Come Out on Blu-ray

Blu-ray seems to be finally, though slowly, making its way up as the definitive at-home film-watching format.  While its technology wasn’t initially impressive (further worsened by alarming price points), it’s since become a go-to for most film enthusiasts.  Truth be told, many films have never looked better until hitting Blu-ray.  It’s been a bit of a long haul that, though still incomplete, continues to bring apparent upgrades.

This is why I’m here to vouch for films that have yet to receive the attention to detail which (good) Blu-ray releases have received.  By this, I’m referring to movies that don’t even have an announced release date.  Having a general idea of when a film comes out is far more comforting than not knowing if it will be bestowed on us at all.  So film studios, if you want to generate a little bit more revenue, get these treasures out on the big blue already!

The Abyss (Director’s Cut)

James Cameron continually establishes himself as the definition of a cinematic director.  Even the original, low-budget Terminator has plenty of vision to offer in its dark, dismal scenes of the future.  So it’s a bit surprising then that even one of his lesser known releases doesn’t so much as have an announced Blu-ray release.  The film wasn’t a huge hit in theaters, not even gaining back its budget domestically and going on to make less than $100 million worldwide.  Since then, however, it seems to have grown in popularity, especially with the superb Special Edition.  This is where I must emphasize the fact that, when The Abyss does come out on Blu-ray, it has to be the Special Edition, not the comparatively sloppy theatrical cut.  Taking that version into account, it’s a bit understandable why the film didn’t make that big of a splash (pun totally intended).  But thanks to the Special Edition, we were able to get the true version of a film that has since worked its way into many people’s favorite lists, including my own.

SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t seen the movie!

Various Disney Movies (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Tarzan, Mulan, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book)

Oh Disney, how you continue to toy with us like the little kids we still are.  When you’re not pointlessly locking up movies in the “Disney Vault” you’re leaving us hungry for movies that should’ve already received top priority for a Blu-ray release.  Of course most of the big names have gotten their (overpriced) release, such as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.  However, we still don’t have so much as a release date for The Little Mermaid.  That film really brought the visual overhaul Disney lost back to base, and we’re probably left waiting until well after the scheduled 3D re-release.  In other words: this time next year.  But until that release date is officially announced, its mentioning isn’t going anywhere.  Other movies that deserve the HD treatment include Mulan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Even if they weren’t as big a hit with critics or the box office, they still brought the dough, and I can assure Disney they’ll have my pre-order when the latter is officiallyannounced.

Live Free or Die Hard (Unrated)

This one’s a bit trickier to ask for since the film is technically available on Blu-ray.  However, the superior, unrated version is nowhere to be found, which leaves me clinging to the DVD version until its true successor arises.  What’s sad is that we’re probably going to see A Good Day to Die Hard hit Blu-ray before the true version of this film does.  If so then even a lifetime supply of yippee-ki-yay’s won’t bring justice nor condolence.

Schindler’s List

I feel a bit odd wishing for a movie like this to be released on Blu-ray since it’s essentially 3 hours of Holocaust footage.  Trust me, I’m not a sadist, I’m just constantly hungry for more!  But in all honesty, Schindler’s List is a movie that just begs true, complete treatment, and putting it on Blu-ray only seems fitting.  Besides, it’d take flipping over my DVD to the other side a lot easier, since no one likes having to get up to resume their movie, even for a precious, golden ring.

Hayao Miyazaki Collection (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle)

Seriously, how have NONE OF THESE FILMS made it to Blu-ray yet?  If I was in charge of the first wave of Blu-rays, a Miyazaki collection would be among my very first picks.  Because of their sheer absence, I feel we deserve a box set or collection, and we deserve it ASAP.  That is, assuming the transfers are good and not like, say,The Fugitive.  But they’re beautiful animated movies, how can a studio not make a good transfer?  If nothing else then at least give us Spirited Away, since that’s the one most people will jump at.  Then you’ll have people clamoring for the other mentioned films and we’re likely to be stuck playing the Disney game all over again.  I guess there’s something to this twisted waiting game I just don’t get.  Most of us will buy the movies regardless, it’s not like releasing it earlier makes me less likely to break down and buy something.  But I digress.

Star Wars (The Original Cuts)

Yes, this is an old, tiring one to ask for, but many people like to have their favorite movies as they originally were; especially when the changes have gotten to the point that you might as well add gravy to your ice cream.  Now I’ll admit some of the changes and improvements made to the original trilogy were good and even welcoming.  But after the late 90’s, things just got out of hand.  Jabba looks even worse now than he did in the original cuts, and not in a way that’s consistent with his character’s ugly design.  How bad would I describe it?  I’d say the original Jabba looked like a doll while the current Jabba looks like a blurry, distorted, cell-shaded pile of mud.  Or something else.  Something worse.

