OnVideo Guide to Home Video Releases: August Calendar of Releases

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Guide to Home Video Releases:
August Release Calendar

DVD Releases

Movies are rated on a scale of one to five, with five denoting a classic. For more information on how we rate, check out our
Rentability Index.

calendar page Back to Calendar Index.

August 6
  • Lord of the Rings, The: The Fellowship of the Ring "The Lord of the Rings" collectively tells the story of Frodo Baggins, a Hobbit who battles against the Dark Lord Sauron to save his world, Middle-earth, from the grip of evil. In the trilogy of films, "The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King" (shot concurrently by director Peter Jackson entirely on location in New Zealand), Frodo and his Fellowship of friends and allies embark on a desperate journey to rid the earth of the source of Sauron's greatest strength, the One Ring -- a ring that has the power to enslave the inhabitants of Middle-earth. The trilogy chronicles extraordinary adventures across the treacherous landscape of Middle-earth and reveals how the power of friendship, love and courage can hold the forces of darkness at bay.

    An epic vision of good versus evil, "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" recounts the heroic quest of Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), a peaceful Hobbit entrusted with a terrible responsibility. Placed in possession of the omnipotent One Ring --- lost for centuries and containing the Dark Lord Sauron's "cruelty, his malice, and his will to dominate all life" --- Frodo must travel through Middle-earth to the land of Mordor in order to destroy the ring in the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged. Frodo is accompanied on his journey by a nine-member assemblage, the Fellowship of the Ring. The Fellowship is aided in their quest by Elf Princess Arwen (Liv Tyler), Elf Queen Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), and Lord Elrond (Hugo Weaving), whose knowledge of the One Ring brings to light the true danger and importance of the Fellowship's collective journey. Relentlessly pursued by Lord Sauron's dark riders, marauding Orcs, cave trolls, and goblins summoned by evil wizard Saruman the White (Christopher Lee), the Fellowship must resist the ring's limitless powers of corruption.

    Impeccably cast, written and directed, the 178-minute film is a monumental and delicious achievement.

    The second film, "The Two Towers,"heads to theaters December 18th, 2002. The third, "The Return of the King," will be in theaters December 2003.

