OnVideo AUGUST Video Reviews
CLIFFORD'S REALLY BIG MOVIE
Clifford the Big Red Dog, Cleo and T-Bone star in their first movie adventure. Clifford and his pals set off on a cross-country road trip when they enter a talent contest to win a lifetime supply of Tummy Yummies. Teamed with new friends, including Shackelford the High-Flying Ferret and Rodrigo the Chihuahua of Steel, the funny menagerie work together to turn a broken-down act into a record-breaking show.
Director: Robert C. Ramirez. Stars: Voices of John Ritter, Wayne Brady, Jenna Elfman, John Goodman, Kath Soucie, Judge Reinhold. CC, (MPAA rating: G, 73 min.), Animated, 2004, Box office gross: $2.831 million, (Warner), $19.96 VHS SRP, Available: 8/24, DVD: Day & Date.
CONNIE AND CARLA
Connie (Nia Vardalos) and Carla (Toni Collette) are two small-town girls whose dreams of stardom have taken them nowhere. From their debut in a school cafeteria to their current gig slinging drinks and belting out tunes at a Midwestern airport lounge, the singing and dancing duo simply refuse to let the less-than-enthusiastic crowd response dampen their show biz drive. For Connie and Carla, everything's coming up roses, naysaying boyfriends and snoring audience members notwithstanding. The girls lose one of their few supporters when their boss Frank ends up on the wrong end of a criminal deal -- a scene they unfortunately happen to witness. Quicker than a fast change in the second act, Connie and Carla pack up their battered dreams and extensive assortment of wigs and costumes and hit the road, running for their lives. Convinced the killers will never look for them in a place utterly devoid of culture (a.k.a. dinner theater), the pair ends up in the Land of Dreamers, Los Angeles. In a new place with new identities, they create a cover (with a lot of cover-up) that makes them the toast of the town -- headlining in a local drag club, they soon find the acclaim that has always eluded them, singing the show tunes they've always loved. Being famous is their dream come true -- who cares if it includes a tiny little lie? -- but trying to keep their secret turns out to be a real drag, especially when Connie meets Jeff (David Duchovny), a real nice guy she'd really like to be a real girl with. A 21st century take on "Some Like It Hot."
Director: Michael Lembeck. Stars: Nia Vardalos, Toni Collette, David Duchovny, Stephen Spinella. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 98 min.), Comedy, 2004, Box office gross: $7.976 million, (Universal), $22.98 VHS SRP, Available: 8/17, DVD: Day & Date.
It all begins when Ella of Frell (Anne Hathaway) is given a fairy's "gift" at birth -- the gift of perfect obedience. Forced to do anything she is commanded -- no matter how silly or dangerous -- Ella's life hardly seems to be in her own control. Things only get worse when Ella's father (Patrick Bergin) remarries, bringing into her life a stepmother, the dastardly Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley), and two sinister stepsisters, Hattie (Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham), who get a kick out of watching Ella obey their every request at the "Frell Galleria." Ella is newly determined to gain her independence and break free of the spell that binds her once and for all. She sets off on a quest of discovery that will take her through the Kingdom's most dangerous and darkest forests -- where she finds a fellow traveler in a go-getting Elf (Aidan McArdle) -- to the King's spectacular castle. Along the way she crosses paths with the idolized Prince Char (Hugh Dancy), who so often graces the cover of "Medieval Teen," only to turn the tables on fairy tale history and rescue him with true love.
Director: Tommy O'Haver. Stars: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Vivica A. Fox, Joanna Lumley, Minnie Driver, Eric Idle. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 95 min.), Family, 2004, Box office gross: $20.878 million, (Miramax), $24.99 VHS SRP, Available: 8/24, DVD: Day & Date.
GIRL NEXT DOOR, THE
Eighteen-year-old Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) is a straight-arrow over-achiever who has never really lived life -- until he falls for his new neighbor, the beautiful and seemingly innocent Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert). When Matthew discovers this perfect "girl next door" is a one-time porn star, his sheltered existence begins to spin out of control. Ultimately, Danielle helps Matthew emerge from his shell and discover that sometimes you have to risk everything for the person you love. In R-rated and unrated editions.
Director: . Stars: Elisha Cuthbert, Emile Hirsch. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 109 min.), Comedy, 2004, Box office gross: $14.544 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 8/24, DVD: Day & Date.
