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Number 128 - November, 2005

Staff

 


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Dominion Stealth
War of the Worlds  
   

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Warner Brothers

2005, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 57 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1 (16x9 enh)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Paul Schrader


Starring Stellan Skarsgård, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar, Billy Crawford, Ralph Brown

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

No

"Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist"

Synopsis

Father Lankester Merrin (Skarsgard) is a priest in Nazi-occupied Europe during WW-II, and when a German soldier is murdered, Merrin has to select 10 townspeople to be executed in retaliation.

His guilt is carried to post-war East Africa, where he is researching archeological digs that have religious significance. He uncovers an ancient church buried in the sand.

The Vatican sends Father Francis (Mann) to oversee the unearthing, and they discover that a demon, named Pazuzu, occupies it.

Pazuzu enters the body of a local native, Cheche (Crawford), and Merrin must exorcise the demon. It is from this process that Merrin relinquishes his guilt and takes on a lifelong mission of exorcising devils from humans who are tortured by them.

Commentary

You might remember that another movie, called Exorcist: The Beginning, came out recently. It was directed by Renny Harlin. What happened was that the studio had contracted Schrader to direct Dominion, but when it was done, they thought it was not horrific enough, so they had Harlin re-shoot the story, told in his own way of course, using the same lead actor.

Although it is Exorcist: The Beginning that made it to the theaters, while Dominion was released to video without going to theaters, Dominion is a much better movie. Its lack of constant graphic horror, and instead focusing on character development, that gives it a novel approach to the Exorcist series.

Extras

These include a Director's Commentary, Additional Scenes, and Stills.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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Columbia Tristar

2005, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 1 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16x9 enh)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

Thai Dolby Digital 5.1

English DTS 5.1

 

Directed by Rob Cohen


Starring Josh Lucas, Jaimie Fox, Jessica Biel, Sam Shepard, Joe Morton, Richard Roxburgh

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

Mild

"Stealth"

Synopsis

The US has a team of Stealth pilots, Lt. Ben Gannon (Lucas), Lt. Henry Purcel (Fox), and Lt. Kara Wade (Biel), who are considered the top three pilots that can be utilized for special operations requiring incredible skill.

Captain George Cummings (Shepard) introduces them to a new Stealth fighter that is unmanned. It is run by computers and is designed to go into situations too dangerous for human pilots.

Well, right off the bat, Ben, Henry, and Kara think there is no mission too dangerous for them, and don't like the idea of a computer-driven jet fighter taking any precedence over them, at all.

The new jet's computers learn from the team, and then some. It suddenly decides to go on missions of its own, and blow up terrorist camps in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the attacks will kill lots of unarmed farmers who live near the camps, so the team is faced with shooting down the most formidable weapon man has ever devised.

Commentary

This is another one of those movies that is CG-driven, rather than spending time on the plot and characters. It is a shame Hollywood has come to this. Although it worked at first because we had not seen such graphics before, these days you can find the same kind of CG in TV commercials. So, it's time to get back to basics: telling a good story.

Extras

These include Harnessing Speed, Music of Stealth, Make a Move, Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown, and other things.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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Paramount/Dreamworks

2005, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 56 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16x9 enh)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

French Dolby Digital 5.1

English DTS 5.1

 

Directed by Steven Spielberg


Starring Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins, Miranda Otto, Justin Chatwin

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

No

"War of the Worlds (2005)"

Synopsis

Ray Ferrier (Cruise) is a crane operator in Massachusetts. He is divorced, with a daughter Rachel (Fanning) and son Robbie (Chatwin).

Late one afternoon, while he has the kids, a strange cloud appears over the city. Lightning bolts flash, the ground heaves, and huge tripod-like mechanical monsters come from below.

Aliens have arrived, and they begin tearing the city apart as well as the countryside, vaporizing humans, and burning homes.

Ray and his children run for their lives, hiding in basements and farm homes that have been vacated by everyone trying to get out of town.

Commentary

When Steven Spielberg is reduced to remaking old movies, you know there is a shortage of scripts. The problem is that he didn't present the tale any better than it was told way back in 1953. And at least in the original film, there was a real story, where a scientist tries to deal with the aliens. In fact, Gene Barry, who starred in the 1953 film, makes a cameo appearance at the end of this one. Another sign you don't have a lot of new things to say.

In the 2005 version, it is just a broken family running away, and not doing a very good job of escaping.

This does not have the magic of early Spielberg films, perhaps because it is not associated with George Lucas. Cruise does not add anything special to it either. Fanning is the only star who makes an impression.

Here again, we have the CG being the anchor for a movie, instead of characters. We can get CG in TV commercials and video games. Movies - especially with a top director, stars, music (John Williams), and budget - should be much more, and this one isn't.

Extras

These include Designing the Enemy. Not much in the single-disc version.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

 

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