    Director: Peter Jackson. Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Christopher Lee, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 178 min., Fantasy, Box office gross: $310 million, New Line, $22.94 VHS SRP. A Special Extended Edition two-VHS set, with more than 30 minutes of additional footage, will be available November 12 for $24.99. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Dogtown and Z-Boys Documentary takes a wild and wonderful look at the rise of skateboarding as a pop culture phenomenon by looking at its roots in Southern California. In the early-mid 1970s, in the rundown Dogtown section of Venice, a group of teenagers nicknamed the Z-Boys hung out at the Jeff Ho & Zephyr Production Surf Shop as a home away from home. In between bouts with waves, they took up skateboarding as a way to "surf" on the street, where they modeled their actions on surf board moves, something unheard of. At the time skateboarding was considered a passe fad (from the 1960s), something "for the kids," but the Z-boys brought skateboarding into the realm of popular culture sport. They began doing stuff never done before -- like touching the ground with a trailing hand while making a turn. Always looking for a new frontier, the Z- Boys began practicing their skateboarding moves in empty swimming pools, whose swooping sides emulated the sweep of waves. Their free-form, assertive skateboarding style set new precedents, and word of their feats spread. The public unveiling of their unique brand of athletics -- as the Zephyr Skating Team -- took place at the Bahne-Cadillac Skateboard Championship in 1975. As the aggressive Dogtown style (and pugnacious attitude that went with it) began taking hold, the young masters of this new style of sport became international superstars. Fabulous clips from the era as well as a raucous heavy metal soundtrack. Director: Stacy Peralta. Stars: Narrated by Sean Penn. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 91 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $0.618 million, Columbia TriStar, $19.96 SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Super Troopers Put together by the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, this wacky comedy follows the antics of five over-enthusiastic Vermont State Troopers who, because there's no crime in their town of Spurbury, while away their time playing jokes on unsuspecting speeders and assorted townspeople. They also have a rivalry with the city police and, when a dead body turns up in a Winnebago, the troopers and cops pull out the stops to see who can solve the crime first. But the troopers have trouble focusing -- they're more interested in stand-up comedy bits and practical jokes. Good taste falls by the wayside -- and gets ticketed for littering. Worth a look. Director: Jay Chandrasekhar. Stars: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Brian Cox, Daniel Von Bargen, Marisa Coughlan, Lynda Carter. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 103 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $18.488 million, Fox, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Deuces Wild Youth gang actioner set in a sweltering Brooklyn summer circa 1958. The Deuces find their turf threatened when the leader of a rival gang, the Vipers, is released from prison. Leon (Stephen Dorff), the Deuces' leader, tries to guide his boys through bloody brawls to keep the Vipers out. But when his brother (Brad Renfro) falls into a sultry and dangerous relationship with Annie (Fairuza Balk), the sister of a Viper, and his own girlfriend is brutally attacked, Leon and his gang are plunged into an all-out war to save their neighborhood. A genre whose time has long been past. Director: Scott Kalvert. Stars: Stephen Dorff, Brad Renfro, Fairuza Balk, Vincent Pastore, Frankie Muniz, Balthazar Getty, Norman Reedus, Matt Dillon, Deborah Harry, James Franco. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 96 min., Action, Box office gross: $6.000 million, MGM, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Business of Strangers, The First title to debut as part of MGM Home Entertainment's distribution agreement with the Independent Film Channel. Julie (Stockard Channing) and Paula (Julia Stiles) are two women on different rungs of the same corporate ladder. When they meet on a business trip and begin swapping stories and wry pranks, they gain each other's trust and admiration. But when Paula enlists Julie's help in a scheme that turns criminal, Julie begins to wonder if she knows the whole story behind Paula's malice -- and who her real target might be. A thriller of dangerous mind games. Director: Patrick Stettner. Stars: Stockard Channing, Julia Stiles, Frederick Weller. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 85 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.000 million, MGM, No SRP, Priced for rental.x DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Legend of 1900, The From the writer-director of the Academy Award-winning "Cinema Paradiso" comes this fable of an unusual man with an equally unusual name: 1900. Abandoned as an infant aboard a transatlantic luxury liner and named for the year of his birth, 1900 (Tim Roth) becomes a world-class pianist who could have anything he wished for if he could only muster the courage to set foot on dry land. Director: Guiseppe Tornatore. Stars: Tim Roth, Clarence Williams III, Bill Nunn. 1998, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 123 min., Drama, New Line, $19.98 SRP. DVD: No.

  • Man of the Century A young man lives life as if he lived in the 1920s while in fact he is occupying modern day New York. While encountering all the problems of the contemporary world -- independent women and shady criminals just being the start -- Johnny Twennies is an ambitious reporter who also needs to seek out the "scoop of the century" to save his newspaper. Director: Adam Abraham. Stars: Cara Buono, Brian Davies, Susan Egan. 1999, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 80 min., Fantasy-Comedy, New Line, $19.98 SRP. DVD: No.

