OnVideo Guide to Home Video Releases: January Calendar of Releases

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Guide to Home Video Releases:
January 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.

January 4
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle A weak buddy comedy outing. Harold Lee (John Cho) is stuck in a low-level investment banking job, overworked and under-appreciated by his colleagues, who aren't shy about handing off their own work for him to finish over the weekend. To make matters worse, he can't find the courage to talk to his pretty neighbor (Paula Garces). While Harold toils away, his best friend, Kumar Patel (Kal Penn), is doing everything he can to avoid the real world, valiantly upholding his carefree partying ways while making half-hearted attempts to gain admittance to medical school and follow in his family's footsteps. Seeking a break from their realities, the pair unwinds in front of their TV for a Friday night smoke-out session, which results in an incredible case of the "munchies." Catching sight of a commercial for White Castle and their hamburgers, Harold and Kumar discover their true mission in life is to set out on an all-night quest across New Jersey in search of a White Castle restaurant. The duo take a twisted tour of the Garden State -- from its finest academic institutions to its scariest backwoods territories, from shady fast-food establishments to what they hope is the holy grail of White Castle -- along the way meeting an array of crazy characters. In R-rated and "Extreme Unrated" DVD editions. Director: Danny Leiner. Stars: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, Fred Willard, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Ethan Embry, Jamie Kennedy, Anthony Anderson, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Reynolds. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R and unrated, 88 and 90 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $18.225 million, New Line, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Troy Inspired by "The Iliad," the epic work attributed to the ancient poet Homer, considered to be the Western world's original literary master. The epic poems Homer is credited with appear to have been composed in the 8th Century BC, 300-400 years after the supposed fall of Troy. While it isn't clear whether Homer recited existing oral chronicles or was the sole and original creator, his work has survived the centuries to become one of literature's most compelling glimpses into the past. In ancient Greece, the passion of two most notorious lovers, Paris, Prince of Troy (Orlando Bloom) and Helen (Diane Kruger), Queen of Sparta, ignites a war that will devastate a civilization. When Paris spirits Helen away from her husband, King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), it is an insult that cannot be suffered. Familial pride dictates that an affront to Menelaus is an affront to his brother Agamemnon (Brian Cox), powerful King of the Mycenaeans, who soon unites all the massive tribes of Greece to steal Helen back from Troy in defense of his brother's honor. In truth, Agamemnon's pursuit of honor is corrupted by his overwhelming greed -- he needs to conquer Troy to seize control of the Aegean, thus ensuring the supremacy of his already vast empire. The walled city, under the leadership of King Priam and defended by mighty Prince Hector (Eric Bana), is a citadel that no army has ever been able to breach. One man alone stands as the key to victory or defeat over Troy -- Achilles (Brad Pitt), believed to be the greatest warrior alive. Arrogant, rebellious and seemingly invincible, Achilles has allegiance to nothing and no one, save his own glory. It is his insatiable hunger for eternal renown that leads him to attack the gates of Troy under Agamemnon's banner -- but it will be love that ultimately decides his fate. Director: Wolfgang Petersen. Stars: Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt, Brian Cox, Julian Glover, Diane Kruger, Nathan Jones, Brendan Gleeson. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 163 min., Action, Box office gross: $113.228 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Little Black Book Comedy about new boyfriends, ex-girlfriends and little black books. Stacy Holt (Brittany Murphy), an associate producer for daytime talk show hostess Kippie Kann (Kathy Bates), is frustrated when her boyfriend Derek (Ron Livingston) refuses to discuss his past relationships. With the encouragement of her co-worker Barb (Holly Hunter), she delves into his Palm to learn about his ex-girlfriends, including a gorgeous fashion model and the perfect girl next door. Using the show as a ruse and Barb as her guide, Stacy interviews and befriends them, only to discover that the past, in a few instances, is rather present. A modern day immorality tale of snooping in the electronic age which asks the question: What happens when you're tempted to go where you shouldn't? Director: Nick Hurran. Stars: Brittany Murphy, Holly Hunter, Kathy Bates, Ron Livingston, Julianne Nicholson, Stephen Tobolowsky. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 97 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $20.422 million, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Riding Giants A documentary history of surfing, from it's early Polynesian roots, to its rebirth in the early 20th Century, to the development of a fledgling surf culture along the coast of Southern California in the 1940s highlighting the group of extraordinary adventurers that emerged: surfers who, not satisfied with the mere recreational and social aspects of the sport, began searching for bigger and bigger waves, pushing the boundaries of performance to explore the "unridden realm." "Riding Giants" is the story of these big wave riders, of where and how their quest began, of the classic characters who throughout the eras chased their dreams out into the blue water, and of the surfers who still do today, riding 50-, 60- and even 70-foot waves in a manner once considered the realm of fantasy. Director: Stacy Peralta. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 105 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $2.250 million, Columbia TriStar. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 Hyper-smart toddlers conquer evil in this family sequel. This time around, evil presents itself in the form of Bill Biscane (Jon Voight), a German mass-media giant who is out to brainwash children all over the world through his seemingly innocent television show. But before he gets his chance, a figure from Biscane's past shows up to torment him once again. His name is Kahuna, and although he's pint-sized, he's got the brains and tools to battle his arch-nemesis. This time around, Kahuna must rely on four members of Stan (Scott Baio) and Jean (Vanessa Angel) Bobbins's nursery to help him save the day: Archie, Finkleman, Rosita, and Alex. Features a campy performance by Voight. Director: Bob Clark. Stars: Jon Voight, Scott Baio. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 88 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $9.109 million, Columbia TriStar, $19.96 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

January 11
  • Village, The M. Night Shyamalan's thrilling tale of an isolated village confronting the astonishing truth that lies just outside its borders. At first glance this late nineteenth century village seems picture perfect. Villagers live harmoniously in an idyllic setting. However, this close-knit community lives with the frightening knowledge that a race of creatures resides in the woods around them. The innocence of "The Village" is threatened by the creatures referred to by the townspeople as "Those We Don't Speak Of." The villagers share the fear of the evil and foreboding force that lurks outside. So frightening that one dare not venture beyond "The Village" and into the woods. Despite the advice of his elders, a curious and determined Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) has a burning desire to step beyond the boundaries of the town into the unknown. Town leader Edward Walker (William Hurt) warns Lucius of the danger, and Lucius' mother, Alice Hunt (Sigourney Weaver) advises him to stay at home and spare himself the greed and desires that exist in the outside world. Lucius' strength is matched only by Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard), a beautiful and mesmerizing young blind woman with an unusual wisdom beyond her years. Both Lucius and the mischievous Noah Percy (Adrien Brody) admire Ivy passionately, though her heart only has room for one of them. Her devotion eventually leads her down a forbidden path where terrifying truths are revealed. The ominous presence of the unknown boils over into chaos for the town, with one's bravery being the only thing that can save them when the truce between "The Village" and the creatures ends. Get ready for more exciting Shyamalan chills and thrills. Director: M Night Shyamalan. Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson, Cherry Jones, Bryce Dallas Howard. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 108 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $113.313 million, Buena Vista, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Paparazzi For rising action superstar Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser), a quartet of paparazzi is at first an annoyance, then an ever-disturbing presence. But when they threaten his family's safety, it will be the last mistake they ever make. Bo seems to have it all: a beautiful wife, an adoring son and a Malibu beach house. Life couldn't be better. But his newfound fame comes with a price. He's become a target of a team of four paparazzi bent on making Bo and his family fodder for the tabloids, to nearly ruinous effect for the Laramies. The paparazzi and their weapons of choice -- high-powered zoom lenses -- stalk Bo everywhere. He accepts the typical invasion into his privacy ... until photos of his wife, Abby, and his son, Zach, begin appearing on covers of one particularly sleazy tabloid called Paparazzi. All efforts to convince the photographers to spare his family are ignored, and when Bo has a fight with one "superstar" paparazzi, Rex (Tom Sizemore), the actor is sentenced to anger-management therapy -- while Rex walks away unpunished. The paparazzi become increasingly relentless, ruthless -- even criminal. One night, while trying to get "the shot," they force Bo and his family into a high-speed car chase that ends in a terrible accident, sending Abby into intensive care and 6-year-old Zach into a coma. Veteran Los Angeles police detective Burton (Dennis Farina) believes Bo's version of the accident, but when Burton can't make the case against the photographers, Bo seeks vengeance on his own. Director: Paul Abascal. Stars: Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Dennis Farina, Daniel Baldwin, Tom Hollander, Kevin Gage, Blake Michael Bryan, Tom Sizemore. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 84 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $15.676 million, Fox, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Silver City John Sayles' timely and toxic look at the state of the union, released theatrically on the eve of the 2004 Presidential election. Set against the backdrop of a mythic "New West," "Silver City" begins with grammatically-challenged, born-again, "user-friendly" gubernatorial candidate Dicky Pilager (Chris Cooper), scapegrace scion of Colorado's venerable Senator Jud Pilager (Michael Murphy), shooting an environmental television ad. Filming of the candidate's "bucolic fishing thing" is rudely interrupted, however, when Pilager casts his line into pristine waters only to snag a battered, cyanide-laced corpse. Chuck Raven (Richard Dreyfuss), Pilager's ferocious campaign manager, is uncertain whether this is an accident or an especially grizzly prank meant to derail the Pilager campaign. Whatever it is, Raven is determined to get to the bottom of it, and hires Danny O'Brien (Danny Huston), a formerly idealistic journalist turned rumpled private detective, to investigate potential links between the corpse and the Pilager family's enemies. That list includes: Cliff Castleton (Miguel Ferrer), a rabid right-wing radio host; Casey Lyle (Ralph Waite), a former EPA crusader whose life was ruined by Senator Pilager; and Maddy Pilager (Darryl Hannah), the candidate's free-spirited sister who has spent much of her life tarnishing the family's reputation. "Let them know they're being watched," Raven instructs Danny. "Don't be subtle." Danny's investigation inexorably pulls him deeper and deeper into a complex web of influence and corruption, here involving high stakes lobbyists, media conglomerates, environmental plunderers, and undocumented migrant workers. The search also reunites Danny with important figures from his past including Mitch Paine (Tim Roth), his former editor and friend from his journalism days who now runs a muckraking political website, and Nora Allardyce (Maria Bello), the great lost love of Danny's life, currently covering the governor's race for a mainstream newspaper and engaged to the mercenary political lobbyist Chandler Tyson (Billy Zane). Over the course of the investigation, Danny's own long-extinguished sense of moral outrage is rekindled as he begins to connect the dots, intuiting a chain of responsibility that circles back, ever more dangerously, toward his own employers. Director: John Sayles. Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Chris Cooper, Thora Birch, Maria Bello, Miguel Ferrer, Daryl Hannah, Kris Kristofferson, Mary Kay Place, Billy Zane. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 133 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.017 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Without a Paddle When childhood buddies Dan (Seth Green), a successful but neurotic doctor; Jerry (Matthew Lillard), a business high-flier on the edge of burnout; and Tom (Dax Shepard), a Harley-riding wild child reunite in Oregon at their friend Billy's funeral, their reunion kicks off more than a little nostalgia. While reminiscing in their childhood tree house, the trio discovers that Billy had been pursuing their boyhood dreams of finding legendary bank robber DB Cooper's $200,000 stash. Now with the map Billy left behind and a cereal box compass, Dan, Jerry and Tom decide to fulfill their friend's dream and go on a canoe trip to find Cooper's cash. But when they find themselves hassled by the sheriff at "the corner of Podunk and you-got-a-purty-mouth," treed by a huge brown bear who mistakes one of them for her cub, chased by vicious Rottweilers named Lynyrd and Skynyrd, hunted as prey by pot farmers whose crop they accidentally destroy, and battling terrifying rapids down a raging river in a canoe about to plummet over a waterfall, they begin to wonder which of their ideas was worse -- searching in the wilderness for Cooper's cash, or believing it ever existed in the first place. Director: Steven Brill. Stars: Dax Shepard, Matthew Lillard, Seth Green. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 95 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $57.090 million, Paramount, No SRP, Priced for rental. Lame comedy. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Fighting Elegy High schooler Nanbu Kiroku yearns for the prim, Catholic Michiko, but her only desire is to reform Kiroku's sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, Kiroku channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage crazed violence. "Fighting Elegy" is a unique masterpiece in the diverse career -- of Seijun Suzuki, combining the director's signature bravura visual style with a brilliantly focused satire of machismo and fascism. In Japanese with optional English subtitles. Director: Seijun Suzuki. Stars: Isao Tamagawa, Kayo Matsuo, Hideki Takahashi, Yusuke Kawazu. 1966, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 86 min., Action adventure, The Criterion Collection. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • Youth of the Beast When a mysterious stranger muscles into two rival yakuza gangs, Tokyo's underworld explodes with violence. "Youth of the Beast" was a breakthrough for director Seijun Suzuki, introducing the flamboyant colors, hallucinatory images, and striking compositions that would become his trademark. In Japanese with optional English subtitles. Director: Seijun Suzuki. Stars: Kuko Kimuro, Seijun Suzuki, Tamio Kawaji, Misako Watanabe, Joe Shishido, Tamio Kawaji. 1963, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 92 min., Action adventure, The Criterion Collection. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • Touch of Pink, A Out-of-the-closet comedy. When his conservative mom arrives to visit, a gay man attempts to keep his boyfriend and his London lifestyle in the closet. Alim (Jimi Mistry) seems to have it all: a great career, a handsome boyfriend, and a personal guide in the spirit of Cary Grant (Kyle MacLachlan). And living thousands of miles from his mother Nuru (Suleka Mathew) and his family in Toronto, he can keep his lifestyle hidden. But when Alim's conservative mom pays an impromptu visit, with the intention of dragging her son to a big fat monsoon wedding and getting him matched up with a "nice girl," the spirit of Cary Grant suddenly becomes indispensable. Director: Ian Iqbal Rashid. Stars: Jimi Mistry, Kyle MacLachlan, Suleka Mathew, Kristen Holden-Ried, Veena Sood, Brian George. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $0.556 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

