OnVideo NOVEMBER Video Reviews
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Acclaimed director Tim Burton brings his vividly imaginative style to the beloved Roald Dahl classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," about eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) and Charlie, a good-hearted boy from a poor family who lives in the shadow of Wonka's extraordinary factory. Long isolated from his own family, Wonka launches a worldwide contest to select an heir to his candy empire. Five lucky children, including Charlie, draw golden tickets from Wonka chocolate bars and win a guided tour of the legendary candy-making facility that no outsider has seen in 15 years. Once inside, Charlie is dazzled by one amazing sight after another. Wondrous gleaming contraptions of Wonka's own invention churn, pop and whistle, producing ever new and different edible delights. Crews of merry Oompa-Loompas mine mountains of fudge beside a frothy chocolate waterfall or ride a translucent, spun-sugar, dragon-headed boat down a chocolate river past crops of twisted candy cane trees and edible mint-sugar grass. Marshmallow cherry creams grow on shrubs, ripe and sweet. Elsewhere, a hundred trained squirrels on a hundred tiny stools shell nuts for chocolate bars faster than any machine and Wonka himself pilots an impossible glass elevator that rockets sideways, slantways and every which way you can think of through the vast and fantastic factory. Meanwhile, the other children prove to be a rotten bunch, so consumed with themselves that they scarcely appreciate the wonder of Wonka's creations. One by one, their greedy, spoiled, mean-spirited or know-it-all personalities lead them into all kinds of trouble that force them off the tour before it's even finished. Only Charlie is truly drawn into Wonka's fantastic world in this astonishing and enduring story.
Director: Tim Burton. Stars: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Deep Roy, Christopher Lee, Adam Godley, Franziska Troegner, Annasophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordan Fry, Philip Wiegratz. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 115 min.), Fantasy, 2005, Box office gross: $200.000 million, (Warner), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/8.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS
Based on the best-selling novel "Skipping Christmas" by prolific author John Grisham ("The Firm") with a screenplay by Chris Columbus ("Harry Potter"), "Christmas with the Kranks" features Tim Allen as Luther Krank, who convinces his wife Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) that with their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) away at college, they should skip Christmas altogether and bask in the tropical sun on a Caribbean cruise -- much to the chagrin of their Christmas-crazy neighbors, led by the dour doyen Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd). When Blair decides at the last minute to come home for the holidays, Luther and Nora realize -- with their neighbors "help" that Christmas cheer can always be renewed.
Director: Joe Roth. Stars: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, M. Emmet Walsh, Elizabeth Franz, Erik Per Sullivan, Cheech Marin, Jake Busey, Tom Poston, Julie Gonzalo, Rene Lavan, Caroline Rhea, Felicity Huffman. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 98 min.), Comedy, 2004, Box office gross: $73.077 million, (Sony), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/8, DVD: Day & Date.
DEUCE BIGALOW: EUROPEAN GIGOLO
Naive, good-hearted fish tank cleaner, Deuce Bigalow (Rob Schneider) thought his career as a gigolo was over. But Deuce is seduced back to his unlikely pleasure-for-pay profession when T.J. Hicks (Eddie Griffin), his former pimp, is implicated in the murders of Europe's greatest gigolos. Now Deuce must go back "undercover" in order to clear the name of his good friend. Along the way, he must compete against the powerful European Union of prosti-dudes (The Man-Whore Society) and court yet another bevy of unusual female clients. Disgusting film and disgusting ad campaign.
Director: Mike Bigelow. Stars: Rob Schneider, Eddie Griffin, Jeroen Krabbe, Til Schweiger, Douglas Sills, Carlos Ponce, Charles Keating. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 83 min.), Comedy, 2005, Box office gross: $21.877 million, (Sony), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/29.
DEVIL'S REJECTS, THE
From the mind of musician Rob Zombie comes the gritty, violent follow-up to Zombie's bizarre cult horror hit "House of 1000 Corpses." The film introduced audiences to the eccentric Firefly family, a group of viciously brutal, red-neck psychopaths who deal in wholesale murder and mayhem. Ambushed at their isolated home by Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe) and a squad of armed men, the Firefly family wakes up one morning with guns blazing -- yet only Otis (Bill Moseley) and his sister Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) manage to escape the barrage of bullets unharmed. Hiding out in a backwater motel, the wanted siblings wait to rendezvous with their errant father, Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), killing whomever happens to stand in their way. But as the body count mounts higher, Sheriff Wydell decides to take the law into his own hands, paving the way for a depraved and terrifying showdown.