  • Chelsea Walls The Chelsea Hotel used to be the place to live for New York artists. Mark Twain, Thomas Wolfe, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Bob Dylan, Jim Hendrix; they all passed through the hotel's halls. To this day, even though the iron facade has become rusty, new dreamers come every day, hoping to ne inspired by the ghosts of the past. "Chelsea Walls" tells five stories set in a single day at the Chelsea, involving an ensemble cast of some 30 characters. Director: Ethan Hawke. Stars: Rosario Dawson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Sean Leonard, Natasha Richardson, Uma Thurman, Mark Webber, Steve Zahn. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.039 million, Lions Gate, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Women in Film Three sordid tales of women in Hollywood. Sara is a casting agent dealing with a blind infant. Gina is a wannabe movie star masseuse who steals "energy" from her famous clients. Phyllis is a film producer who mothers her films as much as she mothers her children. The inside dish on tantalizing tinseltown. Director: Bruce Wagner. Stars: Beverly D'Angelo, Portia De Rossi, Marianne Jean-Baptiste. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 88 min., Drama, Lions Gate, SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Repli-Kate A young geneticist creates the world's first cloning machine but is a moron with women. So when he accidentally clones a smart and beautiful journalism student name Kate, he takes the opportunity to train her in the finer things of life: pizza, sports, beer and sex. But when the original Kate gets a story assignment that takes her to the cloning lab, a series of close calls, near misses and mistaken identities threatens the scientist's project. Director: Frank Longo. Stars: Ali Landry, Desmond Askew, Eugene Levy, James Roday. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 95 min., Comedy, Spartan Home Entertainment, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina, The The meeting of two fairy tale characters: Tom Thumb and Thumbelina, both tiny people who long for acceptance but whose paths have never crossed -- until now. Teenager Tom meets teenager Thumbelina and the pair embark on wonderful adventures together -- including a joust with the villainous Mole King. Stars: Voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Peter Gallagher, Bebe Neuwirth, Rachel Griffiths, Robert Guillaume, Esai Morales, Jane Leeves, Jon Stewart. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: G, 75 min., Animated, Disney, $19.99 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

August 13
  • In the Bedroom A resonant drama of loss and regeneration with deep emotions that are forced to the surface by extraordinary circumstances happening to seemingly ordinary people. Set in a quiet New England fishing village, the film revolves around the Fowler family: Matt and Ruth (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek) and their straight-arrow college-bound son Frank (Nick Stahl). But Frank has more than books on his mind -- he ends up having an affair with a local single-mother (Marisa Tomei) who's violent ex is lurking in the wings. When the estranged husband shows up, Frank gets in the way of a jealous rage and is senselessly killed. Now the Fowlers are devastated and must find a way to heal their wounds -- one that may involve taking justice into their own hands. But not after a lot of soul searching and soul baring by Matt and Ruth, and revelations about their deepest emotional turmoils. Director: Todd Field. Stars: Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, William Mapother, Celia Weston, Karen Allen, Frank T. Wells, V. Clapham Murray. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 130 min., Drama, Box office gross: $36.000 million, Miramax, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Clockstoppers A sci-fi outing for the Nick bunch. Jesse Bradford plays a Southern California teen whose main goals in life are to buy a neat car and catch the eye of an attractive transfer student from South America (Paula Garces). Naturally she'll have nothing to do with him -- until one day he puts on a watch sent to his research scientist dad by a former pupil (French Stewart). Seems the watch speeds up the molecules of whomever comes in contact with it, effectively making the world appear as if it has slowed down. This makes for all kinds of fun and nifty special effects as Jesse and Paula move through the city, playing practical jokes on people. But there's something sinister afoot -- a bad guy techie wants the watch for his own nefarious ends and goes so far as to kidnap Jesse's dad in the hopes of perfecting the device. Now the teens have to give up their stop-motion fun for a little espionage. Innocuous fun that zips along fairly quickly. The kids will love it -- and mom and dad can get some kicks too. Director: Jonathan Frakes. Stars: Jesse Bradford, Paula Garces, French Stewart, Michael Biehn, Robin Thomas, Gatikayi Mutambirwa, Julia Sweeney. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 94 min., Kids Science Fiction, Box office gross: $36.225 million, Paramount, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date 3 stars

