OnVideo OCTOBER Video Reviews
CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE
Available in rated and unrated VHS and DVD editions. The "Angels", three investigative agents (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu) who work for the Charles Townsend Detective Agency, return for another high-octane series of adventures as they investigate the theft of a database of witness protection profiles, after five of the people on the list are murdered. They're aided by a new Bosley (Bernie Mac), in an adventure which pits them against a "fallen angel" (Demi Moore), their old nemesis, the Thin Man (Glover), and others. The story line is weak, but there's no reason for a story here -- the action is just a backdrop for the jiggle moves of the three main leads. And who can deny that. Director: Joseph McGinty Nichol. Stars: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore, Bernie Mac, Luke Wilson, John Forsythe, Crispin Glover, Justin Theroux, Robert Patrick, John Cleese, Matt Leblanc. Cameos by Bruce Willis, Pink, Jaclyn Smith, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Carrie Fisher, Eve and many others.
Director: Joseph McGinty Nichol. Stars: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore, Bernie Mac, Luke Wilson, John Forsythe, Crispin Glover, Justin Theroux, Robert Patrick, John Cleese, Matt Leblanc. Cameos by Bruce Willis, Pink, Jac. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min.), Action, 2003, Box office gross: $100.000 million, (Columbia TriStar), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 10/21, DVD: Day & Date.
DOWN WITH LOVE
Contemporary riff on the Doris Day/Rock Hudson 1950s/1960s "bedroom" comedies has best-selling feminist author Barbara Novak (Renee Zellweger) becoming the target of dashing playboy Catcher Block (Ewan McGregor). Novak moves to Manhattan and reaps the success of her female- liberating book "Down With Love," garnering the attention of magazine writer Block, who schemes to hook Novak both to expose her "hypocrisy" and to get even with her since her book is wreaking havoc with his love life. He poses as a sexually repressed Texas astronaut and sets out to make her fall in love with him. Loaded with double entendres but weak on comedic punch.
Director: Peyton Reed. Stars: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Sarah Paulson, David Hyde Pierce, Rachel Dratch, Jack Plotnick, Tony Randall. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min.), Comedy, 2003, Box office gross: $21.000 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 10/7, DVD: Day & Date.
In Hollywood, no one is really who they want to be. Veteran cop Joe Galivan (Harrison Ford) and his rookie partner K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett) are no exception. Between Joe's struggling real estate business and K.C.'s fledgling acting career and yoga instruction, they've got a major murder case to solve. With both Internal Affairs and their main suspect on their tails, Joe and K.C. have to infiltrate the dangerous world of the hip-hop recording industry. Juggling two careers proves to be a comical adventure with Joe and K.C. desperate to stay alive long enough to catch their big break.
Director: Ron Shelton. Stars: Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Lena Olin, Bruce Greenwood, Isaiah Washington, Lolita Davidovich, Keith David, Dwight Yoakam, Martin Landau, Gladys Knight, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kurupt, Master P. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min.), Comedy-Action, 2003, Box office gross: $30.000 million, (Columbia TriStar), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 10/7, DVD: Day & Date.
An artistic comic book outing by director Ang Lee. The film is faithful to the Stan Lee Hulk, following the transformations of Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) into a gigantic CGI Hulk after a dose of gamma radiation alters his genetic structure. Banner/Hulk must come to grips with the opposing forces inside his body, understand the nature of his transformation, outsmart an evil general (Sam Elliott) and a rival researcher (Josh Lucas), all the while trying to win the heart of his estranged girl friend, Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly). The directing, acting and effects (especially the Hulk's rampage from the desert lab to San Francisco) are all top-notch.
Director: Ang Lee. Stars: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, Nick Nolte, Paul Kersey, Cara Buono. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 138 min.), Fantasy, 2003, Box office gross: $132.000 million, (Universal), $22.98 VHS SRP, Available: 10/28, DVD: Day & Date.
Remake of the 1979 comedy that starred Peter Falk and Alan Arkin as mismatched future in-laws. Michael Douglas is Steve, who says he's a copier salesman but whose splashy lifestyle, not to mention the agents on his trail and the vial of nuclear material in his pocket, says otherwise -- he's really a CIA agent. Albert Brooks is Jerry, a nerdy podiatrist plunged feet first in Steve's world when Jerry's daughter is set to marry Steve's son. Steve drags Jerry into a host of wild and crazy misadventures involving illegal arms shipments, a stolen sub and Steve's karate-practicing partner Angela (Robin Tunney). It's a crackpot comedy that, surprisingly, doesn't fall behind the shadow of the original.
