OnVideo Guide to Home Video Releases: December 2001 Releases

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Guide to Home Video Releases:
December 2001 Releases

For the latest 'B' films, special interest, and direct-to-video releases, check out
OnVideo's VidNews pages.

DVD Releases

Movies are rated on a scale of one to five, with five denoting a classic. For more information on how we rate, check out our
Rentability Index.

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December 4
  • Pearl harbor Disney's epic recreation of the attack on Pearl Harbor -- with a price tag of $135 million -- has gotten more press than any film this year (though Spielberg's "A.I." has come in a close second). It's been chastised and attacked for political incorrectness, but hey, its just basically a love story that takes place before, during and after Pearl Harbor, with great special effects and a hip, young cast. So just sit back and enjoy three hours of top moviemaking, eat three bags of popcorn, and ponder this: Disney spent $50 million (the cost of an entire film in anyone eles's hands) on the premiere of the film in Hawaii. Director: Michael Bay. Stars: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Alec Baldwin, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, William Lee Scott, James King. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 183 min., War drama, Box office gross: $200 million, Touchstone. A two-cassette 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, with historical documentary "Unsung Heroes" and Faith Hill's "There You'll Be" music video, will sell for $24.99 VHS SRP in widescreen and fullscreen editions ($29.99 for a two-disc DVD, which also includes "Journey to the Screen: The Making of Pearl Harbor"). A two-cassette 60th Anniversary Commemorative Gift Set, with historical documentary "Unsung Heroes," Faith Hill's "There You'll Be" music video and one-hour "National Geographic: Beyond the Movie: Pearl Harbor," will sell for $39.99 fullscreen only ($49.99 for a two-disc DVD, which includes "Journey to the Screen: The Making of Pearl Harbor" as well as actual Pearl Harbor newsreel footage, bonus historical footage, documentaries on the Japanese Relocation and the role of the Army nurse during the war). A three-disc DVD set, "Pearl Harbor Vista Series," featuring the director's cut of the film, historical documentary "Unsung Heroes," Hill's "There You'll Be" music video, "Journey to the Screen: The Making of Pearl Harbor," a definitive bibliography, "One Hour Over Tokyo," multiple commentaries, multiple "making-of" featurettes, multi- angle scene: The Surprise Attack, storyboards, animatics, multiple audio tracks, veteran commentaries, historic timeline set-up feature and more, will be available January 15 for $39.99. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars Typical John Carpenter outing -- gore and weird special effects -- here meshing horror with science fiction. Its 2176, and Earth has populated Mars, mostly with strip miners. At one far-flung outpost, a contingent of Mars Police has been sent to track down a wanted criminal (Ice Cube), but instead of finding a populated work town all they find are -- ghosts. It seems that a long-dormant, evil Martian force has been set loose during a dig, and its on the prowl, turning everyone into, well, the walking dead, with a penchant for decapitation. So the Police, headed up by Natasha Henstridge, must take on the ghosts in a gruesome fight to the finish. Director: John Carpenter. Stars: Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Jason Statham, Pam Grier, Clea Duvall, Joanna Cassidy, Liam White. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 98 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $8.5 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • American Outlaws Revisionist look at the legend of Jesse James, with Colin Farrell playing the infamous outlaw as if he were a Robin Hood of the West. Returning from the Civil War, the James brothers are confronted by a railroad robber baron (Harris Yulin) and his henchman (Timothy Dalton) who kill and maim in their effort to clear a path for their intercontinental railroad. When the James' matriarch (Kathy Bates) and farm are blown up, the James boys go on a rampage, robbing the rich railroads and giving the money to the poor. There's plenty of action, some weak attempts at humor, and a perfunctory love story between Jesse and girlfriend Zee (Ali Larter), but for the most part this misfires on all chambers. Director: Les Mayfield. Stars: Colin Farrell, Gabriel Macht, Scott Caan, Ali Larter, Will McCormack, Timothy Dalton, Harris Yulin, Nathaniel Arcand, Gregory Smith, Kathy Bates. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 94 min., Western comedy, Box office gross: $12.726 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Summer Catch Post-WWII sentimental drama with a baseball background. Set in small New England towns in the innocence after the second World War, the film revolves around the Cape Cod Baseball League, a kind of farm team where college all-stars battle it out to impress pro baseball scouts. Into the picture comes Ryan, the first local boy (from the wrong side of the tracks) to make it on the Cape Cod lineup. Throw in a love affair with a rich girl (Jessica Biel), her "villainous" father (Bruce Davison), rival ballplayers, a tough-guy coach, a loser of a brother (Jason Gedrick), plenty of barroom and baseball scenes, and you have an old-fashioned soap opera that, unfortunately, belongs on the small screen. Director: Mike Tollin. Stars: Freddie Prinze Jr., Jessica Biel, Matthew Lillard, Brian Dennehy, Fred Ward, Jason Gedrick, Brittany Murphy, Bruce Davison, Corey Pearson, Beverly D'Angelo. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min., Baseball drama, Box office gross: $19.037 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Beethoven's 4th More of the slobbering St. Bernhard and his outsized antics. Here the Newton family's Beethoven gets sent off to obedience school but a mix-up at the park switches Beethoven with his dead-ringer look-alike and well-mannered Michelangelo. The Newtons think that the school has done the trick, while Michelangelo's Sedgewick family is in for a surprise. Direct-to-video. Director: David Mickey Evans. Stars: Judge Reinhold, Julia Sweeney, Joe Pichler, Michaela Gallo, Kaleigh Krish, Matt McCoy, Veanne Cox, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Nick Meaney. 2001, CC, Family, Universal, $19.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Strange Case of Senior Computer, The Quirky film explores the relationship between an antisocial, repressed, virginal computer scientist and the robot he has created, who calls him "Father" and offers advice on his troubled life. When Charles creates his artificial-intelligence computer the robot's brain overloads and is set aside by the scientist. But the computer is just dormant -- he misses Father. Luckily he's befriended by Charle's housekeeper Carlotta, who dubs him Senior Computer and nurtures him like a child. Ike (the name he takes for himself) learns about humanity through Carlotta and TV. Before long he discovers credit cards, 900 numbers, mail order and women -- and tries to help Father get a new life-with comic, tragic results. Director: Tom Sawyer. Stars: Rich Ziegler, Gladys Hans, Lisa Goodman, Barbara Beneville. 2000, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 81 min., Science Fiction, World Artists, $24.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Execution of Justice TV docudrama about the assassination of San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk. In the mid-1970s S.F. was in the middle of a radical political and social upheaval. Liberal Democrat George Moscone was elected mayor after years of conservative leadership and Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected official in U.S. history. The events prompted Dan White, an intense, conservative man, to run for supervisor in order to fight the "radicals, social deviates and incorrigibles" he felt were taking over his city. Feeling impotent, White waltzed into the offices of Milk and Moscone and killed them both in cold blood. His trial was a sensation for the city -- in particular his famous "twinkie" defense, in which his lawyers claimed that White's diet of twinkies changed his metabolism, causing him to be mentally imbalanced and not responsible for his actions. White got a short sentence, was released from prison, and killed himself. A fascinating story. Director: Leoni Ichaso. Stars: Tim Daly, Peter Coyote, Stephen Young. 1999, CC, MPAA rating: R, 98 min., Docudrama, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: No.

