OnVideo JANUARY Video Reviews
AMERICAN PIE 2
The cast from 1999's raunchy smash "American Pie" returns for more sex laced comedy in this sequel that pretty much follows the original's trajectory but with slightly different trappings. In the original, four high school buddies sought to lose their virginity on grad night; here the boys return home after their first year at college hoping to get more of the same from the girls they left behind. They rent a lake beach house and set their traps -- but a year at college hasn't improved these limpid lotharios, and bumbling (and dysfunctional) sex is the order of the day. It's more of the same: the famous pie scene is replaced by super glue (don't ask) and the original's Internet sex broadcast here becomes a cell phone/walkie talkie/short wave radio transmission.
Director: J.B. Rogers. Stars: Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Sean William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy, Demise Faye, Lisa Arturo. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 105 min.), Comedy, 2001, Box office gross: $140.000 million, (Universal), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/15, DVD: Day & Date.
ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE
Disney animated Jules Verne-like adventure about a team of explorers who embark in a super-scientific submarine in 1914 in search of the mythical, sunken lost city of Atlantis. A nerdish academic (Michael J. Fox) is bankrolled by an eccentric millionaire (John Mahoney) for the underwater expedition and, using a mysterious journal, the team of adventurers indeed find the city: It's a lost civilization ruled by a 25,000-year-old king and powered by a magical crystal that supplies all energy and heals all sickness. But it turns out that part of the crew are mercenaries, bent on stealing the crystal, and it's up to the good guys to save the day. Throw in the pretty 8,500-year-old daughter of the king for a love interest, and you have all the makings of a delightful boy's fantasy adventure.
Director: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Voices of Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Cree Summer, Don Novello, Phil Morris, Claudia Christian, Jacqueline Obradors, Florence Stanley, Corey Burton, Jim Varney. John Mahoney. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 95 min.), Animated, 2001, Box office gross: $83.000 million, (Buena Vista), $26.99 VHS SRP, Available: 1/29, DVD: Day & Date.
Lame comedy about a young man who was born without immunities and has been forced to live in an isolated bubble all his life. Supported by his overprotective Lysol-spraying mother (Swoosie Kurtz), bubble boy (Jake Gyllenhaal) happily lives his encapsulated life until he meets his new -- and beautiful -- next door neighbor. They become the best of friends -- but the bubble prevents anything going any further -- until the day bubble boy learns that the girl next door is off to Niagara Falls to marry a rock star. Bubble decides to take off after them, mobilizing his bubble and embarking on a variety of weird and at times obnoxious adventures (many involving him getting smacked by cars, buses and even female mud wrestler). Along the way he encounters a host of strange people -- cultists, gurus, bikers, circus freaks and assorted odd characters -- in this freakish attempt at humor.
Director: Blair Hayes. Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Swoosie Kurtz, Marley Shelton, Danny Trejo, John Carroll Lynch, Verne Troyer, Dave Sheridan. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 84 min.), Comedy, 2001, Box office gross: $5.000 million, (Buena Vista), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/15, DVD: Day & Date.
CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION, THE
One of Woody Allen's better recent outings. Set in the 1940s, a time when men were men and women were, well, not supposed to be men, the film is a combination noir detective mystery and homage to a bygone era, laced with a wonderful jazz soundtrack but sans Allen's by-now tiresome neurotic humor. Someone is stealing millions in jewels from New York City's upper crust and the only man who can crack the case is completely clueless. Allen stars as CW Briggs, a top insurance investigator who goes up against his company's new efficiency expert (a thoroughly modern Helen Hunt). The pair hate each other instantly -- which, as is typical of films of the era, means they'll fall in love. But there's other problems too. She's having an affair with the company head, a wily hypnotist puts CW under his control, a rich nymphomaniac gets in the way, and all clues point to the jewel robberies being an inside job. And guess who gets fingered?
Director: Woody Allen. Stars: Woody Allen, Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd, Elizabeth Berkley, Wallace Shawn, David Ogden Stiers, Charlize Theron. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min.), Comedy, 2001, Box office gross: $7.496 million, (DreamWorks), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/29, DVD: Day & Date.
