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.

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August 3
  • 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 98 min., Romantic comedy fan, Box office gross: $54.561 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Hidalgo 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 136 min., Action, Box office gross: $65.517 million, Buena Vista, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Reckoning, The "The Reckoning" is a murder mystery set in 14th century England yet steeped in moral dilemmas about the power of art, the temptations of evil and the search for justice that continue to haunt us in modern times. On the run in the dead of winter, Nicholas (Paul Bettany), a fugitive priest who has broken his vow of chastity, joins with a troupe of traveling actors led by the charismatic Martin (Willem Dafoe). Lost in the woods, the group arrives at a village, where the actors encounter a woman named Martha being sentenced to death for the murder of a young boy. Under Martin's leadership, the actors defy tradition, discarding their usual Biblical plays, and instead, decide to stage a bold performance based on the real-life crime, turning entertainment into persuasion. But the players don't have the facts straight. Through the creation and performance of the play, they discover to their dismay that Martha may be innocent and the ruthless killer still at large. Nicholas turns into an amateur sleuth, following a trail that leads to the castle that towers over the village. As the stage becomes a place where vital human truth is told, it changes the actors, the townsfolk and the very balance of power irrevocably. Now, Nicholas must make a fateful choice -- to keep on running or take a real stand for justice and, in the ultimate sacrifice, reveal his own hidden crimes. Director: Paul McGuigan. Stars: Paul Bettany, Trevor Steedman, Simon McBurney, Tom Hardy, Brian Cox, Willem Dafoe, Gina McKee, Vincent Cassell. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 110 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.245 million, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Garage Days Musical odyssey of a garage band in Sydney, Australia, as they try to make it big ... without any talent. Waiting for their big break, a group of rockers and their clueless manager can't keep their heads on straight -- or their hands off each other. Loaded with sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. From the director of "Dark City" and "The Crow." Director: Alex Proyas. Stars: Kick Gurry, Maya Stange, Pia Miranda, Russell Dykstra, Brett Stiller. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $0.020 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Tiptoes Off-beat love story revolves around the troubled romance of a young painter named Carol (Kate Beckinsale) and her fire-fighting instructor boyfriend Steven (Matthew McConaughey) who has been avoiding the topic of marriage for some time. After announcing she's pregnant, Steven admits that he does not want to have the baby at first, reluctantly revealing that he comes from a family with a long history of dwarfism. Though the pair is both fearful the baby will inherit this gene, Steven agrees to move forward with the pregnancy. Matters are complicated even further in their lives when Steven's tiny twin brother Rolfe (Gary Oldman) comes to town and Carol finds herself falling in love with him as well. Director: Matthew Bright. Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Matthew McConaughey, Patricia Arquette, Gary Oldman, Peter Dinklage, David Alan Grier. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 91 min., Drama, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

August 10
  • Kill Bill-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, Woo-ping Yuen, Samuel L. Jackson. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 137 min., Action, Box office gross: $57.791 million, Miramax, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • 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 Malby, Ben Miller, James Fox, Miranda Richardson, Eliza Bennett, Alberta Watson. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 110 min., Romantic comedy, Box office gross: $28.108 million, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 96 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $30.997 million, Fox, $19.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Sada "Sada" is a compelling erotic thriller, based on the true story of Sada Abe, a Japanese Geisha, who murdered and castrated her lover on May 19, 1936. Director Nobuhiko Obayashi explores Sada's past: her rape at age 14, her descent into prostitution, and the crime of passion that ultimately turned her into an overnight media celebrity. In Japanese with English subtitles. Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi. Stars: Hitomi Kuroki. 1998, CC, MPAA rating: R, 132 min., Erotic thriller, Home Vision Entertainment, No VHS SRP. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • National Lampoon's Dorm Daze Typical teen risque comedy set at a university co-ed dormitory a few days before Christmas break. One student hires a prostitute named Dominique for his unwitting brother to lose his virginity. Meanwhile, another student awaits the arrival of a French foreign exchange student who speaks little English, also named Dominique. So what do you think: Is this a set up for a series of mistaken identities and mishaps? In R-rated and unrated DVD editions. Director: David and Scott Hillenbrand. Stars: Chris Owens, Tatyana Ali, Danielle Fishel. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 98 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $0.056 million, MGM, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

