Word from the Street: Hi Def Releases for Feb. 13, 2007

Blu-ray
Street date release: February 13, 2007

Broken Arrow (Fox)
Featuring: John Travolta and Christian Slater
Release the doves!! John Woo directs this somewhat lame action-thriller about erectile dysfuntio- er, a couple of wayward nuclear weapons and an actor tossing off the good will he earned in Pulp Fiction. Overacting never looked better than in hi-def.

Chain Reaction (Fox)
Featuring: Keanu “The One” Reeves, Morgan “God” Freeman, Rachel “Hottie” Weisz
What The ‘Net was to computer espionage movies, Chain Reaction is to the green environmental movement. Keanu knows global warming (and kung-fu, so watch it!) in this suspenseful actioneer. In hi-def, Rachel Weisz looks even more the hottie than she usually is.

Chronos (Koch)
Featuring: Mother Nature
Not the weird del Toro vampire film… No. This Ron Fricke movie is for those who love Godfrey Reggio’s “Qatsi” trilogy (Fricke was his cinematographer on Reggio’s landmark Koyaanisqatsi). Fricke originally filmed this fascinating visual travelogue of natural beauty and urban wonders in 70-millimeter (restored and remastered for hi-def) with a striking avant-garde ambient soundtrack by Michael Stearns, this one should be an immediate add, and a standout to any hi-def collection. This might be the one to showcase your hi-def theater system with and watch your friends grow jealous.

The Departed (Warner)
Featuring: Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg
In a week that brings us that small, yet highly influential, classic The Usual Suspects, with its fantastically chatty ensemble cast, we now have the not-so-long-awaited Scorsese-helmed version of the cult Hong Kong masterpiece Infernal Affairs. Virtually a shot-for-shot remake of that film with a verbose Bahston acksent, this one’s poised to win some major Ahscars® come February 25th. While the blood-drenched action may border on the ahbsud (okay, I’ll stop now with the Beantown humor), the ensemble performances are across-the-board great with Nicholson the only one teetering overboard into shtick. In hi-def this should look and sound fantastic as the color palette in this film varies greatly for emotional impact, not to mention the sonic impact of all the gunfire. Blu-ray release is concurrent with HD DVD release.

Entrapment (Fox)
Featuring: Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones
A sleek, classy flick about a world class art thief (Connery) trailed by an insurance investigator who isn’t what she seems… a nice looking addition to the action-thriller (or even rom-com) section of your hi-def library.

Ladder 49 (Buena Vista)
Featuring: John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix
Travolta again, this time as a Fire Captain looking out for Joaquin Phoenix. Travolta attempts to talk Phoenix’s unlucky fireman out of the predicament of being trapped in an out of control blaze at a high-rise building. Told with sentimental flashbacks, this is a weepy film for those that like their action leaden with emotion.

The Marine (Fox)
Featuring: John Cena, Robert Patrick and Kelly Carlson
From the remainder pile at Circuit City, this somehow found its way onto Blu-ray. A lumpy action flick with pro-wrestler John Cena as an ex-Marine (how come these guys are never ex-Navy?) unwilling discharged from duties in Iraq. Hardly a likely scenario given the current back-door draft for those already enlisted, but follow along with me here… He’s a rebel who does things his own way, and must find the jewel thieves that kidnapped his wife. Robert “T-1000” Patrick plays the leader of the band of thieves.

Phone Booth (Fox)
Featuring: Colin Farrell, Keifer Sutherland and Forest Whitaker
A lite, cheesy thriller written by vet-filmmaker Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, It Lives Again), this one stars Colin Farrell as a sleazeball tormented by the killer from Se7en, only this time the judgmental psycho is played by Keifer Sutherland’s menacing off-screen voice. Katie Holmes is once again miscast, but she’s sure to look as cute-as-a-brainwashed button in hi-def. Total hack, Joel Schumacher, directs.

Planet of the Apes (Fox)
Featuring: Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth and Michael Clarke Duncan
The Tim Burton version will look and sound pretty cool in hi-def. Mark Wahlberg’s the one lost in space this time, and he can’t stand those damn dirty apes either– except for the hot one played by Helena Bonham Carter. Also starring Paul Giamatti as an orangutan who simply won’t have any frickin’ merlot at his table.

Reign of Fire (Buena Vista)
Featuring: Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey
Bale! McConaughey! Fighting and slaying dragons! What more do you want…? Okay, we’ll throw in the lovely Izabella Scorupco too. While not a great film by any measure, this one will appear cooler on Blu-ray.

The Sentinel (Fox)
Featuring: Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland and Eva Longoria
A slick thriller about a Secret Service agent on presidential protection duty who ends up framed for conspiracy to assassinate the client (that is, the president). A by-the-numbers flick; the less said about this one…

The Usual Suspects (Fox)
Featuring: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, and Kevin Pollak
One of the best-written and best-acted films of the 90’s, this indie gem from Bryan (comic book guy) Singer is a re-watchable classic that belongs in every hi-def library. Benicio Del Toro’s mumblin’ performance is a blast, while Chazz Palminteri and Gabriel Byrne do some of their best work here. But it’s Kevin Spacey standout role as Roger “Verbal” Kint that makes the film so memorable and fun. Christopher McQuarrie’s award-winning script is a classic in its own right.


HD DVD
Street date release: February 13, 2007

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The Departed (Warner) Featuring: Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg
Only one HD DVD release this week and that’s The Departed. Virtually a shot-for-shot remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs with the setting transplanted to Bahston. While it could win some Ahscars® come February 25th, the blood-drenched action sometimes borders on the ahbsud (okay, I’ll stop now with the Beantown humor). The ensemble performances are across-the-board great with Nicholson teetering overboard into shtick. In hi-def this should look and sound fantastic as the color palette in this film varies greatly for emotional impact, not to mention the sonic impact of all the gunfire. HD DVD release is concurrent with Blu-ray release.

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