OnVideo NOVEMBER Video Reviews
ADAM SANDLER'S EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS
Animated Chanukah comedy fable that's also a musical, featuring the voices of Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, Rob Schneider and Norm Crosby. When extremely disgruntled small-town guy Davey Shore (Adam Sandler) faces another holiday season in his New England home town, he does what he always has -- he gets drunk and lands in jail. Davey's old basketball coach bails him out with the bright idea of putting Danny to work doing community service. But Davey turns his sentence into a daily disaster for the whole town. After a few surprises -- including the mysterious reason for Davey's bad attitude and the reappearance of a childhood sweetheart -- Davey might find a reason to change his ways. Features a new version of Sandler's classic Chanukah song.
Director: Seth Kearsley. Stars: Voices of Adam Sandler, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, Rob Schneider, Norm Crosby, Jackie Titone, Austin Stout. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 71 min.), Animated, 2002, Box office gross: $23.443 million, (Columbia TriStar), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/4, DVD: Day & Date.
Another smash hit for Jim Carrey who here, thankfully, tones down his over-the-top shenanigans to create an a likeable character. Carrey plays Buffalo, N.Y. "human interest" TV reporter Bruce Nolan who is devastated when he loses the recently vacated anchor chair to his mealy- mouthed rival Evan Baxter. His wild on-air reaction gets him fired and, with a raggedy car, a dog that refuses to be house-trained, and a girl-friend relationship this side of limbo, he hits rock bottom. He shakes his fist at the air, and scolds God for not doing His job and letting him down. God, for His part, decides to let Bruce take over the helm, and Bruce now becomes the Almighty. Here the film really takes off, with Bruce performing his own brand of miracles: parting a bowl of tomato soup, one-upping a gang of thugs, creating a strangely moon-lit romantic night for his girl, and eventually making sure that rival Evan messes up on the job. Bruce is rehired and, with his Power, makes sure that he always has an exclusive on breaking news. But Bruce has more than just self-interest at heart -- there's a divine spark in him that God sees, and the TV reporter turns out to be quite a savior in his own right.
Director: Tom Shadyac. Stars: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Phillip Baker Hall, Catherine Bell, Lisa Ann Walter, Steven Carell, Nora Dunn, Eddie Jemison, Sally Kirkland, Tony Bennett.. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min.), Comedy, 2003, Box office gross: $237.500 million, (Universal), $22.98 VHS SRP, Available: 11/25, DVD: Day & Date.
DUMB AND DUMBERER: WHEN HARRY MET LLOYD
In this prequel to "Dumb & Dumber" (1994), Lloyd (Eric Christian Olsen) and Harry (Derek Richardson) are united for the first time. It's the first day of high school and Harry, having been home-schooled by his mother, needs someone to show him the ropes. Lloyd, who lives in the school's basement with his adoptive dad, the school custodian, turns out to be just the guy. The pair unwittingly fall victim to the evil plans of corrupt principal Collins (Eugene Levy) and his girlfriend, head lunch lady Ms. Heller, who put Harry and Lloyd into a bogus "special needs" class in order to bilk the school district out of $100,000 in grant money. Harry and Lloyd venture out to recruit more students for the new class, and unwittingly catch the attention of hard-hitting school newspaper reporter Jessica (Rachel Nichols), who suspects foul play and gets involved with the bumbling twosome. A few bathroom and sexual fantasy gags and plenty of dumb and dull jokes fill out a weak script that doesn't equal the Peter and Bobby Farrelly original, which starred Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, a gross-out comedy that caused audiences to roar with laughter.
Director: Troy Miller. Stars: Derek Richardson, Eric Christian Olsen, Luis Guzman, Mimi Rogers, Eugene Levy, Cheri Oteri, William Lee Scott, Lin Shaye, Shia LeBeouf, Bob Saget, Rachel Nichols. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 96 min.), Comedy, 2003, Box office gross: $26.096 million, (New Line), $19.96 VHS SRP, Available: 11/11, DVD: Day & Date.
Highest-grossing animated film of all time. The film follows the comic and eventful journeys of two fish -- Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Alexander Gould) -- who become separated at the Great Barrier Reef. Nemo is captured by a dentist who wants a new addition to his office fish tank, and Marlin, with the aid of a friendly but forgetful fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic journey to rescue his son. Nemo, meanwhile, with the aid of the denizens of the dentist's fish tank, has his own plans on getting free. A delightful, warm, loving tale that will have every dad teary eyed by its conclusion.
Director: Andrew Stanton. Voices of Albert Brooks, Alexander Gould, Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, Geoffrey Rush, Barry Humphries, Austin Pendleton, John Ratzenberger, Allison Janney. CC, (MPAA rating: G, 100 min.), Animated, 2003, Box office gross: $326.000 million, (Disney), $24.99 VHS SRP, Available: 11/4, DVD: Day & Date.
LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE
Angelina Jolie reprises her role as Lara Croft, that celebrated action heroine who jumped from comic book fame to the big screen. Facing her greatest challenges yet, the intrepid tomb raider travels the world on a spectacular adventure that takes her to such exotic places as Hong Kong, Kenya, Tanzania, Greece and the Great Wall of China. Demonstrating her physical prowess -- and body -- Lara proves that she will stop at nothing to save the world from destruction. Pandora's Box, said to house the most unspeakable evil ever known, is hidden on the continent of Africa in an area known as "The Cradle of Life." It's up to Croft to find the infamous box before it falls into the hands of the maniacal Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Jonathan Reiss (Ciaran Hinds). Intent on harnessing the evil power, Reiss must be stopped at all costs, and it is only Croft who stands between preserving life as we know it or allowing the malevolent Reiss to achieve his ultimate goal: world domination.
Director: Jan De Bont. Stars: Angelina Jolie, Gerald Butler, Noah Taylor, Ciaran Hinds, Djimon Hounsou, Til Schweiger, Christopher Barrie, Simon Yam. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 117 min.), Action, 2003, Box office gross: $65.000 million, (Paramount), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/18, DVD: Day & Date.
LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED, WHITE & BLONDE
Elle Woods, the fashion- conscious lawyer in pink, makes a return engagement in this mildly amusing tale aimed at adolescent (and pre-adolescent) girls. Elle is now onboard a prestigious Boston law firm and on the way to marrying her true love, Emmett Richmond (Luke Wilson). Things get political, however, when Elle hires a private investigator to locate the mother of her chihuahua, Bruiser, so that mother and son can enjoy Elle's upcoming wedding. Bruiser's mon, it turns out, is locked up in an animal testing facility, and Elle takes it upon herself to set the dog free. She travels to Washington, joins the staff of Congresswoman Rudd (Sally Field) and begins lobbying for animal rights. Elle turns black-suited Washington pink and proves once and for all that America is really the land of the free ... and the home of the blonde. The VHS features deleted scenes.
Director: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld. Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Sally Field, Regina King, Jennifer Coolidge, Bruce McGill, Dana Ivey, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jessica Cauffiel, Bob Newhart, Luke Wilson. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 95 min.), Comedy, 2003, Box office gross: $90.000 million, (MGM), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/4, DVD: Day & Date.
MAN ON THE TRAIN, THE
In a sleepy French backwater, a train pulls into a deserted station, depositing a lone passenger: a grizzled man in a fringed leather jacket. The criminal Milan (French rock icon Johnny Hallyday) has rolled into town planning to knock off the local bank on Saturday, with, he assumes, no hitches. Then he encounters Manesquier (Jean Rochefort). A retired poetry teacher whose sedentary lifestyle bores even himself, Manesquier offers Milan a much-needed drink of water in his musty old chateau. The only thing they seem to share is that Manesquier, too, has an important date on Saturday; but his is for open-heart surgery. From the start, the two men are equally wary of the other. Manesquier senses that Milan is up to no good, while Milan is driven crazy by Manesquier's incessant talking. But, when Milan is forced to hole up in Manesquier's mansion until the robbery, the distance between them begins to disappear. Suddenly, Manesquier wonders what it would be like to trade his books and art for Milan's gun and life of adventure. Meanwhile, Milan covets Manesquier's bedroom slippers and cozy life of stability. As their friendship develops, surprising moments of humor and tenderness emerge, as each seemingly defies his personality to explore his yearning for the life of the other. Saturday arrives. Milan and Manesquier have no choice but to part ways and head towards their different destinies. But even their destinies are no longer the same, for their very dreams have become intertwined. Director Patrice Leconte, has garnered quite a worldwide following, particularly after his quirky "Girl on the Bridge," and this film will only extend his reputation. The award-winning "Man on the Train" is a simple, humor-filled tale that resonates with deeper themes of friendship and fate, of longing and regret and most of all, of the passage of time and the choices we make. It is the story of two men who might never have met but for an accident, who appear to have nothing in common, yet who change each other's view of life at the last possible moment.
Director: Patrice Leconte. Stars: Jean Rochefort, Johnny Hallyday, Jean-Francois Stevenin, Charlie Nelson, Pascal Parmentier, Isabelle Petit-Jacques. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 90 min.), Drama, 2003, Box office gross: $2.490 million, (Paramount), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/25, DVD: Day & Date.