Based on the incredible true story of Frank T. Hopkins, who with his horse Hidalgo defy all odds as they attempt the impossible and compete in the legendary "Ocean of Fire," a grueling 3,000 mile race across the Arabian Desert. Onetime cowboy Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) was once billed as a living legend, but in fact the glory days for Hopkins and his beloved horse, a mustang named Hidalgo, are past. Outcasts from their own land, Frank and Hidalgo both have something to prove when Hopkins becomes the first American invited to enter the Ocean of Fire, a grueling 3,000-mile survival race across the punishing terrain of the Arabian Desert. With his competitors vowing victory, the race becomes not only a matter of pride and honor, but a fight for survival as they attempt the impossible.
Director: Joe Johnston. Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Zuleikha Robinson, Omar Sharif, Louise Lombard. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 136 min.), Action, 2004, Box office gross: $65.517 million, (Buena Vista), $24.99 VHS SRP, Available: 8/3, DVD: Day & Date.
JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION
It's a roadside emergency waiting to happen when Nate Johnson (Cedric the Entertainer) sets out with three unruly kids and one unsatisfied wife on a cross-country trek from California to Missouri for the Johnson family's annual reunion/grudge match. And yet, even if the Johnsons start out at each other's throats, in the comic adventures ahead they're about to rediscover one another's hearts. Despite being virtually ignored by his separated wife Dorothy (Vanessa Williams) and out of touch with his rapper-wanna-be son (Bow Wow), his Lolita-like teenage daughter (Solange Knowles) and his imaginary-dog-toting youngest child (Gabby Soleil), Nate is convinced that he and his relations can make off with the coveted Johnson Reunion Family of the Year award. But first they have to make it to Missouri. From the minute Nate hits the accelerator of his Lincoln Navigator, the Johnsons encounter one mishap after another, as they are sucked into the universe of Murphy's Law where anything that can go wrong does ... and the catastrophes just keep multiplying. Along the way, Nate is chased by an 18-wheeler out for revenge, savaged by unhygienic diners, put under a spell by a voodoo hitchhiker, taken into police custody for using a "biological weapon," set adrift in a corn field and trapped in a hot tub nightmare. Still, nothing can detour Nate from getting his family to Missouri on time -- except maybe finding Missouri.
Director: Christopher Erskin. Stars: Cedric the Entertainer, Vanessa L. Williams, Lil' Bow Wow. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 96 min.), Comedy, 2004, Box office gross: $30.977 million, (Fox), $19.98 VHS SRP, Available: 8/10, DVD: Day & Date.
KILL BIL-VOL. 2
The action-packed conclusion to writer-director Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" saga. After dispensing with former colleagues O-Ren Ishii and Vernita Green in "Kill Bill--Vol. 1," the Bride (Uma Thurman) goes out west to resume her quest for justice. She has two remaining foes on her "death list" to pursue -- Budd (Michael Madsen) and Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah). If she can survive these two assassins, she still has her ultimate goal to achieve -- to kill Bill (David Carradine). This adrenaline-fueled, wildly entertaining film brings together all the plot elements from "Vol.-1" in a stunning finale. In "Vol.-1" we learned that Bill, a broker of killers for hire, had assembled and trained a ruthless assortment of assassins, the so-called Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DiVAS). Each of these gifted murderers was code-named for a different species of poisonous snake: O- Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) was Cottonmouth, Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) was California Mountain Snake, Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) was Copperhead, and Budd (Michael Madsen), Bill's kid brother and the only other male in the Viper Squad, was known as Sidewinder. The lethal weapon known as Black Mamba, played by Thurman, the most talented of them all, was also Bill's lover, and she became a fugitive from the assassination game when she learned that she was pregnant with his child. At that moment her worldview shifted on its axis. She no longer wanted to kill or to put her life in mortal danger. She changed her name, hid out in a small town, and found herself a kind and stable man to a marry. But Bill was not about to let this situation stand. We caught a few glimpses of the result early in "Vol. 1" with the wreckage left behind when Bill and the Vipers assaulted a tiny rural chapel and slaughtered everyone in sight. That slaughter sets the plot of "Vol. 2" in motion. After fending off attacks from Budd and Driver, The Bride tracks her ultimate quarry to his lair in Mexico, with a flashback to The Bride's Zen-like training as a kung-fu master.