  • Showtime Two of moviedom's most charismatic stars, Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy, team up for a cop comedy -- about a pair of L.A.P.D. detectives who become fodder for a TV reality show -- with a less than stellar result. De Niro and Murphy are the cops in question, who agree to let a network producer (Rene Russo) follow them around and film their activities. The gimmick is that Murphy's character really wants to be an actor, so he spends as much time preening for the camera as he does fighting crime. There's plenty of gags added on to the typical cop fare of car crashes, chases and gunfights, as well as a subplot involving a drug dealer who uses a super gun capable of launching rockets. It's totally unbelievable but, hey, it's a comedy, and it stars De Niro and Murphy, who are always worth watching, and Russo, who's doubly worth watching. Director: Tom Dey. Stars: Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy, Rene Russo, Frankie R. Faison, William Shatner, Drena De Niro, Pedro Damian. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 95 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $37.948 million, Warner, $22.98 SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Last Orders Wonderful "small" film by the always powerful Fred Schepisi, about the odyssey of three drinking buddies who put to rest the ashes of a fourth friend who has just died. Using flashbacks, Schepisi explores the quiet lives of the four men (and widow) through decades of successes, failures, love, lust and just plain living. Director: Fred Schepisi. Stars: Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, David Hemmings, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Ray Winstone. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Drama, Box office gross: $2.197 million, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • New Guy, The Lame comedy about a gangly high school student (DJ Qualls) who's a weak-geek-loser. With the help of an inmate (Eddie Griffin) he befriends, the loser remakes himself into a cool guy who takes over a new high school and wins the eye of a cheerleader. Director: Ed Decter. Stars: DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku, Zooey Deschanel, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin, Jerod Mixon, Illeana Douglas. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 100 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $26.818 million, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Birthday Girl Ben Chaplin plays John Buckingham, a bank teller who has grown increasingly bored with his straight-laced lifestyle and desperately wants to meet the "right girl." Through a Russian mail-order bride service he meets Nadia (Nicole Kidman), an attractive but quiet woman who barely speaks English. Soon, however, John finds it impossible not to be enticed by Nadia's charms. When some unexpected visitors from Russia show up on John's doorstep, it becomes obvious that his new bride is much more than she appears to be. Director: Jez Butterworth. Stars: Nicole Kidman, Ben Chaplin. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 93 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $5.000 million, Miramax, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Pauline and Paulette A trio of sisters must contend with taking care of their simple-minded sister in this Belgian fable that won the audience award at the 2001 Festival de Cannes. Director: Lieven Debrauwer. Stars: Dora van der Groen, Ann Petersen, Rosemarie Bergmans, Julienne DeBruyn. 2000, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 78 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.129 million, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Race to Space Based on the true story of the first chimpanzee in space. James Woods stars as Wilhelm Von Huber, a NASA scientist who transfers to Florida with his son Billy. Billy dreams of becoming a hero like the astronaut Alan Shepard. Wilhelm dreams of Billy becoming a scientist like him. When Billy is hired by Dr. Donni McGuiness to help train the chimps for the NASA space mission, he develops a close bond with Mac, one of the chimps. But when Mac is chosen to become the first chimp sent into space Billy worries that something could go terribly wrong on the mission. Father and son put aside their differences and work together to bring Mac home safely. Director: Sean McNamara. Stars: James Woods, Alex Linz, Annabeth Gish, William Atherton, Mark Moses'. 2000, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 104 min., Family, Lions Gate, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Accidental Spy, The Jackie Chan stars as Buck Yuen, an average salesman who gets caught up in a bank robbery. When he foils the robbery, he becomes a hero, and noticed by a mysterious man who reveals to Buck that he's a descendent of some of the most notorious spies in the world. Soon Buck sets out on a covert mission, where it takes more than just heredity to get through his crazy adventures. Director: Teddy Chan. Stars: Jackie Chan, Eric Tsang. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 87 min., Action, Dimension, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun Pre-school fab Rolie Polie Olie makes his feature-film debut in this direct-to-video release. It's Olie's sister Zowie's birthday party, and everyone is preparing for the big event -- until the evil Gloomius Maximus arrives. The villain threatens to bring doom and gloom to the planet. Will Olie be able to protect the party from being "un-funerated"? 2002, CC, MPAA rating: G, 75 min., Animated, Disney, $19.99 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Shiner Michael Caine stars as Billy "Shiner" Simpson, a gritty boxing promoter in London's harsh East Side. Too many years as a hustler and a dozen unsuccessful scams force Shiner to bet all he has on an illegal boxing match that results in the death of his son, an up-and-coming boxing hopeful. Fueled by grief and the desire to avenge his son's wrongful death, Shiner sets out to find the man responsible, all the while trying to stay outside the reach of the law. Director: John Irvin. Stars: Martin Landau, Michael Caine. 2000, CC, MPAA rating: R, 99 min., Thriller, Miramax, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Carmen: A Hip Hopera Way updated version of Bizet's opera "Carmen," making it into a modernized hip-hop musical that weaves dialogue and songs into the narrative. Originally premiered on MTV. Director: Robert Townsend. Stars: Beyonce Knowles, Mekhi Phifer, Mos Def, Rah Digga, Da Brat, Jermaine Dupri, Lil Bow Wow, Wyclef Jean, Troy Winbush, Casey Lee, Fred Williamson. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 88 min., Musical, New Line, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

