OnVideo Guide to Home Video Releases: December Releases

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Guide to Home Video Releases:
December Releases

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.

calendar page Back to Calendar Index.

December 2
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Who would have thought that the folks at Disney could pull it off? A swashbuckler based on an amusement park ride (the previous attempt at such a gambit, based on the Country Bears attraction, was a big flop)? But "Pirates" is truly big, fun robust adventure, a throwback and homage to the days when Hollywood knew how to make big Technicolor extravaganzas that filled the screen with action. Here producer Jerry Bruckheimer has pulled together all the right elements: tight direction, fine acting (with a particularly extravagantly outrageous turn by Johnny Depp) and an involving (if at times wandering) script. For the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp), the crystalline waters of the Caribbean present a vast playground where adventure and mystery abound. But Jack's idyllic life capsizes after his nemesis, the wily Captain Barbossa (Rush) steals his ship, the Black Pearl, and later attacks the town of Port Royal, kidnapping the Governor's (Pryce) beautiful daughter, Elizabeth Swann (Knightley). Elizabeth's childhood friend, Will Turner (Bloom), joins forces with Jack to commandeer the fastest ship in the British fleet, the HMS Interceptor, in a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl. The duo and their crew are pursued by Elizabeth's betrothed, the debonair, ambitious Commodore Norrington (Davenport) aboard the HMS Dauntless. Unbeknownst to Will, there is a curse that has doomed Barbossa and his crew to live forever as the undead: When exposed to moonlight, they are transformed into living skeletons. The curse they carry can be broken only if a once-plundered treasure is restored. Stunning visual effects bring these formidable foes to life as the valiant heroes clash mightily with Barbossa and his invincible pirates of the Caribbean. Keep your eyes open for sly references to sequences in the Disneyland ride. Director: Gore Verbinski. Stars: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Davenport. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 143 min., Swashbuckler, Box office gross: $270.000 million, Disney, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Navigators, The Story of the struggle of British rail workers to survive after their company is bought out by a big conglomerate. Director: Ken Loach. Stars: Dean Andrews, Thomas Craig, Joe Duttine, Steve Huison. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 92 min., Drama, First Look, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Beethoven's 5th Direct-to-video sequel in the Beethoven the dog franchise. While exploring his new surroundings, Beethoven digs up a dirty Andrew Jackson $10 bill. When it turns out that the $10 bill is part of a 1920s fortune, gold fever strikes the town of Cedar Woods and the race is on to find the long lost loot. Suddenly everybody wants to be Beethoven's best friend, hoping he'll lead them to the cash. ... but none of them are prepared for what is really hiding in the woods. Director: Mark Griffiths. Stars: John Larroquette, Dave Thomas, Daveigh Chase, Faith Ford, Kathy Griffin, Tom Poston, Katherine Helmond, Clint Howard, Stanley the dog. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: G, 90 min., Family, Universal, $19.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Autumn Spring Bittersweet Czech comedy about an old man, Fanda, who refuses to grow up. Despite pleas from his exasperated wife who wants him to make serious decisions about the future, Fanda ignores the nagging and spends his days seeking amusement and adventure. English subtitles. Director: Vladimir Michalek. Stars: Vlastimil Brodsky, Stella Zazvorkova, Stanislav Zindulka. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 95 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $0.049 million, First Look, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Fellini: I'm a Born Liar What sets this film apart from other portraits of Fellini is that director Damian Pettigrew was afforded a length, privileged, unprecedented access to the man himself. Laced with interviews and classic clips, the film literally retraces Fellini's footsteps with actors Donald Sutherland and Terence Stamp contributing valuable insight into the Maestro's working methods and madness. Director: Damian Pettigrew. Stars: Federico Fellini, Terence Stamp, Donald Sutherland, Roberto Benigni, Italo Calvino. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $0.106 million, First Look, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Cuckoo, The A fascinating and eloquent study about human relationships and communication barriers from renowned writer-director Alexander Rogozhkin ("Checkpoint"), "The Cuckoo" takes place in September 1944, just days before Nazi-allied Finland withdraws from World War II. A Finnish sniper named Veiko (Ville Haapasalo) is chained to a rock by his compatriots and left to die as punishment for his reluctance in battle. Not long after, Ivan (Viktor Bychkov), a disgraced Russian captain, en route to his court martial, is wounded in an accident. Both men are taken in by Anni (Anni-Kristiina Juuso), a young, resourceful Lapp widow, who offers shelter to one while nursing the other back to health. Isolated by the harsh winter weather on her reindeer farm, the lines between enemy and ally disappear as the three unlikely roommates -- from three different cultures, speaking three different languages -- overcome both comic and tragic misunderstandings to form a passionate relationship together. Director: Alexander Rogozhkin. Stars: Ville Haapasalo, Viktor Bychkov, Anni-Kristiina Juuso. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.181 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