FAST AND THE FURIOUS, THE
Fabulous street racing adventure with sexy cars, sexy young actors, and very sexy racing action scenes. Vin Diesel plays an existential anti-hero whose life only comes alive during the 10 seconds or so it takes to race a quarter mile in his souped- up street racer. He's the muscle-bound king of the "rice-burners." Enter Paul Walker, a wannabe racer who challenges Diesel's crown and, though he loses, joins in with the racing family, which includes an interesting assortment of grease monkeys, racers and their women. Turns out, however, that Walker is really an LAPD cop sent to investigate a series of truck hijackings attributed to the racers. Will he turn in his new friends? Forget the plot -- this a action all the way, set to a raucous rap and hip-hop soundtrack.
Director: Rob Cohen. Stars: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Matt Schulze. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 107 min.), Action, 2001, Box office gross: $143.424 million, (Universal), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/2, DVD: Day & Date.
GLASS HOUSE, THE
Slow-moving, average thriller about a young woman (Leelee Sobieski) turned over to mysterious foster parents when her real parents are killed in a car accident. New mom and dad (Stellan Skarsgard and Diane Lane) are not the greatest -- he's overbearing, drives too fast, and even makes eyes at Leelee; mom's addicted to drugs; there's even problems with a loan shark (they live in a stylish glass house in Malibu). The pair make life miserable for the girl -- and it's revealed that she and her younger brother are worth millions. Aah! Time for revenge.
Director: Daniel Sackheim. Stars: Leelee Sobieski, Diane Lane, Stellan Skarsgard, Bruce Dern, Kathy Baker, Trevor Morgan. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min.), Thriller, 2001, Box office gross: $20.000 million, (Columbia TriStar), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/2, DVD: Day & Date.
Star vehicle for Mariah Carey in which she plays a singer in the 1980s who's discovered and rises very quickly to the top of the musical world, bringing along with that climb all sorts of problems, including jealousy and betrayal. This is Carey's (inauspicious) movie debut, and aside from plugging several new songs, there's not much going on here. Oh yeah: There is some romance, and the obligatory pair of backup singers who outshine the star, but who cares?
Director: Vondie Curtis Hall. Stars: Mariah Carey, Max Beesley, Da Brat, Tia Texada, Valerie Pettiford, Dorian Harewood, Terrence Howard, Eric Benet. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 104 min.), Musical drama, 2001, Box office gross: $4.200 million, (Columbia TriStar), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/15, DVD: Day & Date.
Scary thriller about a brother and sister (Justin Long and Gina Phillips) who head home for spring break and find a frightening world they couldn't imagine even in their wildest nightmares. On a desolate country road the two homeward siblings are nearly run off the road by a maniac in a beat-up truck. They later see the truck near a church, and spot a cloaked figure shoving what appears to be a bloody body down a sewer pipe. They must never have seen a horror film in their lives, cause they return to the church to investigate and -- well, you know what happens -- they find a grisly world inhabited by a winged devil out to collect human body parts. Can't these kids ever leave well-enough alone?
Director: Victor Salva. Stars: Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck, Patricia Belcher, Brandon Smith, Eileen Brennan. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 90 min.), Horror, 2001, Box office gross: $37.470 million, (MGM), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/8, DVD: Day & Date.
KISS OF THE DRAGON
Non-stop martial arts actioner has Jet Li as a Hong Kong cop called to Paris to help local police crack a heroin smuggling operation. It turns out, however, that the cops are on the take, and Li is soon set up for murder. With only his fists, a set of acupuncture needles and the aid of a local prostitute (Bridget Fonda), Li fights off hordes of bad cops with heftier firepower, including one scene where he takes on a classroom of 40 plus cops in a martial arts class. There's so many fights, chases, shootouts, fires and explosions that the scenario soon gets lost in the action -- but that's the point. A rousing return of the exciting martial arts genre that has been watered down as of late.
Director: Chris Nahon. Stars: Jet Li, Bridget Fonda, Tcheky Karyo, Laurence Ashley, Burt Kwouk. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 98 min.), Thriller, 2001, Box office gross: $36.746 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/22, DVD: Day & Date.
