BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Shane Buettner Posted: Feb 03, 2007 5 comments

In an effort to outperform the original, sequels invariably spend more money, have more explosions, more action, more stunts and more special effects. In this spirit I suppose it's inevitable that Kevin Smith's <I>Clerks II</I> would turn to bestiality (er, "interspecies erotica") in an effort to go where even the original <I>Clerks</I> hadn't gone before. The original did feature necrophilia as a set piece after all. And there's also a hilariously wrong homage to <I>Silence of the Lambs</I> here that anyone who sees this film will never forgive Kevin Smith or Jason Mewes for.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 05, 2007 Published: Jan 05, 2007 0 comments
Video: 5
Audio: 5
Extras: 5
It was with some trepidation that I watched this movie. After all, Joel Schumacher and Akiva Goldsman did their incompetent best to ruin the franchise for anyone who can sound out the word h-a-c-k-s. I shouldn’t have worried. Christopher Nolan knows his stuff and made a movie that is the equal to if not (dare I say it) better than Tim Burton’s classic. Unlike Brian Singer’s passable rebirth/continuation of the Superman franchise, Nolan starts fresh and does as the title says, showing the beginnings of Batman.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 05, 2007 Published: Jan 05, 2007 0 comments
Video: 5
Audio: 5
Extras: 3
Tim Burton spins a tale of love and marriage in the worlds of the barely living and the hardly dead. Using stop-motion animation, Burton creates a world that is visually stunning and unlike anything else out there (except for his other creations). The voice acting, from the likes of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tracey Ullman, is excellent.
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Posted: Dec 28, 2006 Published: Dec 29, 2006 0 comments

With all due respect to director Ridley Scott's other efforts, including Black Hawk Down, this medieval crusade drama may well be his finest work to date. The theatrical cut was seriously compromised when it was cut down from the director's preferred length, but this version is far more coherent.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 24, 2007 Published: Oct 24, 2006 0 comments
Video: 3
Audio: 3
Extras: 5
There’s something inherently fascinating about watching someone who is unquestionably the best at what they do. Bruce Lee was just incredible to watch, and, regardless of the quality of the films he was in, they are worth watching just to marvel at his greatness. Enter the Dragon, ostensibly about a martial-arts competition put on by one bad dude, is really just a showcase for one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 24, 2007 Published: Oct 24, 2006 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
Yes, I know it’s stupid, sophomoric, and about two dumb guys doing some fancy driving in an old muscle car, but that’s what makes it great! OK, maybe “great” is too strong a word. It makes me laugh and has some of the best precision driving since Ronin. I wrote the DVD review for this movie a few months ago, and I really can’t think of anything else to say about it. Bo and Luke have to—I don’t know—save Uncle Jesse’s farm or something.
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John Higgins Posted: Apr 24, 2007 Published: Oct 24, 2006 0 comments
Video: 5
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
Do you ever think about how implausible the plots of mystery books and movies are? So does Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) adapts, in part, Brett Halliday’s mystery novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them. Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey, Jr.) finds himself in the middle of a seemingly simple murder mystery within his first day out in Los Angeles. But Harry knows mysteries are never simple. He soon gets sucked in, along with Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) and Harmony (Michelle Monaghan), trying to find how multiple murders are linked before his is next. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a highly enjoyable dark comedy that turns murder mysteries on their head. The performances are engaging, especially Robert Downey, Jr.’s narration, and all the actors handle the quick banter superbly.
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John Higgins Posted: Apr 24, 2007 Published: Oct 24, 2006 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 5
Extras: 2
Lethal Weapon has been the paradigm of cop movies ever since its release in 1987. This is mainly because the film is more about the relationship between Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) than the plot. That’s not to say that the plot doesn’t hold up. Far from it. Lethal Weapon grabs you from the beginning and never lets go. With a supporting criminal cast of Gary Busey and character actor Mitchell Ryan, the performances all around are incredible.
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Shane Buettner Posted: 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).

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Shane Buettner Posted: 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."

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Shane Buettner Posted: 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.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jun 17, 2006 0 comments

In these still early days of HD DVD, it's a little creepy that three of the releases have been films about bad cops: <I>Assault on Precinct 13</I>, <I>Training Day</I> (see below) and now <I>16 Blocks</I>.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jun 17, 2006 0 comments

Stephen Sommers, director of a fun ride in <I>The Mummy</I> and an unnecessary, overblown sequel in <I>The Mummy Returns</I>, brings us a whole bevy of uglies in <I>Van Helsing</I>. It's a monster mash, with Dracula getting together with his vampire brides, the Frankenstein monster, Mr. Hyde, wherewolves, and various other hangers on.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jun 17, 2006 0 comments

<I>Training Day</I> is about a bad cop. A very bad cop who has convinced himself that if he can do good in questionable ways and get a little action on the side for himself (not to mention for a few bad cop buddies), that’s the name of the game. When it comes to breaking in a rookie, however, he gets more than he bargained for.

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Tom Norton Posted: May 30, 2006 Published: May 31, 2006 0 comments

As submarine movies go, <I>U-571</I> is far from a classic. It includes scenes we've seen in countless other submarine films, and its history is warped (implying that the U.S. Navy and not the Royal Navy captured the Nazi Enigma machine and broke the German naval codes&mdash;though the end titles do correct the record).

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