August 17
  • Taking Lives 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R: 103 min., unrated: 109 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $32.682 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Three Musketeers, The: Mickey, Donald, Goofy New Disney animated version of the classic tale. Direct-to-video. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 68 min., Animated, Disney, $14.95 VHS SRP. 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 98 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $7.976 million, Universal, $22.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Mayor of the Sunset Strip "Mayor of the Sunset Strip" tells the story of music and fame through the eyes of pop impresario Rodney Bingenheimer, who helped launch some of the biggest talents in the history of rock music. Taken in by Sonny and Cher as a teenager, Bingenheimer was a stand-in for Davy Jones on the Monkees, and developed an uncanny ability to discover the musical gems that go on to top the charts. His music show, which has been a staple on KROQ-FM in Los Angeles since 1976, was the first to play music by Oasis, No Doubt, Blur, The Strokes and Coldplay. His '70's Sunset Strip Club, Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco, attracted such musical luminaries as David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and members of Led Zepplin. The film features in-depth interviews with Rodney supporters Cher, David Bowie, Nancy Sinatra, Deborah Harry, Alice Cooper, Ray Manzarek and Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay. The film also features Courtney Love, Gwen Stefani, Brooke Shields, Brian Wilson, Keanu Reeves, Neil Young, Pete Townshend, Beck, Joey Ramone, Green Day, Rob Zombie, Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Mamas and The Papas, Davy Jones and The Monkees, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mick Jagger, The Doors, John Lennon, Linda Ronstadt, Joan Jett, Elvis Costello, Phil Spector, Sex Pistols, Coldplay, Van Halen, Oasis, Tori Amos and Paul McCartney. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 94 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $0.257 million, First Look Home Entertainment, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Bon Voyage Murderous intrigues, political melodrama, scientific secrets and love affairs flourish in the all-star French romantic comedy nominated for 11 Cesar Awards (the French equivalent of the Academy Awards) including best picture and best director. A light-hearted, sophisticated farce presented in high-style and lavish period production from director Jean-Paul Rappeneau. This larger than life romantic comedy tells a story about a motley group of Parisians who head south to escape imminent German occupation during WWII. Among them is an undercover Nazi spy who's intent on stealing a top-secret formula from a pretty physics student, who has her eye on a handsome murder suspect, who is hot on the trail of the real killer, a celebrated mistress of a spineless government minister. Upon arrival in Bordeaux, they all check into the glamorous Hotel Splendide, where they soon become hopelessly entangled in a madcap misadventure filled with intrigue, mystery, romance and suspense. In French with English subtitles. Director: Jean-Paul Rappeneau. Stars: Isabelle Adjani, Gerard Depardieu, Virgine Ledoyen, Yvan Attal, Gregori Derangere, Peter Coyote. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 115 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $1.857 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 91 min., Teen adventure, Box office gross: $14.018 million, Warner, $13.95 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Rolling Kansas In Texas, in 1984, Dick Murphy, the eldest of the Murphy brothers, is a man with nothing to lose. He is part owner of a miserably failing T-shirt shack and his marriage to the beautiful Becky is careening headlong into the toilet. This, combined with a distaste for the harassing mortgage lenders pounding on his door, has put Dick in a foul mood. One evening the Murphy brothers inadvertently discover something quite amazing: The Map. They are shocked to find that their long lost parents, the Hippies Murphy, have bequeathed to them a map to a "Magical Forest of Marijuana," run as an experiment in hallucinogens by the U.S. Government in the 1960s, and hidden in the plains of Kansas. The film is an offbeat road comedy with a heartfelt core. On the surface it is a quirky, hilarious voyage pitting five heroes against the law, the land and themselves, yet it is also a tale of self-discovery as the road to weedland takes many unexpected turns. Director: Thomas Haden Church. Stars: Rip Torn, Sam Huntington, Charlie Finn, Thomas Haden Church, James Roday, Kevin Pollack. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 89 min., Comedy, Monarch Home Video, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