Director: Quentin Tarantino. Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Sonny Chiba, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Lucy Liu, LaTanya Richardson, Michael Jai White. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 137 min.), Action, 2004, Box office gross: $57.791 million, (Miramax), $24.99 VHS SRP, Available: 8/10, DVD: Day & Date.
LAWS OF ATTRACTION
High-powered New York divorce attorneys Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan) and Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) have seen love gone wrong in all its worst case scenarios -- so how bad could their own chances be? At the top of their respective games, Audrey and Daniel are a classic study in opposites. She practices law strictly by the book; he always manages to win by the seat of his pants. But soon they're pitted against each other on opposite sides of a nasty public divorce between famous clients (Parker Posey and Michael Sheen), with the case centering on an Irish castle which each future divorcee has their sights set on. Audrey and Daniel travel to Ireland to chase down separate depositions, yet the two lawyers, who have slowly been developing a mutual attraction that neither wants to acknowledge, find themselves thrown together at a romantic Irish country festival. Naturally, after a night of wild celebrating, they wake up the next morning as man and wife. Now they have to return to New York to carry on with their surprising new situation and the ongoing court case.
Director: Peter Howitt. Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Michael Sheen, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 87 min.), Romantic Comedy, 2004, Box office gross: $17.755 million, (New Line), $22.99 VHS SRP, Available: 8/24, DVD: Day & Date.
NEW YORK MINUTE
Two 17-year-old sisters Jane and Roxanne Ryan are on a wild romp through the streets, subways and sewers of Manhattan during one unforgettable day. Uptight overachiever Jane (Ashley Olsen), up for a scholarship at Oxford University, has a major speech to give while laid-back rock rebel Roxy (Mary-Kate Olsen) hopes to get backstage at a video shoot and slip her demo tape to the band. But Jane's and Roxy's plans go wildly awry and the two must join together when a mix-up involving Jane's all-important day planner lands them in the middle of a black market music piracy scheme. Sidetracked, sideswiped and chased from Chinatown to Times Square to Harlem by everyone from assassins to politicians to a whacked-out truancy officer (Eugene Levy), the sisters also find unexpected romance in the form of a Senator's bad-boy son (Jared Padalecki) and a cute bike messenger (Riley Smith).
Director: Dennie Gordon. Stars: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Andy Richter, Jared Padalecki, Riley Smith, Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 91 min.), Teen adventure, 2004, Box office gross: $14.018 million, (Warner), $13.95 VHS SRP, Available: 8/17, DVD: Day & Date.
PASSION OF THE CHRIST, THE
"The Passion of the Christ" is a film about the last 12 hours of Jesus of Nazareth's life. The film opens in the Garden of Olives (Gethsemane) where Jesus has gone to pray after the Last Supper. Jesus resists Satan's temptations. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus is arrested and taken back to within the city walls of Jerusalem where the leaders of the Pharisees confront him with accusations of blasphemy and his trial results in a condemnation to death. Jesus is brought before Pilate, the Roman Governor of Palestine, who listens to the accusations leveled at him by the Pharisees. Realizing he is confronting a political conflict, Pilate defers to King Herod in the matter. Herod returns Jesus to Pilate who gives the crowd a choice between Jesus and the criminal Barrabas. The crowd chooses to have Barrabas set free and to condemn Jesus. Jesus is handed over to the Roman soldiers and flagellated. Jesus is presented with the cross and is ordered to carry it through the streets of Jerusalem all the way up to Golgotha. On Golgotha, Jesus is nailed to the cross and undergoes his last temptation -- the fear that he has been abandoned by his Father. He overcomes his fear, looks at Mary, his Holy Mother, and makes the pronouncement which only she can fully understand, "it is accomplished." He then dies. In Aramaic and Latin with English subtitles.
Director: Mel Gibson. Stars: James Gaviezel, Monica Bellucci, Claudia Gerini, Maia Morgenstern. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 127 min.), Religious, 2004, Box office gross: $366.685 million, (Fox), $24.98 VHS SRP, Available: 8/31, DVD: Day & Date.
