Streets of Blood

Streets of Blood
Streets of Blood is as ridiculous as it sounds. The DVD box reads, 'The Big Easy is losing the fight,' but it should say, 'The Bad Movie is killing the audience.' Here is a direct-to-video Festival of the Absurd so over-the-top, so incompetently made, so lacking in decent taste and common sense that the only thing missing to keep it from late-night Skinemax is a couple of sleazy softcore sex scenes. Sure, the film loves gratuitous jiggle shots, but they are not nearly long-winded enough to make the grade. Sad, since that is the only vein in which a movie like this could be deemed remotely successful.

At first the movie simply seems outdated, since it takes place in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. But we soon forget that simple fact once we realize that the setting is merely tertiary, and the story being told within that setting makes so little sense that it might as well take place in Lizard Lick, NC. Streets of Blood has literally nothing to do with New Orleans other than its characters' strained Creole accents and the occasional second-unit close-up of a Big Easy street sign that cuts away to transparent, poorly-lit sound stages.

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Constantine

Constantine
Rarely has the question "What the hell?" been more appropriate. An uneven amalgamation of the brilliant and the preposterous, Constantine left me by turns intrigued, confused, and wary. The recipe calls for some ingredients that are compelling, others that are audacious, and others that are downright maddening. With a bold, dynamic visual style that fuses film noir elements with traditional horror motifs, Constantine can be considered many things, but dull is not amongst them. This is not a timid film, yet it's not an entirely successful one, either.

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X-Men
For Marvel Enterprises, the arrival of X-Men on the big screen represents the culmination of efforts that stretch back more than 20 years. For that long, Marvel has been trying to get one of their properties - Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, X-Men, or any number of others - out of the pages of a comic book and into a major motion picture. Their longtime rival, DC, did it twice - once with Superman and once with Batman - but every trip to the cinematic altar left Marvel as a jilted bride. (Conan the Barbarian does not count; despite being a Marvel mainstay for more than a decade, his origins stretch farther back than the comic books bearing his name and likeness.) X-Men, which features an A-list cast and a top-notch director, represents Marvel's best chance at gaining a foothold in Hollywood. If the film succeeds, they have other projects waiting in the wings, including multiple X-Men sequels (can anyone say "franchise"?). If it fails, the future of big-budget superhero movies, already uncertain in the wake of the Batman and Robin disaster, will be gloomy indeed.

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Monsters, Inc.

Monsters, Inc.
Remember when, as a child, you used to fear the monster under the bed or in the closet - how your parents would tell you to go to sleep, that it wasn't real? Monsters, Inc. confirms what every child really knows - the things that go bump in the night have more substance than silly grown ups recognize. Brought to the screen by the marriage of Disney and Pixar, Monsters, Inc. is the fourth computer animated motion picture offspring of this union. Like its older siblings, Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc. is a triumph of storytelling. Each new movie of this sort raises the bar a little more, and, while Monsters, Inc. doesn't eclipse Dreamworks' Shrek, it comes close.

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Arlington Road

Arlington Road
There's no doubt that the subject matter tackled by Arlington Road is topical. Terrorism at home is a very real danger in this current climate of world uncertainty, and, arguably, a greater danger is posed to U.S. security by radical political groups within this country than by outside forces. By borrowing heavily from the images and events surrounding the Oklahoma City tragedy, Arlington Road postulates that there might be a huge underground conspiracy driving this sort of activity, and, if it isn't stopped, history will repeat itself. As long as there's a patsy to take the fall, there's no motivation to dig deeper.

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Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Every year around the Christmas season, it seems impossible to turn on the television without seeing either George Seaton's Miracle on 34th Street or Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. Like Handel's "Messiah", evergreen trees, red suits, and the seemingly-endless barrage of carols, these films have become indicative of the time of year. Considering the wide availability of Miracle on 34th Street, it's curious why Home Alone's John Hughes targeted the movie for a remake. This isn't some obscure title gathering dust on video store shelves. Writer/producer Hughes and his director Les Mayfield have taken an audacious - and some would argue ill-advised - step in remaking such a highly-visible and often-rerun motion picture. (There was also a 1973 made-for-TV version that I know little about.) The result is similar to the case of Warren Beatty's recent Love Affair. While certainly enjoyable, the film doesn't attain the level of its predecessor, and there aren't enough changes to infuse this movie with a sense of freshness or originality. The touches added to modernize the story are mostly minor (like Kriss Kringle appearing on Good Morning America) and often ineffective.

