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    Barney Miller – The First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 25th, 2004

    In 1976 a New York media group conducted a survey of the NYPD detectives. The question was: “Of all the TV cop shows, which most accurately portrays life as a detective?” The overwhelming response was the comedy Barney Miller.

    It seems that real cops related to the daily grind and weekly wackos of Barney Miller. Let’s not put aside that this was also one of the most consistently funny shows on television. I remember it took me a while to accept Abe Vigoda in such a light role as Fish. My first exposure to Vigoda was the ruthless mobster in The Godfather.
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    Cromwell

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 20th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    Richard Harris is Oliver Cromwell, reluctant revolutionary, every more reluctant dictator.Alec Guinness is Charles I, the King of England who is given very bad advice, but makes somestupid decisions all on his own. The English Civil War is played out for us, with a cast offamiliar faces (Robert Morley, Timothy Dalton, Charles Gray, etc. etc.) and some prettyimpressive battle scenes. (Though those of you fresh from a screening of The Return of theKing should please re…
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    Marooned

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 15th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    After five months in space, the crew of Ironman One (Richard Crenna, James Franciscus andGene Hackman) are returning to Earth when their ship’s retrorockets do not fire. They aretrapped in orbit, with only 42 hours of oxygen. Back on Earth, NASA chief Gregory Peck at firstsees no way of saving them, but at the urging of David Janssen, a Hail Mary rescue attempt isput together. The problem: the soonest the rescue ship can arrive is in 42 hours. And there’s ahurricane closing…
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    Pact of Silence, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 12th, 2004


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    Synopsis

    Gérard Depardieu is a Catholic priest and doctor with a dark secret in his past. Working inBrazil, he deals with the case of Sarah (Élodie Bouchez), a Carmelite nun who suffers all thesymptoms of appendicitis without actually having it. He is gravely concerned for her health, butthe Carmelites are very protective of Sarah. In fact, they are clearly hiding something.Meanwhile, in Paris, Sarah’s twin sister Gäelle is about to be released on parole after serving tenyears of a …
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    Underworld

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 11th, 2004

    Legends of vampires and werewolves are almost as old as time itself. Long before Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney defined these creatures for Hollywood, the myths persisted. Cave drawings in South America depict stories of changelings and blood suckers that were told 5,000 years ago. Underworld offers a refreshing spin on both tales. What if the clans of Vampires and Werewolves were at war for over a thousand years? The dark, seedy “Underworld” is visually compelling. Let’s not even talk about Kate Beckinsale. The wonderfully photographed blend of Gothic and modern settings owes much to the European locations.
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    Fist of the Red Dragon

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 8th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    Set during the Opium Wars in the 19th Century, Fist of the Red Dragon tells the tailof two masters of marital arts. One of them leads the battle against the opium trade. The other(played by lead Donnie Yen) is a brash, cocky young man who falls under the spell of the evilprince who rules the territory. Yen must undergo some painful experiences before he realizeswho his real enemy is.

    When the fight scenes happen, they are reliably entertaining, with much by w…
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    New Guy, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on January 4th, 2004

    Seriously… was a director’s cut of this film really needed? Extended versions of The Lord of the Rings films are welcome, but come on now, The New Guy? This disc includes a mere 4 extra minutes of footage, all of which adds to the back-story; so for those of you hoping of a little bit of added ranch… sorry. You have probably read it before, but here is the premise…

      ”Terminally nerdy Dizzy Harrison (Qualls) is routinely laughed at, ridiculed and picked on. His senior year is nothing but an exercise in pain…
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    Adam Had Four Sons

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 2nd, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    In 1907, Ingrid Bergman arrives at the household of Warren Baxter and Fay Wray to lookafter their four sons. The happiness of the household is disrupted by the death of Wray and astock market crash. Baxter, fallen on hard times, has to let Bergman go, but when his fortunesimprove during WWI, he sends for her once again, even though his sons are now grown up. Oneof them has married Susan Hayward (the Slut to Bergman’s Saint), who proceeds to poison theatmosphere of th…
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    Black Dragon

