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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #514 (Vol. 11, No. 5). This edition is for the week of January 25--31, 2010.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Edge of Darkness"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"Edge of Darkness"  by Mike Smith
Forgotten Horrors: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things  by ED Tucker
January Albums  by Terence Nuzum
Ahoy! Pirates In Pop Culture  by Lisa Scherer
Curse of Japanese Toy Shopping  by Jason Fetters
I Love St. Pete @ ARTpool  by John Miller
Love Is... .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

Warner Brothers     
Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone and Danny Huston
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 57 mins

Remember Mel Gibson? In 1995 he won two Academy Awards for directing and producing the film “Braveheart.” His next ten major releases each earned at least $75 million at the box office, with seven of them going over the $100 million mark. Not content to sit on his laurels as one of the most popular movie stars of all time, Gibson spent $30 million of his own money on a little film that couldn’t even find a major studio to release it. Not discouraged by that news, he decided to release it himself. To the shock of everyone in Hollywood, with the possible exception of Gibson, “The Passion of the Christ” went on to earn $370 million. Mel even made a cameo in “Passion.” It is his hands that nail Christ to the cross. Gibson’s reasoning for this brief appearance: "It was me that put him on the cross. It was my sins [that put him there]." Unfortunately it was those sins that almost derailed his career. In July 2006 he turned a routine traffic stop into a drunken tirade that shattered his image. Now he’s back with a vengeance in the new thriller "Edge of Darkness."

Tom Craven (Gibson) is a Boston area detective. He’s in a good mood because his daughter, Emma (Bojano Novakovic) has decided to take time off from the security company she works for and spend some time. Tom is worried because she does not look well. When Emma gets violently ill she asks her dad to take her to the hospital. As they head out the front door, a masked man yells “Craven” and pulls the trigger of a shotgun. Emma is killed in what authorities believe was a hit on Tom. But as they begin investigating, with Tom’s unofficial help, they discover things aren’t always what they seem.

Based on a 1985 British mini-series and written by Oscar-winner William Monahan (“The Departed”) and Andrew Bovell, “Edge of Darkness” is the perfect vehicle to bring Mel Gibson back to the screen. Gibson recently turned 54, but since he’s been pretty much off screen since 2002, his aged appearance is almost shocking. His face lined by life, he’s more Murtaugh now then Riggs. But he still commands the screen. His blue eyes still pierce when he fixes them on a bad guy, but the twinkle of old is replaced by the aged glint of anger. Emotionally, he still hits all the high notes and it his performance that carries the film. His performance is matched by those of Winstone and Huston as an ally and an adversary. Winstone (“Beowulf”) is quietly chilling while Huston, who played Colonel Stryker in “X-men Origins: Wolverine,” oozes oil as the head of Emma’s company. The direction by Campbell is tight and action-packed, something I’d expect from a director with three James Bond films under his belt, including “Casino Royale.” When Mel is at his best, the film plays like a version of “Silkwood” meets “Ransom.”

Remember Mel Gibson? He’s back! On a scale of zero to four stars I give “Edge of Darkness”  

This week's movie review of "Edge of Darkness" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.