Director: Rob Zombie. Stars: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon, William Forsythe, Ken Foree, Matthew McGrory, Leslie Easterbrook, Geoffrey Lewis, Priscilla Barnes. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 101 min.), Horror, 2005, Box office gross: $16.901 million, (Lions Gate), No VHS SRP, Priced for rentalx, Available: 19051108.
An urban version of the classic TV series with Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps toplining in the Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton roles, respectively. Ralph Kramden is a man of vision, taste, and refinement. Now, if he can just get the rest of the world to see it. By day, Ralph's an ordinary New York City bus driver. But in his off-hours, he's an innovator, an inventor, an entrepreneur who's just one great idea away from instant wealth. (Unfortunately for Ralph, none of those ideas has yet panned out.) His best friend (and neighbor) is Ed Norton, who's always up for the latest plan. Wherever Ralph goes, no matter how harebrained the idea, Ed's ready to run down the fire escape and lend a hand. These two dreamers believe they're taking their families to the next level, but Ralph's wife, Alice (Gabrielle Union), has set her sights on a more practical goal: buying a duplex fixer-upper with Ed and his wife, Trixie (Regina Hall). When Ralph loses their down payment on yet another of his half-baked projects, Alice is at the end of her rope, giving Ralph just one day to come up with the cash and save their marriage.
Director: John Schultz. Stars: Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, Eric Stoltz, Jon Polito, John Leguizamo. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 85 min.), Comedy, 2005, Box office gross: $12.615 million, (Paramount), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/22.
Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller) is the king of the urban jungle, the main attraction at New York's Central Park Zoo. He and his best friends Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) have lived their entire lives in blissful captivity, with regular meals provided and an admiring public to adore them. Not content to leave well enough alone, Marty allows his curiosity to get the better of him and, with the help of some prodigious penguins, makes his escape to explore the world he's been missing. Alex, Melman and Gloria go after him, but before they can go wild in the streets, they are captured, crated and put on a ship to Africa -- to be ultimately set free. When those plotting penguins sabotage the ship, Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria find themselves washed ashore on the exotic island of Madagascar. Now, these native New Yorkers have to figure out how to survive in the wild and discover the true meaning of the phrase -- It's a jungle out there.
Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath. Stars: Voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 86 min.), Animated, 2005, Box office gross: $188.238 million, (DreamWorks), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/15.
MARCH OF THE PENGUINS
Chronicles the amazing lives of the emperor penguins and their remarkable journey to find a mate and protect their offspring against the icy Antarctic blast. An amazing, awe-inspiring, all-age, true-life tale touched with humor and alive with thrills. Breathtaking photography captures the transcendent beauty and staggering you-are-there drama. Every year, thousands of emperor penguins make an astonishing journey to breed their young. They are birds, but they do not fly. They are aquatic animals, but this time they will not swim. Instead, they walk -- marching day and night in single file 70 miles into the darkest, driest and coldest continent on Earth. These devoted parent penguins, in the face of the fierce polar winter, take turns guarding their egg and trekking to the ocean in search of food.
Director Danny Boyle ("28 Days Later," "Trainspotting") brings to the big screen a heartwarming story of two little boys, faith, miracles ... and lots of money. Starting anew after the death of their mother, 9-year-old Anthony is ever practical, while his 7- year-old brother Damian uses imagination, fantasy, and faith to make sense of his confusing world. When a suitcase full of money falls out of the sky at Damian's feet, it sets the boys on the adventure of a lifetime that leads them to realize that true wealth has nothing to do with money.
Director: Danny Boyle. Stars: Alexander Nathan Etel, Lewis Owen McGibbon, James Nesbitt, Daisy Donovan, Christopher Fulford, Pearce Quigley, Jane Hogarth. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 98 min.), Comedy drama, 2005, Box office gross: $6.555 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/1.
MR. & MRS. SMITH
A sexy, action-packed thrill ride about a bored married couple who discover that they are enemy assassins. John and Jane Smith (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) are an ordinary suburban couple with an ordinary, lifeless suburban marriage. But each of them has a secret -- they are actually both legendary assassins working for competing organizations. When the truth comes out, John and Jane end up in each other's cross-hairs: and they discover a new source of excitement in their marriage when they're hired to assassinate each other ... and that's when the real fun starts. The result is the ultimate action spectacle, as Mr. and Mrs. Smith put their formidable skills to work and their marriage to the ultimate test.
Director: Doug Liman. Stars: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Keith. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 120 min.), Action comedy, 2005, Box office gross: $178.540 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/29.
