OnVideo Guide to Home Video Releases: December Calendar of Releases

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Guide to Home Video Releases:
December Release Calendar

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 5
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Captain Jack is back ... and so are Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, joined by a roistering shipload of characters both new and familiar, in the epic second installment in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" saga. In this follow-up to the blockbuster 2003 film, the decidedly eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is caught up in another tangled web of supernatural intrigue. Although the curse of the Black Pearl has been lifted, an even more terrifying threat looms over its captain and scurvy crew: it turns out that Jack owes a blood debt to the legendary Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), Ruler of the Ocean Depths, who captains the ghostly Flying Dutchman, which no other ship can match in speed and stealth. Unless the ever-crafty Jack figures a cunning way out of this Faustian pact, he will be cursed to an afterlife of eternal servitude and damnation in the service of Jones. This startling development interrupts the wedding plans of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, who once again find themselves thrust into Jack's misadventures, leading to escalating confrontations with sea monsters, very unfriendly islanders, flamboyant soothsayer Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris) and even the mysterious appearance of Will's long-lost father, Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgard). Meanwhile, ruthless pirate hunter Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) of the East India Trading Company sets his sights on retrieving the fabled "Dead Man's Chest." According to legend, whoever possesses the Dead Man's Chest gains control of Davy Jones, and Beckett intends to use this awesome power to destroy every last Pirate of the Caribbean once and for all. For times are changing on the high seas, with businessmen and bureaucrats becoming the true pirates ... and freewheeling, fun-loving buccaneers like Jack and his crew threatened with extinction. Vitals: Director: Gore Verbinski. Stars: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Kevin McNally, David Bailie, Stellan Skarsgard. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 150 min., Action, Box office gross: $ 414.013 million, Buena Vista. 4 stars


  • Miami Vice Michael Mann revisits his landmark TV series "Miami Vice" with this big-screen adaptation that allows the director to further explore -- unrestricted by the limitations of television -- that nexus where thirdworld drug running intersects with the billion-dollar corporate-industrial complex. The film begins as Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) learn that a high-level leak has led to the slaughter of two federal agents and the murder of an informant friend's family. Pulled into the case, the two detectives' investigation takes them straight to the doorstep of vicious killers from the Aryan Brotherhood and a sophisticated network of globalized traffickers protected by world-class security. During the hunt, the partners encounter the cartel's beautiful Chinese-Cuban financial officer Isabella (Gong Li) -- a woman who moves, launders and invests money. The seductress provides Crockett a way of exorcising his own demons as he tries to keep her safe from darker forces ... while the new lovers learn just who's playing (and falling for) whom. Simultaneously, the stoic Tubbs infiltrates the elusive criminal enterprise while keeping a protective eye on his intel-analyst girlfriend, Trudy (Naomie Harris). As Crockett and Tubbs work undercover transporting drug loads into South Florida, they race to identify the group responsible for their friends' killings while jointly investigating the New Underworld Order. During their mission, lines will get crossed as the partners start forgetting not only which way is up, but on which side of the law they're supposed to be. Vitals: Director: Michael Mann. Stars: Colin Farrell,Jamie Foxx, Li Gong, Naomie Harris, Ciaran Hinds,Justin Theroux. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 140 min., Action thriller, Box office gross: $63.437 million, Universal. 3 stars

  • Pulse Based on the Japanese horror movie "Kairo," "Pulse" centers on a group of college students who discover that a computer hacker friend of theirs unwittingly pirated a signal that opens a doorway for evil to cross over into the world: through cell phones, e-mail, etc. As it spreads, everyone in its path is consumed, and the students must race to find a way to stop it. Vitals: Director: Jim Sonzero. Stars: Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder, Christina Milian, Rick Gonzalez, Jonathan Tucker. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 90 min., Horror, Box office gross: $20.230 million, The Weinstein Co./Genius Products. 3 stars

