OnVideo MAY Video Reviews
Comedy vehicle for "Saturday Night Live's" Chris Kattan. Kattan plays Corky Romano, the black sheep of a mob family. His father is the infamous Pops Romano (Peter Falk) and brothers Peter (Chris Penn) and Paulie (Peter Berg) are macho hoods. But Corky shies away from sicko gangsters -- he prefers sick animals at Poodles and Pussies, where he's a top vet. But dad is facing a tough trial, and comes up with the idea of getting a fake FBI identity for his son so he can infiltrate FBI headquarters and steal trial evidence. To show family solidarity, Corky goes along with the plan. But Corky is a bungler (hint: this movie has a lot of slapstick and pratfalls) and every time he tries to nab the evidence he gets into outlandish situations. Fortunately he's able to maneuver his way out of every bad spot, and his FBI career skyrockets (think Martin Lawrence in "Blue Streak") to the dismay of his family. Throw in a nasty rival agent and a beautiful female FBI love interest and the plot comes to a mild boil.
Director: Rob Pritts. Stars: Chris Kattan, Chris Penn, Peter Berg, Peter Falk, Fred Ward, Vinessa Shaw, Richard Roundtree, Matthew Glave. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 86 min.), Comedy, 2001, Box office gross: $23.978 million, (Buena Vista), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 5/14, DVD: Day & Date.
Dark, dreary and thoroughly frightening take on the Jack the Ripper legend by the Hughes brothers ("Menace II Society" and "Dead Presidents"). Based on a gigantic graphic (comic book) novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, the directors see fit to show each and every murder by Jack in all their grisly and horrific detail. Jack the Ripper, who murdered five prostitutes in 1888 in the Whitechapel district of London, was never caught, though some historians made a connection between the Royal family and the murders. In this take, young police detective Fred Abberline (Johnny Depp) -- who spends his spare time smoking opium and drinking absinthe to have visions that enhance his detective work -- gets involved in the case and uncovers evidence pointing to the fact that the murderer is not only well-versed in human anatomy and human dissection but may in fact be well-educated and upper class. With the aid of a sympathetic inspector (Robbie Coltrane), Abberline starts to make connections that worry the powers-that-be and that point all the way up to the Royals. Throw in a love interest with one of the targeted prostitutes (Heather Graham), a Free Mason conspiracy, and the Royals' family physician (Ian Holm) and this Ripper tale becomes an interesting mystery tale -- though one in which the bloodshed and mayhem gets considerably more graphic as Jack gets bolder. Definitely not for the squeamish.
Director: Albert and Allen Hughes. Stars: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm, Robbie Coltrane. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 121 min.), Horror thriller, 2001, Box office gross: $31.958 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 5/14, DVD: Day & Date.
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
J.K Rowlings' first book of wizards and witchcraft made it to the big screen as the family film of the year. As transcribed here by screenwriter Steve Kloves and director Chris Columbus, this "Harry" is a wonder to behold: for its acting, continuity of story line, and special effects. Warners spent upwards of $126 million on "Harry " and it bought them box office supremacy ("Harry" is now the second-highest grossing film of all time, behind "Titanic") and a wonderful franchise (there will be Harrys for many Christmas seasons to come). The story of Harry, alerted on his 11th birthday that he's the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and who's whisked away to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn the tricks of the trade (and fight off the evil wizard who killed his parents), runs two and a half hours but is so full of nuanced acting, screenwriting and direction that the time just flies (so to speak). And kudos to the great talents who support the Hogwarts School: Maggie Smith, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman. The VHS will sell for $24.99 while the DVD -- loaded with extras -- has a suggested retail price of $26.99.
Director: Chris Columbus. Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Ian Hart. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 153 min.), Fantasy, 2001, Box office gross: $318.000 million, (Warner), $24.99 VHS SRP, Available: 5/28, DVD: Day & Date.
Notch-up on the normal urban comedy has Method Man playing a Staten Island slacker who sells herbal brews and spends his time with hookers. When his buddy Ivory dies, he honors him by planting some seeds in Ivory's cremated remains, creating a wild smokeable plant. He also decides to try to get into medical school. At the entrance exam he meets Jamal (Redman), and the two decide to share a smoke. Out of the haze comes Ivory, who promises to give the pair the answers they need to ace the exam. And, sure enough, the pair get accepted to Harvard. There they chase girls and have fun, relying on the smoke-haze induced Ivory to provide them with great test scores. Soon they run afoul of the dean whose greatest desire is send the duo back to the "ghetto." Things get more complicated as the young men find women they want to woo, careers they want to head in to -- and a shortage of the special smoke. Features a great hip-hop soundtrack.