PERFECT MAN, THE
Teenager Holly Hamilton (Hilary Duff) is tired of moving every time her single mom Jean (Heather Locklear) has another personal meltdown involving yet another second-rate guy. To distract her mother from her latest bad choice, Holly conceives the perfect plan for the perfect man ... an imaginary secret admirer who will romance Jean and boost her shaky self-esteem. When the virtual relationship takes off, Holly finds herself having to produce the suitor, borrowing her friend's charming and handsome Uncle Ben (Chris Noth) as the face behind the e-mails, notes and gifts. Holly must resort to increasingly desperate measures to keep the ruse alive and protect her mom's newfound happiness. But Holly's so diverted by the ever increasing, runaway deception that she almost misses her own perfect man when he comes along.
Director: Mark Rosman. Stars: Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear, Chris Noth. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 100 min.), Romantic comedy, 2005, Box office gross: $16.037 million, (Universal), $29.98 VHS SRP, Available: 11/1.
POLAR EXPRESS, THE
Kids adventure based on the beloved Caldecott Medal children's book by Chris Van Allsburg. "The Polar Express" tells the story of a boy who maintains his belief in Santa Claus despite the teasing of his more cynical friends. The boy's conviction is rewarded one Christmas Eve when a steam train appears in front of his house and carries him and his disbelieving friends off to the North Pole. It's a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Combining classic storytelling with cutting-edge filmmaking, "The Polar Express" debuts a highly advanced version of motion capture technology developed and tailored to meet Zemeckis' vision and is the first feature ever to be shot entirely in this format.
Director: Robert Zemeckis. Stars: Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola, Peter Scolari, Eddie Deezen, Michael Jeter, Steven Tyler, Leslie Harter Zemeckis, Nona Gaye. CC, (MPAA rating: G, 99 min.), Animated, 2004, Box office gross: $162.753 million, (Warner), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/22.
SKELETON KEY, THE
Set largely in the dark atmospheric backwoods just outside of New Orleans, Kate Hudson stars as Caroline, a live-in nurse hired to care for an elderly woman's (Gene Rowlands) ailing husband (John Hurt) in their home ... a foreboding and decrepit Gothic mansion in the Louisiana delta. Intrigued by the enigmatic couple, their mysterious and secretive ways and their rambling house, Caroline begins to explore the old mansion. Armed with a skeleton key that unlocks every door, she discovers a hidden attic room that holds a deadly and terrifying secret. Seemingly forgotten, the room holds an intriguing mix of antiques, mirrors oddly banished from the rooms below and artifacts apparently connected to the practice of a strange kind of magic -- a folk magic that conflicts directly with Caroline's common sense and pragmatic way of thinking. And yet, small instances of the unexplainable begin to occur. The mansion -- and the strange couple who inhabit it -- are rife with secrets. The more Caroline explores, the deeper she is drawn into a darkening mystery in the attic room at the very heart of the house ... towards a terrifying and sinister legacy that threatens to take vengeance on anyone who comes to believe in its power.
Director: Iain Softley. Stars: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 104 min.), Horror thriller, 2005, Box office gross: $45.821 million, (Universal), $29.99 VHS SRP, Available: 11/15.
It's a secret school in the clouds like none on earth: Sky High, the first and only high school for kids with super-human powers going through crime-fighting puberty. At Sky High, the student body is divided into "Heroes" and "Sidekicks" instead of jocks and geeks. It's an out-of-this-world yet completely recognizable place where cool gadgetry, rampant bravery and awe inspiring magical skills mix it up with parental battles, peer pressure and dating trouble -- with explosively fun results. This year's class features some of the best, brightest and most powerfully gifted super-teens ever assembled. Among them is Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) -- the son of the world's most legendary super hero parents, The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston). People expect him to live up to the family name, but the problem is that Will is starting with no superpowers of his own and, worst of all, instead of joining the ranks of the "Hero" class, he finds himself relegated to being a "Sidekick." Now he must somehow survive his freshman year while dealing with a hilariously overbearing gym coach (Bruce Campbell), a bully with super speed, and a dangerous rebel with a grudge (and the ability to shoot fire from his hands) -- not to mention the usual angst, parental expectations and girl problems that accompany teenage life. But as he discovers his true strengths, he also learns that it takes loyalty and teamwork to truly become a hero.
Director: Mike Mitchell. Stars: Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston, Michael Angarano, Danielle Panabaker, Steven Strait, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lynda Carter, Bruce Campbell, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Cloris Leachman. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 100 min.), Family, 2005, Box office gross: $62.279 million, (Walt Disney), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/29.