  • Beerfest The Broken Lizard comedy group returns to the big screen with a new comedy -- about beer. When American brothers Todd and Jan Wolfhouse (Erik Stolhanske and Paul Soter) are sent to Germany on a mission to spread their grandfather's ashes at Oktoberfest, they stumble upon a super-secret, centuries-old, underground beer games competition -- Beerfest -- the Olympics of beer drinking. At Beerfest, the brothers receive a less than warm welcome from their German cousins, the Von Wolfhausens, who shun Todd and Jan, slander their heritage, and worst of all, drink them under the table. Vowing to return in a year to defend their family honor, the Wolfhouse boys assemble a ragtag dream team of beer drinkers and gamers: Barry Badrinath (Jay Chandrasekhar), a consummate skills player with a dark past; Phil Krundle (Kevin Heffernan) AKA "Landfill," the one-man chugging machine; and Charlie "Fink" Finklestein (Steve Lemme), the lab tech with a Masters degree in "All Things Beer." With the inspiration of their Great Gam Gam (Cloris Leachman) and the support of her caretaker, Cherry (Mo'Nique), this "Magnificent Five" train relentlessly, using their hearts, minds and livers to drink faster, smarter and harder than they ever have before. Vitals: Director: Jay Chandrasekhar. Stars: Paul Soter, Jay Chandrasekhar, Erik Stolhanske, Steve Lemme, Kevin Heffernan, Cloris Leachman, Will Forte, Mo'nique, Ryan Blanchard, Eric Christian Olsen. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 112 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $19.073 million, Warner. 2 stars

  • How to Eat Fried Worms Family comedy about 11-year-old Billy (Luke Benward), who inadvertently challenges the town bully, Joe Guire (Adam Hicks), on his first day at a new school. To save face and earn the respect of his new classmates, Billy agrees to a bet that will determine his fate at the school -- whether or not he can eat 10 worms in one day. As the pressure mounts, he must summon heroic strength to keep his five-year-old brother from blabbing, his weak stomach from betraying him, and his big mouth from getting him into more trouble than he's already in. Vitals: Director: Bob Dolman. Stars:. James Rebhorn, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Tom Cavanagh, Luke Benward, Adam Hicks. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 84 min., Family Comedy, Box office gross: $13.022 million, New Line. 3 stars

  • Idlewild This genre-bending hip hop story showcases the musical talent of OutKast in a tale of greed, ambition and murder set in a backwater juke joint. Childhood friends Percival (Andre Benjamin), a shy piano player, and Rooster (Antwan A. Patton), a flashy performer, struggle with life and love in the small town of Idlewild, Georgia. At a sexy, sizzling nightclub, piano player Percival lives life by the rules, while Rooster, the club's flashy lead performer, struts his stuff on the stage. But everything changes when greed, fame and murder threaten to destroy them and the place that ties them together. Vitals: Director: Bryan Barber. Stars: Andre Benjamin, Antwan A. Patton, Paula Patton, Terrence Howard, Faizon Love, Malinda Williams, Cicely Tyson, Macy Gray, Ben Vereen, Paula Jai Parker, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Patti LaBelle, Ving Rhames. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 121 min., Drama, Box office gross: $12.549 million, Universal. 2 stars

  • Reinas (Queens) As Spain prepares for its first-ever mass gay wedding, so must five mothers. Over the course of one weekend, five uncompromising women must learn to cope with a variety of family conflicts surrounding the marriages of each of their sons. While these very different mothers learn to deal with their own desires and prejudices, a clash of sex, bigotry and love ensues. All five women must find the strength and love they need in order to give their sons away. In Spanish with English subtitles. Vitals: Director: Manuel Gomez Pereira. Stars: Veronica Forque, Carmen Maura, Marisa Paredes, Mercedes Sampietro, Betiana Blum. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 107 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $.139 million, Genius Products.

