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Editor's rating: 
Friday, 06 October 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Tears of the Sun Although the setting for this war/rescue melodrama is unusual—Nigeria during its civil war—the story is overall the same old thing. Don’t come to this film looking for anything out of the ordinary, don’t expect anything other than stereotyped characters—you won’t find them. Director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “King Arthur”) is proficient with action scenes and gets reasonably sturdy performances from his cast. But lead Bruce Willis plays Lt. A.K. Waters in a standard Bruce Willisian manner: he squints, he clenches his teeth and moves as though all his muscles are permanently flexed. There’s no looseness or naturalness to his performance—he’s mostly rather dull. In his commentary track, Fuqua claims he was striving for realism, and so cast the Nigerian characters with real Africans, many of whom had fled the Nigerian Civil War. But then he shot the whole film on highly-recognizable Hawaiian locations (the island of Oahu) and depicts the insurgents following our little ...
Editor's rating: 
Sunday, 01 October 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Benchwarmers, The Why was “The Benchwarmers” released in Blu-Ray? It wasn’t a major hit, and there’s very little about the film which is enhanced by the clarity of detail and richness of colors inherent in the high definition/Blu-Ray process. Is it so we can marvel at the weave of the nylon mesh of David Spade’s baseball catcher duds? So we can see the individual drops of young Sammy Sprinkles’ spittle? This is one of an increasing number of movies whose Blu-Ray availability is beside the point. The clarity of definition neither helps nor hinders the movie, though it could use the help. For a decreasing number, Dennis Dugan is probably known best as Richie Brockelman, Private Eye, an occasional character on “The Rockford Files” who was granted his own, short-lived TV series. Dugan eventually moved over to directing (though he also appears here as a supporting character), primarily of TV sitcoms and a few movies. ...
Editor's rating: 
Sunday, 01 October 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
A Knight's Tale When “A Knight’s Tale” was released five years ago, it caused some consternation because of its use of so much anachronistic music and other elements. Set in 14th century Europe, the movie is consciously, even self-consciously, non-realistic. It’s even defiantly so—at the first joust, the audience in the bleachers chants “We will rock you” and does the wave. Later, a stately court dance turns into something suited for a 21st century rock club. At times, this is amusing; that “We Will Rock You” bit is at least funny—but that dance is downright jarring, and not staged well enough to allow us to appreciate it for its contemporary styling. This is far from the first movie to play with historical/stylistic elements. Way back in the 1940s, in “A Thousand and One Nights,” Phil Silvers turned up in his trademark horn-rim glasses and hipster dialogue. In the 1950s, “Red Garters” was styled to resemble a theatrical ...
Editor's rating: 
Sunday, 01 October 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Stealth Columbia was certain they had one of the biggest hits of last summer in the aerial action movie “Stealth.” It had attractive leads, one of whom—Jamie Foxx—had just won a Best Actor Oscar. It was full of special effects and explosions, the ideal summer movie. But hardly anybody went to see it. Now it’s available on DVD in the Blu-Ray process Sony Home Video is pushing so hard. But if all they have to push is the likes of “Stealth,” the format will never take off with the public. Perhaps Sony’s approach is exemplified by the sole extra on the “Stealth” disc: we see director Rob Cohen. Then we see lots of quick clips from “Stealth” and other sources, accompanied by noise, hammering music. Nothing is pointed out, nothing is demonstrated, nothing is explained. The most obvious and easiest form of demonstration would have been to show the same scenes in standard definition ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 September 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
50 First Dates Columbia has chosen Adam Sandler’s “50 First Dates,” directed by Peter Segal, for presentation in the Blu-Ray high-definition DVD format. While there are no really dazzling sequences, because of the extensive location shooting on Oahu and Jack Green’s masterful photography, the picture shines in high definition on this Blu-Ray disc. The photography is often lower-toned than most romantic comedies, but that matches the story—it too is “lower toned,” more serious, than most romantic comedies. The problem at the heart of the film verges on tragic; it’s to the credit of everyone involved that it logically works itself out to be life-affirming and happy. “50 First Dates” is it’s mostly a gentle, intelligent romantic comedy that reunites Sandler with his “Wedding Singer” costar, Drew Barrymore. Most of the exteriors were shot on Oahu, but it’s the locals’ Hawaii—there isn’t a single shot of a stunning beach or Diamond Head. The locations are beautiful and well-chosen, ...
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