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Snakes on a Plane (R) -  -  -  - New Line Cinema  -  - Let's just get this out of the way: Snakes on a - Plane was one of the most satisfying films of 2006. - Yes, it was also the most overhyped film of the year - (even though the hype eventually didn't pay off), but - after all the smoke had cleared, what emerged was a - solid, funny thriller that took the atypical B-movie - conventions higher than could have been expected. It - was an exercise in pure action clich that made no - apologies. And while most of the credit to the film's - success has, so far, gone to Samuel L. Jackson's purely - enjoyable catchphrase-spouting FBI agent, the real star - is the script by John Heffernan and Sebastian Gutierrez, - which creates a modern-day action epic that refuses to - skimp in any department.  Louis Fowler -
  • Snakes on a Plane (R)

    New Line Cinema

    Let's just get this out of the way: Snakes on a Plane was one of the most satisfying films of 2006. Yes, it was also the most overhyped film of the year (even though the hype eventually didn't pay off), but after all the smoke had cleared, what emerged was a solid, funny thriller that took the atypical B-movie conventions higher than could have been expected. It was an exercise in pure action clich that made no apologies. And while most of the credit to the film's success has, so far, gone to Samuel L. Jackson's purely enjoyable catchphrase-spouting FBI agent, the real star is the script by John Heffernan and Sebastian Gutierrez, which creates a modern-day action epic that refuses to skimp in any department. Louis Fowler

The Descent (R)  - Lions Gate  -  - Many horror genre journalists placed this at the top of - their year-end lists. And while it's a completely - enthralling yarn, it attempts to be too many things at - once. The first hour is completely frightening: A group of - women, reunited after the death of one of their - husbands, decide to go spelunking in a cave not on any - map. Here's where the film becomes a claustrophobic, - white-knuckle "Fear Factor" exercise. Alone, it would - have made for a great psychological thriller. But in the - last 30 minutes, the film devolves into a rather tired cat- - and-mouse chase when a bunch of cave monsters begin - attacking the women. In another movie, that'd be a good - time, but this one just didn't need it.  Louis - Fowler
  • The Descent (R)

    Lions Gate

    Many horror genre journalists placed this at the top of their year-end lists. And while it's a completely enthralling yarn, it attempts to be too many things at once. The first hour is completely frightening: A group of women, reunited after the death of one of their husbands, decide to go spelunking in a cave not on any map. Here's where the film becomes a claustrophobic, white-knuckle "Fear Factor" exercise. Alone, it would have made for a great psychological thriller. But in the last 30 minutes, the film devolves into a rather tired cat- and-mouse chase when a bunch of cave monsters begin attacking the women. In another movie, that'd be a good time, but this one just didn't need it. Louis Fowler

Winter Soldier (NR) -  -  -  - New Yorker Video  -  - Technically, this film is 35 years old, but given the - situation with our country's current military conflict, its - re-release is as relevant as ever. Here's the premise: In - 1971, 30 Vietnam vets gather in a hotel conference room - for three days and share vile atrocities committed by U.S. - soldiers during the overseas campaign. Many tell-tales - were perpetuated by their own hands: rape, mutilation, - slaughter of civilians, apathy of commanding officers, - mismanaged resources, propaganda, brainwashing - don't see this movie if you have a weak stomach. It's not - the archival images that will get you, it's the stories told - through guilty eyes, shaking hands, fought-back tears - and remorseful faces. It views like a social psychology - experiment. This is human nature.  Matthew - Schniper
  • Winter Soldier (NR)

    New Yorker Video

    Technically, this film is 35 years old, but given the situation with our country's current military conflict, its re-release is as relevant as ever. Here's the premise: In 1971, 30 Vietnam vets gather in a hotel conference room for three days and share vile atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers during the overseas campaign. Many tell-tales were perpetuated by their own hands: rape, mutilation, slaughter of civilians, apathy of commanding officers, mismanaged resources, propaganda, brainwashing don't see this movie if you have a weak stomach. It's not the archival images that will get you, it's the stories told through guilty eyes, shaking hands, fought-back tears and remorseful faces. It views like a social psychology experiment. This is human nature. Matthew Schniper

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