August 24
  • Ella Enchanted 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 95 min., Family, Box office gross: $20.878 million, Miramax, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 87 min., Romantic Comedy, Box office gross: $17.755 million, New Line, $22.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • 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. Stars: Elisha Cuthbert, Emile Hirsch. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $14.544 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Dogville This is the sad tale of the township of Dogville, in the Rocky Mountains, up where the road came to its definitive end near the entrance to an abandoned silver mine. The residents of Dogville are good, honest folk and they like their town. A beautiful fugitive, Grace (Nicole Kidman), arrives in the isolated township, on the run from a team of gangsters. With some encouragement from Tom (Paul Bettany), the self-appointed town spokesman, the little community agrees to hide her and in return, Grace agrees to work for them. Spring and early summer proved a happy time for Grace. The town had agreed that everyone was to give according to his abilities and she received wages for her chores -- not much, but enough to save up for the first of the tiny china figurines from the row of seven that had stood for so long gathering dust in the window of the store. At the annual Fourth of July picnic, Grace and Tom shyly declare their love for one another. But then the police come to Dogville and put up a wanted poster. That the gangsters had fixed to have charges made against Grace in their efforts to neutralize her came as no surprise. But what was surprising was that Dogville began to bare its teeth. The people of Dogville now demand a better deal in exchange for the risk of harboring poor Grace and she learns the hard way that in this town, goodness is relative. But Grace has a secret and it is a dangerous one. Dogville may regret it ever began to bare its teeth. Director Lars von Trier sets all the action on a bare-bones, theatrical set, making for a strange, avant-garde production. Director: Lars von Trier. Stars: Nicole Kidman, Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Paul Bettany, Blair Brown, James Caan, Patricia Clarkson, Jeremy Davies, Ben Gazzara, Philip Baker Hall. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 177 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.498 million, Lions Gate, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • 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. Voices of John Ritter, Wayne Brady, Jenna Elfman, John Goodman, Kath Soucie, Judge Reinhold. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: G, 73 min., Animated, Box office gross: $2.831 million, Warner, $19.96 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • I Vitelloni Five young men linger in post-adolescent limbo dreaming of adventure and escape from their small seacoast town. They while away their time spending the lira doled out by their indulgent families on drink, women, and nights at the local pool hall. Federico Fellini's second solo directorial effort is a semi-autobiographical masterpiece of sharply drawn character sketches. An international success and recipient of an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, "I Vitelloni" compassionately details a year in the life of small-town layabouts struggling to find meaning in their lives. In Italian with English subtitles. Director: Federico Fellini. Stars: Franco Interlenghi, Alberto Sordi, Franco Fabrizi, Leopoldo Trieste, Riccardo Fellini. 1953, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 104 min., Drama, The Criterion Collection, No VHS SRP. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • Merton: A Film Biography In his lifetime, Thomas Merton was hailed as a prophet and censured for his outspoken social criticism. For nearly 27 years he was a monk of the austere Trappist order, where he became an eloquent spiritual writer and mystic as well as an anti-war advocate and witness to peace. The film offers an engaging profile of this 20th century religious philosopher who wrote more than 60 books about some of the most pressing social issues of our time, including his immensely popular autobiography "The Seven Storey Mountain." The film weaves together Merton's writings and scenes from significant places in his life -- including his birthplace in Prades, France; his monastery in Kentucky; and his final journey through the East to Bangkok, Thailand, where he died. Insightful interviews with his friends and colleagues including the Dalai Lama, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, publisher Robert Giroux, and musician Joan Baez, paint a comprehensive portrait of a man whose presence in the world touched millions of people and whose words and thoughts have profound impact and relevance today. Director: Paul Wilkes and Audrey L. Glynn. 1984, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 57 min., Documentary, First Run Features. DVD: Only.