Director: Jesse Dylan. Stars: Method Man, Redman, Obba Babatunde, Fred Willard, Mike Epps, Anna Maria Horsford, Spalding Gray, Jeffrey Jones, Hector Elizondo, Lark Voorhies, Essence Atkins. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 94 min.), Comedy, 2001, Box office gross: $31.155 million, (Universal), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 5/21, DVD: Day & Date.
The long-awaited DVD treatment of this cult film arrives as a two-disc set: The "Legend Ultimate Edition" DVD includes both the never-before-released, 113-minute Director's Cut with its extraordinary original soundtrack by Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith and the version that was released theatrically in the United States, for $24.98. A VHS version of the theatrical release is available at $9.99. Once, long ago, before there was such a thing as time, the world was shrouded in darkness. Then came the splendor of light, bringing life and love into the Universe, and the Lord of Darkness retreated deep into the shadows of the earth, plotting his return to power ... by banishing light forever. In this classic fantasy/adventure, pure good and foulest evil will soon battle to the death. Set amid a timeless mythical forest inhabited by fairies, goblins and other magical folk is the story of Jack, a forest dweller who lives in solitude and harmony with the animals of the wood ... including Unicorns, who are key to keeping light alive and evil at bay. Chosen by fate to undertake a heroic quest, Jack must brave a host of terrors to not only save his true love -- a beautiful princess named Lili -- from the clutches of the demonic Lord of Darkness, but also rescue a captive unicorn ... or the world will be plunged into a never-ending ice age where the dawn never comes and evil reigns supreme.
Director: Ridley Scott. Stars: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Robert Picardo. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 114 min.), Fantasy, 1985, (Universal), $9.98 VHS SRP, Available: 5/21, DVD: Day & Date.
Glamorous Hollywood remake of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack's 1960 film about a team of thieves who plot and then pull off a heist of several Las Vegas casinos. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is the mastermind behind the scheme, putting together a group of gentlemen crooks (including Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner, Casey Affleck and Scott Caan) to rip off a sleazy casino owner (Andy Garcia) who also happens to be sleeping with Ocean's ex-wife (Julia Roberts). There's plenty of suspense, witty dialogue and just plain fun -- it's a heist film you don't have to take seriously to enjoy. And it's directed with a smooth, deft hand by Steven Soderbergh. The VHS is priced for sell-through and includes a "The Look of the Con" behind-the-scenes featurette; the DVD includes commentaries by Soderbergh and Pitt, Damon and Garcia; the "Con" featurette; and an HBO documentary.
Director: Steven Soderbergh. Stars: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Eddie Jemison, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Shaobo Qin, Elliott Gould. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min.), Thriller, 2001, Box office gross: $183.000 million, (Warner), $22.98 VHS SRP, Available: 5/7, DVD: Day & Date.
Chilling horror drama has a tour-de-force performance by Nicole Kidman as a young mother with two small children living in an isolated house on one of the Channel Islands between Britain and France just at the end of WWII. The house -- which has no phone or electricity -- is eerily alive with unwanted visitors and events -- a young boy named Victor who cries all the time, a piano that plays by itself, chandeliers that shake when no one's walking in the room above. To make matters worse, the two youngsters are allergic to sunlight, and the windows are constantly covered, making the house perpetually dark. Into this terrifying place come three new servants, who seem to know something that the young woman won't come to terms with. What is really the true terror of the house? What do the others know that we don't? Sans a heavy reliance on special effects, this film chills and thrills the soul with its emphasis on unseen, unknown terrors. It's a welcome addition to the literary horror film that is epitomized by "The Innocents," that frightening 1961 adaptation of Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw." What a pleasure to be scared from the inside out.
Director: Alejandro Amenabar. Stars: Nicole Kidman, Alakina Mann, James Bentley, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston, Eric Sykes, Elaine Cassidy. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 104 min.), Thriller, 2001, Box office gross: $96.471 million, (Dimension), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 5/14, DVD: Day & Date.
