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Editor's rating: 
Monday, 01 January 2007 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Jarhead Anthony Swofford’s nonfiction book about his time of military service as a United States Marine became a bestseller, speaking to a whole new generation of warriors who had seen the horrors of the battlefield. “Jarhead” was filled with cynicism and outrage about the way the war was conducted as well as what the military personnel had to carry out. After listening to several military men talking about their time in the service, I quickly realized that Swofford’s objections weren’t unique. Where Swofford’s book pulled the reader in and delivered a message, though, “Jarhead” the movie lacks closure and depth to some degree. We are introduced to individuals, young men in the United States Marines who were trained to be fierce warriors who would make a difference against Saddam Hussein, who was built up to near-monster status. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Anthony Swofford, the main protagonist and first-person narrator. Gyllenhaal’s look is severe and ...
Editor's rating: 
Monday, 01 January 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Cinderella Man Ron Howard and Universal were surprised when “Cinderella Man” didn’t become the boxoffice smash it was carefully designed to be. Perhaps that’s because this big-scale biopic is all too clearly intended to repeat the response—critical and financial—to “Seabiscuit” of a couple of years ago. It’s about a crowd-pleasing sport, it takes place during the 1930s, and the title character is depicted as the great come-from-behind champion who lifts the spirit of America during the Great Depression. The radio ads for “Cinderella Man” promote this as not just a good movie, but one of the best movies of all time. That’s not just shameless, it’s outrageous, and it’s not strongly supported by cultural history, the way Seabiscuit’s story was. This Hi-def DVD is a plush, extras-laden, extra-plush treatment of the movie, which definitely has its strong supporters. The images are lovingly rendered in high-definition video, especially effective here. Often, movies with a lot of night ...
Editor's rating: 
Monday, 01 January 2007 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
2 Fast 2 Furious Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), after betraying the police at the end of “The Fast and the Furious,” is hiding out in Miami, Florida among the road-racing crowd. When Brian is arrested by the police during a road-racing bust, he is offered a chance to avoid jail, by going undercover, as a member of the crew of local crime boss Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) in an attempt to catch him transporting large sums of money out of the country. Further complicating matters, Brian must work with both Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), an ex-friend who doesn’t trust him, and Monica (Eva Mendes), an undercover agent, who is Verone’s current girlfriend and who may have turned against the cops. “The Fast and the Furious” was very entertaining popcorn junk. Fun, fast paced and loud, with a filmmaker clearly inspired by the milieu and the flashy cars that are the raison d’etre for the film. “2 ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 December 2006 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Four Brothers “Four Brothers” is based on a sturdy, familiar element: revenge. When foster parent Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan) gets killed in what looks like an unfortunate convenience store robbery, her four “sons” return to town for her funeral and stay on for a little hands-on vengeance. The action stays down and dirty but mixes in some political crime and one of the sleekest, nastiest villains to reach the screen in some time. The movie is a potboiler of the first degree, a rolling juggernaut of pacing, sketchy but solid characterization, and bone-jarring violence. During a dearth of R-rated films and departure for a kinder and gentler violence, death and mayhem, “Four Brothers” stands out from the current crop of DVD fare. Video Presentation: The HD DVD in 1080i shows the hard edges and the grit of the urban landscape. During the chase through the snow-covered streets about halfway through, you can see the individual flakes swirling. ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 December 2006 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Chronicles of Riddick, The Vin Diesel first brought the character of Riddick to life in a slick B movie science fiction/horror presentation called “Pitch Black”. As Riddick, Diesel was sheer menace in motion for the first part of the movie and truly looked as though he was going to be the ultimate villain. That part ended up being played by the indigenous predatory life forms that only came out in the extended darkness on the planet, giving the film its name. That feature also played to Riddick’s strength because his eyes had been altered so they couldn’t stand bright lights and he could see perfectly in the darkness. By the end of that movie, Riddick managed to escape and bring a few other survivors with him when they finally blasted off for outer space. When I found out there was going to be a sequel, I truly believed we were going to get another science fiction/horror ...
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