OnVideo Guide to Home Video Releases: May Calendar of Releases

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Guide to Home Video Releases:
May 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.

May 4
  • Last Samurai, The Set in Japan during the 1870s, this martial arts epic tells the story of Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise), a respected American military officer hired by the Emperor of Japan to train the country's first army in the art of modern warfare. As the Emperor attempts to eradicate the ancient Imperial Samurai warriors in preparation for more Westernized and trade-friendly government policies, Algren finds himself unexpectedly impressed and influenced by his encounters with the Samurai, which places him at the center of a struggle between two eras and two worlds, with only his own sense of honor to guide him. Director: Edward Zwick. Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, William Atherton, Chad Lindberg, Masato Harada, Ray Goodshall Sr., Billy Connolly, Tony Goldwyn. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 154 min., Action, Box office gross: $105.600 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Girl With a Pearl Earring Delft, Holland, 1665. After her father, a tile painter, is blinded in a kiln explosion, seventeen-year-old Griet (Scarlett Johansson) must work to support her family. She becomes a maid in the house of Johannes Vermeer and gradually attracts the master painter's attention. Though worlds apart in upbringing, education and social standing, Vermeer recognizes Griet's intuitive understanding of color and light and slowly draws her into the mysterious world of his paintings. Vermeer is a perfectionist, often taking months to finish a painting. His shrewd mother-in-law, Maria Thins, struggles to maintain the family's lavish lifestyle on the income from his painstakingly meager output. Seeing that Griet inspires Vermeer, she takes the dangerous decision to allow their clandestine relationship to develop. Plunged into a chaotic Catholic household run by Vermeer's volatile wife Catharina, surrounded by an ever-increasing brood of children, Griet is increasingly at risk of exposure or worse. Alone and unprotected, Griet contends with the attentions of Pieter, a local butcher boy, and Vermeer's patron, the wealthy and lascivious Master van Ruijven, who is frustrated that his money does not buy him control over the artist. While Griet falls increasingly under Vermeer's spell, she cannot be sure of his feelings for her. The Machiavellian van Ruijven, sensing the intimacy between master and maid, gleefully contrives a commission for Vermeer to paint Griet alone. The result will be one of the greatest paintings ever created, but at what cost? Director: Peter Webber. Stars: Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkerson, Judy Parfitt, Cillian Murphy. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 95 min., Drama, Box office gross: $10.428 million, Lions Gate, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Calendar Girls Critically acclaimed comedy inspired by the remarkable true story of a group of ordinary women who changed the world one month at a time by taking it all off for a good cause. The Women's Institute in Great Britain encourages the ancient skills of jammaking, flower pressing, knitting and baking. But when a friend's husband dies of leukemia, Chris (Helen Mirren) enlists the support of her fellow members in a fund-raising initiative for the local hospital. They decide to take the annual WI calendar, normally featuring landscapes or flowers, and create something a little different. Behind the baked goods, the apple pressing and the flower arranging, the women are completely nude. Before they know it, the women are hitting the headlines, while they get up the nerve to bare it all. Amidst the hype, the friendship between Chris and Annie is put to the test. Director: Nigel Cole. Stars: Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, John Alderton, Linda Bassett, Annette Crosbie, Philip Glenister, Ciaran Hinds, Celia Imrie, Geraldine James, Penelope Wilton. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 108 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $21.529 million, Buena Vista, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Triplets of Belleville, The Wildly inventive, visionary and sophisticated animated film that caught the world's attention with its classic, visually-stunning style, eccentric satirical humor, rich imagination crowded with colorful characters and inspired musical score when it premiered at last year's Festival de Cannes. Voted Best Picture on more than 50 Year's Best critics' lists including The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, plus numerous worldwide accolades including two Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. Adopted by his grandmother, Madame Souza, Champion is a lonely little boy. Noticing that this lad is never happier than on a bicycle, Madame Souza puts him through a rigorous training process. Years go by and Champion becomes worthy of his name. Now he is ready to enter the world-famous cycling race, the Tour de France. However, during this cycling contest two mysterious, square-shouldered henchmen kidnap Champion. Madame Souza and her faithful dog Bruno set out to rescue him. Their quest takes them across the ocean to the teeming metropolis of Belleville, where they encounter the renowned "Triplets of Belleville," three eccentric female music-hall divas from the 30's who decide to take Madame Souza and Bruno under their wing. Thanks to Bruno's brilliant sense of smell, the motley sleuths are soon on to Champion's trail, following the clues to an underground betting parlor -- now the chase is on. Director: Sylvain Chomet. Voices of Michele Caucheteux, Jean-Claude Donda, Monica Viegas, Michel Robin. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 81 min., Animated, Box office gross: $3.000 million, Columbia Tritar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Chasing Liberty Eighteen-year-old Anna Foster (Mandy Moore) just wants the American dream: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. At the very least, she wants the freedom to live like any other teenager. But as the only child of the President of the United States, every detail of Anna's life is constantly monitored by the media, the public and her very protective parents -- backed up by a battalion of Secret Service agents dedicated to safeguard her from danger, including the perils of first dates. While on a diplomatic trip to Europe with her parents, Anna exacts a promise from her father for a rare evening out alone, unescorted by the usual security detail. But when over-protective Dad has a last-minute change of heart and reneges, Anna decides it's time to take matters into her own hands, ditches the agents and goes on the run. In her wild escape, incognito Anna meets charming Brit Ben Calder (Matthew Goode), who aids her European getaway. Reveling in her newfound independence, Anna decides to take Europe by storm, accompanied by Ben and always a step ahead of her zealous bodyguards. As her impromptu European adventure takes her farther away from a life of protocol and draws her closer to her dashing young traveling companion, she dreads the day she has to tell Ben who she really is and go back home. But Ben has a secret of his own -- he's really a secret service agent. For Many Moore fans only. Director: Andy Cadiff. Stars: Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Jeremy Piven, Annabelle Sciorra, Caroline Goodall, Mark Harmon. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 111 min., Romantic-Comedy, Box office gross: $12.189 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Elephant Winner of the Palme d'Or and Best Director prizes at the 2003 Festival de Cannes, Gus Van Sant's realistic drama takes us inside an American high school on one ordinary day that rapidly turns tragic. As the story unfolds, the kids go about their day, filled with classwork, football, gossip and socializing. With each student, we see high school through a different experience, a new lens. And as these experiences range from friendly and innocent to traumatic and disturbing, young lives shift from light to darkness with surreal speed. A controversial look at the Columbine tragedy. Director: Gus Van Sant. Stars: Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson, Elias McConnell, Jordan Taylor, Carrie Finklea, Nicole George, Brittany Mountain. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 81 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.227 million, HBO, $19.95 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Peter Pan For the first time, a boy -- Jeremy Sumpter -- stars in the title role, opposite Jason Isaacs as Captain James Hook. The story begins on a chilly night in buttoned-up Edwardian London as Wendy Darling (Rachel Hurd-Wood) mesmerizes her younger brothers with tales of swordplay, swashbuckling and Captain Hook, the legendary pirate who fears nothing but a ticking clock. But a clock is ticking for Wendy, too. Her father has decreed that it's time for her to grow up. After tonight, no more stories. She's to be groomed for womanhood and marriage by strict Aunt Millicent (Lynn Redgrave). Unknown to the Darlings, Peter Pan loves Wendy's stories, too, and travels a great distance to hear them. His appearance in their nursery that night, along with a jealous little fairy called Tinker Bell (Ludivine Sagnier), triggers an awfully big adventure for Wendy and her brothers. Following him out the window like a small flock of birds, the children swoop over London's moonlit rooftops, through a galaxy of radiant planets and stars, to the magical Neverland, where they begin an exhilarating new life free of grown-up rules with Peter and the Lost Boys in their secret underground home. Confronting depraved pirates, malicious mermaids, a monstrous crocodile and, worst of all, the vicious steel claw dangling from Hook's right arm, Wendy and her brothers find out what they're made of. And the ongoing battle between Peter and Hook escalates to a thrilling climax, played out against the fantastical backdrop of the enchanted world of Neverland. Director: P.J. Hogan. Stars: Jason Isaacs, Jeremy Sumpter, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Lynn Redgrave, Richard Briers, Olivia Williams, Harry Newell, Freddie Popplewell, Ludivine Sagnier. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 113 min., Family, Box office gross: $48.000 million, Universal, $24.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Tomorrow Poignant tale based on the short story by William Faulkner and scripted by Horton Foote. Robert Duvall, in one of his best performances ever, plays Jackson Fentry, a young man who leaves his father's farm to work at a local sawmill. He rescues a young pregnant woman who has been abandoned by her husband and family, and the two fall in love. Shot in black and white to convey the feel of the Depression-era South. Director: Joseph Anthony. Stars: Robert Duvall, Olga Berlin, Sudie Bond. 1972, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 103 min., Drama, Home Vision Entertainment. DVD: Only. 3 stars