STAR WARS: EPISODE III -- THE REVENGE OF THE SITH
After almost 30 years, George Lucas ties it all together in what is certainly the most exciting of the three episodes of the "new" trilogy. After three long years of relentless fighting, the Clone Wars are nearly at an end. The Jedi Council dispatches Obi- Wan Kenobi to bring General Grievous, the deadly leader of the Separatist droid army, to justice. Meanwhile, back on Coruscant, Chancellor Palpatine has grown in power. His sweeping political changes transform the war-weary Republic into the mighty Galactic Empire. To his closest ally, Anakin Skywalker, he reveals the true nature of power and the promised secrets of the Force in an attempt to lure him to the dark side. "As Revenge of the Sith" opens, the final catastrophic battles of the Clone Wars are taking place galaxy wide -- including one in the skies above the city-planet Coruscant, seat of the crumbling Republic and also home to the Jedi Knights. Chancellor Palpatine has been taken hostage by the nefarious General Grievous, leader of the droid army -- the mechanized battle troops of the Separatist Alliance. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) take on a desperate rescue effort, facing long odds to free Palpatine and destroy Grievous. The opening battle sets in motion a series of events that lead up to the moment of truth for Anakin -- whose secret always threatens to catch up with him: He is leading a dual life as a Jedi Knight while covertly married to the beautiful Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). Preying on Anakin's fears of losing Padme, Palpatine reveals to Anakin another side of the Force, one that is forbidden to him, but one that promises to teach him powers he never imagined possible. Obi-Wan recognizes Anakin's inner conflict, and ultimately must face off against his once-promising Padawan learner in a lightsaber battle on the volcanic planet of Mustafar -- a battle that basically takes viewers to the beginning of the first "Star Wars" in 1977.
Director: George Lucas. Stars: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Silas Carson, Kenny Baker. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 140 min.), Science Fiction, 2005, Box office gross: $380.262 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/1.
U.S. Navy pilots Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Kara Wade (Jessica Biel) and Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) are part of a close-knit elite division of test pilots flying highly classified stealth fighter jets, referred to only as Talons. They're the best of the best and they know it. Then their commanding officer Cpt. George Cummings (Sam Shepard) introduces the team to their new wingman -- an artificial intelligence-based UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), nicknamed EDI. Although Ben is hesitant about taking the human pilot out of the equation of war, Cummings orders the team to execute their first real mission alongside EDI. To their amazement, EDI proves to be a cracker-jack wingman and they successfully eliminate their target. But on the return trip to their base aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson, EDI is struck by lightning. The drone's brain expands in ways its creators could never have predicted. Despite Ben and Henry's reservations, Cummings declares EDI ready to rejoin the team in the air. On their next mission against a nuclear-armed warlord in a remote Chinese province, EDI's seriously compromised circuitry problems only get worse. Ben decides that the risks of the attack far outweigh the benefits to himself, Henry and Kara, (for whom he has developed a romantic attraction). When he aborts the mission, EDI goes against orders and executes the hit anyway. The danger escalates when EDI decides to execute a top-secret mission that, if successful, could spiral into worldwide nuclear Armageddon. And only Ben can prevent it.
Director: Rob Cohen. Stars: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Richard Roxburgh, Joe Morton, Ian Bliss. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 121 min.), Action, 2005, Box office gross: $31.576 million, (Sony), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/15.
WAR OF THE WORLDS
Contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells's seminal classic. Tom Cruise stars as Ray Ferrier, a divorced dockworker and less-than-perfect father. Soon after his ex-wife (Miranda Otto) and her new husband drop off his teenage son Robbie (Justin Chatwin) and young daughter Rachel (Dakota Fanning) for a rare weekend visit, a strange and powerful lightning storm touches down. Moments later, at an intersection near his house, Ray witnesses an extraordinary event that will change all their lives forever. A towering three-legged war machine emerges from deep beneath the earth and, before anyone can react, incinerates everything in sight. An ordinary day has suddenly become the most extraordinary event of their lifetimes -- the first strike in a catastrophic alien attack on Earth. Ray scrambles to get his children away from this merciless new enemy, embarking on a journey that will take them across the ravaged countryside, where they become caught in the desperate tide of refugees fleeing from an extraterrestrial army of tripods. But no matter where they run, there is no safety, no refuge -- only Ray's unconquerable will to protect the ones he loves. Brutally intense version of Wells' story pulls no punches with its emphasis on death and destruction; the human aspect of the film (Cruise's acting, for example) leaves much to be desired.
Director: Steven Spielberg. Stars: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin, Miranda Otto, Tim Robbins, Rick Gonzalez, Yul Vazquez, Lenny Venito, Ann Robinson, Gene Barry. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min.), Science Fiction, 2005, Box office gross: $231.806 million, (DreamWorks), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 11/22.
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 -- 2005 OnVideo. All rights reserved
October 31, 2005