December 9
  • Bad Boys II Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back on the streets of Miami, reuniting with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay. Narcotics detectives Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) have been assigned to a high-tech task force investigating the flow of designer ecstasy into Miami. Their inquiries inadvertently lead them to a major conspiracy involving a vicious Cuban kingpin (Jordi Molla), whose ambitions to take over the city's drug trade have ignited a bloody turf war. But Mike and Marcus' friendship and working relationship is threatened when Mike begins to develop feelings for Marcus' sister Syd (Gabrielle Union), who, it turns out, is an undercover DEA agent who has infiltrated a Russian mobster's (Peter Stormare) organization -- the same organization getting ready to launder money for the Cuban's operation. Unless they can separate the personal from the professional, the bad boys are in danger of blowing the case and endangering Syd's life in the process. There's plenty of incredible chases and car crashes (one involving 22 cars and a boat) to please all hardcore action fans. Director: Michael Bay. Stars: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Jordi Molla, Gabrielle Union, Peter Stormare, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Shannon, Jon Seda, Yul Vazquez, Jason Manuel Olazabal, Otto Sanchez, Henry Rollins. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 147 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $138.000 million, Columbia, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • How to Deal Typical teen romantic comedy. Mandy Moore plays Halley Martin, who's cynical view of love and the world is confirmed by friends and family. Her jaded mother is in the final stages of divorcing her father, a radio DJ who chose to fight his mid-life crisis by eloping with a much-younger traffic reporter. Her neurotic sister is marrying a man who she doesn't get along with, and her best friend is experiencing out-of-control hormones with a classmate. Into all this turmoil comes Macon Forrester (Trent Ford), a loner who wants to be more than just friends. As her life grows more and more complicated. Halley finds that Macon is the one guy who challenges her idea that love just complicates a good friendship. Oh to be young again. Director: Claire Kilner. Stars: Mandy Moore, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher, Mary Catherine Garrison, Mackenzie Astin, Alkexandra Holden, Macon Forrester. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Teen romantic comedy, Box office gross: $14.108 million, New Line, $19.96 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Assassination Tango Seductive thriller directed by Robert Duvall. Veteran hit man John J. Anderson (Duvall) has just received the toughest assignment of his career: travel to Buenos Aires, take down a corrupt general and be back in the U.S. in less than three days. But when the general delays his return to the city, John has to put his hit on hold, and finds himself prowling the city's intoxicating tango clubs -- only to be seduced by a sultry dancer (Luciana Pedraza), tempted by the tango ... and betrayed by a lethal conspiracy. Director: Robert Duvall. Stars: Robert Duvall, Ruben Blades, Kathy Baker, Luciana Pedraza. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 114 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $0.970 million, MGM, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Gigli Pundits, critics, gossips and Internet gas bags hated this Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez romantic outing even before previews hit the screens. While people can dislike this dynamic duo of excess and arrogance (Affleck is eternally smug and just loves to overspend, even for a star; Lopez has consistently contradicted her "Jenny from the block" image and has developed a toilet fixation), their movie still deserved the benefit of the doubt. It got horrible reviews, but bad reviews certainly haven't stopped other nags from becoming thoroughbreds. In this case, however, "Gigli" -- an Affleck and Lopez criminal love story -- lived up to expectations, and bombed at the boxoffice with a dearth of word-of-mouth, giving it a fast turnaround to home video. You be the judge. The story: Small-time, dim-witted street thug Larry Gigli (Affleck) has a reputation for big time screw-ups. When orders arrive for Gigli to kidnap and safeguard the brother of a federal prosecutor, he finally has the opportunity to repair his damaged street-cred. To assure that Gigli doesn't make a mess out of his assignment, the boss pairs him up with tough and gorgeous gal gangster, Ricki (Lopez). Not one to take orders from a woman, Gigli tries to seduce Ricki but the more decidedly unavailable she becomes, the more he finds himself needing to win her true affection. When the job slips out of their control, they find themselves in over their heads and must finally learn to work together to save both of their hides. Director: Martin Brest. Stars: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha, Lainie Kazan, Missy Crider, Al Pacino, Christopher Walken. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 121 min., Romance, Box office gross: $5.660 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Baby Snakes Frank Zappa's incredible cult film, mixing concert footage from his 1978 Halloween concert at the Palladium Theater in New York with bizarre clayanimation by Bruce Bickford. Classic Zappa tracks such as "Baby Snakes," "Curse of the Knick-Knack People" and "City of Tiny Lights," on and offstage glimpses of arcane behavior by Zappa and fellow musicians, and the famous segment in which a guy with a hamburger for a head consumes the guy sitting next to him, make this outrageous film truly a "movie about people who do stuff that is not normal." Remixed in 5.1 surround. On DVD only. 1979, CC, Rock concert with animation, Eagle Rock Entertainment, $24.98 DVD. DVD: Only.