  • Cora Unashamed Uplifting telefilm of human drama about an African-American housekeeper who faces social isolation and deep-seated racism while working in a small town in Iowa during the depression. Based on a story by Langston Hughes. Director: Deborah Pratt. Stars: Regina Taylor, Cherry Jones, CCH Pounder. 2000, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 95 min., Drama, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: No.

December 11
  • Jurassic Park III The long-awaited second sequel to "Jurassic Park," though not up to the snuff of its predecessors despite new and nastier dinosaurs, is still out there gobbling up the box office, having chomped almost $81 million in its first five days of release. The film is non-stop thrills and chills, as is to be expected, with excitingly believable action, at least on the part of the dinos. This time out, though, one has to double one's suspension of disbelief to go along with the implausible human antics on display. Sam Neil returns as Dr. Alan Grant, conned by divorced husband and wife William H. Macy and Tea Leoni to rescue their son, who disappeared on the dino island during a parasailing adventure. And off we go. Director: Joe Johnston. Stars: Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter, John Diehl, Bruce A. Young. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 91 min., Science Fiction, Box Office Gross: $180 million, Universal, TBA VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Rush Hour 2 The boys are back in town -- or rather the modern-day crime fighting Abbott and Costello of police enforcement are back on screen for more of the same that made "Rush Hour" a $250 million smash hit. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker return as hapless heroes who use fist and mouth (respectively) to disarm their enemies. This time around motor-mouth LAPD cop Tucker travels to Hong Kong, where he's squired around as a tourist by Chan's Inspector Lee. But the fun and games in massage parlors, yachts and nightclubs eventually take a back seat to crime, as the duo begin a rogue cop investigation into the deaths of two U.S. Customs agents involving counterfeit money, taking them to L.A. and Las Vegas and getting involved with a triad leader (John Lone), a nasty henchwoman (Ziyi Zhang), a casino boss (Alan King) and a possibly corrupt secret agent (Roselyn Sanchez). The patented Chan martial arts and Tucker motor mouth mesh well again for two hours of sheer entertainment. Director: Brett Ratner. Stars: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, John Lone, Ziyi Zhang, Roselyn Sanchez, Harris Yulin, Alan King, Kenneth Tsang, Don Cheadle, Saul Rubinek. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 90 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $220 million, New Line, VHS SRP TBA. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Score, The Robert De Niro has paid his dues. From "Greetings" to "Mean Streets" to "The Godfather II" to "Taxi Driver" to "The Last Tycoon" to "Raging Bull" through later work in "Cape Fear," "Wag the Dog" and "Ronin," De Niro has created some of the 20th Century's greatest characters. But in his last several outings -- "15 Minutes" and this by-the-numbers thriller, he's just been wiring home his parts (though he did again step out in "Meeting the Parents"). A departure for comedy director Frank Oz, "The Score" is a throwback to the days before heist films were laden with blood and explosions. That's laudable, but unfortunately this I'm-out-for-one-last-score thriller is a bit too routine and predictable. De Niro plays an expert heist man Jazz club owner drawn into the robbery of a priceless golden French scepter by puffy fence Marlon Brando. Though no job seems too tough for De Niro, this one has a major catch: its stored in the basement of the Customs House in Montreal. With the aid of a rather nasty apprentice crook with a giant chip on his shoulder, played by Edward Norton, who happens to have gotten a job at the Customs House in the guise of a mentally-challenged janitor, and with $4 million dangled in front of him, De Niro takes on the job. De Niro is a the consummate pro while Norton is out to screw anyone he thinks is better than him. The film's plotting of the preparation for the crime and its twists and turns are elaborate but, in the long run, lacks the impact of true heist gambits (By contrast, check out the December 11 DVD release of Jules Dassin's 1964 "Topkapi," a classic of the genre starring Melina Mercouri, Maximilian Schell, Robert Morley, Akim Tamiroff, and Peter Ustinov). This is definitely a boy's film -- Angela Bassett appears briefly as De Niro's wallpaper love interest. Director: Frank Oz. Stars: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Angela Bassett, Marlon Brando, Gary Farmer, Paul Soles. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 123 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $70.307 million, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch John Cameron Mitchell directs and stars in this film adaptation of his Broadway rock musical about an "internationally ignored" rock singer and her search for stardom and love. Hedwig, born a boy with a life's dream to find a missing part of himself, submits to a sex change operation to marry an American G.I. and get over the Berlin Wall to freedom. The operation is botched, leaving an "angry inch," and Hedwig finds herself alone and divorced in a Kansas trailer park. She forms a rock band and meets a lover/protege, who turns around and steals her songs and becomes a huge rock star. Hedwig forms a pan-Slavic band, the Angry Inch, and goes on tour in seedy dives in the shadow of her ex-lover, seeking to make her way in the rock world. Director: John Cameron Mitchell. Stars: John Cameron Mitchell, Miriam Shor, Theodore Liscinski. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 91 min., Rock theater, Box office gross: $4.000 million, New Line, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date 3 stars

  • Following A wickedly clever story of obsession by the director of recent indie hit "Memento." Bill, an unemployed "aspiring writer" has a peculiar hobby: shadowing strangers at random in the streets of London. When Cobb, a man Bill has been following, catches him in the act, Bill is drawn into Cobb's world of breaking into flats and prying into the personal lives of their victims. Eventually he's duped into an elaborate triple-cross. As with "Memento," Nolan has created a filmic structure -- flash-forwards and doubling backs -- that makes the audience an active player in the creation of the film. Director: Christopher Nolan. Stars: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell. 1998, CC, MPAA rating: R, 70 min., Thriller, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & date.

  • Mists of Avalon, The Imaginative retelling of the myth of King Arthur and Camelot, from a woman's point of view. TNT miniseries. Director: Ulrich Edel. Stars: Angelica Huston, Julianna Margulies, Joan Allen. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: NA, 183 min., Adventure, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • 4 Dogs Playing Poker Four friends participate in a heist gone awry and are forced to devise a desperate payback plan by taking out $1 million life insurance policies and drawing cards to see who lives -- and who dies. Director: Paul Rachman. Stars: Olivia Williams, Stacy Edwards, Balthazar Getty, Daniel London, Tim Curry, Forest Whitaker. 1999, CC, MPAA rating: R, 98 min., Thriller, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Orfeu When Orfeu, a charismatic and beloved samba/hip-hop musician living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, falls in love with Euridice, an Indian girl visiting her aunt, he arouses the jealousy of his fiery mistress, forgotten lovers and his childhood friend Lucinho, the community's brooding drug lord. And then there's Rio's Carnival as a background. Reminds one of "Black Orpheus, Marcel Camus' 1959 wonderful retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice legend, also set during Rio's Carnival. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Director: Carlos Diegues. Stars: Toni Garrido, Patricia Franca, Murilo Benicio. 1999, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 112 min., Drama, New Yorker, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Druids In 60 B.C., Vercingetorix (Christopher Lambert) is a strong, peaceful Gallic chieftain with a legacy to protect his fellow Druids on the Celtic isles. But when Julius Caesar and his Roman army declare war, Vercingetorix has no choice but to fight. Reunited with his childhood love and armed with little more than raw courage, he unites his people and prepares them for the battle of their lives. Director: Jacques Dorfman. Stars: Christopher Lambert, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max Von Sydow, Ines Sastre. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 124 min., Action, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