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 18th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    In 1930s Hong Kong, down-on-his-luck Jackie Chan buys a rose from flower seller, whopromises the rose will bring him luck. No sooner has she said this than our hero winds up smackdab in the middle of a gang war, and the next thing he knows, he’s become the new boss. Inbetween difficulties with a rival gang, Chan rewards the woman to whom he attributes his changein fortune by setting her up in a grand hotel so she can impress her daughter, who is arriving fromShanghai…
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    So Close

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 15th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    Shu Qi and Zhao Wei are sisters who, after the murder of their parents, have become a top-of-the-line assassination-for-hire team, combining martial arts and weapons expertise with acomputer program that allows them to tap into any closed-circuit camera anywhere on Earth.Karen Wok is the tough-as-nails detective who is on their trail. All three women run afoul of acorrupt businessman who wants them dead.

    The Charlie’s Angels can only wish they were thi…
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    Medallion, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 9th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    The plot, such as it is, involves a mysterious medallion that, wielded by its child guardian,can convey supernatural power and eternal life. Julian Sands, phoning in a Creepy English BadGuy performance, wants the child and the medallion. He goes after the child first in Hong Kong,and then in Dublin (where, strangely, we do not encounter a single Irish person). Opposing himare Interpol agents Jackie Chan, Claire Forlani, and a bumbling Lee Evans. Chan is killedmidway …
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    Nil By Mouth

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 9th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    This is a portrait of a family in terminal disfunction. The breadwinner is Janet (played by“Laila Morse,” Gary Oldman’s sister under a pseudonym). Her daughter Valerie (Cannes-winnerKathy Burke) is apathetic, pregnant, and married to the brutal, bullying and self-pitying Ray (RayWinstone). Her son Billy is a heroin addict, and he is thrown out of the house by Ray (who alsoalmost bites his nose off) after smoking some of Ray’s stash.

    The worst-case scenarios o…
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    Belly of the Beast

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 9th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    Former secret ops man Steven Seagal’s daughter is kidnapped while on holiday in Thailand.Sagal, looking for all the world like a constipated Buddha, comes to Thailand to rescue her. Theauthorities believe a terrorist group called the Abu Karaf are responsible (people claiming to bethem have sent in a tape of their demands), but Seagal is not so sure. A lot of people will bebeaten up and shot before he unearths the truth.

    The plot is both meandering and hard t…
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    Gigli

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 21st, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    Ben Affleck plays the title character, a none-too-bright mob goon ordered to kidnap theautistic son of a federal prosecutor. Jennifer Lopez is the considerably brighter and lesbian mobenforcer ordered to team up with Gigli to make sure nothing goes wrong. Sound like a promisingset up for a romantic comedy? Apparently, the movie doesn’t think so either, as it doesn’t playlike a romantic comedy. In fact, the film doesn’t seem to have to the faintest idea as to what the…
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    Looking Glass War, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 21st, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    A British agent is killed trying to get information back to England, information that mightconfirm or refute the presence of a Russian nuclear missile at a particular location in EastGermany. The British Secret Service, operating on a budget, decides to recruit a Polish civilian,offering him asylum if he will travel to East Germany to find out in person if the missile is thereor not. Much of the film is taken up by his training. Our hero is extremely cynical, and the o…
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    Jury Duty

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 21st, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    Pauly Shore is a lazy, terminal loser who needs to find a home while his parents are offgetting married. Summoned for jury duty, he seeks out the trial that will last the longest andinvolve sequestering. He lands the trial of “the Drive-Thru Killer.” Also on the jury are hisformer principal and lust-interest Tia Carrere. Let me put it this way: Schindler’s List isfunnier.

    Audio

    The soundtrack is clear enough, but limited to 2.0 (get th…
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    Bad Boys II

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 19th, 2003

    If you like a high-energy action/comedy, you have met your match with Bad Boys II. Michael Bay has once again created a wonderful cinematic experience with this film. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have never been funnier; they have the best on-screen chemistry I have seen in a while. This sequel has more action then its predecessor, and is much more graphic… in a good way. Bad Boys was a great film that started Bay’s career, and Bad Boys II continues his legacy of high-energy action flicks.

