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Number 127 - October, 2005

Staff

 


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Head in the Clouds Crash
The Interpreter Kingdom of Heaven
Batman Begins  

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Columbia Tri-Star

2004, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 1 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16x9 enh)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by John Duigan


Starring Charlize Theron, Penélope Cruz, Stuart Townsend, Steven Berkoff

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Mild

Sex

Yes

Language

Bad

"Head in the Clouds"

Synopsis

Gilda Besse (Theron), a 1930's Paris socialite, falls in love with Guy (Townsend).

Problem is, she is also in love with Mia (Cruz).

Her father, Charles Besse (Berkoff), is a cold brutal man, rich, and living in London. Part of Gilda's problems stem from this bad news daddy.

Although the Spanish Civil War erupts, Gilda prefers to ignore world problems in favor of the good life. When Guy and Mia both join the war effort, Gilda decides to disown them both.

Guy returns six years later, to find Gilda ignoring him. WW-II has started, and Guy is suspicious of her behavior. He thinks she has betrayed the Allies.

He still loves Gilda though, and now has to decide whether to report her seemingly traitorous behavior to the French underground war effort.

Commentary

The reviews were not good on this movie, but I liked it.

Theron is superb as usual (she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2003).

The movie has kind of a For Whom the Bell Tolls look about it. (Ernest Hemingway wrote the book.)

If you are a war movie fan, you will probably enjoy the film, as war is the venue for the story.

Extras

These include The Making Of, Deleted Scenes, Commentary by the Director, and Commentaries by Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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Lions Gate

2005, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 2 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Paul Haggis


Starring Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Tony Danza, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Thandie Newton, Terrence Dashon Howard

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

Yes

Language

Bad

"Crash"

Synopsis

There are several stories here.

One is about L.A. District Attorney Rick Cabot (Fraser) and his wife Jean (Bullock).

A second concerns a black movie director (Howard) and his wife (Newton), who are stopped and harassed by a white L.A. police officer.

Three: A Persian owner of an L.A. convenience store, whose shop is burglarized and destroyed by racists.

Four: A black L.A. police detective (Cheadle) whom the D.A.'s office wants to manipulate for political reasons.

Five: Two black youths who cruise the streets of L.A. looking for new automobiles to carjack.

And more . . . .

The film is about how all of these characters interact in life and death ways, without really knowing each other at all.

Commentary

This was Paul Haggis' directorial debut. He wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby.

Extras

These include Commentary by the Director, The Making Of, Commentaries by the Actors, and Trailers.

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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Universal Studios

2005, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 8 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Sydney Pollack


Starring Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Earl Cameron, George Harris

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

Mild

"The Interpreter"

Synopsis

Silvia Broome (Kidman) is an interpreter at the United Nations in New York. She translates between English and Ku, which is the language spoken in the African nation of Matobo, where she was born.

One evening when working late, she accidentally overhears a conversation on the floor, where two people, speaking Ku, talk about assassinating the President of Matobo when he speaks before the United Nations in three days.

Silvia reports the conversation to the FBI, and Agent Tobin Keller (Penn) is assigned to work with her. He is suspicious at first, as she seems to know just a little too much about the politics that are involved.

Soon, he realizes he must believe her, as making the mistake of not believing her when she might be telling the truth would lead to a disaster.

When Tobin discovers that Silvia is being stalked by international terrorists, he now knows that she has not been lying, and he tries to stop the terrorists from assassinating an international figure before an audience of millions.

Commentary

With an award winning director, as well as two renown actors, you might expect this to be a great movie. Well, no, it was good, but not great.

It starts out with a bang, ends with a bang (and surprises), but the middle is bogged down like a second rate novel looking to fill enough pages to justify the $17.95 price at the bookstore.

Extras

These include Director's Commentary, Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, A Day in the Life of Real Interpreters, and other things.

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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20th Century Fox

2005, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 24 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Dolby Digital 5.1

DTS 5.1

 

Directed by Ridley Scott


Starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, Eva Green, David Thewlis, Brendan Csokas

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

Yes

Language

No

"Kingdom of Heaven"

Synopsis

in the late 12th century, during the Crusades, when Sir Godfrey (Neeson) of England, visits a young French blacksmith, Balian (Bloom), and tells him that he is his father, Balian at first rejects him.

Godfrey tells Balian that he is on his way to Jerusalem, and that if Balian changes his mind, they should go together.

Balian's wife had recently committed suicide over the death of their firstborn, and the belief is that she has gone to hell. A local priest tells Balian that he may find salvation for his wife in Jerusalem by joining the Crusades.

So, Balian joins Godfrey, but on their way, a battle occurs, and Balian must go on alone. He travels to Mesina, Italy, which is a port, and from there, to Jerusalem, where he is introduced to the estate of his father, which is now his.

He meets Guy de Lusignan, a Knight of the Realm, and his beautiful wife Sibylla (Green). Balian immediately falls in love with her, and she with him.

In the meantime, Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), a Muslim warrior, has 200,000 soldiers in Syria, ready to attack Jerusalem and take it back from the English Crusaders who now rule the city.

King Baldwin (Edward Norton) asks Balian to lead the Crusaders against Saladin.

Commentary

It sounds like an epic story, but it is really just a banal love affair, with an epic backdrop. The movie failed miserably at the box office, and is on about the same level as the HBO series called Rome, which we can see in high definition TV on cable and satellite.

Extras

These are located on the first disc as well as the second, and include Tristan & Isolde, The Pilgrim's Guide, Interactive Production Grid, A&E Movie Reel, Orlando Bloom on The Adventure of a Lifetime, and other things.

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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Warner Brothers

2005, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 21 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Dolby Digital 5.1

French Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Christopher Nolan


Starring Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, Morgan Freeman

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

No

"Batman Begins"

Synopsis

Oh no, not another Batman movie, right? Well, this is the best Batman movie ever produced, in my opinion.

It is not quite the comic book story we are used to. Instead, it is a dark tale, with Bruce Wayne being in a prison somewhere in Asia.

Henri Ducard (Neeson) decides to help Bruce escape, as he needs him for his mission to rid the world of evil.

When Ducard begins Wayne's training, Wayne finds that Ducard's plans do not fit exactly with his own, and he leaves, under . . . shall we say . . . protest.

Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City, where, having lost his parents to a robber who got a little carried away, he takes on the role of the Caped Crusader, a.k.a. Batman. And, we find out why Wayne uses the disguise of a bat as his alter ego.

Bruce and his butler (also his right hand man in the Bat Cave) Alfred (Caine) work together to bring the violence and corruption infested city of Gotham back from the pits.

Commentary

If you have seen the other Batman films, this one will really surprise you, as it did me. I never imagined I might be so entertained with this story about the comic book hero so many of us grew up with.

There are a lot of major stars in this movie, so I think the producers planned it to be the salient episode in the Batman film series that it was.

Extras

These are contained on a second disc (with the Deluxe Edition), and include Behind the Scenes, Comments by the Director, Cape and Cowl, The Tumbler, Visual Effects, and other things.

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

 

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