PRINCE & ME, THE
Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) is a girl from Wisconsin dedicated to fulfilling her dream of becoming a doctor. While studying medicine and moving one step closer to making that dream a reality, Paige meets Eddie (Luke Malby), who unbeknownst to her is the Crown Prince of Denmark posing as a typical college student as a means of escaping his royal obligations. As their relationship deepens and the two fall in love, Paige must choose between her dream of becoming a doctor and the possibility of becoming part of Denmark's royal family.
Director: Martha Coolidge. Stars: Julia Stiles, Luke Mably, Ben Miller, James Fox, Miranda Richardson, Eliza Bennett, Alberta Watson. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 110 min.), Romantic comedy, 2004, Box office gross: $28.108 million, (Paramount), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 8/10, DVD: Day & Date.
Angelina Jolie plays FBI Profiler Illeana Scott in this edgy cat-and mouse thriller that offers one killer plot twist after another. Scott doesn't rely on traditional crime-solving techniques to unravel the mysteries of a murderous mind. Her intuitive, unconventional approach is often the only way to unlock the identities of the killers for the police to capture. When Montreal detectives handling a local homicide investigation reluctantly ask for an outsider's help to get inside the head of a cunning serial killer, Scott joins the case. With meticulous insight, she theorizes that the chameleon-like killer is 'life-jacking' -- assuming the lives and identities of his victims for the last 20 years. As the pressure mounts to catch the elusive murderer, Scott's unorthodox methods alienate her from a territorial police team that feels threatened by her uncanny abilities. Her seemingly cold demeanor belies an unparalleled passion for her work, and she's at her best when she's working alone. But when an unexpected attraction sparks a complicated romantic entanglement, the consummate specialist begins to doubt her finely honed instincts. Alone in an unfamiliar city with no one she can trust, Scott suddenly finds herself on a twisted and terrifying journey, surrounded by suspects in a case that has become chillingly personal. A case in which the killer somehow knows more about Scott than she wants him to. In R-rated VHS and R-rated and unrated director's cut DVD editions.
Director: D.J. Caruso. Stars: Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Olivier Martinez, Gena Rowlands. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 103 min.), Thriller, 2004, Box office gross: $32.682 million, (Warner), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 8/17, DVD: Day & Date.
13 GOING ON 30
It's 1987 and Jenna is a 13-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood. The problem is that adulthood is just not arriving fast enough. She's suffocated by her dorky parents, ignored by the hip kids in school -- and the cute guy she has a crush on, barely knows her name. No longer content to spend time only with her best friend and neighbor, Matt Flamhaff, Jenna invites the cool kids to her 13th birthday party. But the party is a disaster. Jenna is humiliated when she's locked in the closet for a game of "Seven Minutes in Heaven" and everyone deserts her. Alone in the closet, Jenna makes an earnest wish. If only she could be all grown up, she'd have the life she's always wanted. Miraculously, her wish comes true. The next day, when Jenna emerges from the closet, it's 2004 and she's 30-years old. What's more, she's a gorgeous successful woman (Jennifer Garner) with a great job and a fabulous Fifth Avenue apartment. She's finally cool and popular. The only hitch? She has absolutely no idea how she got there. Initially frightened but gradually enchanted by her new life, Jenna soon realizes there's something missing -- Matt. When she looks him up, she's horrified to discover that she and Matt (Mark Ruffalo) are no longer in contact and he's engaged to be married. Jenna learns that having it all is not enough and decides to take a second chance at first love. Now her biggest wish is that it's not too late.
Director: Gary Winick. Stars: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Christa B. Allen. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 98 min.), Romantic comedy fan, 2004, Box office gross: $54.561 million, (Columbia TriStar), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 8/3, DVD: Day & Date.
Newly promoted police inspector Jessica Shepard (Ashley Judd) is searching for a serial killer, and is shocked to discover that men she has recently slept with are the victims. The investigation becomes more and more twisted as her partner (Andy Garcia) behaves strangely, and the police commissioner (Samuel L. Jackson) is being asked to remove her from the investigation as she is a prime suspect. All the clues point to her and Jessica begins to suspect that she might be the killer she is looking for.
Director: Philip Kaufman. Stars: Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, David Strathairm, Russell Wong, Camryn Manheim, Mark Pellegrino. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 97 min.), Thriller, 2004, Box office gross: $25.195 million, (Paramount), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 8/31, DVD: Day & Date.
All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.
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August 1, 2004