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Editor's rating: 
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Excalibur This nearly awesome adaptation of the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table takes its title from Arthur’s magical sword—“Forged when the world was young and bird and beast and flower were one with man, and death was but a dream.” Boorman and co-writer Rospo Pallenberg adapted their screenplay from Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur,” and it’s the most complete and faithful movie version of these familiar stories. Only “Camelot” is as thorough, and it’s not nearly as good a movie. Other Arthurian movies, like “First Knight” and “King Arthur” have fled from the magical elements of the original tales like they were poison; Boorman and Pallenberg embrace them and weave them into the fabric of their narrative—which is as it should be. Without the magic, the Arthurian tales are just more stuff about medieval kings and knights. But here the most important character is Merlin the magician, magnificently ...
Editor's rating: 
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
Dazed and Confused “Dazed and Confused,” Richard Linklater’s follow-up to his loose, improvisatory Austin roundabout, “Slacker” follows more than a dozen characters for one night, immediately after school has closed for the summer. Set in 1976, it’s a natural bridge between the fragmentary, plotless “Slacker” and his later films with tighter narratives. As the last day of school ends, the film catalogues the adventures of high school students in different grades through the evening and early morning, while their personal stories and tiny character arcs collide. Randall “Pink” Floyd (Jeremy London) is the football team’s quarterback and will be entering his Senior year in the fall, but he’s starting to rebel and is conflicted about hypocritically signing a conduct pledge given to him by his coach. Junior high student, Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins) is beset by a gang of about-to-be Seniors going around walloping all the incoming freshmen. The downtrodden Tony (Anthony Rapp) and Mike (Adam ...
Editor's rating: 
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Casablanca Even though it’s just about the perfect example of Hollywood craftsmanship being elevated to true art, in a limited sense, there’s not much point in issuing films as old as “Casablanca” in high definition video. In those days, the resolution of film used for movies was much lower than it is now—older films will simply never be as crisp and sharp as movies from later periods. In this case, yes, the resolution is a little more detailed than in the relatively recent DVD of the movie, but if you already have that, there aren’t any strong arguments to be made in favor of replacing that standard-definition DVD with this one. On the other hand, if you have a high-definition player and you don’t already include “Casablanca” in your collection, this edition is ideal. The print used is impeccably clean and clear; since it was a major studio film, it was given A-class treatment ...
Editor's rating: 
Sunday, 01 April 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Under Siege “Under Siege” in Hi-Definition DVD is an example of a movie too common in Blu-Ray and Hi-Def release these days: it’s not particularly well-served by the high-definition process, unless you really get off on pipes, dials, ship corridors and the like. The movie takes place entirely on a battleship; it does not rely strongly on its visual quality, other than that it employs standard studio good cinematography. To showcase these systems, the studios should be releasing films that greatly benefit from high definition—those that have strong, unusual production design, landscapes heavy with trees, night-time cityscapes, unusually detail costumes, etc. “Under Siege” is an action thriller set in confined, unattractive sets; it’s anything but a visual feast, although it is a handsome film in its own terms. But it cannot, by its very nature, serve as a demonstration disc for high definition DVD. It’s an entertaining if preposterous, best described as "Die Hard on a Battleship;" ...
Editor's rating: 
Sunday, 01 April 2007 |  Written by Bryan Dailey  | 
Seabiscuit Seabiscuit is the Rocky of horseracing movies. This small colt was deemed too small and too unskilled to make it in the big time world of thoroughbred horse racing, so he spent his days in the minor leagues, running and usually losing against mediocre competition and he ran up an unimpressive string of losses. No one wanted him. At the same time as Seabiscuit was losing races at bush league tracks around the country, young jockey Red Pollard, who was sent to live with foster parents because his real parents could not afford to raise him thanks to the great depression, was grinding out money at these same minor league tracks, supplementing his income by trying to be a boxer. Red was too big to be a jockey and too small to be a boxer. Tobey Maguire plays the part of Red Pollard in the film and his five foot six; ...
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