You can't move these days for quality American TV dramas—Six Feet Under, The Badge, Boomtown, 24, the increasingly amazing Alias—so it says a lot for the enduring genius of David Chase's Mob epic that it remains the most compelling of the current generation of TV imports. Series Four was as frightening and funny as anything that preceded it, and was especially notable for its treatment of the darkening relationship between James Gandolfini and Edie Falco. The episode where Tony snuffs Ralphy is unbelievable.
Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu play secret agents who start out on opposite sides, then realise they should be allies. The script and plot barely make it out of the first dimension, the stunts are contrived and irritating and one can only assume the stars were blackmailed into taking part. A strong contender for worst movie of the year.
Like something director/star Clint Eastwood and his trusty Malpaso production company knocked off in a weekend, Blood Work is a soulless chunk of Dirty Harryology. Yet again playing the geriatric-but-noble card, Clint is former FBI profiler Terry McCaleb, who's brought out of retirement to catch a nasty serial killer who once gave him a heart attack (don't ask!).
With a moody slow-mo intro, followed by a wickedly funny history of methamphetamine and capped by an intriguing roll call of deviant speed-freaks, the first 15 minutes of The Salton Sea promises, and delivers, far more than the rest of the movie can handle. Val Kilmer is the widower hunting his wife's killers among Los Angeles' drug detritus.
Sandra Bullock got little credit for branching out as a gum-chewing, neurotic hardcase in this clever Barbet Schroeder cop thriller. Two Dostoyevsky students commit the perfect murder as an intellectual challenge; it's up to boozy Bullock and sidekick Ben Chaplin to rattle their smugness. Schroeder ensures it has a dark heart.
In a small Arizona town a toxic waste dump creates a plague of hundreds of giant spiders. Cue mass destruction and enormous fun, since the SFX are first-rate, the cast (led by David Arquette) is solid and the script strikes the right balance between laughs and twitch-inducing 'arach-attacks'. The best giant bug movie for decades.
DVD EXTRAS: Trailer, commentary, deleted scenes, plus Larger Than Life—director Ellory Elkayem's first award-winning short horror film.