  • Love in the Time of Money Nine New Yorkers, including a hooker, an embezzler, an art collector, a receptionist and a housewife, interact with each other on one day in the city that links each in a circle of sexual encounters. Director: Peter Mattei. Stars: Steve Buscemi, Jill Hennessy, Michael Imperioli, Rosario Dawson. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 88 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.006 million, Miramax, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Dude ... We're Going to Rio Adventure music video starring Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes as he travels from New York to Rio in search of a mysterious Rio poster beauty. Features music from "The Neptunes Present ... Clones" album that showcases more than a dozen acts produced by Chad and Pharrell, including Pharrell and Jay-Z, Nas and Kelis, Busta Rhymes, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, more. DVD only. Director: C.B. Harding. Stars: Pharrell Williams. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 60 min., Music video, Fox, $22.98. DVD: Only.

  • Year That Trembled, The Coming-of-age story set in the turbulent 1970s. Three teens, fresh out of high school and fearful of the draft lottery, get caught up in the anti-Nixon activist movement at Kent State. Following a violent guerilla theatre demonstration, the trio take in a zealous activist, who's hiding from an FBI investigation. Confronted by the hypocrisy of the war in Vietnam and the complexities of the counter-culture, no one emerges unscathed. Choices are made, emotional boundaries are transgressed, and innocence is lost. Director: Jay Craven. Stars: Jonathan Brandis, Kiera Chaplin, Lucas Ford, Jay R. Ferguson. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Drama, Ardustry Home Entertainment, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

