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Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Saw “Saw” is a tidy, efficient little bundle of malice, so effective and well-made that it became an actual hit, and so far has generated two sequels, one this year. James Wan (director) and Leigh Whannell came up with a simple but gripping story, and they tell it very well. It is also extremely grim and brutal, with lots of blood spilled amidst the mayhem. It is, as they say, definitely not for the squeamish, but is a nice, hot cup of rich blood for those with a taste for the genuinely macabre. In a filthy, disused combination men’s room/lavatory, Adam (Leigh Whannell, the co-writer) wakes up, his leg shackled to a pipe. He looks around the white tiled room in confusion. Lying on the floor just out of reach is a dead body in a pool of blood, the pistol that clearly killed him nearby. On the other side of the room ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
S.W.A.T. “S.W.A.T.” is a crisp, efficient, workmanlike police action thriller that’s short on plot and characters, but scores with tense, exciting scenes of combat in the streets of Los Angeles. The climax, however, with a Lear jet landing on one of the bridges crossing the L.A. River (yes, there IS an L.A. River) east of downtown, is improbable enough to decrease audience involvement. It shifts from a routinely-plotted but essentially realistic tale of the Special Weapons And Tactics team of the LAPD to a far-fetched, almost James Bondian thriller. It’s a good choice for release for Blu-Ray, which delivers almost palpable textures and intense colors, and is especially good with aerial shots of cities at night, when every lighted window is clearly-delineated and realistic. The sound is also good, particularly in the opening and closing sequences, with the surround used imaginatively and well—though of course this is a trait of the theatrical moviemaking team, not ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
Monster House 12-year old D.J. (Mitchel Musso) is obsessed with the creepy house across the street. Its owner, an apoplectic misanthrope named Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi) harangues any kid who trespasses on his lawn and confiscates balls, tricycles and any item that rolls across his property line. When D.J. attempts to retrieve his friend Chowder’s (Sam Lerner) basketball, it brings him face to face with an enraged Nebbercracker, who suffers some kind of an attack, apparently dies, and is carted off in an ambulance. Almost immediately, Nebbercracker’s house comes to life and begins to lure and devour whoever ventures near. After saving shrewd private-school girl, Jenny (Spencer Locke) from the house, D.J. and Chowder enlist her help to try to stop the demonic domicile, which is becoming sneakier and more animated. “Monster House” is a fun idea, relatable to nearly every suburban kid in America, but is given somewhat middling treatment here. It’s executive-produced by Steven Spielberg ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Stargate Because “Stargate” looks terrific and plunged boldly ahead into its improbable story of instantaneous travel between galaxies, and because it features an appealing star performance by James Spader (though Kurt Russell is dull), it initially received better review than it was really entitled to. Watched on video, especially in this special edition, seven minutes longer than in theatrical release, “Stargate” gradually wears the viewer down. It feels as though someone is stacking increasingly heavy weights on your chest, and you can’t get up, you can’t get relief. Fortunately, this Blu-Ray disc, in high definition, is a real dazzler, visually. The special effects are good but not outstanding, but they’re also amazing to look at. The picture on your high-def set seems immediate and real, even when moderately incredible things are going on. (The movie is not especially spectacular, and is woefully unimaginative.) On the unnamed planet our stalwart heroes reach, you can practically feel the ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Silent Hill “Silent Hill” is another movie based on a video game; some aficionados of the game say that the film is particularly close to the game, both visually and in terms of action. That must really be saying something, because visually, “Silent Hill” is stunning: the dark-toned, brown-and-gray cinematography by Dan Laustsen is extremely effective—this is a great-looking movie. He works very well with the production design by Carol Spier, and the high definition of this Blu-Ray DVD makes this a surprisingly good-looking example of the technique. The sound design is excellent, with good use made of all of the speakers in a 5.1 system. Unfortunately, that’s about it for “Silent Hill.” The story may work well in the video game, but as a movie, it’s sloppy, unconvincing, repetitious and almost impossible to figure out. Young mother Rose (Radha Mitchell) is worried about the tendency of her daughter Anna (Tanya Allen) to sleepwalk to high ...
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