Crowd-pleasing family comedy has Cuba Gooding Jr. starring as a sun-loving Miami dentist named Ted, with a thriving practice and plenty of young females to keep him company. That all changes one day when he discovers that he was adopted and that his recently deceased biological mother has left him a small inheritance -- in a small town in Alaska. So to uncover his past -- and get his inheritance -- Ted trudges off to Alaska, where, along with his mother's meager possessions and cabin he has become the owner of a rascally dog sled team. The dogs -- Diesel, Scooper, Nana, Yodel, Sniff, Mack, Duchess and Demon -- have their way with the city slicker. To make matters worse, Ted has a run-in with a scheming mountain man (James Coburn) and gets forced into a dog sled competition and has to learn how to mush as best as he can. There's a few little twists here and there, but in the end, Ted learns to never give up, even when his luck is "going to the dogs."
Director: Brian Levant. Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., James Coburn, Sisqo, Nichelle Nichols, Joanna Bacalso, M. Emmet Walsh, Graham Greene. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 99 min.), Family, 2001, Box office gross: $80.000 million, (Buena Vista), $22.99 VHS SRP, Available: 5/14, DVD: Day & Date.
It's hard to believe that this mishmash of a production came from the pen and camera of Cameron ("Say Anything " "Jerry Maguire " "Almost Famous") Crowe. Although based on Alejandro ("The Others") Amenabar's 1997 adept thriller "Abre Los Ojos " which also starred Cruz, this Americanized version just doesn't click, and one wonders how much of the fault can be laid at the feet of Crowe or Cruise's C/W Prods., which produced the film. The film opens with Cruise's character, smug and spoiled rich playboy David Aames, being awakened in the morning by the voice of Sofia (Cruz) ("Open Your Eyes. Wake Up"). David gets dressed and heads to work in a suspiciously empty Manhattan -- devoid of cars and people. Aha, its a dream, and David wakes up. The scene repeats itself, but this time David awakes with Julie (Diaz) next to him, and he goes off to work (as the head of a publishing empire) in a Manhattan filled with people. Dream vs reality. But as things develop, the line between the two becomes seriously blurred. It's not too long before David meets Sofia in real life, and he falls for her. But Julie is the jealous type, and, on the morning after David spends the night with Sofia, Julie entices David into her car, hits the gas and proceeds to drive off a bridge, killing herself and putting David into a coma. When David awakes he's seriously disfigured, and the film spends the rest of its time following him around as he tries to figure out the difference between reality and fiction. But by this point, the viewer is hard-pressed to care for any of the characters here, from the totally obnoxious and self-absorbed David to the flighty Sofia. No help is the ponderous dialogue and slowly developing scenes that just go nowhere. It's a major disappointment all around. The only saving grace in the outing is Diaz, who surprisingly puts in a delightfully real turn as the spurned (and nasty) lover.
Director: Cameron Crowe. Stars: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, Tilda Swinton. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 133 min.), Drama, 2001, Box office gross: $101.000 million, (Paramount), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 5/21, DVD: Day & Date.
A true visionary film by Richard Linklater, the director of "Slacker" and "Dazed and Confused." The story line -- akin to "Slacker's" plot of interconnected vignettes that stream one off the other (with a true debt to Luis Bunuel's "Phantom of Liberty") -- follows the travels of a young man as he drifts from one encounter to another in a dreamscape world in which he is constantly awakening from one reality (or dream) to confront another from which he also awakens. Within each segment he encounters characters who discuss the meaning of existence and the nature of reality; it's a nonlinear philosophical and ontological treatise. What makes the film even more fantastic is the way in which Linklater produced it: Originally shot and edited in live action on video, the footage was "graphically" painted with special computer software by a team of 30 animator/artists. The result is a breakthrough in live action/animation that allows viewers to experience an almost-watery, floating world in which one must constantly ask: "Are we sleep-walking through our waking state or wake-walking through our dreams?"
Director: Richard Linklater. Stars: Wiley Wiggins, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, and an ensemble cast of 70 other actors. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 99 min.), Fantasy, 2001, Box office gross: $2.777 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 5/7, 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, 2002 OnVideo. All rights reserved
April 15, 2002