December 16
  • Seabiscuit "You don't throw a whole life away just 'cause it's banged up a little." Based on Laura Hillenbrand's best-seller, "Seabiscuit" was a mid-summer crowd-pleaser and blockbuster hit. Seabiscuit was, of course, a thoroughbred race horse in the 1930s that captured the imagination of a Depression-ridden country. The bay was a training horse for other thoroughbreds, a "has-been" who was given a second chance when bought by a wealthy car dealer (Jeff Bridges), trained by a cowboy (Chris Cooper) and ridden by a kid (Tobey Maguire) who wanted to be a jockey. The story exemplifies pure Americana: the spirit of the "little guy," the "underdog," the "come-from-behind" champ who wins against all odds. And the film plays it for all that that's worth, rife as it is with heart-rending melodrama. And though you know how the film ends, it still makes you sweat all the way to the wire. Director: Gary Ross. Stars: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, William H. Macy, Gary Stevens. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 140 min., Drama, Box office gross: $113.600 million, Universal, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Freaky Friday Dr. Tess Coleman (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her 15-year-old daughter, Anna (Lindsay Lohan), are not getting along. They don't see eye-to-eye on clothes, hair, music, and certainly not on each other's taste in men. One Thursday evening, their disagreements reach a fever pitch -- Anna is incensed that her mother doesn't support her musical aspirations and Tess, a widow about to remarry, can't see why Anna won't give her fiance (Mark Harmon) a break. Everything soon changes when two identical Chinese Fortune cookies cause a little mystic mayhem. The next morning, their Friday gets freaky when Tess and Anna find themselves inside the other's body. As they're literally forced to walk in each other's shoes, they gain a little newfound respect for the other's point of view. But with Tess's wedding coming on Saturday, the two have to find a way to switch back (and fast) to each other. Hip -- and funny -- remake of the 1977 movie based on Mary Rodgers' novel. Director: Mark Waters. Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Harold Gould, Chad Michael Murray, Stephen Tobolowsky, Christina Vidal, Ryan Malgarini. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 97 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $102.000 million, Buena Vista, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Rugrats Go Wild As castaways on a forsaken Polynesian island known only as Uninhabited, the boisterous babies of Rugrats fame find their mirror images in television's favorite nature-documentarian family, The Wild Thornberrys. Discovering new things about themselves as they meet their counterparts on the wild side, Tommy Pickles (voiced by E.G. Daily) and his half-pint pals have the adventure of their lives. Spike (voiced by Bruce Willis) realizes that his bark is better than his bite when he speaks to the one person who can truly understand him, Eliza Thornberry (voiced by Lacey Chabert). Tyrannical Angelica (voiced by Cheryl Chase) meets her bossy match in that angst-ridden teen-queen Debbie Thornberry (voiced by Danielle Harris). Timid Chuckie (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) discovers the brave boy inside himself when he switches clothes and personalities with wild child Donnie (voiced by Flea). The bug-eating twins Phil and Lil (voiced by Kath Soucie) turn "vegetabletarian" after looking into the face of a real bug in the wild. And nice guy Tommy proves he's not just a backyard explorer with a diaper full of dreams when he meets someone with the same pure innocence and enthusiasm for 'sploring -- Sir Nigel Thornberry (voiced by Tim Curry). It all starts when Tommy's dad Stu Pickles (voiced by Jack Riley) takes everyone on a family cruise that hits a rough patch of water that lands them all on a deserted island. Now they're castaways in the tropics with a rare white leopard (voiced by Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders), who'd just love to turn them all into her own brand of kitty kibble. Learning that if they all work together they can make it back to their own backyards, the Rugrats and the Thornberrys turn into one very big happy family! Director: Norton Virgien, John Eng. Voices of Chrissie Hynde, Bruce Willis, E.G. Daily, Nancy Cartwright, Kath Soucie, Cheryl Chase, Tim Curry, Lacey Chalbert, Flea, Jack Riley, Danielle Harris. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 80 min., Animated, Box office gross: $38.400 million, Paramount, $24.95 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Hairbrained attempt to take advantage of the enormous success of comic book heroes on the big screen, but here using characters from 19th century fiction. In 1899, legendary British explorer Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) is summoned by the British crown to assemble a team of extraordinary gentlemen to defend the Western world from an evil and mysterious villain named the Fantom. So he recruits Captain Nemo and his sub the Nautilus; Mina Harker, wife to the man who tracked down Dracula, Jonathan Harker, and now herself a vampire; the successor to the Invisible Man; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; American Secret Agent Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain is turning in his grave); and Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray. The League members are staunch individualists, outcasts, with checkered pasts and singular gifts that have been both blessings and curses. Now they must learn to trust each other and work as a team for the very hope of civilization. With little preparation and no time to lose, they are transported via the Nautilus to Venice, Italy, where the Fantom plans to sabotage a conference of world leaders by setting off a domino chain of explosions, sinking the entire city. The threat is catastrophic, the risks are staggering, and Venice eventually lays in ruins. Now the League must travel to Mongolia to stop the Fantom before he perfects his ultimate weapons of mass destruction. Too many special effects and not enough emphasis on the characters, who all have something interesting to offer but get lost in the noise. Director: Stephen Norrington. Stars: Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Pete Wilson, Tony Curran, Stuart Townsend, Shane West, Jason Flemyng, Richard Roxburgh, Max Ryan. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 110 min., Action, Box office gross: $65.600 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Avalon Weird sci-fi thriller set in a near future were an battle simulation videogame called Avalon has become an addictive way of life for those who dare to play. Gamers plug into a network and play on teams or by themselves, amassing credits for money -- or getting killed and running the risk of permanent brain damage. When a top-ranked Avalon warrior, Ash, learns that there may be a secret and elite level of the game that takes one to a new reality, she is driven to find a way in. But when she finds her way to the final level, the line between the real world and that of the game blurs. Stunning visual effects will blow your mind. Filmed by Hong Kong filmmakers and FX artists in Poland with a Polish cast. Director: Mamoru Oshii. Stars: Malgorzata Foremniak, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Jerzy Gudejko, Bartek Swiderski. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 107 min., Science Fiction, Miramax, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • 44 Minutes Telefilm based on the real event that took place February 28, 197 when two heavily armed men wearing body armor invaded a Bank in North Hollywood, resulting in the most violent shootout in modern American police history. The two men held more than 50 L.A.P.D. and SWAT team members at bay for 44 minutes. Director: Yves Simoneau. Stars: Ron Livingston, Michael Madsen, Mario Van Peebles. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 120 min., Thriller, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Wicked Spring It's 1864 during the Battle of the Wilderness, where three Union soldiers and three Confederate soldiers find themselves separated from their regiment as twilight engulfs the ravaged battlefield. When the two estranged units meet by chance on the bank of a quiet creek, they strike up a friendship, and talk through the night around a campfire. But another battle is about to begin. When the sun rises the two camps are able to see each other for what they really are -- bitter enemies. Director: Kevin Hershberger. Stars: Brian Merrick, DJ Perry, Terry Jemigan. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 105 min., Drama, Ardustry Home Entertainment, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