  • Hamoun A psychological comedy/drama about a bumbling Iranian intellectual, Hamid Hamoun. The film follows 24 hours in his life as he is trying and failing to write his dissertation about love and faith while he's also trying to cope with his wife Mashid, a successful artist, who wants a divorce. Hamoun's refusal to accept his collapsing reality is both a character study and metaphor for the condition of modern urban life in Iran. By Iranian cinematic master Dariush Mehrjui. Voted the best Iranian film ever made by a survey of Iranian film critics. In Farsi with English subtitles. Director: Dariush Mehrjui. 1990, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 117 min., Drama, First Run Features. DVD: Only.

  • The Cow Influenced by Italian neorealism, "The Cow" has the beauty and simplicity associated with the great films of that movement. In a small village in Iran, Hassan cherishes his cow more than anything in the world, for both emotional and economic reasons. While he is away, the cow mysteriously dies, and the villagers protectively try to convince Hassan the cow has just wandered off. Grief stricken, Hassan begins to believe he is the cow. The story, by Iranian cinematic master Dariush Mehrjui, is a treatise on emotional attachment told in his characteristically simple and touching manner. In Farsi with English subtitles. Director: Dariush Mehrjui. 1969, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 100 min., Drama, First Run Features. DVD: Only.

  • Highwaymen Rennie Cray (Jim Caviezel) is a man hell-bent on avenging his wife's death by a murderous driver. James Fargo (Colm Feore) is the chilling killer whose body has been reduced to a combination of human parts, prosthetics, straps and harnesses. Creative retrofits have transformed his 1972 Cadillac into an extension of his own body, a killing machine that he uses to torture and taunt unsuspecting motorists on the highways of America. Also on the case is a traffic investigator who recognizes that Cray, in his obsession to stop Fargo, is starting to blur the line between right and wrong. When one of his victims survives and attack, Fargo becomes fixated on her, making her the bait in a chillingly dangerous cat-and-mouse game that culminates in an explosive showdown. Director: Robert Harmon. Stars: Jim Caviezel, Colm Feore, Rhona Mitra, Frankie Faison. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 80 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $0.367 million, New Line, $22.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Komediant The glory days of the Yiddish stage are brought to life in this funny-sad saga of a legendary theatrical family, the Bursteins. Their story sheds light on the short, stormy but also charming history of the popular Yiddish theater. The Bursteins, and other past celebrities of the Yiddish theater tell bittersweet stories and anecdotes from its heyday, down to its tragic decline, in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Smoothly incorporating rare archival footage and interviews with Yiddish stage veterans (including Fyvush Finkel), this tightly edited, briskly paced documentary is as richly bittersweet -- filled with laughter and tears, schmaltz and grit -- as the Yiddish theater itself. In English, Yiddish and Hebrew with English subtitles. Director: Arnon Goldfinger. 1999, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 85 min., Documentary, New Yorker, $24.95 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

August 31
  • 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 127 min., Religious, Box office gross: $366.685 million, Fox, $24.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Twisted 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. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 97 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $25.195 million, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • You Should Not Be Here Two friends discover a chat room whose interest is putting themselves in life-threatening situations. As some of the group begins to question the sanity of what they are doing, others begin to receive e-mails threatening death to anyone who stops participating in the exercises. As some of the members start to die, what was a nightmare for some becomes a nightmare for all. In Spanish with English subtitles. Director: Jacoba Rispa. Stars: Pablo Echarri, Tristan Ulloa. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 96 min., Erotic thriller, Razor Digital Entertainment, $19.95 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

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    All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a Rotel RDV-1060 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 2004 Releases
February 2004 Releases
March 2004 Releases
April 2004 Releases
May 2004 Releases
June 2004 Releases
July 2004 Releases
September 2004 Releases
October 2004 Releases
November 2004 Releases


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July 15, 2004