SANTA CLAUSE 2, THE
Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) has been Santa Claus for the past eight years, and his loyal elves consider him the best Santa ever. But Scott's got problems. His son (from his divorced wife), Charlie, has landed on this year's "naughty" list. And Santa himself is mysteriously de-Santafying. To top it all off, if Scott doesn't get married by Christmas Eve, he'll stop being Santa forever! (It's right in his contract -- the "Mrs. Clause.") Desperate both to find a wife and help his son, Scott heads back home, leaving a substitute Claus to watch over things at the Pole. But when the substitute institutes some strange redefinitions of naughty and nice -- putting Christmas at risk -- it's up to Scott to find Mrs. Right (see Santa cruise the singles scene), mend things with his son and ex-wife, and return to the North Pole with a new bag of magic to try to save Christmas.
Director: Michael Lembeck. Stars: Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, Dabid Krumholtz, Eric Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Spencer Breslin. CC, (MPAA rating: G, 105 min.), Comedy, 2002, Box office gross: $139.225 million, (Buena Vista), $22.99 VHS SRP, Available: 11/18, DVD: Day & Date.
SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS
Interesting animated feature follows the adventures of Sinbad as he traverses the ancient seas pillaging and robbing and fighting off other pirates, sea monsters, and angry Sirens. The goddess Eris frames Sinbad for the theft of the Book of Peace, which keeps unity among the great cities of Syracuse, and he must travel to the ends of the Earth to retrieve and save his childhood friend, Proteus. Throw in betrayal, love and loyalty and you have a rousing (for boys only) cartoon saga.
Director: Tim Johnson, Patrick Gilmore. Stars: Voices of Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, Joseph Fiennes, Dennis Haysbert, Timothy West, Adriano Giannini. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 85 min.), Animated, 2003, Box office gross: $25.983 million, (DreamWorks), $15.95 VHS SRP, Available: 11/18, DVD: Day & Date.
TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES
Arnold Schwarzenegger puts on his trademark shades and leather jacket to return as a time-traveling T-101 Terminator in this second sequel to the original "The Terminator." He's back from the future to protect youthful Earth Resistance leader John Connor (Nick Stahl) and an unsuspecting veterinarian, Kate Brewster, (Claire Danes) -- who's stunned to learn her destiny is linked with Connor -- from the machines bent on destroying the duo. But protecting the two is easier said than done. An awesome new foe is programmed to terminate them -- a state-of-the-art T-X (Kristanna Loken) who's smarter and stronger than a T-101. The film puts new spins on the Skynet/Judgment day scenario. With Judgment Day seemingly averted, Connor is no longer the savior of the future, and wanders aimlessly with no purpose in life. But, lo and behold, Skynet still exists, and is set to kick-in in a matter of days. The machines of the future send T-X to eliminate not only Connor but his future comrades-in-arms. It takes awhile for all this to seep into Connor's brain, but, with the aid of the Terminator and Brewster, the future may still have a chance. There's dazzling effects and bravura thrills (a crane and car chase sequence will leave you particularly breathless) but the story moves a little too slowly to make this outing a true inheritor of the "Terminator" crown. Stahl and Danes are all too irritating as the leads but three cheers for Schwarzenegger.
Director: Jonathan Mostow. Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken, David Andrews. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 108 min.), Science Fiction, 2003, Box office gross: $150.000 million, (Warner), $22.96 VHS SRP, Available: 11/11, DVD: Day & Date.
Thrilling, dazzling, highly acclaimed sleeper hit directed and narrated with passionate enthusiasm by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jacques ("Microcosmos") Perrin, "Winged Migration" is the exquisitely beautiful and jaw-dropping documentary about birds in flight around the world. Shot over a three-year period, the film follows the breathtaking journey of a variety of bird species through 40 countries and every continent, covering landscapes that range from the Eiffel Tower and Monument Valley to the remote reaches of the Arctic and the Amazon. From the vantage point of planes, gliders, helicopters and balloons, more than 450 people including 17 pilots and 14 cinematographers flew above, below and alongside these winged creatures to bring an intimately close look at these staggering marvels of the natural world.
Director: Jacques Perrin. Stars: . CC, (MPAA rating: G, 85 min.), Documentary, 2003, Box office gross: $9.505 million, (Columbia TriStar), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/18, DVD: Day & Date.
X2: X-MEN UNITED
Thrilling sequel sees the return of the original X-Men plus new mutants to fight evil. In the wake of a shocking attack on the president, the X-Men face their most dangerous mission ever. They must stand united with their deadliest enemies to combat a menace that threatens every mutant on the planet. But could this new alliance backfire and annihilate the human race? The VHS features deleted scenes.
Director: Bryan Singer. Stars: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Anna Paquin, Alan Cumming. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 132 min.), Fantasy, 2003, Box office gross: $215.000 million, (Fox), $22.98 VHS SRP, Available: 11/25, 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.
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October 31, 2003