December 23
  • Alex & Emma Alex Sheldon (Luke Wilson) is an author whose writer's block is the least of his problems -- he also happens to be flat broke and owes Cuban loan sharks $100,000. After hanging him out the window and destroying his laptop computer, the thugs give Alex an ultimatum: pay up in 30 days or wind up dead. The only way Alex is going to get that kind of money is by finishing his novel, which is currently less than one sentence long. There's another hitch, too: If he fails to deliver a book in 30 days, the publisher will own everything that he writes, forever. He's got some idea of what he wants the story to be; as he puts it, "It's about the powerlessness of being in love, how it devours the insides of a person like a deadly virus. It's a comedy." He just can't seem to get it out onto paper. Now lacking both inspiration and a laptop, Alex secures the services of opinionated stenographer Emma Dinsmore (Kate Hudson) to help him complete the novel and get paid by his publisher in time to save his skin. The movie shifts between Alex's New York apartment and the 1920s period in his novel, with the protagonists in the fiction also played by Wilson and Hudson. Alex and Emma spend their days and nights working together on the novel. Emma challenges his ideas at every turn, and her initially irritating but undeniably intriguing input begins to influence Alex and his story. Soon, real life begins to imitate art, and art, to imitate life. A good idea -- loosely based on Dostoyevsky's "The Gambler" -- which fails due to a lack of chemistry between Wilson and Hudson. Director: Rob Reiner. Stars: Kate Hudson, Luke Wilson, Sophie Marceau, David Paymer, Chino XL, Lobo Sebastian, Rob Reiner. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 100 min., Romantic comedy, Box office gross: $14.200 million, Warner, $19.96 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Jeepers Creepers 2 Every 23 years it gets to feed ... and feed ... for 23 days. It's the winged Creeper, and his favorite food is human flesh. Still not sated after is introduction in "Jeepers Creepers," the thing goes on the hunt for more flesh. Returning home from a championship game, a group of varsity basketball players, cheerleaders, and coaches become stranded on the infamous East 9 Highway in Poho County -- only it's the cunning Creeper who has actually crippled their bus. After the adults are killed one by one, the students are left alone, trapped on the bus and forced to defend themselves against a supernatural creature who has already decided who it wants to kill -- and the kids soon know who among them are targeted. As 23 horrifying days of flesh-eating come to an end, the Creeper has embarked on its final voracious feeding frenzy. As night falls, the terrified group of young athletes must fight their own fears and prejudices and come together in a seemingly hopeless struggle against a winged nightmare hellbent on stockpiling as many victims as it can on the ultimate night of its grizzly, ritual feast. Director: Victor Salva. Stars: Ray Wise, Jonathan Breck, Shaun Fleming, Eric Nenninger, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Nicki Aycox, Billy Aaron Brown, Marieh Delfino, Lena Cardwell. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 104 min., Horror, Box office gross: $34.816 million, MGM, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Anything Else A contemporary romantic comedy set in New York City about the relationship between an older guy (Woody Allen) and his younger protege (Jason Biggs), and what happens when the protege falls in love with a quirky young woman (Christina Ricci). Director: Woody Allen. Stars: Woody Allen, Jason Biggs, Fisher Stevens, Anthony Arkin, Danny DeVito, Christina Ricci. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 108 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $3.200 million, DreamWorks, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Medallion, The Martial-arts action hero Jackie Chan stars as Eddie Yang, a resolute Hong Kong detective who suffers a near fatal accident while investigating a case involving a mysterious medallion. Eddie soon discovers that with the powerful medallion in his possession he is transformed into a Highbinder -- an immortal warrior with superhuman speed, strength and skills -- taking his martial arts abilities to a whole new level. Enlisting the help of British Interpol agent and former girlfriend Nicole James (Claire Forlani) and bumbling agent Watson (Lee Evans), Eddie is determined to learn the secret of the medallion and face down the evil crime lord Snakehead (Julian Sands) who wants to use its awesome powers for his own destructive plans. Director: Gordan Chan. Stars: Jackie Chan, Claire Forlani, Lee Evans, Julian Sands. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 88 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $21.963 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Crime Spree An out-of-town heist becomes a nightmare for a crew of French burglars when they mistakenly rob the head of the Chicago mafia. Unaccustomed to the ways of the American underworld, it's not long before they have the mafia, the FBI and a couple of street gangs on their backs as they attempt to make their way back to Paris. Director: Brad Mirman. Stars: Gerard Depardieu, Harvey Keitel, Johnny Hallyday. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Thriller, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • I Capture the Castle Bittersweet romantic-comedy follows 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain (Romola Garai) and the fortunes of her eccentric family, struggling to survive in a decaying English castle during the 1930s. Her author father (Bill Nighy) is desperate to repeat the spectacular success of his first novel, but hasn't written a word for 12 years; her exquisite sister Rose (Rose Byrne) can only rail against their fate, and their bohemian step-mother Topaz (Tara Fitzgerald) is a nudist and no help at all. Salvation comes in the form of their American landlord Simon Cotton (Henry Thomas) and his brother Neil (Marc Blucas). Although initially repelled by Simon, Rose is determined to make him fall in love with her and succeeds. But events spiral out of control, and before the summer ends there will be frustrated desire, first love, and broken hearts. Director: Tim Fywell. Stars: Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, Rose Byrne, Tara Fitzgerald, Henry Thomas, Marc Blucas. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 113 min., Romantic comedy, Box office gross: $1.174 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