The Iron Giant

What is with all the great animated movies not getting so much as a Blu-ray announcement?  The Iron Giant has become a bit of a cult classic in that its popularity has slowly grown with time but still isn’t at that truly famous level.  It’s a shame too, because there are plenty of people who would jump at the chance to see it on Blu-ray.  A great film with terrific animation and one of those perfect, retro, nostalgic vibes for many of us, The Iron Giant deserves a Blu-ray as big as his body and his heart.

The Prince of Egypt

I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen The Prince of Egypt from start to finish.  But Ken, how can you request a movie you haven’t truly seen?  Well, just watch the trailers or any montage clip you can find online.  The film definitely has its share of fans which, again, is only growing.  Not only that, but even in standard definition the movie looks incredible.  This is reference and demo quality material for your HDTV/home theater set-up.  Plus, if I’m going to watch a great-looking movie for the first time then I want it to be as beautiful as possible.  That’s how I enjoyed Earth by Disney and let’s just say there were a couple stretches where my jaw dropped so hard I had to seriously consider house insurance.


Munich seems to be a bit of an unsung release for Spielberg.  I don’t even remember hearing about it during the initial release and only know a few people who are aware of its existence.  Like Schindler’s List, this is a more serious and less conventional piece of Spielberg’s filmography.  But like most unorthodox releases, this one is well worth watching and deserving of a high-def transfer.  Watching it on DVD, there were a few parts I thought to myself “imagine that given a proper transfer on Blu-ray.”  It’s really that simple: when a movie leaves you hungry for a prettier version of itself, you know something has to be done.  I don’t anticipate Munich getting a Blu-ray release any time soon, but the longer it takes, the longer this list will persist.  Internal rhyming aside, I believe it’s a (somewhat) decent argument.

So there’s my current/first(?) list of movies that need a Blu-ray already or, if not soon-to-be-released, then at least some sort of official announcement.  How about you?  Are there any movies I left out–any classics, showcases for audio and/or video?  If there are, leave it below in the comments section, I’d like to know what I myself am looking over.

UPDATE: It’s recently been announced that The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mulan (and Who Framed Roger Rabbit) will be released on Blu-ray in March.  Now Disney have made waiting for the Spring even tougher.  Still, I’m a man of my word and have already pre-ordered my copy of Hunchback on Amazon.

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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Blog, Film, Movies


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Quote Review: Sleeping Beauty (1959)

“Royalty, nobility, the gentry, and……oh, how quaint – even the rabble.”

Far from an evenly paced or even consistently put together movie, Sleeping Beauty offers a good share of the best and worst aspects Disney are known for.  But like the tale itself, what’s good outweighs the bad (or lesser, in this case).

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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Film, Film Review, Movie Review, Movies, Review


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Quote Review: Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

“I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad.”

If Scott Pilgrim and Toy Story (somehow) had a child, Wreck-It Ralph would be its not-too-distant cousin.  Even those who’ve been completely sheltered from videogames will have a tough time resisting this plethora of puns and play-on-words.

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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Film, Film Review, Movie Review, Movies, Review


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Epic Movie Scenes: Stampede from The Lion King (SPOILER)

Here we have the first of many posts that I’ve decided to simply call “Epic Movie Scenes.”  Is this original or creative?  Not in the least bit.  But this is less about what I’m pointing to and more about what these sequences offer.  These are often the scenes that you almost have to see in theaters to truly experience.  But even if the scene doesn’t necessarily mandate that, they’re guaranteed to catch and keep your attention.  And given the post I made teasing this new feature, I figured why not start with one of the most iconic scenes from many of our childhoods?

Unfortunately, the poster of this video has disabled video embedding, but here’s the link to the video on YouTube itself.  And if you actually haven’t seen The Lion King yet, I beg you to just rent or buy the movie and watch it all yourself before seeing this specific clip (or reading ahead):

Why is it so epic?

Now rather than just touting and posting videos, I also want to set some space aside to talk about just what makes the scenes I post so great, spectacular and memorable.

Right from the first part of this clip we’re given an idea of just how big the scene will be with a shot of the steep gorge.  Then we have a nice, slow panning shot out of the gorge and showing the amount of wildebeest that will soon flock and dominate the scene.  And for one last touch of build up (and convenience to work in Scar’s favor), we hear Simba’s roar echo off the walls, immediately followed by the trembling stampede and easily one of the best “oh, ****” reactions on film.

