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Plunder: The Crime of Our Time (NR)


If you can get past the pretentious opening credits' made-up terms like "crash-umentary," Plunder is a mostly interesting, seemingly thorough examination of the economic meltdown, courtesy of In Debt We Trust filmmaker Danny Schechter. Interviews with white-collar criminal insiders like Sam Antar are fascinating and give insight into how Wall Street players such as Bear Stearns attempted to financially murder America. But unfortunately, Schechter too often falls prey to that Michael Moore "cutesy" disease, with the director's super-blogger "media dissector" ego getting into the spotlight far too often. Worst of all, there is waaaaaay too much precious filler — do we really need a dissection of what happened from the soundtrack musicians? I would like to recommend Plunder, but it is in desperate need of an edit. Louis Fowler

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Five Minutes of Heaven (NR)

MPI Home Video

German director Oliver Hirschbiegel, in this difficult, uncomfortable film, deconstructs the notion of "evil" for today's culturally fractured world. In 1975, a teenaged Protestant hitman killed a Catholic man. Today, two men are brought together by a TV show seeking an Irish version of the South African truth-and-reconciliation plan: Liam Neeson is the former hitman who has put his post-prison life to better use; James Nesbitt is the witness-brother who cannot forget what he saw, or how his mother blamed him for not stopping the murder. Powerful as the cast is, Guy Hibbert's script is the real knockout. Subtle and sharp, it turns over revenge and grief, forgiveness and empathy, compassion and understanding; a piercing takedown of the delusions and selfishness that power internecine hatreds and fuel terrorism. MaryAnn Johanson

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Crimes of Fashion (NR)

Image Entertainment

Before they were poster girls for the current state of vapid sex-symbolism, Megan Fox and The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco did a tour on, ugh, ABC Family, including this trite teen-comedy. It manages to mix Legally Blonde with The Godfather, diminishing both in the process. The high concept? Frumpy fashion student Brooke (Cuoco) is made a mob boss when her Mafia Don grandfather croaks. Hijinks ensue, with all the easy jokes you'd expect from a made-for-TV movie aimed at one of the easiest-to-please demographics possible. In case you're wondering, of course Fox plays Brooke's bitchy rival, displaying all the promise she did in those Transformers masterpieces. Unless you're a 12-year-old girl, Fashion probably wouldn't interest you anyway. And, if it did, that's a Crime of a whole other sort. Louis Fowler

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Deadly Impact (NR)

MGM/20th Century Home Entertainment

Didn't straight-to-video movies get over using generic titles like Forced Velocity or Terminal Rush in the '90s when Showtime expanded into classier fare like, say, Californication? Apparently not, as evidenced by the DVD premiere of action film Deadly Impact. Clichéd title aside, Impact is a decent little cheapie, directed by the K — Robert Kurtzman — of K.N.B. EFX. Boondock Saints' Sean Patrick Flanery is Tom Armstrong, a detective on the trail of a mad bomber known as "The Lion" who, eight years earlier, taped a detonator to Armstrong's wife's chest, making the detective sacrifice her for the good of a city block. Typical chases of the cat-and-mouse variety ensue, but Impact avoids falling into the plot traps of movies like this by adding in enough over-the-top creativity and Saw-lite morality to keep things entertaining. Louis Fowler


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