December 12
  • The Devil Wears Prada In the dizzying world of New York fashion, where size zero is the new 2, six is the new 8, and a bad hair day can end a career, Runway Magazine is the Holy Grail. Overseen with a finely manicured fist by Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) -- the most powerful woman in fashion -- Runway is a fearsome gauntlet for anyone who wants to make it in the industry. To make Runway the fashion bible of New York and therefore the world, Miranda has let nothing stand in her way ... including a long line of assistants who didn't make the cut. It's a job no self-respecting person can survive, yet it's an opportunity a million young women in New York would kill for. A stint as Miranda's assistant could blast open the doors for recent college graduate Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway). More college drab than haute couture, she stands alone among the small army of "Clackers" on staff at Runway -- superslim fashion divas clacking their stilettos down the halls of the magazine's Manhattan headquarters. But when Andy comes in for the job, it dawns on her that making it in this industry will take more than drive and determination. Miranda can spin the fashion world like a basketball but has a devil of a time finding and keeping a good assistant. Andy is completely wrong for the job. But she has something the rest of them don't: she refuses to fail. To become the perfect assistant, Andy will need to make herself over in Miranda's image. Soon, much to her boyfriend's (Adrian Grenier) dismay, she can talk the talk, walk the walk (in flawless Manolo's) and never again confuse Dolce with Gabbana. But the more of life she sees through Miranda's eyes, the more she begins to grasp that Miranda's world is a fabulous but lonely one -- and that sometimes great success depends on great sacrifice -- but at what cost? Vitals: Director: David Frankel. Stars: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Adrian Grenier. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: P-13, 110 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $122.676 million, Fox. 3stars

  • World Trade Center Director Oliver Stone tells the true story of the heroic survival and rescue of two Port Authority policemen -- John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno -- who were trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, after they went in to help people escape. The film also follows their families as they try to find out what happened to them, as well as the rescuers who found them in the debris field and pulled them out. Their story shows how the best in people rose above the tragic events of that day. Vitals: Director: Oliver Stone. Stars: Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jay Hernandez. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 129 min., Drama, Box office gross: $70.118 million, Paramount. 3 stars

  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby The fastest man on four wheels, Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history. A big, hairy American winning machine, Ricky has everything a daredevil could want: a luxurious mansion, a "hot" wife (Leslie Bibb) and all the fast food he can eat. But Ricky's turbo-charged lifestyle hits an unexpected speed bump when he's bested by flamboyant Euro-idiot Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) and reduced to a fear-ridden wreck. Losing his wife and job to best bud and fellow fool, Cal Naughton, Jr. (John C. Reilly), Ricky has his work cut out to get his career back on track, beat Girard and reclaim his fame and fortune. Vitals: Director: Adam McKay. Stars: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole, Michael Clarke Duncan, Leslie Bibb, Jane Lynch, Amy Adams. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 108 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $ 316.694 million, Sony. 3 stars

  • Barnyard Comic look at what really happens in a barnyard when the farmer's back is turned, centering around Otis (voiced by Kevin James), a carefree party cow, who enjoys singing, dancing and playing tricks on humans. Unlike his father Ben (voiced by Sam Elliott), the respected patriarch of the farm -- the cow who makes sure the farm is running on all cylinders -- and Miles, the wise old mule (voiced by Danny Glover), Otis is unconcerned about keeping the animals' humanlike talents a secret. When the farmer is out of sight, the lookout sheep shouts "Clear!" and all of the barnyard animals spring up on two legs, walk, talk, watch TV, and orchestrate outrageous practical jokes. But when Ben is no longer able to lead, absolute mayhem breaks loose and it isn't long before the farmer begins to get to the bottom of the animals' secret ... and the scheming coyotes begin to think that the farm could be theirs for the taking. Put in the position of responsibility, the "udderly" irresponsible Otis finds the courage to be a leader. Vitals: Director: Steve Oedekerk. Stars: Voices of Kevin James, Courteney Cox, Sam Elliott, Danny Glover, Wanda Sykes, Andie MacDowell, David Koechner. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 89 min., Animated Family, Box office gross: $72.394 million, Paramount. 3 stars

