In one sense this film is an unexpected gift. I would never have imagined such intense, mesmerizing human drama could be culled from the story of two rival magicians trying to destroy each other personally and professionally around the turn of the century. Of course, in another sense the success of a film made from such a talented pool of people on both sides of the camera shouldn't seem surprising at all.
It's a big credit to this film that its subject matter is something that has not only been done, but been done very well many, many times. In fact, the film it reminded me the most of, in many ways, is the excellent if not great <I>Truman Show</I>. Yes, like that movie this one highlights the dramatic skills of a genius-level sketch comedy actor, only this time around it's Ricky Bubb-eee himself Will Ferrell. Instead of the being the unwitting subject of a reality TV show, Ferrell's Harold Crick finds that he's the subject of a novel being written by a self-and death-obsessed writer played wonderfully and obsessively by Emmma Thompson.
It would take a much better film writer than I to do justice to this film, so I'll limit the damage by being brief. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's <I>Babel</I> brilliantly intertleaves the lives of four families across three continents, and links them in way that are mostly believeable and emotionally captivating and compelling from beginning to end. Almost like Jim Jarmusch meeting Robert Altman in the Int'l terminal.
Although Martin Scorsese has drawn some compelling performances out of his cast - particularly Mark Wahlberg, who rises to the challenge as never before - The Departed lacks the visual flair of the director's other works.
Black Hawk Down (Sony). Finally, it all comes together on one high-def disc: incredibly detailed 1080p images and stunningly clear, uncompressed PCM 5.1-channel surround sound. A sea of fine lines in Sam Shepard's face adds authenticity to his portrayal of the commander of the mission, and his skin tones look utterly natural.
Extras: 4 V for Vendetta is the heartwarming tale of a near future where the government has taken an Orwellian turn for the oppressive extreme. Ironically, this time, John Hurt plays the oppressor instead of the oppressed. His government subdues all, except for the “terrorist” V, who decides he’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore. Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name, V is decent, but it’s disappointing in that it could have been a lot better.
Extras: 4 M:i:III is the first film to be released simultaneously on HD DVD, Blu-ray, and standard DVD. Underachieving at the box office, this is nonetheless a lavish and worthy entry in the franchise. Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the show as a vile weapons dealer, but there are plenty of action sequences, stunts, and disguises to support Cruise. So what if it feels like we’ve seen it all before? Director J.J. Abrams adds a few fresh twists, and it’s still good fun the third time around.
Unashamedly, this is my favorite movie of all time. From the dialogue, to the acting, to the story, everything about this movie is awesome. If you never have, you owe it to yourself to see it. The story centers around hardened bar owner Rick, a lost love, and sticking it to some Nazis, which always make for good entertainment. As usual with a superior movie like this one, it’s about all that and more.