December 18
  • Scary Movie 2 More of the same horror-spoof shenanigans that made "Scary Movie" a teen-college audience smash hit. This time around the surviving cast members of "SM" (now in college) are invited by a nasty professor (Tim Curry) to spend the weekend in a haunted house, giving the filmmakers the opportunity to spoof "The House on Haunted Hill," "The Exorcist," "The Changling" and even "Charlie's Angels." And there's the usual soft-core sex added in, with enough prurient ghostly sex scenes to definitely give this one a strong R-rating. Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans. Stars: Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Chris Masterson, Tim Curry, Tori Spelling, James Woods, Natasha Lyonne, Andy Richter, Kathleen Robertson, Chris Elliott, David Cross. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 82 min., Horror spoof, Box office gross: $71.277 million, Buena Vista, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Princess Diaries, The Second surprise hit of the summer revolving around the trials and tribulations of young women trying to find their way in the world (the other being "Legally Blonde") that shows that there is always a large audience for innocuous comedy sans explicit sex and bathroom humor. This typical Disney comedy (a throwback to the 1960s/1970s) stars Anne Hathaway as a clumsy 10th-grader in San Francisco who discovers she is in fact the heir to the throne of the small country of Genovia. With the aid of her grandmother Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews) the ugly duckling is turned into a lovely, poised princess. A delightful film for young girls that has found a much wider family audience. Director: Garry Marshall. Stars: Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo, Heather Matarazzo, Caroline Goodall, Robert Schwartzman, Kathleen Marshall, Sandra Oh. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: G, 115 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $105 million, Buena Vista, $22.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Vigil, The Following Nirvana's Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994, a group of twentysomething adults leave Lethbridge, Alberta, on a journey to join the vigil for him in Seattle, learning about life, love and death along the way. A wry road film. Director: Justin McGregor. 1998, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 86 min., Drama, Vanguard Cinema, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Burnzy's Last Call Ensemble cast depicts a day in the life of a Manhattan watering hole, the last holdout in a rapidly gentrified neighborhood. With music by Deborah Harry, Iggy Pop, Evan Dando, The Smithereens. Stars: Sherry Stringfield, Sam Gray, David Johansen, James McCaffrey, Chris Noth, Roger Robinson, Tony Todd, Carolyn McCormick, Michael Massee, Jamie Waters, Eddie Brill, James Burton. 2000, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 88 min., Drama, Vanguard Cinema, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Blood Money Mob drama about the son of a "made" family who left his roots and became a successful Wall Street businessman, trading in the rackets and dope deals for stocks and bonds. But when his brother is murdered, he returns home for the funeral and gets drawn into the shady underworld of crime and deceit. Now he must save the family he once escaped and find his brother's unknown assassin. Telefilm. Director: Aaron Lipstadt. Stars: Brian Bloom, Alan Arkin. 2000, CC, MPAA rating: R, 95 min., Thriller, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: No.

  • Princess of Thieves Disney TV adventure about the daughter of Robin Hood and Maid Marion, who's ready to follow in her father's footsteps. Director: Peter Hewitt. Stars: Keira Knightley, Malcolm McDowell, Jonathan Hyde, Stephen Moyer, Stuart Wilson. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG, min., Adventure, Disney, $19.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story TV biodrama about Shirley Temple, the most successful child star in Hollywood history. Stars: Ashley Rose Orr, Emily Hart, Connie Britton, Colin Friels. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: PG, Biodrama, Disney, $19.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

December 26
  • Two Can Play That Game Failed romantic comedy about a self-assured, self-made female advertising executive (Vivica A. Fox) who discovers that her boyfriend (Morris Chestnut) has been playing around with her rival (Gabrielle Union). To get even -- and teach her ex a lesson, she decides that two can play that game -- and undertakes a 10-day plan that she's certain will make him come running back to her. But she soon finds out that playing the field isn't as easy as she thought. In typical sitcom fashion, the writers bring in a bevy of girlfriends and their beaus for comic support, but the main underpinnings of the romp are way too weak. Director: Mark Brown. Stars: Vivica A. Fox, Morris Chestnut, Anthony Anderson, Mo'Nique, Tamala Jones, Raquel Robinson, Gabrielle Union, Bobby Brown. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Romantic Comedy, Box office gross: $20 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

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    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.

July 2001 Releases
August 2001 Releases
September 2001 Releases
October 2001 Releases
November 2001 Releases
January 2002 Releases
February 2002 Releases


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