    ”The…
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    Cuckoo, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 17th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    A Finnish sniper is chained to a rock by his fellow soldiers. Not far away, a Russian captainis being driven off to face a court martial (read: execution). A friendly fire incident kills thecaptain’s captors and wounds him. A Lapp widow finds him and takes him back to her home totend to him. Meanwhile, the Finn manages to free himself, and also winds up at thewoman’s place. A prickly, multicultural friendship gradually develops between the three. Not aone understands…
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    Legend of Suriyothai, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 14th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    We first see Princess Suriyothai as she is on the cusp of adulthood. Though she loves anotherman, she agrees to marry a prince out of duty to her country. This sets a pattern that will holdthroughout her life, as any decision she makes is not for her own sake but that of the nation. Shewill have plenty of call to be selfless, as a series of palace intrigues threatens the stability of whatwill become Thailand, and leaves it at the mercy of Burma. There is a lot of voice-over h…
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    Winged Migration

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 5th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    The movie is exactly what the title suggests it is: we journey with various migratory birdsover their long, often hazardous voyages. We are intimately involved with the travels, flyingcheek by beak with the birds, right in the middle of the formations. The result is beautiful,compelling, moving, and utterly astounding.

    Audio

    The 5.1 sound does wonders for the you-are-there feel the movie is shooting for. The musicis very nicely rendered, but what st…
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    All I Want

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 5th, 2003

    “All I Want” is a decent film that could have been great. Elijah Wood plays Jones Dylan (a quintessential Hollywood character name), a seventeen-year-old college freshman that decides that life has more to offer than formal education. Dropping out of college without attending a single class, he rents a nearby apartment and begins to get to know his neighbors. Before long, the underage Jones in enraptured in a tangled romance with two of his fellow boarders.

    The plot of this film is interesting, but unfort…
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    Horsemen, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 4th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    Omar Sharif is the son of Jack Palance (nobody said the casting was ethnically authentic) andis a proud champion of Buzkashi, an unbelievably rough sport which consists of a group ofhorsemen whipping the hell out of each other as they struggle to grab a headless calf. Sharifbreaks his leg in the championship game, and heads out on a long, treacherous journey to regainhis pride. With him are his magnificent horse, his increasingly treacherous servant, and aduplicitous nomad …
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    Eight Crazy Nights

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 3rd, 2003

    Adam Sandler and his crazy antics are back… this time, he is animated. I went into the viewing of this film with very low expectations; and although this is not a quality movie, it did turn out to be mildly more entertaining then I expected. This film is over-the-top and childish at time, but Sandler is comical as the voices of the three main characters, and the musical numbers are entertaining in a manner in which only Adam Sandler can provide. This movie will not be for everyone, but die-hard Sandler fans will p…
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    Ship of Fools

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 2nd, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    In 1933, a luxury liner sails from Mexico to Germany. On board: Vivien Leigh, who is bitterat the loss of her youth; Simone Signoret, a Spanish countess who is being deported; OksarWerner, the ship’s doctor with the bad heart condition who falls in love with Signoret; JoseFerrer as the rude, crude, stupid Nazi mouthpiece; Lee Marvin as the washed-up ball player; andso on and so on and so on. The format of big stars and their multiple interlocking tales was firstperfected in…
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    Tick, The – The Entire Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 2nd, 2003

    The Tick was a live action show based on the wildly different super-hero of the same name. He was also featured in an incredibly funny animated series in the early 90’s that also ended way before it’s time. The Tick follows the comedic adventures of a muscular, but dim witted 300 lb powerhouse whose duty is to clean the city of evil-doers while shouting inane phrases such as the always catchy “Spoon!”

    When I first heard that they were going to make a live action version of the Tick, I was very skeptical …
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