August 20
  • Joe Somebody Weak-kneed get-even comedy has Tim Allen starring as Joe everyman, a nondescript video specialist at a marketing company whose life is incredibly dull and plain. Divorced and unattached to anyone except his precocious daughter, Joe is so bland and out-of-touch that he can't even pursue the possible romantic interest embodied by the company's "wellness coordinator" (Julie Bowen). But all that changes when Joe gets into an argument with the company bully over a parking space in the company's parking lot and is decked in front of his daughter. Demanding a rematch, he enlists the aid of a martial arts instructor (Jim Belushi imitating Steven Seagal) and begins to engender the admiration of his co-workers as they support him in his venture. Unfortunately, there's no where for this predictable schoolyard fantasy to go -- despite Joe's eventual growing awareness of what it really means to be a man -- and the film falls apart and pulls its punches as it approaches its climax. Director: John Pasquin. Stars: Tim Allen, James Belushi, Julie Bowen, Patrick Warburton, Greg Germann, Kelly Lynch. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 98 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $22.700 million, Fox, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Return to Never Land Fanciful and well-wrought sequel to Disney's 1953 classic, "Return to Never Land" takes you back to the enchanted place where kids never grow up and where Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys still taunt the villainous Captain Hook. Set in WWII London years after she left Never Land, Wendy is now grown up with children of her own. She tries to comfort her young ones with stories of Peter and Hook but practical 12-year-old Jane has no time for make-believe -- until she's kidnapped by Captain Hook, who mistakes Jane for Wendy and hopes to use the girl as bait to capture Peter. But his plan is foiled and Peter and the boys rescue Wendy, who promptly wants to get back to the real world. Not believing in pixie dust and flying, she makes a deal with Hook and Peter is captured. As things progress, Jane realizes the errors of her ways, and learns that growing up means tempering reality with a bit of youthful imagination and play, and she join s the gang in foiling Hook once again. The film deftly merges the original's animated style with some stunning CGI effects (in particular the opening sequences of war-torn London and the arrival of Hook's ship) and the story line is solid enough to not betray its roots. Though not an "instant" classic like "The Lion King," this Disney outing is a keeper for the little ones. Director: Robin Budd. Voices of Harriet Owen, Blayne Weaver, Corey Burton, Jeff Bennett, Kath Soucie. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: G, 72 min., Animated, Box office gross: $48.000 million, Disney, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • We Were Soldiers Based upon the best selling book "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young," by Lieutenant-General Harold G. Moore and journalist Joseph L. Galloway, this top-notch war drama follows Moore (played by Mel Gibson) as he leads his troops into one of the first major battles of the Vietnam War (in late 1965). In a place soon to be known as the Valley of Death, 400 American soldiers found themselves surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese troops. The fighting is realistic (as is the won't with war films these days) enough to make you squint away from the screen, and the sentimentality is piled on (as the women at home find out about their lovers and husbands' deaths), but the film is admirable in its depiction of the war-is-hell ethos. And, it actually paints the enemy as being human. Director: Randall Wallace. Stars: Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott, Chris Klein, Keri Russell, Barry Pepper, Don Doung. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 138 min., War action, Box office gross: $77.977 million, Paramount, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Sweetest Thing, The A trio of hot babes (Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair) ply their romantic trade in San Francisco, on the look out for the right guy but tumbling in and out of sex faster than a runaway cable car. The plot -- such as it is -- involves Christina (Diaz) meeting -- but not connecting with -- a guy (Thomas Jane) at a club and regretting it the next day, when she decides to spend the rest of the movie tracking him down. Lots of crude bathroom jokes and sex (it's kind of a female version of all those raunchy Farrelly brother movies). Director: Roger Kumble. Stars: Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Thomas Jane, Selma Blair, Jason Bateman, Parker Posey. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 84 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $24.430 million, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Iris Wonderful story about the famed novelist Iris Murdoch, keying in on love: the mysteries of love, the love of literature, the love of the mind. This is the true story of Murdoch, the acclaimed English novelist and philosopher and her life with novelist John Bayley. The story is based on two of Bayley's novels, "Elegy for Iris" and "Iris and Her Friends," about their life together, and focuses on Iris' lust for life and words. In their older years it becomes clear that Iris is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. But Iris' spirit knows no bounds, and her story is told thoughtfully and provocatively through her husband's eyes. Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville play the younger couple, while Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent (who won an Academy Award for his role) play the mature novelists. Director: Richard Eyre. Stars: Kate Winslet, Hugh Bonneville, Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Penelope Wilton, Samuel West. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Bio-Drama, Box office gross: $5.000 million, Miramax, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • National Lampoon's Van Wilder College comedy of the scatological kind, with typical sick jokes, plenty of naked coeds, and parties parties parties. The hero of this affair is Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) who, after seven years of higher learning, finds that his father no longer wants to foot the bill. Cut loose, he resorts to the one thing he does well: partyplanning, which helps him pay the bills. This gives us plenty of opportunities to see Van Wilder being obnoxious and rebuking authority. In the meantime, a school newspaper reporter (Tara Reid) decides to do an investigative article on Van Wilder, setting up the pair for your typical war of the sexes repartee. Guess who gets together at the end of the film? Director: Walt Becker. Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Tara Reid, Tim Matheson, Kal Penn. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 95 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $21.005 million, Artisan, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • All About the Benjamins Passable urban comedy has Ice Cube playing Bucum Jackson, a maverick bounty hunter who dreams of opening his own private investigation agency. He's currently trying to track down Reggie Wright (Michael Epps), a con artist who has slipped from Bucum's grip several times before. This time the cat and mouse game puts both men in the middle of a multi-million dollar heist, with Reggie unexpectedly finding himself in the back of a getaway van driven by cold-hearted jewel thieves. He escapes the van and finds out that a lottery ticket he bought turns out to be the winner of a $60 million jackpot. But, whoops, the winning ticket is in Reggie's wallet, which is in the back of the getaway van. Reggie persuades Bucum to track down the thieves: Reggie will get his lottery wins, and Bucum will have a big arrest under his belt, paving the way for his own agency. And now the fun really begins. Director: Kevin Bray. Stars: Ice Cube, Michael Epps, Tommy Flanagan, Carmen Chaplin, Eva Mendes, Valerie Rae Miller, Anthony Michael Hall. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 98 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $25.482 million, New Line, $22.98 SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Cat's Meow, The Dramatization of a fateful excursion of "fun and frolic" aboard William Randolph Hearst's private yacht in 1924. The fateful cruise brought together some of the century's best-known personalities and resulted in a still-unsolved, hushed-up killing. Innocently enough, Hearst sets sail with his lover, actress Marion Davies, from San Pedro Harbor early one Saturday morning, hosting a small group of celebrities and intellectuals including the brilliant but self-absorbed Charlie Chaplin, financially troubled film pioneer Thomas Ince, ambitious gossip columnist Louella Parsons, and eccentric British novelist Elinor Glyn. But while witty repartee is the order of the day, it quickly becomes evident that deceit and deception are also on the menu. As well as death. Director: Peter Bogdanovich. Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard, Carey Elwes, Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Tilly, Edward Herrmann. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 112 min., Drama, Box office gross: $2.875 million, Lions Gate, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

