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Number 116 - November, 2004

Staff

 


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The Punisher The Day After Tomorrow
Elf The Terminal

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Lions Gate Films

2004, Color, Rated R

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 En.)
English Dolby Digital 5.1


Starring Tom Jane, John Travolta, Will Patton, Roy Scheider, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos

 

Directed by Jonathan Hensleigh

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

Nudity

Language

Bad

"The Punisher"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Frank Castle (Jane) is an FBI Agent, and in his last assignment, the son of a drug dealer, Howard Saint (Travolta) is killed.

Castle retires, but Howard Saint wants revenge, so he has Frank's entire family murdered, and then goes after Frank.

Saint thinks Castle is dead, but when he sees $50,000,000 floating down from the window of one of his buildings where he launders illegal cash, he knows he has a problem.

One by one, Castle destroys the family of the man who was responsible for the death of his mother and father, wife, and son.

The film ends with Castle telling a friend that he is taking on the responsibility for punishing bad guys in the world and to check the newspaper daily. When she asks what section of the paper, he says, "The obituary", so I guess there must be sequels planned. I hope so, because I got a kick out of this movie.

Commentary

The film is based on the Marvel Comics character by the same name. If you like revenge movies, this one is for you. If you don't, then you probably won't enjoy it at all.

Extras

These include The Stunts, Origins of the Comic Book Character, The Making Of, A Music Video, Interview with the Cover Artist, Director Commentary, and Trailer for the Video Game.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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Lions Gate Films

2004, Color, Rated PG-13

2 Hr 3 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 En.)
English Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1

Spanish Dolby Stereo

French Dolby Stereo


Starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, Sela Ward

 

Directed by Roland Emmerich

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Mild

Sex

No

Language

No

"The Day After Tomorrow"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Dr. Jack Hall (Quaid), a climatologist, is warning the US Government that global warming is actually going to cause another ice age within 100 years due to shifts in the Atlantic current, and that something must be done now to prevent it. Of course, the White House pooh poohs the concept, saying that it would be too expensive to do anything about his crazy ideas.

Well, since the movie is only two hours long, the problem has to occur a lot faster, and it does. It starts snowing in New Delhi, huge hailstones fall in Tokyo, and an enormous storm begins to cover the northern continents.

So, Jack finally has the President and Vice President convinced, and he tells them that the southern states must evacuate to Mexico, while the northern states will just have to dig in until the storm is over.

Jack's son Sam (Gyllenhaal) and his friends get stuck in the New York City Main Library as the storm covers Manhattan. Jack hikes in to save him after his truck dead ends in a snow drift.

Commentary

This is in the genre of disaster films, and although it ranks 32 in all time box office receipts (http://www.imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegross?region=world-wide), it really is not a very good movie. The special effects are spectacular though, and this partially makes up for a mediocre story line.

I got the feeling the movie is a criticism of current US Administration policy on global warming and conservation, as the Kyoto Accord is specifically mentioned. (The US pulled out of the Kyoto Accord, with President Bush saying that cutting emissions is not in the US' interests. The rest of the world community condemned us for that attitude - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1252556.stm.)

Extras

These include an Audio Commentary by the Director and Producer, an Interactive Sound Demo, Making Of, and Deleted Scenes.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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New Line Cinema

2003, Color, Rated PG

1 Hr 35 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)
English Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish Dolby Stereo


Starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner, Bob Newhart

 

Directed by Jon Favreau

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Mild

Sex

No

Language

No

"Elf"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

On Christmas Eve, when Santa (Asner) visits an orphanage, a little boy crawls into Santa's bag and ends up back at the North Pole.

Papa Elf (Newhart) adopts the boy, names him Buddy, and lets him work as an elf even though he is twice the size of everyone else and is a klutz in the toy factory.

When he is 30 years old, Buddy is told that he is actually a human and not an elf, so he decides to go to New York and find his real father (Caan), who is the president of a children's book publishing company.

At first, dad does not believe that Buddy is his son, but a DNA test reveals that he really is, so he and his current wife (Steenburgen) take him in.

Buddy works part time at a department store, and helps set up the Christmas Room where Santa lets children sit on his knee and tell him what they want for Christmas. Of course, Buddy messes this up royally, because he knows that "Santa" is an impersonator.

In the meantime, Buddy meets a beautiful young woman (Deschanel) working in the Christmas Room, and they fall in love.

Naturally, everything turns out great, because this is that kind of movie.

Commentary

I thought the film might be a little silly, and it is, but in a good way. My wife and I really enjoyed it last night, and I recommend it to all families out there. I imagine this might turn out to be one of those movies that gets shown on Network TV every year from now on.

Extras

There are lots of extras here, including Kids on Christmas, Deck the Halls, Santa Mania, Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, Elf Karaoke, Read-Along, Script to Screen, and other things.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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Universal

2004, Color, Rated PG

2 Hr 09 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)
English Dolby Digital 5.1

French Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Stereo

English DTS 5.1


Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

Directed by Steven Spielberg

 

DVD release: Nov 23, 2004

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

No

Sex

No

Language

The S Word

"The Terminal"

Synopsis

After arriving at New York's JFK Airport, Viktor Navorski (Hanks) gets unwittingly caught in bureaucratic glitches that make it impossible for him to return to his home country or enter the U.S.  Now, caught up in the richly complex and amusing world inside the airport, Viktor makes friends, gets a job, finds romance, and ultimately discovers America.

Commentary

This is an absolutely charming film and one of the best I've seen all year.   It is so refreshing to get some quality entertainment on the screen, something which lasts more than 90 minutes, yet commands attention the entire time.  The microcosm of an airport terminal makes for a truly fun background onto which to put the characters.  Overanalysis may expose small improbabilities of the setting, but searching for such only ruins what is a wonderful story, expertly paced by Spielberg, with no lulls or rushes.  Tom Hanks is surprisingly convincing as a man of Russian heritage, barely able to grasp the English language.  Zeta-Jones is almost understated in her role but that is becoming the norm for her: always seeming to find roles which are second fiddle, even though she is capable of so much more.

Extras

There is absolutely nothing on the basic DVD edition which was sent to us for screening.  There is three-disc Limited Edition also available with, apparently, "the works".

Technical

The video quality is really exemplary with a solid gray scale and a color rendering which preserves what Spielberg captured on film.  There is little in the way of ringing, edge enhancement, or video noise, but there is a noted lack of detail, a softening of the image which places it short of perfection.

The soundtrack is first class.  Absolutely polished in every aspect.  The ability for it to delicately create the pervasive, dynamic sound environment of an airport terminal without calling attention to itself is fantastic.  For example, with little exception, you always hear the clacking sound of the departures / arrivals board in the mix somewhere but you won't "notice it" unless you are actively listening for it.  On non-THX processors, the DTS track will be slightly louder, but once the level discrepancy is accounted for, as usual, there is no perceptible difference between the AC-3 and DTS encodings.

 - Brian Florian -

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