  • Mrs. Palrey at the Claremont Based on the best selling novel by the late, celebrated English author, Elizabeth Taylor. The story centers around an elegant elderly lady Mrs. Palfrey (Joan Plowright) who, after being recently widowed, moves from Scotland to London to be near to her 26-year-old grandson, Desmond. When Desmond fails to return any of her several phone calls, or visit her at the resident hotel she is staying (The Claremont), fate brings her together with a young writer, Ludovic Meyer, after she has an accident outside his basement flat. Eventually, Ludo ends up helping Mrs. Palfrey by playing a charade -- pretending to be her grandson, so that the other off-beat elderly residents of the hotel believe that she hasn't been lying, and that she really does have a grandson. The two newly found friends discover they have a lot more in common with each other then they do with other people their own age. Ludo inadvertently leads Mrs. Palfrey through her past; Mrs Palfrey inadvertently leads Ludo to his future. The young writer finally finds the story he has been looking for all his young life -- and Mrs Palfrey finds the "grandson" she never knew she had. Thus begins a deep-rooted friendship that is far reaching, and everlasting. Along the way, a few problems arise when her real grandson shows up at the hotel. Vitals: Director: Dan Ireland. Stars: Joan Plowright, Rupert Friend, Anna Massey, Zoe Tapper, Georgina Hale, Millicent Martin, Marcia Warren, Robert Lang, Michael Culkin, Clare Higgins, Lorcan O'Toole. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 108 min., Drama, Box office gross: $2.000 million, Westlake Entertainment.

  • Material Girls To Ava (Haylie Duff) and Tanzie Marchetta (Hilary Duff), adult responsibilities are making sure their shoes are in season, getting into the right clubs, and, in Ava's case, being engaged to the right TV star. Ava and Tanzie are the "face" of Marchetta Cosmetics, the mega-company their late father built from the ground up, and as a consequence they've never had to develop any skills beyond looking good. Other than the occasional board meeting or photo shoot, the sisters let their father's trusted partner, Tommy (Brent Spiner) look after the company. But when Tommy presents a takeover offer from their father's arch-rival Fabiella (Anjelica Huston), Tanzie takes a stand. She secretly harbors dreams of becoming a chemist like her dad and shudders at the thought of Fabiella taking over what their father believed in so passionately. But Ava and Tanzie's world is turned upside down when an investigative reporter breaks a blockbuster story that one of Marchetta's best products is a health hazard. Suddenly their assets are frozen and their staff flees. Soon, their house and car are gone and the two young women who had the world in the palms of their hands find themselves with nothing but the couture on their backs. The girls fight back, however, and with the help of some new friends and a free legal aid attorney (Lukas Haas), they use skills and resources they never knew they had to grow up, clear their father's name, and in the process, discover who they really are. A mild teen comedy. Vitals: Director: Martha Coolidge. Stars: Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, Anjelica Huston, Lukas Haas, Maria Conchita Alonso, Brent Spiner. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 98 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $11.383 million, MGM. 2 stars

  • Weeping Meadow, The A sweeping historical odyssey. Theo Angelopoulos, a master of the cinema, embarks on his crowning achievement: a projected trilogy whose goal is nothing less that a "poetic summing up of the century that just ended." This first film, spanning 1919-1949, begins with a transgression of mythic proportions: the foundling Eleni falls in love with her adoptive brother, Alexis and, after marrying his widowed father, flees with her lover to the nearby port of Thessaloniki. As the unrest of the 1930s pits fascism against leftism, Alexis, now a talented musician, departs for America and leaves Eleni behind to bear the brunt of Greek history: war, political repression, civil war. In Greek with English subtitles. Vitals: Director: Theo Angelopoulos. Stars: Alexandra Aidini, Nikos Poursadinis, Vassilis Kolovos, Eva Kotamanidou. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 170 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.024 million, New Yorker Video. 3 stars