August 27
  • Queen of the Damned Adapted from Anne ("Interview With the Vampire") Rice's series "The Vampire Chronicles," this hot-blooded rock-infused vampire tale focuses on Rice's vampire Lestat who becomes a pop star and plays up his vampireness (violating the unspoken code of vampirehood that states that vampires should keep away from the limelight). Throw in a paranormal investigator and the centuries old queen of the vampires (Aaliyah) who picks this time to wake up, and the rivers of blood flow from New Orleans to Death Valley, where a climactic rock concert takes place. Cutting edge vamp flick keeps your attention and, in particular, shows off Aaliyah and what she might have become on screen if she hadn't died. Director: Michael Rymer. Stars: Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau, Aaliyah, Vincent Perez, Lena Olin, Paul McGann. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 101 min., Horror, Box office gross: $30.307 million, Warner, $22.98 SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • High Crimes Run-of-the-mill thriller has Ashley Judd playing a high-powered San Francisco attorney who risks her career to defend her husband when he's arrested by the FBI and charged with the massacre of eight civilians during a 1988 Marine raid on a small village in El Salvador. He claims he's innocent and says he's being framed; Judd takes on the Court Martial case and enlists the help of ex-military attorney and ex-alcoholic Morgan Freeman. Together with the court-appointed lawyer and Judd's sexy sister (Amanda Peet) they uncover an elaborate coverup, missing and dead witnesses, destroyed documents and, what's worse, find themselves wiretapped, stalked and beaten by mysterious men. As Judd and Morgan unravel it all and come closer to the truth, they come closer to losing their lives. This is one of those films where you can't quite believe what's happening onscreen but you're impelled to sit it out to the bitter -- and in this case, twist -- ending. Director: Carl Franklin. Stars: Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Jim Caviezel, Adam Scott, Bruce Davison, Tom Bower, Juan Carlos Hernandez. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 115 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $41.131 million, Fox, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Rookie, The Stirring story of courage and determination, based on the real-life story of baseball player Jim Morris whose promising career ended when he threw out his shoulder. Now a chemistry teacher and baseball coach in a small Texas town, Morris makes a bet with his losing team: If they win their district title, he'll try out again for the majors. Incredibly, the boys win and Morris has to fulfill his end of the bargain. And, amazingly, he tries out for the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays -- with a 98 MPH fastball. In three months he's in the majors -- winning games with his amazing Arm. It's a dream of a story -- a great inspiration for kids and adults alike. Director: John Lee Hancock. Stars: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Beth Grant, Angus T, Jones, Brian Cox, Rick Gonzalez. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: G, 127 min., Drama, Box office gross: $76.000 million, Buena Vista, $22.99 SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Wrestling With Alligators Set in 1959 during a blissful summer of innocence, "Alligators" is the coming of age story of a teenage girl who has her first romance with a carnival worker. Meanwhile, her widowed roommate is pregnant by a garage worker she doesn't love or want to be with. Both women struggle with choices of pregnancy, abortion, career and loyalty in times that perhaps weren't as simple or innocent as memory recalls. Director: Laurie Weltz. Stars: Aleksa Palladino, Joley Richardson, Claire Bloom, Jay Sanders. 1998, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 95 min., Drama, Vanguard, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

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    All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a Rotel RDV-1080 DVD Audio/Video Player, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.

January 2002 Releases
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July 15, 2002