January 18
  • Forgotten, The What if you were told that every moment you experienced and every memory you held dear never happened? In this haunting psychological thriller, Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) is tormented by the memory of her eight-year-old son Sam's death in a plane crash 14 months earlier. While trying to work through her grief, and her subsequent estrangement from her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards), she is informed by her psychiatrist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise), that she is suffering from delusions, that her son never existed and she is fabricating his memories. Stunned, she tries to find evidence of Sam's existence -- photos, videos, scrapbooks. But it all starts to disappear. Telly is convinced she is going mad until she meets Ash Correll (Dominic West), the father of one of the other plane crash victims. Together, the two team up to try to find the answers behind what appears to be some sort of otherworldly case of mass kidnapping. The pair uncover a startling conspiracy -- shades of "The X-Files" -- that threatens their sanity -- and their lives. A good jolt very once in awhile for what is essentially a big screen TV movie with top-flight stars. Director: Joseph Ruben. Stars: Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodard, Linus Roache, Anthony Edwards. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 91 min., Thiller, Box office gross: $64.541 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Cellular What if you received a call on your cell phone from a complete stranger, with the frantic voice on the other end begging you to help save her life? Would you hang up immediately, thinking it's a prank? What if there's even a remote chance the caller is serious and you're their only remaining hope? What would you do? A random wrong number on his cell phone sends a young man into a high-stakes race against time to save a woman's life in this action thriller starring Kim Basinger as Jessica Martin, a high school science teacher and mother whose peaceful life is turned upside down when she is kidnapped from her home by five unknown assailants and taken to a mysterious location. Fearful for her life and completely in the dark as to her abductors' motives, Jessica manages to patch together a shattered telephone and secretly place a call to an unknown number in a last-ditch attempt to save herself. Ryan (Chris Evans), the carefree young man who answers the panicked call, suddenly finds himself Jessica's last hope. With no knowledge of Jessica other than her hushed, fearful voice on the other end of the tenuous cell phone connection, Ryan is quickly thrown into a world of deception and murder in a frantic search to find and save her. The lives of Jessica and her family are in his hands, but what is waiting for him on the other side of the line and what will it cost him to find out? Written by the great B moviemaker Larry ("It's Alive," "Phone Booth") Cohen. Director: David R. Ellis. Stars: Kim Basinger, Chris Evans, William H. Macy, Eric Christian Olsen, Jessica Biel, Jason Statham. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 94 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $31.339 million, New Line, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Friday Night Lights "Friday Night Lights" chronicles the entire 1988 season of the Permian High Panthers of Odessa, Texas, with football players, coaches, mothers, fathers, pastors, boosters, fans and families struggling with ongoing personal conflicts while the team fights for a state championship. A town for sale, Odessa, Texas has seen better days -- the financial bust evident in its boarded-up shops and broken lives. Yet one hope sustains the community where, once a week during the fall, the town and its dreams come alive beneath the dazzling and disorienting Friday night lights ... when the Permian High Panthers take to the field. In a city where economic uncertainty has eroded the spirit of its inhabitants, nearly everyone seeks comfort in the religion of the Friday night ritual, where the unfulfilled dreams of an entire community are shifted onto the shoulder pads of a team of high-school athletes. Since their first season in 1959, the Panthers established themselves as the most successful football program not only in Texas, but in the entire country. Now, in the last days of summer of 1988, the Panthers begin the season with one thing on their minds -- winning their fifth state championship in their 30 year history. The film follows the Panthers and their coach, Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton), as he urges his boys on to win at the sport that has come to define a town -- and a country. Director: Peter Berg. Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Lee Jackson, Tim McGraw. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 117 min., Sports drama, Box office gross: $60.085 million, Warner, $23.