  • House of Sand Epic drama about the lives and passions of three generations of Brazilian women struggling to find their place amidst an encroaching desert and the relentless march of time. Aurea's (Fernanda Torres) saga beings in 1910 when she and her mother, Maria (Fernanda Montenegro), arrive in a caravan at a labyrinth of sand in Maranhao in northern Brazil where her insane husband plans to start a farm. Aurea is desperate to return to the city, but she cannot traverse the dunes alone with her aging mother and unborn child. Then calamity strikes and the two women are left on their own. They eventually become accustomed to life among the swelling and shifting dunes, and ňurea bears a daughter in the house of sand. Years go by, and Aurea (now played by Montenegro) has found peace in the desert while her promiscuous daughter Maria (played by Torres) has inherited her mother's lust for the world beyond the dunes. Desiccated desert textures permeate the senses as marvelous performances from Montenegro and Torres place human intensity at center stage. Montenegro is Torres' mother in real life. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Vitals: Director: Andrucha Waddington. Stars: Fernanda Montenegro, Fernanda Torres, Ruy Guerra. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 115 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.379 million, Sony. 3 stars

December 19
  • My Super Ex-Girlfriend Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes it can be downright dangerous. In the "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) thinks he's finally found the perfect girlfriend, the beautiful Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman) -- who just so happens to be a superhero. When Jenny/G-Girl becomes overly possessive, Matt wants to call it quits -- but how do you break up with a superhero? A scorned woman, Jenny/G-Girl unleashes on her ex the full fury of her super-powered wrath as she sets out on a no-holds-barred mission to humiliate and torment him and bust up his budding romance with his co-worker Hannah (Anna Faris). Vitals: Director: Ivan Reitman. Stars: Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Anna Faris, Eddie Izzard, Rainn Wilson, Wanda Sykes. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $22.488 million, Fox. 2 stars

  • Little Miss Sunshine An American family road comedy that shatters the mold. Brazenly satirical and yet deeply human, the film introduces audiences to one of the most endearingly fractured families in recent cinema history: the Hoovers, whose trip to a pre-pubescent beauty pageant results not only in comic mayhem but in death, transformation and a moving look at the surprising rewards of being losers in a winning-crazed culture. A runaway hit at the Sundance Film Festival. No one among the Hoovers quite has it together, but it's not for lack of trying. Father Richard (Greg Kinnear), a hopelessly optimistic motivational speaker, is desperately attempting to sell his 9-step program for success -- without much success. Meanwhile, the Hoovers' "pro-honesty" mother Sheryl (Toni Collette) is constantly harried by her family's eccentric secrets, especially those of her brother (Steve Carell), a suicidal Proust scholar fresh out of the hospital after being jilted by his gay lover. Then there are the younger Hoovers with their unlikely dreams -- the bespectacled, slightly plump, 7-year-old would-be beauty queen Olive (Abigail Breslin) and Dwayne (Paul Dano), an anger-fueled, Nietzsche-reading teen who has taken a staunch vow of silence until he gets into the Air Force Academy. Topping off the family is the grandfather (Alan Arkin), a foul-mouthed pleasure-seeker recently kicked out of his retirement home for snorting heroin. They might not be the picture of perfect mental health, but when a fluke gets Olive invited to compete in the fiercely competitive "Little Miss Sunshine" competition in California, the whole Hoover family rallies behind her. They pile into their rusted-out VW bus and head West on a three-day tragicomic journey filled with madcap surprises and leading up to Olive's big debut -- which will change the entire misfit family in ways they could never imagine. Vitals: Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris. Stars: Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Greg Kinnear. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 99 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $57.803 million, Fox. 3 stars

  • Lady in the Water Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) has been quietly trying to disappear among the burned-out light bulbs and broken appliances of the Cove apartment complex. But one night Cleveland finds someone else hiding in the mundane routine of the modest building -- a mysterious young woman named Story (Bryce Dallas Howard), who has been living in the passageways beneath the building's swimming pool. Cleveland discovers that Story is actually a "narf" -- a nymph-like character from an epic bedtime story who is being stalked by vicious creatures determined to prevent her from making the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Story's unique powers of perception reveal the fates of Cleveland's fellow tenants, whose destinies are tied directly to her own, and they must work together to decipher a series of codes that will unlock the pathway to her freedom. But the window of opportunity for Story to return home is closing rapidly, and the tenants are putting their own lives at great risk to help her. Cleveland will have to face the demons that have followed him to the Cove -- and the other tenants must seize the special powers that Story has brought out in them -- if they hope to succeed in their daring and dangerous quest to save her world ... and ours. Vitals: Director: M. Night Shyamalan. Stars: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Bob Balaban, Freddy Rodriguez, Sarita Choudhury, Jared Harris, Bill Irwin. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 98 min., Fantasy, Box office gross: $42.272 million, Warner. 3 stars

