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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: 
Friday, 01 June 2007 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Phone Booth On the surface, “Phone Booth” had the story conceit and the major star power to make a good movie. Add to that the seasoned directing of Joel Schumacher (who has several thrillers under his belt) and the scripting talent of Larry Cohen (author many television and movie scripts). In the end, though, it fails to meet some basic criteria for good storytelling and presentation. The video and audio aspects for the film are amazing. The HD presentation is outstanding. Images take shape on the screen with vibrant color and hard edges. A three-dimensional quality about the film seems like viewers could just pull themselves into the scene with the actors. With the Lossless audio, the sounds are sharp and clear, and the surround sound system works perfectly. A movie as loaded with dialogue as this one is requires a stunning presentation to draw the jaded moviegoer’s attention, but “Phone Booth” delivers. Schumacher directs with ...
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 ...
Editor's rating: 
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Planet of the Apes (2001) Decades ago, the idea of apes evolving and supplanting the human race was a radical idea filled with all kinds of social implications. When Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel “Planet of the Apes” was published in English, 20th Century-Fox won the movie rights, and a film appeared in 1968. It was phenomenally successful and generated a series of sequels and a TV series. It was embraced by many groups, from race relations representatives to animal activists. It seemed everyone could find a correlation to whatever they wanted to push in their own interests. A lot of viewers just liked the science fictional alternate-earth scenario that was so cool. French writer Pierre Boulle, who occasionally dabbled in science fiction, included a twist at the end that still hasn’t been shown in films or television. In the original movie, the stark image of the Statue of Liberty stands out. That image, or many like it, has shown ...
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