So much is packed into this scene that it really makes for a better high point than the film’s (intended) climax at Pride Rock.  We see the villain’s plan come into play as the scene literally heads toward and ultimately around us.  There’s a perfect mix of tension and suspense as Simba clings to the weak tree which ultimately snaps as Mufasa heads into the quaking gorge.  And of course we have the gasp-inducing betrayal at the end by Scar, topped off with Jeremy Irons’ perfect, demonic delivery of the line “long live the king.”  It’s one thing to get a fast-paced action or chase scene, but to get one that legitimately brings emotion and investment in like this is something else entirely.

Another part that definitely helps sell this scene is Hans Zimmer’s composition, which was nicely handled and mostly untouched in the sound mixing.  I’m always of the belief that something as simple as a film score can make an ordinary scene come off as epic.  In this case we have an epic scene matched with epic music, and the results are staggering.

And if we needed any more reason to prove how monumental this scene remains, it apparently took 2-3 years just for the three minutes of footage.  Now THAT is dedication!

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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Film, Movies


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Quote Review: Mulan (1998)

“Just because I look like a man doesn’t mean I have to smell like one.”

Mulan is hardly Disney’s most compelling release, but its entertainment value holds up even after nearly 15 years.  A few clever edits, transitions in animation and one awe-inducing action scene barely nudge the film over merely average territory.


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The Films of 2012 You Shouldn’t Ignore

Well before 2011 was over people were already claiming 2012 to be one of the best years for film.  After all, the only thing better than sequels, remakes and adaptations are above average sequels, remakes and adaptations.  But while films like The Hunger Games and The Avengers bask in the financial intake, there are a slew of movies being overshadowed.  Not that they need help to generate revenue, but those who want something a bit different from the publicized crop can venture a look.

A Depression-era film starring shouter Shia LaBeouf might not be the best way to kick a list off, but films that deal with law-shrugging gangsters still seem to resonate with many people–and who can blame them?  Plus, we have The Road director John Hillcoat at the helm here with a cast that includes Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman, who make relatively good film choices.  And as an added bonus, we have Jessica Chastain filling in the pretty-face card.  The trailer certainly looks enticing and the film should be a good way to keep our attention between the summer and fall film slaughters of 2012.


Moonrise Kingdom

A few people are keeping their eyes open for this latest film by Wes Anderson, which got very positive reactions at the Cannes Film Festival.  After all, what’s not to like?  It’s a dramedy by a talented and acclaimed director, the premise and scenario is different, the cast includes Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel and–brace yourselves–it’s not adapted!  Between this and the trailer, which implies a perfect balance of charming and awkward comedy, there should be more anticipation for Moonrise Kingdom than Men In Black 3.  Of course, we all know the chances of that happening.



Even with the misstep that was Cars 2, Pixar still appear to have quite a following lined up for Brave.  But what about the other animated movies?  Frankenweenie has been showing before literally every movie and, quite frankly, sounds more like a bad porno title than anything.  Then there’s ParaNorman, which has a very off-beat vibe based on the trailer…but that’s why it might be worthwhile.  There’s a bit of Tim Burton meets Nick Park here, except the former aspects should be handled well.  And if that turns out to be accurate, then we should have our second promising animated flick this year.


Red Lights

Most movies that deal with the paranormal are little more than campy, B-grade throw-outs, but here’s a movie that could prove to be a little different.  The cast is decent enough, which should help Cillian Murphy continue his slow climb of recognition; shame he’ll probably be as old as Christopher Plummer before becoming a household name.  That aside, Red Lights should work since it might take its audience seriously.  Granted, it’s unlikely this will be a game-changer (since Hollywood hardly know the definition), but the movie can at least raise the standards for its siblings to come.


Premium Rush

Okay, let’s be honest: the main reason people will see this movie is because of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  The man seemed to become an overnight sensation and favorite thanks to 50/50, which isn’t difficult to reason.  Beyond that, this film looks to be a fairly by-the-numbers chase/action-thriller, but that’s just the point.  Everyone knows all the action movies they want to see this year, so hopefully Premium Rush will be a fun by-the-numbers film.  In fact, calling it Speed on a bicycle really doesn’t sound all that crazy after giving it some thought.