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Catwoman Shy, sensitive artist Patience Philips (Halle Berry) can't seem to stop apologizing for her own existence. She works as a graphic designer for Hedare Beauty, a mammoth cosmetics company run by the tyrannical George Hedare (Lambert Wilson) and his icy supermodel wife, Laurel (Sharon Stone), who are on the verge of releasing a revolutionary anti-aging product. When Patience inadvertently happens upon a dark secret her employer is hiding -- Hedare's too-good-to-be-true new anti-aging product is ... too good to be true -- she's murdered to keep the secret safe. Resurrected by mysterious forces, she awakens suddenly gifted with strength, agility and ultra-keen senses. She's no longer just Patience -- she is also a seductive creature delicately balancing on the dangerously thin line between good and bad. With her newfound prowess and feline intuition, Patience becomes Catwoman. And like any wild cat, she's dangerous, elusive and untamed. Out to settle a few scores, Catwoman's adventures are complicated by a burgeoning relationship with Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt), a cop who has fallen for Patience but cannot shake his fascination with the mysterious Catwoman who appears to be responsible for a string of crime sprees plaguing the city. As her wild side breaks loose, the line between Patience and her untamed alter ego begins to blur -- and neither of them feel like playing by anyone else's rules anymore. Director: Pitof. Stars: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Lambert Wilson, Alex Borstein. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 104 min., Action, Box office gross: $40.173 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Rosenstrasse In Berlin in 1943 on a street called Rosenstrasse, Jewish men were rounded up for deportation to concentration camps and certain death. Based on a true story, their Aryan wives fought to save their lives. This little known and powerful struggle of their ultimate success is both moving and inspirational, and shows that there is nothing stronger than the power of love. Contrary to the laws that were written on paper, intermixed Jews were cruelly separated from their Aryan husbands and wives without warning, and were placed in a holding cell in the Rosenstrasse district. Director Margarethe Von Trotta's film begins in modern-day New York City, at a funeral for the beloved husband of Ruth (Jutta Lampe) and father of Hannah (Maria Schrader). Ruth has always been haunted by her past; though she won't talk about it with her conflicted daughter. It's up to Hannah to travel to Berlin to track down the woman who saved her mother's life during WWII and uncover the truth once and for all. In 1943, Lena (Katja Riemann) was a beautiful pianist who was shunned by her father for falling in love with Fabian Israel Fischer (Martin Feifel). But when Fabian was arrested, she did whatever it took to free him. In the meantime, she took in Ruth (Svea Lohde), an 8-year-old whose mother had also been sequestered. As memories from the past begin to resurface in the present, Hannah starts to understand the bitterness that has tormented her mother for years. Von Trotta's sumptuously photographed, deftly woven film tenderly recounts another somber memory from the all-too-recent past. Director: Margarethe von Trotta. Stars: Katja Riemann, Maria Schrader, Martin Feifel, Jurgen Vogel, Jutta Lampe. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 136 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.669 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Casque d'or Jacques Becker lovingly evokes the Belle Epoque Parisian demimonde in this classic tale of doomed romance. When gangster's moll Marie (Simone Signoret) falls for reformed criminal Manda (Serge Reggiani) their passion incites an underworld rivalry that leads inexorably to treachery and tragedy. With poignant, nuanced performances and sensuous black-and-white photography, "Casque d'or" is Becker at the height of his cinematic powers -- an achingly romantic masterpiece. In French with optional English subtitles. Director: Jacques Becker. Stars: Raymond Bussieres, Gaston Modot, Dominique Davray, Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Claude Dauphin. 1952, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 94 min., Romantic drama, The Criterion Collection. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • Touchez pas au grisbi Jean Gabin is at his most wearily romantic as aging gangster Max le Menteur in the Jacques Becker gem "Touchez pas au grisbi" (Hands Off the Loot!). Having pulled off the heist of a lifetime, Max looks forward to spending his remaining days relaxing with his beautiful young girlfriend. But when Riton (Rene Dary), Max's hapless partner and best friend, lets word of the loot slip to loose-lipped, two-timing Josy (Jeanne Moreau), Max is reluctantly drawn back into the underworld. A touchstone of the gangster-film genre, "Touchez pas au grisbi" is also pure Becker -- understated, elegant, evocative. In French with optional English subtitles. Director: Jacques Becker. Stars: Jean Gabin, Jeanne Moreau, Dora Doll, Daniel Cauchy, Jean Riveyre, Rene Dary, Denise Clair, Lino Ventura. 1954, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 96 min., Crime drama, The Criterion Collection. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • Maya For 12-year-old Maya, life is very simple in her village in rural India. From innocent pranks to small adventures in the nearby forest, she spends most of her time with her 11-year-old cousin, Sanjay. However, their fraternal love is soon shattered when Maya's journey to becoming a woman results in her being the victim of an ancient and brutal ritual, tragically ending her childhood innocence and leaving her scarred for life. Visually stunning and emotionally stirring, "Maya" reveals the devastating consequences of a traumatic ritual, though forbidden, that still occurs in parts of India today. In Hindi with optional English subtitles. Director: Digvijay Singh. Stars: Mita Vasisht, Nitya Shetty, Nikhil Yadav, Anant Nag. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 105 min., Drama, Home Vision Entertainment. DVD: Only.