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Game
Alfred Hitchcock used the term "refrigerator movie" to describe certain films. According to the great director, refrigerator movies are well-paced thrillers that work effectively while being watched, but fall apart upon later examination (while "standing in front of the refrigerator"). David Fincher's The Game is an obvious member of this class of motion pictures. As it's unspooling on screen, the film is hugely entertaining, but there are several significant plot holes that grow wider the more closely they're investigated.

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Hudsucker Proxy

Hudsucker Proxy
"Out of hope, out of rope, out of time."
- William Cobbs in the opening narration of The Hudsucker Proxy

Tim Robbins has a knack for finding his way into superior satires. After taking the lead role in Robert Altman's The Player and starring in his own big-feature directorial debut, Bob Roberts, Robbins has now landed top billing for the latest film from the Coen Brothers, a wickedly funny and incisive lampoon of big business called The Hudsucker Proxy.

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Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown

Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown
I must admit I was a bit dubious about this new special for it was the 1st one without the great and late Bill Melendez. It seems Lee Mendelson was not involved either, but Schulz' son was. This one stood out from all the other post-Schulz era specials for its '60s style. As a comic-strip fan I appreciate attention to detail. The "classic" effect obtained through the retro animation worked out pretty well, bringing some nostalgia. The story development was somewhat modern, deeper, beyond previous attempts, and yet kept all the action faithful to the Peanuts world and spirit. The gags were delightfully funny, they cracked me up quite a few times. I simply loved the use of one of the most famous Beethoven symphonies, but I won't spoil it for you. Not only the music, but the way they managed to create a matching animated treat, was indeed a creative highlight.

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I Am You aka In Her Skin

I Am You aka In Her Skin
Tale of a 15-year-old Australian girl who went missing and was found to have been murdered by her babysitter.

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Damien: Omen II

Damien: Omen II
Seven years later, 13-year-old Damien is just discovering who he really is, and what he is destined to do. Now living with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousin in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, Damien is anxious to inherit everything. Can Richard Thorn finish the job that Damiens father (Ambassador Thorn) started?

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End Game

End Game
A secret Service agent and a news reporter investigate the conspiracy behind the assassination of the President.

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Jersey Shore - Season Two

Jersey Shore - Season Two
The show debuted amid large amounts of controversy regarding the use of the words GuidoGuidette, portrayals of Italian-American stereotypes, and scrutiny from locals because the cast members were not residents of the area.

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Left Behind III: World at War

Left Behind III: World at War
Its been eighteen months since Nicolae Carpathias rise to power, and has been captivating the whole world, including President Fitzhugh. There are some far away, who suspect hes something more, the prophesied Antichrist. After a failed attempt on the Presidents life, Fitzhugh must call on Buck and Carolyn Miller to uncover the mystery. Meanwhile, the rest of the Trib Force group Rayford Steele, daughter (and now Bucks wife) Chloe, Pastor Bruce Barnes and the newest member Amanda White to uncover the mystery. Soon the lives of President Fitzhugh and the Tribulation Force will be connected in ways they couldnt have imagined.

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Mr. Nobody

Mr. Nobody
Nemo Nobody leads an ordinary existence at his wifes side, Elise, and their 3 children until the day when reality skids and he wakes up as an old man in the year 2092. At 120, Mr. Nobody is both the oldest man in the world and the last mortal of a new mankind where nobody dies anymore. But that doesnt seem to interest or bother him very much. The only questions that preoccupy him in the present is whether he lived the right life for himself, loved the woman whom he was supposed to love, and had the children whom he was meant to have... now his purpose is to find the right answer.

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New in Town aka Chilled In Miami

New in Town aka Chilled In Miami
A high-powered consultant in love with her upscale Miami lifestyle is sent to a middle of nowhere town in Minnesota to oversee the restructuring of a blue collar manufacturing plant. After enduring a frosty reception from the locals, icy roads and freezing weather, she warms up to the small towns charm, and eventually finds herself being accepted by the community. When shes ordered to close down the plant and put the entire community out of work, shes forced to reconsider her goals and priorities, and finds a way to save the town.

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