Director: Andrew Fleming. Stars: Michael Douglas, Albert Brooks, Robin Tunney, Ryan Reynolds, Candice Bergen, David Suchet, Lindsay Sloane, Maria Ricossa. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 98 min.), Comedy, 2003, Box office gross: $21.000 million, (Warner), $22.98 VHS SRP, Available: 10/7, DVD: Day & Date.
ITALIAN JOB, THE
Exciting thriller about a team of crack robbers who rip off a safe in Venice, Italy, are betrayed by one of their own crew, and then seek revenge a year later in Los Angeles. The film starts out with a spectacular heist of $35 million in gold bullion, engineered by Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) and John Bridger (Donald Sutherland), the latter an elder statesman of bank heists, and a crack crew of robbers. Following a great chase sequence through the canals of Venice, the men meet on a road in the Alps to celebrate, only to be double-crossed and gunned down by accomplice Steve (Edward Norton); all escape but Bridger. Fast forward one year to Los Angeles, where Steve is hiding out and slowly but surely selling off the bullion. Croker wants revenge, and reunites his team, along with Stella Bridger, the daughter of the slain John Bridger, to recover their spoils and get even with Steve. An elaborate plan is hatched involving three Mini Coopers and the commandeering of Los Angeles' traffic control system to create one of the biggest traffic jams in history as their cover. Spectacular action and revenge. And oh those Minis.
Director: F. Gary Gray. Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Seth Green, Jason Statham, Mos Def, Franky G., Donald Sutherland, Boris Krutonog, Olek Krupa. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 110 min.), Thriller, 2003, Box office gross: $106.000 million, (Paramount), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 10/7, DVD: Day & Date.
MATRIX RELOADED, THE
In the powerful second chapter of the Matrix trilogy, Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) lead the revolt against the Machine Army as it attacks Zion, the last human city on earth, unleashing their arsenal of extraordinary skills and weaponry against the systematic forces of repression and exploitation. In their quest to save the human race from extinction, they gain greater insight into the construct of The Matrix and Neo's pivotal role in the fate of mankind. What is The Matrix? The question is not yet fully answered. And it leads to another: Who created The Matrix? The answers lead to more worlds of bold possibility -- and to a destiny that passes from revelations to Revolutions.
Director: The Wachowski Brothers. Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Monica Bellucci. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 138 min.), Sci Fi, 2003, Box office gross: $281 million, (Warner), $22.99 VHS SRP, Available: 10/14, DVD: Day & Date.
28 Days Later
Chilling thriller about ape experiment that goes awry, infecting the population of England with a virus that instantly turns humans into bloodspurting, murderous zombies. When Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma 28 days after a bicycle accident, he finds himself in a deserted London. He wanders the empty streets but soon encounters a church full of zombies intent on making him their next meal. Jim is saved by a pair of zombie hunters who have learned to stay alive, and they eventually join up with others in the struggle to stay alive -- unaware that the worst is yet to come. A thoughtful thriller, slow at times, but great on the special effects. The VHS has an alternate ending while the DVD features three alternate endings.
Director: Danny Boyle. Stars: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Stuart McQuarrie. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 113 min.), Horror, 2003, Box office gross: $44.000 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 10/21, DVD: Day & Date.
A throwback to 1970s horror flicks like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hills Have Eyes," this horror film follows a group of six kids who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. After a car accident, the sextet have to venture out in the Appalachians of West Virginia to find help but instead face a family of cannibalistic mountainmen who have become horribly disfigured through generations of in-breeding. Kind of reminds me of the directors of these films.
Director: Rob Schmidt. Stars: Jeremy Sisto, Eliza Dushku. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 85 min.), Horror, 2003, Box office gross: $15.312 million, (Fox), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 10/14, DVD: Day & Date.
Winner of prestigious awards at the Sundance, Toronto, San Francisco, Rotterdam and Seattle film festivals, "Whale Rider" is the radiant story of an exceptional young girl's coming of age, and of a proud Maori (native people of New Zealand) community's struggle to embrace new ways of thinking. The modern-day fable tells the story of Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes) -- named after Paikea, the legendary male ancestor who reached what is now New Zealand on the back of a whale -- a fearless 12-year-old girl who dares to challenge the ancient traditions of her people in order to fulfill her destiny despite tremendous opposition from Koro, her grandfather, who is chief of their village. "Whale Rider" reinterprets a 1,000-year-old scared legend belonging to the Maori culture. A pod of whales makes a dramatic third-act appearance in this graceful outing.
Director: Niki Caro. Stars: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis, Grant Ross, Mana Taumaunu, Rachel House. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min.), Family, 2003, Box office gross: $15.049 million, (Columbia TriStar), No VHS SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 10/28, 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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September 25, 2003