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Editor's rating: 
Sunday, 01 July 2007 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
Layer Cake An unnamed (the credits refer to him as “XXXX”) small-time drug manufacturer (Daniel Craig) lives a professional, upper-middle class existence, building up a nest egg for retirement, while treading in the world of hardened professional criminals. As XXXX abhors violence, he tries to stay far away from unprofessional criminals and situations that produce too much risk. Unfortunately his little controlled empire turns to chaos when he is instructed to broker a deal for one million Ecstasy pills, which, unbeknownst to XXXX, were stolen from a vengeful Serbian drug lord. Adding to the confusion is the request by gangster Jimmy (Kenneth Cranham) for XXXX to track down the errant daughter of big-time gangster Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon). As XXXX tries to navigate between the various factions, he becomes tangled in double and triple-crosses, bungled plans, and sudden outbursts of violence. Matthew Vaughn makes his directorial debut with “Layer Cake,” having previously produced “Snatch” and “Lock, ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 June 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Entrapment Even though the big climax of “Entrapment” features our hero (Sean Connery) and heroine (Catherine Zeta-Jones) hanging by their fingertips from a splintering cable near the top of the twin towers of the (then) tallest building on Earth, the movie doesn’t really generate very much suspense. Director John Amiel’s style is too relaxed for that to happen, and we don’t have a strong emotional investment in the characters. Still, it looks good, and passes itself off reasonably successfully as the kind of movie it is intended to be. But it’s not memorable, and has few gotta-see-that-again moments, so unless you just have to have all of the films by either star (can’t imagine a John Amiel completist), you can safely pass on “Entrapment.” The movie opens with an elaborate break-in at a Manhattan skyscraper; the thief is dressed ninja-style all in black, with a strange contraption over the face. You might be reminded ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 June 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Blu-ray hasn’t been around very long, but long enough for the process to already have undergone changes great enough that some early players simply cannot handle some of the features of various discs. In this case, to coincide with the release of the third “Pirates of the Caribbean” epic, Disney released the first two in extras-laden, two-disc sets. At hand is “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” the first movie. No one expected a great deal more than a fun movie based on the Disneyland ride, but it unexpectedly turned out to be a treasure trove of eccentric performances, gorgeous location work, superb production design—all adding up to a surprisingly entertaining and intelligent movie. This Blu-Ray DVD has almost too many extras. The second disc includes about 12 hours of them in two primary sections: “An Epic at Sea” consists of a long roster of relatively brief documentaries which feature ...
Editor's rating: 
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Crank “Crank” was touted as an adrenaline-pounding thrill ride made expressly by action fans for action fans. On that level, perhaps, the movie succeeds, offering frantic pacing, whip-crack dialogue, and a high body count. Given the premise and the action starpower behind it, the movie could have appealed to a wider segment of the audience. However, the writers/directors remained solely focused on delivering a thrill ride that audiences haven’t seen for a while. Action pictures usually have paper-thin plots, and “Crank” was no different in that regard. Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is a hitman working for the mob. Of course, he does a little side action now and again, too, picking up contract work for murder off the radar of his employer. It’s one of those side jobs that goes sour now and puts him in the cross hairs of Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), a scheming drug lord wanting to cut himself a bigger ...
Editor's rating: 
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Casino Royale Many people were intensely curious about “Casino Royale,” the most recent James Bond movie, when it was released theatrically late last year. But except for some diehards who bristled at the idea of a colder and blond 007, most people were pleased by the movie. Certainly I was. In terms of the movie itself, based on watching this brand-new Blu-Ray disc, there’s little to add to that review in terms of discussing “Casino Royale” as a movie. The film is a bit lopsided—there are two sensational action scenes in the first half, then none until the finale, set in Venice. At 144 minutes, the movie is probably somewhat too long; this is not helped by seeming to end completely about fifteen minutes before it actually does. And it passed my notice altogether the first time around that a bit of dialogue brings up a question, even a concept, that none of the ...
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