December 30
  • S.W.A.T. They're the best of the best, the elite of law enforcement. And they've been recruited for their most dangerous mission ever. Inspired by the popular '70s television series. Colin Farrell portrays Jim Street, a former S.W.A.T. team member who is thrown off the team in the aftermath of a controversial decision he made during a robbery/hostage standoff. For Street, being a policeman is his life and he agrees to a demotion, hoping to someday have the chance to redeem himself and once again wear the privileged S.W.A.T. uniform. Street gets that chance when team commander Dan "Hondo" Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson) is assigned to recruit and train five top-notch cops for a new Special Weapons and Tactics unit (S.W.A.T.). The other members of the new team Hondo recruits are Deacon "Deke" Kaye (James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J), Chris Sanchez (Michelle Rodriguez), Michael Boxer (Brian Van Holt) and T.J. McCabe (Josh Charles). After weeks of demanding physical training, the new S.W.A.T. team is quickly thrown into action when notorious drug lord Alex Montel (Olivier Martinez) audaciously offers a $100 million bounty to anyone who can free him from police custody. As they escort the kingpin out of Los Angeles and into the hands of the Feds, they are pursued by a ruthless and well-armed band of mercenaries. Director: Clark Johnson. Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J., Brian Van Holt, Jeremy Renner, Josh Charles, Oliver Martinez. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 117 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $117.000 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Order, The For centuries, a secret Order has existed within the Church. Following a series of unexplained murders, a renegade priest (Heath Ledger) begins an investigation that hurls him into a maelstrom of unimaginable evil, murder and the knowledge that there is a fate worse than death. The priest's search takes him to The Sin Eater -- a key figure in this mysterious and ancient Order. The immortal Sin Eater's role is nothing less than playing God on earth by absolving the unforgivable of their sins outside the Church, allowing great evil to go unpunished. Burdened with centuries of evil, The Sin Eater craves the luxury of death. But who will eat his sins and grant eternal peace? Who will carry on his dark tradition and continue the work of the Order? As the young priest uncovers the answers and pursues these paragons of evil, he fights to save his own soul and that of the woman he loves. Dull good vs. evil parable. Director: Brian Helgeland. Stars: Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, Benno Furmann, Mark Addy, Peter Weller, Francesco Carnelutti, Richard Bremmer. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Supernatural thriller, Box office gross: $7.700 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Northfork Set in 1955 on the Montana Plains, the film tales place two days before the town of Northfork will be wiped off the map forever by a new dam. As a team of six trench-coated men are charged with removing the last few stragglers before it's too late, the evacuation committee spreads out across Northfork, encountering a group of people not quite ready or willing to leave. Waiting in limbo, these residents are battling their inner questions; some are looking for a sign; others are hoping for a miracle. Asking the question, How do people leave the only place they've ever known -- whether it's moving across country or departing the Earth forever, the film ponders the strange and unsettling nature of making big transitions, and the human ability to cope with them. Director: Michael Polish. Stars: Peter Coyote, Darryl Hannah, Kyle Maclachlan, James Woods, Anthony Edwards, Nick Nolte, Mark Polish. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.388 million, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • So Close Directed by renowned action choreographer Cory Yuen, this fast-paced and sleek Hong Kong action-on-stilettos thriller stars a trio of Asia's most alluring and talented young actresses. Two professional assassin sisters, played by Zhao Wei and Shu Qi with breathtaking skills in kung fu and high-tech weaponry, become locked in a ruthless battle with a powerful computer mogul named Chow who thinks he can manipulate them to further his corporate needs. Fearing exposure by the equally beautiful and lethal female undercover cop Kong Yat Hong (Karen Mok) who has been tracking the sisters, Chow has the older sister killed and implicates Hong in the murder. Now the two high-kicking adversaries must put aside their differences to form an alliance and bring down the man who double-crossed them both. The film not only displays the astounding martial arts skills of its protagonists but also delves into the emotional lives of its characters, giving this outing a delightfully well-rounded resonance for a genre vehicle of its type. Director: Cory Yuen. Stars: Zhao Wei, Shu Qi, Karen Mok. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 111 min., Martial arts, Box office gross: $0.031 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Beyond Reanimator Sci Fi Channel sequel to 1985's "Re-Animator," which also starred Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Herbert West. Here the good doctor who developed a serum to bring back the dead has been languishing in prison for 14 years, experimenting on rats. A new MD arrives at the prison, and enlists Dr. West's aid in some new and exciting reanimation experiments. Director: Brian Yuzna. Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 95 min., Horror, Lions Gate, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

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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.

January 2004 Releases
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March 2004 Releases
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October 2003 releases

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November 25, 2003