  • Jet Li's Fearless Marks Jet Li's farewell to the martial arts genre. The film powerfully combines unparalleled fight sequences and masterful storytelling in a tale inspired by the larger-than-life accomplishments of the martial arts icon and founder of the Jingwu Sports Federation, Huo Yuanjia. With explosive fight scenes by legendary action choreographer Yuen Wo Ping ("The Matrix," "Kill Bill"), "Jet Li's Fearless" contains some of the most hard-hitting hand-to-hand combat ever captured on film. Set in China at the turn of the last century, Huo's transformation from an arrogant and ruthless young fighter to a wise and thoughtful master defined the true spirit of martial arts and inspired his nation. His difficult path to redemption brings him face-to-face with the most ferocious fighters in the world. In a new unrated version. Vitals: Director: Ronny Yu. Stars: Jet Li, Nakamura Shidou, Sun Li, Dong Yong, Nathan Jones. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 103 min., Action, Box office gross: $24.450 million, Universal. 3 stars

  • Scanner Darkly, A Set in suburban Orange County, California, in a future where America has lost the war on drugs. America's endless and futile war on drugs has become one and the same with its war on terror. Reluctant undercover cop Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves) follows orders to start spying on his friends, Jim Barris (Robert Downey Jr.), Ernie Luckman (Woody Harrelson), Donna Hawthorne (Winona Ryder) and Charles Freck (Rory Cochrane). When he is directed to step up the surveillance on himself, he is launched on a paranoid journey into the absurd, where identities and loyalties are impossible to decode. Based on legendary science fiction author Philip K. Dick's own experiences, "A Scanner Darkly" tells the darkly comedic, caustic, but deeply tragic tale of drug use in the modern world. The film plays like a graphic novel come to life with live-action photography overlaid with an advanced animation process -- a method known as interpolated rotoscoping, first employed in writer-director Richard Linklater's 2001 film "Waking Life" -- to create a haunting version of America, seven years from now. Philip K. Dick has slowly but steadily become a cultural icon with his works of mind-bending fiction. His first novel debuted in 1955, and ever since, his cumulative works have sold roughly 20 million copies and been translated to 25 different languages. Considered by some measures to be the most adapted science fiction author in the history of film, Dick has created futuristic worlds in many of his works, several of which have been adapted into feature films: "Blade Runner," based on the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"; "Total Recall," based on the short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"; "Screamers," based on the short story "Second Variety"; the French film "Confessions d'un Barjo," based on "Confessions of a Crap Artist"; and "Minority Report," "Impostor" and "Paycheck," based on works of the same name. Vitals: Director: Richard Linklater. Stars: Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $5.480 million, Warner. 3 stars

  • Wicker Man, The In a remake of the 1973 British horror thriller of the same name, Nicolas Cage plays a reclusive sheriff who goes to search for his ex-girlfriend's daughter after she mysteriously disappears on a secluded island. When he arrives, he senses something more is amiss among the island's secretive residents as he starts to uncover a mystery involving strange sexual rituals, a harvest festival and possible human sacrifice. Weak. Vitals: Director: Neil LaBute. Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Kate Beahan, Frances Conroy, Molly Parker, Leelee Sobieski, Diane Delano. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min., Horror Thriller, Box office gross: $23.440 million, Warner. 2 stars