Gangster Squad

Oh look, another gangster/mafia film!  Except where Lawless may or may not look merely decent at this point, Gangster Squad could potentially bring us back to the former mafia glory of the 90’s.  Almost all of Ryan Gosling’s recent films have been acclaimed, critic-favorites Sean Penn and Nick Nolte are alongside him and, just for good measure, Josh Brolin, Giovanni Ribisi and Emma Stone have parts too.  Not everything about the film is promising, however; let’s be honest, the title is just silly and Ruben Fleischer is at the helm.  This would be fine, except a little number known as 30 Minutes or Less made his other effort, Zombieland, look like Resident Evil with Citizen Kane-like execution.  We’ll just have to hope Ruben has learned from his misstep, much like we’re hoping for Pixar’s redemption after a merely subpar sequel.


The Words

What is it with the sudden surge of movies about writers?  Ghost Writer, Being Flynn, Ruby Sparks and this: The Words.  Though Bradley Cooper did stretch his acting wings in Limitless, this just might make him a card worth taking seriously.  Based on the trailer, it almost looks like the movie wants to shoot for some sort of Academy recognition.  Now, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but the film does look promising.  Drama, some light-hearted humor and, more than likely, a typical Hollywood ending, should make this a modest hit with casual critics–if such thing exists.



Hey look, it’s Back to the Future meets Inception!  There’s a good chance people have noticed the poster for this movie, but don’t know anything about it.  Audiences seem to enjoy the movies that do away with some laws of logic while keeping others, and Looper is looking to fit the bill wonderfully.  Just don’t expect it to be nearly as huge as either of the aforementioned films, since it’s clear this is more an adrenaline fix than food for thought.


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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Film, Movies


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2012: The Movies You DON’T Want to See

It’s funny that we live in a financially downturned economy when we’ve got movies like Avatar setting box office records.  I suppose it’s merely a reminder that, even when poverty-stricken, people still have the income to feed companies millions for sequels, remakes, spin-offs and adaptations all at once.  What’s amusing about this is that we’re so quick to pay for stuff we already have, often previously presented in a superior way nonetheless.

Be that as it may, with another summer on the horizon we have a splurge of movies coming out which some will be puzzled to decide between.  A few people even go to theaters without a single clue as to what’s showing and ask those in-line “what looks good?”  To that I wonder: We always ask and look at what’s worth spending half a new DVD release to see once, but what about upcoming releases that aren’t even worth watching a trailer for?  Summertime is easy time for film companies to draw in audiences again and again; so to help you know which ones are, without doubt, not worth wasting time or money on, here are some of 2012’s films that you do NOT want to see.

The Lucky One

The dog food totally isn’t a metaphor for Mr. Sparks’ novels.

If there’s any medium you can find several of the same story already done in, it’s books.  Some authors distinguish themselves with actual effort and, dare I say, variety from book to book.  Nicholas Sparks, on the other hand, shows about as much distinction between his books as one french fry from another at McDonald’s.  But wait, this adaptation of The Lucky One has a returning soldier from war; oh Nick, you’re so relevant and resonating with the times!  But wait, it’s another love story…with two leads who, if the trailer is any indication, make Keanu Reeves look melodramatic in the Matrix sequels.  I could find more depth in a teaspoon of water.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting

What?  You think this is fun?

Yes, nothing says fun and comedic gold quite like a film centered around pregnancy and its effects on several people.  If that alone isn’t enough, this movie is based on a pregnancy guide no less; this is how stripped of good ideas Hollywood’s become.  The trailer certainly isn’t doing any favors for this movie either, since it only looks like Grown Ups, Knocked Up, Hall Pass and half a billion other forgettable romantic comedies tossed into a mold-spewing blender.  We have decades upon decades of trite movies like this piled up already, it’d be a better investment to give Doug Walker $10 for each of his 20-minute Nostalgia Critic videos–at they’re entertaining.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

We need to get away from the studios; I hear they’re planning to toss us in Burma next!

Just like Ice Age, the people behind Madagascar seem intent on driving what was an earnest animated film further into forced franchise fodder.  Being a film about animals, kids are bound to beg their parents to go see it like they would for a toy at Wal-Mart.  As far as the films on this list go, Madagascar 3 might be the least deserving of presumptuous dismissal, but that’s like saying a $200 pair of Beats headphones is a better investment than the $300 pair simply because you’re paying less for a still-overpriced item.  Except Madagascar 3 is coming to us in 3D (shocker there!) and even (post-converted) IMAX.  Whoops.

Madea’s Witness Protection

Please, take her away.  I’m here against my will.

Some people simply beat a dead horse.  Tyler Perry, on the other hand, prefers to find a herd of them, decapitate each one rather violently and crush them with cinder blocks until they’ve reached the Earth’s core.  Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh but honestly, who (besides Perry) wants to see this Madea creature keep polluting our theaters and stores?  I’d be more interested in seeing a sequel to White Chicks, not that the Wayans should take that to heart.  We already have over a half dozen films of Madea, which begins to make Michael Bay’s milking of the Transformers name seem innocent by comparison.  All he’d have to do to catch up is spit out two Transformers movies a year and the two can bask together while we collect the AYFKM memes.

Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D

Oh, yes, I totally hate being famous.  Yeah, attention is the LAST thing I want.

You’ve really got to hand it to people like Katy Perry and even Justin Bieber.  They give the world nothing but terrible music and an equally awful film about their pre-puberty struggles.  And yet people actually waste their time and shell out millions upon billions of dollars to hear and watch them.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say everything they provide is insurance so that, when they look more deplorable than their music, they’ll still have more money than any decent, hard-working individual would earn in twenty lifetimes.  I might be getting off topic but that’s essentially all this upcoming Katy Perry feature is shaping up to be.  It’s trying to cater to people by saying “chase your dream,” but if that were so most of us would probably be pimps smoking illegal substances while making Zombieland a reality.  Of course, that might just be wishful thinking, but it’s certainly more promising than the idea of watching this…thing.

Step Up Revolution

Your Project X ain’t got nothin’ on this!

In some ways films are great for seeing things we might fantasize about, but half the time it’s all just exploitation.  Us Americans are easily the fattest and laziest slobs on the planet, yet we only take the hottest of the hot in Hollywood and have even taken to dancing so much that we’re getting a fourth Step Up movie.  These movies are really just gimmicks, which wouldn’t be too bad if we didn’t keep getting a slight twisting of the original seven freaking times.  Film franchises like Saw have suffered from this by overstaying their welcome.  Then there’s a film like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which may have been just another car movie to most, but the reason it actually worked was because the drifting ultimately took a backseat to a little something called the story.  But hey, we’re in a time where people elect to rattle their cars apart with Dubstep, so it shows what I know.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Because red lips are too mainstream.

Given its bad rep, I’d think audiences would have the common sense to avoid the Twilight travesty.  But the unfortunate reality is it continues to be a multi-million-dollar franchise.  I leave it to you to answer me this: What does Twilight offer to make me care?  Perhaps there’s something about being torn between a pale pedophile with a sparkling chest and a crazily buffed up boy with no real acting emotion that speaks to the younger female demographic.  But heck, even as a guy who likes to quench his testosterone with a theatrical viewing of something like The Expendables, I can find entertainment in a “girly movie.”  I’ve at least somewhat enjoyed cliche dumps like Along Came Polly, 13 Going on 30 and How Do You Know.  Yet Twilight continues to astound me and I have to ask why so many people keep going to see these movies?  I suppose if there’s anyone the recently released teaser might interest it would be rednecks, what with Bella eying an innocent deer in the woods, but that’s just a small, tingling suspicion…I hope.

How about you?  What films coming out this year do you absolutely refuse to see?  Which ones do you wish people would have the sense to avoid?


Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Blog, Film, Movies


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Quote Review: Ratatouille (2007)

“Since you’re all out of perspective and no one else seems to have it in this BLOODY TOWN, I’ll make you a deal. You provide the food, I’ll provide the perspective, which would go nicely with a bottle of Cheval Blanc 1947.”

A film that leaves you hungry for the right reasons. Ratatouille stands as one of Pixar’s best (and most surprising) releases, combining the usual blend of interesting characters who keep you invested, engaging themes and excellent pacing. Even better is the fact some good points are made (as always) without impeding the compelling plot and overall entertainment value.


Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Film Review, Movie Review


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Quote Review: The Lion King (1994)

” A king’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun.”

It’s been 17 years and The Lion King still holds up well, like most (if not all) of Disney’s other, older films. The coming-of-age and self-acceptance tale still gives us a terrific balance of comedic and serious moments. In regards to the recent 3D release, there are a few excellent shots that any avid viewer or fan of the film is bound to appreciate, but it hardly does more than give the film more visual depth. Regardless, The Lion King remains a Disney staple which is bound to continue entrancing viewers of all ages.

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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Film Review, Movie Review


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Quote Review: The Princess and the Frog (2009)

“This is gonna be good!”

A bit of a return to form for Disney, The Princess and the Frog gives us a nostalgic yet surprisingly modern-looking 2D animated film. Thanks to a slew of charming characters, a twist or two on the familiar story in its title and excellent, colorful imagery, this actually turns out to be one of the better films Disney has brought us recently (possibly their best non-Pixar release since The Lion King). And with a few small visual throwbacks to previous efforts, any faithful Disney enthusiast is bound to appreciate it as well.

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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Film Review, Movie Review


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