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Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Devil's Rejects, The Rock singer Rob Zombie was long a fan of horror movies, particularly the “slasher” subgenre kicked off by “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th.” A couple of years ago, he persuaded Universal to back him in making “House of a Thousand Corpses,” but it was so gruesome the studio declined to released it. The movie became something of a minor cause celebre among horror movie fans, and it was finally released by another company to moderate results. It made enough money to finance Zombie’s sequel to “House,” “The Devil’s Rejects,” and that, too, did reasonably well at the boxoffice. If you are a fan of gruesome horror movies, or merely inured to them, you may find “The Devil’s Rejects” entertaining. It’s definitely well acted by a team consisting mostly of long-time Hollywood gargoyles, including Sid Haig, Michael Berryman and Geoffrey Lewis. There isn’t a single likeable or sympathetic character in the entire movie, which, ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Crash “Crash” is a compelling, energetic effort that proves as mesmerizing as waiting for a snake to strike or the inevitable pile-up of cars on a freeway. Not a story, in a sense (although it won an Academy Award for Best Picture), “Crash” is a string of vignettes that are so tightly woven together that you can’t extricate them from each other without losing structural integrity. They play off each other again and again, sharpening the final acts of each piece throughout 36 hours of nearly non-stop pressure. Not only is the film daring from the storytelling aspect, but it meets the race issues of Los Angeles head-on, earning its name. It even starts out with a crash that promotes the racial tension, then segues right into a murder scene that happens to be at the side of the road. Also, each of the characters really gets revealed onscreen. No one is simply the ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Big Hit, The “The Big Hit” is an agreeable action comedy with a flimsy premise but lots of dazzling stunts and wire work, plus a likeable central performance by Mark Wahlberg and a bad guy played by Lou Diamond Phillips with all restraint gone and his pedal to the metal. It’s by far the most flamboyant performance of Phillips’ career, and one of his most entertaining. Furthermore, the producers include John Woo and Wesley Snipes. Wahlberg Is Melvin Smiley, an inoffensive sort of guy always worried that people might not like him. This is a possibility: he’s a hit man in a gang headed by ultracool Paris (the ultracool Avery Brooks). Also in the four-man hit squad are perpetually overcranked Cisco (Phillips) and black Crunch (Bokeem Woodbine), who’s just discovered the joys of masturbation and has fallen in love with his right hand. Vince (Antonio Sabato, Jr.), a white guy, is pretty dopey, and talks like ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
Terminator, The It’s been 22 years since “The Terminator” launched James Cameron’s directorial career in earnest. Cameron’s first effort, “Piranha II: the Spawning” showed little of the original vision that was to come, but it did indicate his preference for blue lighting, which was to become his hallmark. His work as a production designer/model maker and multi-tasking crew member on “Battle Beyond the Stars” and “Galaxy of Terror” for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures revealed a talent for dirty, futuristic industrial design and an ability to visualize ambitious ideas on the cheap. In 1984 Cameron was provided a moderate to low budget and used every trick in the book to create “The Terminator,” which he wrote with William Wisher, Jr. It’s a great high-concept idea (somewhat similar to the Harlan Ellison teleplay, “Demon with a Glass Hand.” Ellison sued for credit on this film, which appears in the end titles), paced at an occasionally breathless clip. ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Stir of Echoes “Stir of Echoes” is another of the many Blu-Ray releases that make a critic want to throw up his hands in resignation. Why has someone gone to the time and expense of converting this film into high definition video? Very, very little is gained visually, although the DTS HD High Resolution ES Audio track is excellent. But that was due more to the production mixer than to the conversion of this film into video. There’s nothing particularly wrong with “Stir of Echoes,” and it’s a handsomely photographed film (DP: Fred Murphy). Care was taken with the Chicago neighborhood locations; it looks like a place real people live—because it is. But even the crispest, cleanest images here are still just shots of people in ordinary surroundings. Yes, you can make out the texture of the wallpaper, the grit on the cement ...
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