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PCR # 313  (Vol. 7, No. 12)  This edition is for the week of March 20--26, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Inside Man"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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A City Called "Destiny"....Florida Indie Movies Review: "The Bite"  by William Moriaty
"Inside Man"  by Mike Smith
Live Evil Update....Congrats to Unearthed  by Mark Terry
Moore is no Joke....Suess Birthday....A "Blackification" Day  by Brandon Jones
God Bless....We Are Family....My Favorite Films -- Chapter 12: "Smokey and the Bandit"  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Plummer and Jodie Foster
Directed by: Spike Lee
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 9 mins

I've always been a fan of director Spike Lee. When I did promotions in Baltimore, I helped champion his first film, "She's Gotta Have It." That his 1989 masterpiece, "Do The Right Thing," was not nominated for Best Picture is one of the biggest crimes in Oscar history and "Malcolm X" is one of the greatest film biographies ever made. Lee has had his share misses over the last few years, with films like "She Hate Me" and "Girl 6" taking some of the glory from "He Got Game" and "Summer of Sam." So it is with great joy that I tell you that Lee hits it out of the park with "Inside Man."

"Inside Man" is the story of a New York City bank robbery. A well planned bank robbery. When a group disguised as painters takes over a Manhattan bank, the leader (Owen) is very specific with his orders. Across town, and facing down an internal affairs accusation that he's made off with $140,000 of drug money, Detective Frazier (Washington) is called to the bank as the chief hostage negotiator. As calm and cool as his adversary, Frazier makes it clear that he's in charge and calling the shots. When the banks owner (Plummer) calls in his own "negotiator" (Foster), things get complicated, until it seems that no one is who they seem.

A well-paced thriller with just the right amount of humor, "Inside Man" benefits from a first-rate class. Both Washington and Foster have two Oscars on their mantles, and both Owen and Dafoe have been nominated in the past. It's always a privilege when a great cast comes together, and "Inside Man" certainly has one. This is the fourth time that Lee has directed Washington, and they have become as great a team as Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese. And Lee proves himself a worthy member of the team. His sweeping cameras capture the city and its people with the same care and skill that Scorsese and Woody Allen show. And Lee is not above taking a few shots at his city. When a white hostage is released, the police spirit him away with no problems. When the next hostage is released, the police notice he's wearing a turban and react as if he's Osama bin Laden.

A few weeks ago, I hailed "16 Blocks" as the first great thriller of the year. This week, "Inside Man" makes it two for two. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Inside Man"  Three and a half stars

This week's movie review of "Inside Man" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.