  • All the King's Men Inspired by the career of Louisiana governor Huey P. Long and other important political figures; second adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (the 1949 version, directed by Robert Rossen, starred Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, John Derek and Mercedes McCambridge). Tells the riveting story of an idealists' rise to political power in the South during the 1940s and 50s. The story follows the rise and fall of charismatic politician, "Boss" Willie Stark (Sean Penn) and uses politics as the framework to explore the more profound dilemmas of human existence -- sin, guilt and redemption. It's a complex and captivating story of human nature, power, corruption, idealism, romance and betrayal. Vitals: Director: Steven Zaillian. Stars: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Kathy Baker, Frederic Forrest. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 128 min., Drama, Box office gross: $7.221 million, Sony. 2 stars

  • Invincible Inspired by the true story of Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), a man with nothing to lose who ignored the staggering odds and made his dream come true. When incoming Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) decided to shake up his team by holding an open tryout, the public consensus was that it was a waste of time -- no one good enough to play professional football was going to be found this way. Certainly no one like Papale -- a down-on-his-luck, 30 year-old, substitute teacher and part-time bartender who never even played college football. But against these odds, Papale made the team and soon found himself living every fan's fantasy -- moving from his cheap seats in the upper deck to standing on the field as a professional football player. Vitals: Director: Ericson Core. Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Conway. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 105 min., Drama, Box office gross: $57.789 million, Buena Vista. 3 stars

  • Step Up Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) is a rebel from the wrong side of Baltimore's tracks -- and the only thing that stands between him and an unfulfilled life are his dreams of one day making it out of there. Nora (Jenna Dewan) is a privileged ballet dancer attending Baltimore's ultra-elite Maryland School of the Arts -- and the only thing standing in the way of her obviously brilliant future is finding a great dance partner for her senior showcase. When trouble with the law lands Tyler with a community service gig at Maryland School of the Arts, he arrives as an angry outsider, until his skills as a gifted street dancer draw Nora's attention. Now, as sparks fly between them, both on and off stage, Tyler realizes he has just one performance to prove that he can step up to a life far larger than he ever imagined. Vitals: Director: Anne Fletcher. Stars: Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Mario, Drew Sidora, Rachel Griffiths. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: 98, PG-13 min., Drama with music and dance, Box office gross: $65.269 million, Buena Vista. 3 stars

  • Celestine Prophecy, The Based on James Redfield's worldwide best-selling novel, "The Celestine Prophecy" is a spiritual adventure chronicling the discovery of ancient scrolls in the rainforests of Peru. The prophecy and its nine key insights predict a worldwide awakening, arising within all religious traditions, that moves humanity toward a deeper experience of spirituality. Since first published in the mid-90's, "The Celestine Prophecy" has captivated readers around the world with its tale of spiritual adventure and has sold over 14 million copies in 45 languages and spent more than three years on the New York Times bestsellers list. Vitals: Director: Armand Mastroianni. Stars: Matthew Settle, Thomas Kretschmann, Annabeth Gish, Hector Elizondo, Jurgen Prochnow. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 99 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.594 million, Sony. 2 stars

  • Promise, The A romantic tale of love, loyalty, ambition and destiny, "The Promise" marks acclaimed director Chen Kaige's foray into the martial arts fantasy genre. Richly imagined and breathtakingly realized, the film follows the intertwined fates of a beautiful princess and the three men who fall in love with her: a general, his slave, and a rival Duke. Unbeknownst to the men, the princess made a pact with a goddess in her youth where she forsake the prospect of true love for the promise of riches and power. Any man she loves, she will lose, a bargain that has hitherto bore no consequence for the princess, as haughty as she is lovely. But when a slave -- disguised as a mighty general -- defends first her honor and then her life with unflinching valor, the princess feels something stir within her for the first time. With the awakening of passion, she realizes with dread what destiny holds for her. Enslaved to the fate that has befallen them, only the truest love of all can alter the course of their destiny. In Chinese with English subtitles. Vitals: Director: Kaige Chen. Stars: Dong-Kun Jang, Hiroyuki Sanada, Cecilia Cheung, Nicholas Tse, Ye Liu, Hong Chen. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min., Martial Arts Drama, Box office gross: $.668million, Warner. 3 stars