  • Siberia Best friends Hugo and Goof set up a scam picking up female backpackers newly arrived in Amsterdam. They sleep with them, rob them, and then tear a page out of their passports to keep as a souvenir, since the boys' goal is to take a trip around the world from within Amsterdam. Their set-up is quickly threatened when seasoned traveler Lara enters the fray. Appropriately named, Goof immediately falls in love with her and becomes obsessed with the idea of taking her to Siberia to see the country of her childhood. Now that the rules of the game have changed between Hugo and Goof, life becomes very complicated for everyone involved in this fast-paced caper of who's hustling who? In Dutch and English with optional English subtitles. Director: Robert Jan Westdijk. Stars: Hugo Metsers III, Nicole Eggert, Jessica Stockmann, Roeland Fernhout, Vlatka Simac, Francesca Rizzo. 1998, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 87 min., Black comedy, Home Vision Entertainment. DVD: Only.

  • Perfect Murder, The Based on the CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning novel by H.R.F Keating, "The Perfect Murder" follows inspector Ghote (Naseeruddin Shah) of the Bombay police as he pursues his most perplexing case: a savage attack on a rich industrialist's private secretary. With the help of a visiting Swedish criminologist (Stellan Skarsgard), Ghote edges closer to the truth, and soon discovers he may not be dealing with murder at all, but something far more complex and profitable. Director: Zafar Hai. Stars: Stellan Skarsgard, Madhur Jaffery, Naseeruddin Sha. 1988, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 93 min., Comedy mystery, Home Vision Entertainment. DVD: Only.

  • Cookout, The Todd Anderson (Quran Pender) is chosen as the #1 NBA draft pick by the New Jersey Nets and signs a contract for $30 million that instantly changes his life -- he buys a new house in a white neighborhood. Whether he likes it or not, though, his mom, Lady Em (Jenifer Lewis), is not going to let her son forget his roots. So Todd invites family from the old neighborhood for a cookout on the same day he has scheduled an endorsement interview. The cookout is a family tradition -- a giant reunion and feast of Southern home cooking. But as the new black man living in a stuffy white neighborhood, Todd attracts a lot of attention. Peeping neighbors gawk at the group of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and wild unidentified babies in diapers. But Todd becomes so focused on his image that he ends up becoming embarrassed about his family. Meanwhile, Bling Bling and Wheezer, two good-for-nothing toughs, crash the party and hold Todd's girlfriend at gunpoint in order to get him to autograph sneakers. Little do they know that Todd's family is so determined to eat that they fearlessly foil the plot. Todd eventually realizes how much he needs his family support and ... the cookout tradition. Director: Lance Rivera. Stars: Ja Rule, Tim Meadows, Jenifer Lewis, Meagan Good. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 97 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $11.540 million, Lions Gate, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

January 25
  • Alien vs. Predator The iconic monsters from two of the scariest film franchises ever battle each other on Earth in this film that strains the meaning of the word "exploitation." The discovery of an ancient pyramid buried under the Antarctic ice sends a team of scientists and adventurers to the frozen continent. There, they make an even more terrifying discovery: two alien races at war. Billionaire industrialist Charles Bishop Weyland gathers an international team of archaeologists, scientists and security experts, led by environmentalist and adventurer Alexa "Lex" Woods, to investigate a mysterious "heat bloom" emanating from deep under Antarctica. What they witness 2,000 feet below the frozen surface at first excites, and then terrifies them. They discover a pyramid bearing a mixture of Aztec, Egyptian and Cambodian cultures. Inside the pyramid they find a matrix of chambers so technologically advanced that it becomes obvious that an extraterrestrial influence has been at work there for thousands of years. The chamber walls reconfigure unexpectedly, trapping members of the team and cutting them off from their colleagues. Moving from chamber to chamber, the horrific truth finally reveals itself: Predators have been keeping alive a captive Alien Queen who lays eggs at 100 year intervals. Young Predators warriors are tested by fighting the Alien offspring. The team stumbles into the middle of an incredible rite of passage -- and a war between Aliens and Predators that threatens the Earth. Director: Paul W.S. Anderson. Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $79.502 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. rental. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow State-of-the-art special effects are the keynote of "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow": with more than 2,000 effects shots, the unprecedented feature uses live action filmed against blue screen, filling in every frame detail digitally. The film has virtually no sets and no locations: the actors work out in front of the blue screens. The film creates a lush, long-lost sci-fi world, where pulp fiction fantasies come to life. Flying high above New York City, the film opens with the Hindenburg III, a behemoth airship, docking atop the Empire State Building. Storm clouds rumble as snow blankets the city and startling news fills the screen: Famous scientists around the world are mysteriously disappearing. When deadly gargantuan robots trample the city streets, flinging cars and crushing buildings in their wake, on the investigation is "Chronicle" reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), who enlists the help of her old flame, Captain H. Joseph Sullivan (Jude Law) -- aka Sky Captain -- an ace aviator with daredevil flying skills. Traveling to the Himalayan Alps, where they're trapped in an enormous ice cave wired with explosives, and to the tranquil valley of Shangri-la, Polly and Sky Captain battle terrifying flying robots, make an incredible mid-air landing on a mobile airstrip thousands of feet in the sky, and experience the wonder of underwater flight as they search for Dr. Totenkopf, the evil mastermind behind a plot to destroy the world. Director: Kerry Conran. Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Gambon, Ling Bai, Angelina Jolie. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 106 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $37.392 million, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • First Daughter Samantha Mackenzie (Katie Holmes) has fame and glamour, but she just wants what every college freshman wants: the opportunity to experience the world away from home and, most importantly, away from her parents. She just wants to be treated like anyone else. To be normal. But it's not going to be easy, because Sam's home address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and her dad is John Mackenzie (Michael Keaton), the President of the United States. Now living thousands of miles away from the White House, Sam hopes that being out on her own means she'll be free of the constraints of being the First Daughter. But everywhere she turns there's a Secret Service agent at the ready, and her fellow freshmen won't let her stop being the most famous student in the country. Sam's roommate, Mia (Amerie Rogers), is determined to have fun -- and take Sam along for the ride. Sam's adventures get even more interesting when she meets and falls head over heels for James (Marc Blucas), the Resident Advisor in her dorm. College -- and life -- has even more surprises and challenges in store for Sam, and she's determined to discover where she belongs, what she wants, and who she really is. Mild, innocuous teen comedy. Director: Forest Whitaker. Stars: Katie Holmes, Marc Blucas, Amerie Rogers, Michael Keaton, Margaret Colin, Lela Rochon. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 105 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $8.898 million, Fox, $19.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Mean Creek When shy Sam (Rory Culkin) confesses to his protective older brother Rocky (Trevor Morgan) that he is getting pummeled daily by the towering school bully George (Joshua Peck). Together, they plan the perfect payback, inviting George on a birthday river trip tailor-made to end in the bully's humiliation. Rocky's pals Clyde and Marty (Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz) and Sam's budding girlfriend Millie (Carly Schroeder) also join the journey, which starts almost immediately with misgivings. Seeing George in a new light, as a lonely kid desperate for friendship and attention, Sam wants to call the whole thing off. But the boat and the plot are already in motion, and no one can foresee the surprises and accidents that are to come. Director: Jacob Aaron Estes. Stars: Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck, Carl Schroeder. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 89 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.602 million, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Head in the Clouds Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz and Stuart Townsend star in this romantic saga of passion, betrayal and redemption. War clouds may be gathering over the Europe after the free-for-all of the Roaring Twenties, but Gilda (Theron) still chooses to live her life solely for pleasure. A restless free spirit, she has traveled the world in search of passion and excitement only to find it in a romantic menage a trois with Guy (Townsend) and Mia (Cruz), two friends with whom she shares an apartment in Paris. But when desire turns to guilt and both her lovers leave to fight in the Spanish Civil War, an abandoned Gilda vows never to see them again. Six years later, with liberation just days away, Guy returns to occupied Paris as a British spy, only to discover Gilda's the privileged mistress of a German officer. Dismayed, Guy is now forced to make the most difficult decision of his life: to let Gilda suffer a traitor's fate or rescue the woman he once loved. Director: John Duigan. Stars: Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, Stuart Townsend, Thomas Kretschmann. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 121 min., Melodrama, Box office gross: $0.383 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.x DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Doppelganger Tense supernatural thriller about a man who meets his perfect double, a flawless mirror image -- a doppelganger -- and begins to see in this eerie phenomenon an omen of his impending death. When meek scientist Michio Hayasaki comes face to face with his double, he initially ignores him, but the look-alike becomes more and more insistent -- until Hayasaki has no choice but to confront him. Despite being physically identical, the two men are frighteningly opposite in nature -- where Hayasaki is quiet and reserved, the new arrival is confident, aggressive ... and unbound by social conventions. The two learn to co-exist until Hayasaki's double forces him to change his life and take more responsibilty for his actions -- causing him to leave his job and cast his fate with his darker side. The film -- an exploration of the duality of human nature and the conflict that arises when we can't come to terms with both sides of our personalities -- starts out as a chilling horror story and eveolves into a delightful black comedy. A fine example of the new Asian horror genre. In Japanese with English subtitles. Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Stars: Koji Yakusho, Hiromi Nagasaku, Yusuke Santamaria, Masahiro Toda, Hitomi Sato. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 107 min., Supernatural thrill, Box office gross: $ million, Tartan Video Asia Extreme, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Phone No. 1 grossing horror film in Korea, soon to be remade in a U.S. version by Madonna's Maverick Films. Investigative reporter Ji-won, who recently published a controversial article about sex scandals, begins to receive a series of menacing calls on her cell phone. When she changes her number, the calls continue, fraying nerves and disrupting her life. When a friend's young daughter answers one of the calls, she begins to scream in terror and exhibit increasingly bizarre and abhorrent behavior -- as if possessed by a spirit. Ji-won discovers that all the previous owners of the phone number met with suspicious deaths, and she now must unravel the mystery before more people die. A chilling horror-suspense-mystery-thriller -- outringing "Ring" -- that will have you on the edge of your seat with false leads and twist endings. In Korean with English subtitles. Director: Byeong-ki Ahn. Stars: Ji-won Ha, Yu-mi Kim, Woo-jae Choi, Ji-yeon Choi. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Horror, Tartan Video Asia Extreme, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • How Arnold Won the West Tells the incredible story of how a Hollywood action hero became the Governor of California and chronicles the variety of issues raised during the infamous recall election, including the importance of style over content, the cult of celebrity and the fame-money combination. With a promise to "pump up Sacramento," Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his California gubernatorial candidacy on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on August 6, 2003. The film follows Schwarzenegger and his aides, "the men in black," throughout the campaign process and profiles the slick and paranoid machine they ran. Staged and controlled events caught on camera highlight how Schwarzenegger frustrated journalists by using scripted speeches, avoiding questions and limiting their access to him. The film also follows the other candidates, especially the campaign of incumbent governor Gray Davis and former California first lady Sharon Davis, who campaigned relentlessly on behalf of her husband. The more than 100 other candidates in the recall election sponsored by Republican Congressman Darrel Issa were anything and everything from delusional hopefuls to actors, porn stars, college students, self-promoters and performance artists. Director: Alex Cooke. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 80 min., Documentary, The Disinformation Company. DVD: Only.

  • Story of the Weeping Camel, The Enchanting story uniquely comprised of equal parts reality, drama and magic. Follows the adventures of a family of herders in Mongolia's Gobi desert who face a crisis when a mother camel rejects her newborn calf after a particularly difficult birth. In accordance with ancient ritual, a musician is summoned from a far-off village to perform a ceremony that is meant to coax the mother into nursing her baby. While trying to bring the mother and baby camel together, the children of the family are exposed to long-standing tradition as well as modern-day concepts for the very first time, including such worldly fascinations as television. Director: Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 87 min., Family drama, Box office gross: $1.742 million, New Line. DVD: Only.

  • Pauly Shore Is Dead Comedian Pauly Shore's film about comedian Pauly Shore. The conceit: Shore's career hits the toilet and he loses everything. He moves back home with his mom and is now parking cars at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Then one night a dead famous comedian appears, telling Pauly to kill himself, causing him to go down in history as one of the great comedic geniuses who dies before his time. Pauly fakes his own death, and the media and Hollywood go crazy. With cameos by Eminem, Pam Anderson, Carson Daly, Ellen DeGeneres, Andy Dick, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Heidi Fleiss, Adam Sandler, the Hilton sisters, Tommy Lee, Chris Rock, Vince Vaughn and many, many more. Director: Pauly Shore. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 82 min., Mocumentary, Fox. DVD: Only.

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    All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a Rotel RDV-1060 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.

September 2004 Releases
October 2004 Releases
November 2004 Releases
December 2004 Releases
February 2005 Releases
March 2005 Releases
April 2005 Releases
May 2005 Releases


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January 15, 2005