MAN WHO CRIED, THE
Sweeping saga of the intertwined lives of two women that travels from Russia in the '20s to Paris in the '30s and ends up in Hollywood, directed by Sally Potter ("Orlando" and "The Tango Lesson"). As in her previous films, Potter offers up plenty of dance and music -- opera, gypsy, Yiddish, H'Wood musical numbers -- as she follows the adventures of a young Jewish girl in Russia (Christina Ricci) sent overseas to escape persecution. Instead of arriving in the States with her father, Suzie ends up in England and is raised by a dreary English couple. With a penchant for singing, she travels to Paris 10 years later and gets a job as a chorus girl, where she meets and befriends Lola (Cate Blanchett), a Russian dancer. The two eventually get jobs in an opera company, where Suzie falls for gypsy Cesar (Johnny Depp) and Lola is attracted by Italian singer Dante (John Turturro). When the Nazis invade Paris, Lola and Dante side with the Germans while Suzie and Cesar hide out with a band of gypsies. Eventually Lola and Suzie reconcile and decide to leave for America, where Suzie searches for her father, who, as fate would have it, has become a Hollywood studio boss. Plot contrivances aside, Potter has weaved a fascinating tale, a luminous glimpse of an era long gone by with the strong emotional and political undertones that shaped the 20th century. Though it faltered at the box office, "The Man Who Cried" is well worth a look.
Director: Sally Potter. Stars: Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Harry Dean Stanton, Miriam Karlin, Oleg Yankovsky. CC, (MPAA rating: 97, R min.), Drama, 2001, Box office gross: $0.730 million, (Universal), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/2, DVD: Day & Date.
The creator of "Airplane!" tries his hand at a 2001 version of a combination "It's a Mad Mad Mad World/The Great Race" road race comedy, with mixed results. The loose story line -- a Las Vegas casino owner concocts a road race with six randomly chosen participants with the grand prize being $2 million in a locker in a New Mexico railroad station, with no set rules as to how the race is run -- sets off a wild and wooly adventure across the desert with all sorts of side misadventures and weird characters, including a busload of "I Love Lucy" wannabes. The contestants try anything to get to the finish line, from hitching a ride in an ambulance to commandeering a helicopter. It's fast-paced, thankfully, so if one of the slapstick jokes falls flat there's another right behind it.
Director: Jerry Zucker. Stars: Whoopie Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., Rowan Atkinson, Jon Lovitz, Kathy Najimy, Seth Green, Vince Vieluf, Breckin Meyer, Amy Smart, John Cleese, Lanai Chapman, Wayne Knight, Paul Rodriguez, Dean Cain. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 112 min.), Comedy, 2001, Box office gross: $57.000 million, (Paramount), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/29, DVD: Day & Date.
By-the-numbers rock and roll rags to riches story, set in the 1980s at the height of Heavy Metal. Mark Wahlberg plays a Pittsburgh photocopy-machine repair man who lives at home and worships a metal group called Steel Dragon. He loves them so much that he's formed his own group, a cover band, that mimics his idols note for note. All he wants to do is play metal but his band, fed up with his compulsive purism, kicks him out. But guess what? The Steel Dragons have just fired their frontman, and they call up Mark and ask him to audition for the band. Guess what? He makes it, changes his name to Izzy, and rides music, sex and drugs to the top. Guess what? He gets tired of it all and quits, hoping to get back together with his ex-girlfriend/ex-manager (Jennifer Aniston) while playing in small clubs. Guess what?
Director: Stephen Herek. Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Dominic West, Timothy Spall, Timothy Olyphant, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jason Flemyng. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 106 min.), Drama with Music, 2001, Box office gross: $17.000 million, (Warner), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/22, DVD: Day & Date.
WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Failed comedy about revenge among thieves. Kevin (Martin Lawrence) is a man of discerning tastes -- and a thief. He falls in love with a woman he meets at an auction (Carmen Ejogo) and she gives him a ring to signify their love. But when Kevin and his partner Berger (John Leguizamo) hit the house of another master thief, Max Fairbanks, the beleaguered "dark prince of plunder," Kevin is caught by Max and arrested. What's the worst that can happen now? Max lies and claims that Kevin's ring is his and takes it. Now the two men play a game of thieving one-upmanship as Kevin tries to get even -- and get his ring back.
Director: Sam Weisman. Stars: Martin Lawrence, Danny DeVito, John Leguizamo, Glenne Headly, Carmen Ejogo, Bernie Mac, Larry Miller, William Fichtner. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 97 min.), Comedy, 2001, Box office gross: $32.267 million, (MGM), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 1/2, DVD: Day & Date.
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.
| Contents/Site Map | Home | Resources | Calendar | Sell-Through | DVD | Reviews |
© 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 OnVideo. All rights reserved
December 31, 2001