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Editor's rating: 
Saturday, 01 March 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Eastern Promises A few years ago, David Cronenberg made “A History of Violence,” starring Viggo Mortensen. It seemed to be a deviation from the well-regarded Canadian director, formerly a specialist in distinctive horror movies. But “Eastern Promises,” also with Mortensen, is similar to “History,” as it’s also a layered, deeply felt story of crime and criminals. In its storytelling, it’s more mainstream than Cronenberg’s usual films (although “The Fly” was straightforward as well), but few mainstream movies have characters this rich while still being occasionally as gruesomely violent as Cronenberg’s less, um, sophisticated fans want. It’s an outstanding movie, one of the best of 2007, and Mortensen fully deserved his best actor Oscar nomination. Set in London, “Eastern Promises” opens with scenes of a barber, Azim (Mina E. Mina), slashing the throat of a customer, then a young woman hemorrhaging in a chemist ...
Editor's rating: 
Saturday, 01 March 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Zodiac (2007) Please see our archived review of the theatrical release of “Zodiac” on ModernHomeTheater.com. That commentary and opinion still stand regarding this HD DVD release. This is a two-disc set, the first disc containing the feature itself, here a few minutes longer than in theaters—but you’d have to be more of an expert on the film than I am to identify the new material. (You can find it on the IMDb page for “Zodiac.”) In the commentary track that features actors Robert Downey, Jr., Jake Gyllenaal, screenwriter/producer James Vanderbilt, producer Brad Fischer and novelist James Ellroy (who has nothing to do with the movie), occasionally someone points out a scene that was cut from the theatrical release, but this isn’t done with any regularity. Both of the commentary tracks are very worthwhile. Director Fincher is soft-spoken but thorough, clearly very well-informed on filmmaking ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 February 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Inside Man This, Spike Lee’s first “regular Hollywood movie,” is sleek, clever and intermittently involving. Unfortunately, it’s just a little too long to work all the way through, and you’ll probably find your attention wandering at about the one hour mark. Still, it’s occasionally tense and has an inventive—too inventive?—script by first-time screenwriter Russell Gewirtz. Lee gets things off to a fast start; the movie has barely begun when four crooks invade a plush Wall Street bank while dressed as wall painters. They immediately take over, barricade the front doors—and then essentially just shut up. Skilled NYPD hostage negotiator Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) briskly takes over from somewhat irked Captain Darius (Willem Dafoe). Late in the film, the tables are turned on Frazier, but by that time, he’s so curious about the atypical behavior of the holdup team—they demand a plane?—and worried enough about ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 February 2008 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Mercury Rising “Mercury Rising” was touted as a thinking man’s thriller when it came out in 1998. Paranoia about Y2K and how the world was going to end because computers couldn’t think past the year 2000 wasn’t quite upon the world, but people were thinking about it. T Bruce Willis was obviously looking for another action-driven success after the first three “Die Hard” movies. In his interview included on the disc, he states that there are plenty of other actors out there who could do what he does, and that what he feels movies have to offer these days is a solid story. He felt certain “Mercury Rising” was that story. Willis’s portrayal of troubled FBI Special Agent Art Jeffries is good. He’s thoughtful and motivated, carrying a lot of guilt and anger, and doesn’t play well with others. He shares those traits with ...
Editor's rating: 
Tuesday, 01 January 2008 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
Reaping, The College professor Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank) is a well-regarded debunker of presumed “miracles.” On a research expedition in Chile she delves into the local miracle of an aged corpse’s extreme preservation, and finds that those who have come to worship and seek guidance at the tomb are subject to hallucinogenic visions. Exploring the area around the tomb, Winter and colleague Ben (Idris Elba) uncover the cause: illegal subterranean dumping of toxic waste, which is responsible for all the presumed phenomena. Back at the university, Winter is approached by Doug Blackwell (David Morrissey), a resident of the isolated town of Haven, Louisiana, who tries to elicit her help in investigating a local phenomenon that has the residents spooked. The local river has seemingly turned to blood, and as that event is reminiscent of the Ten Plagues of Egypt in the Bible, ...
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