December 26
  • Black Dahlia, The Based on James Ellroy's explosive best-selling novel, the film is inspired by the infamous 1947 killing of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, known in her death as "The Black Dahlia, and weaves a tale of lust, corruption, greed and depravity around the brutal murder. The film follows a pair of Los Angeles detectives, Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett), as they investigate the shocking and gruesome murder that fascinated the nation and remains unsolved today. With a corpse so mutilated that photos are kept from the public, the case becomes an obsession for the men, and their lives begin to unravel. Blanchard's relationship with his girlfriend Kay (Scarlett Johansson) is threatened, while Bleichert finds himself drawn to the enigmatic Madeleine (Hilary Swank), a wealthy woman with a dark and twisted connection to the victim. Vitals: Director: Brian De Palma. Stars: Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Mia Kirshner, Mike Starr, Fiona Shaw. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 122 min., Drama, Box office gross: $22.518 million, Universal. 3 stars

  • Jackass Number Two Johnny Knoxville and the entire crew from the popular MTV franchise return with all-new -- and often nude -- stunts, pants-wetting practical jokes, fun with bears, bees, snakes, bulls, yaks, sharks and other really bad ideas. Available in rated and unrated versions. Vitals: Director: Jeff Tremaine. Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Preston Lacy. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 95 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $71.065 million, Paramount. 2 stars

  • Descent, The In a remote mountain range, six girlfriends meet for their yearly adventure, a caving trip into the arteries of the earth. The group makes their way through the remote cave system, enjoying the hazardous but beautiful surroundings. Then, deep inside the cave, disaster strikes when their route back to the surface is blocked by a rockfall. When they learn that they have been lured to an unexplored cave, and that no one is coming to rescue them, the group starts to splinter. Left with no other option, they push on through the cave, praying for another exit. The women battle through this harsh underground world, pitting their strength and determination against each new challenge. Unbeknownst to them, there is something else lurking under the earth, a race of monstrous creatures hidden from the light, evolved to live perfectly in the dark. As the friends realize they have become prey, they are forced to unleash their most primal instincts to face the creatures. As old wounds break open and loyalties disintegrate, the women realize the horrible truth -- they have the most to fear from one another. Vitals: Director: Neil Marshall. Stars: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Jackson Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone, Oliver Milburn, Molly Kayll. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 98 min., Horror, Box office gross: $26.005 million, Lionsgate. 3 stars

  • Factotum Adapted from famed writer Charles Bukowski's 1975 novel of the same name, director Brent Hamer brings to life the story of Henry Chinaski (Matt Dillon), the fictional alter-ego of Bukowski, a perpetually unemployed, alcohol-swilling womanizer who drifts through life in search of a job that won't come between him and his first love, writing. Henry's fondness for booze, gambling and sex keeps him perpetually adrift. He occasionally attempts to work on his writing career, but his haphazard efforts yield him nothing but rejection letters from publishers. Somewhere along the way he falls into a relationship with Jan (Lili Taylor), a fellow lost soul who shares his taste for living on the edge. When a brief stint as a bookie finds Henry abandoned by the only woman with whom he is able to relate, a brief fling with gold-digging Laura (Marisa Tomei) finds him once again falling into a morose state of perpetual drunkenness and unemployment. An arresting depiction of humanity at its lowest ebb. Vitals: Director: Bent Hamer. Stars: Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, Fisher Stevens, Didier Flamand, Adrienne Shelly. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 94 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.800 million, The Weinstein Co./Genius Products. 2 stars

  • Last Kiss, The Follows four male friends as they struggle with love, infidelity, forgiveness, marriage, friendship and the inevitability of turning 30. A remake of the 2001 Italian film "L'Ultimo bacio." Vitals: Director: Tony Goldwyn. Stars: Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Casey Affleck, Rachel Bilson., Harold Ramis, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson, Michael Weston, Eric Christian Olsen. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 103 min., Drama, Box office gross: $11.596 million, Company. 2 stars

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All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.

March 2006 Releases
April 2006 Releases
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November 28, 2006