  • Missing Gun, The A mile-a-minute action-thriller that played the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Artistically cutting-edge, the film marked the first time a feature was ever digitally produced in mainland China. Its frantic pace, wall-to-wall action and oddball cast of characters have earned writer- director Lu Chuan the title of "the Chinese Guy Ritchie." A quirky tale about an exemplary small-town cop, an honest but distracted family man whose stability vanishes when he awakes following a drunken wedding celebration to the horrifying reality that his service weapon is missing. Facing dismissal and utter humiliation, he sets out to track down the gun and traces a path through a tangle of quirky characters until suddenly things turn tragic as his first love turns up murdered and the fatal bullet appears to be from his gun. This bittersweet story is about one man's quest for redemption and incorporates moments of black comedy, murder mystery and a paranoid odyssey backed by a frenzied pace and high-energy music. In China, the only thing more dangerous than having a gun it losing it. Director: Lu Chuan. Stars: Wen Jiang, Shi Liang, Jing Ning, Liu Xiaoning. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 90 min., Action-Thriller, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

May 11
  • In America Endearing and moving family drama about Irish immigrants in New York and their struggles to make it in America. The family -- which arrives in the States via Canada -- are virtually penniless and take up residence in a sleazy apartment overrun by drug addicts, lowlifes and weirdos. Johnny, the father, is an aspiring actor, but his emotions -- and that of wife, Sarah -- is stunted by the haunting memories of their son's death. Their two young daughters are enthusiastic lovers of America -- for them, America is a place of magic where anything is possible -- and the pair befriend a tormented artist, who takes the girls under his wings. Throughout the course of the film, the family learns to cope with the "impossible" obstacles of life in New York City. Carried by the girls' youthful hope and faith, the family finds the heart to live and love again, and along the way heal their wounds. Told by the family's 11-year-old daughter -- a child wise beyond her years. Based on incidents in director Jim Sheridan's life -- the screenplay was penned by Sheridan and his (now grownup) two daughters. Wonderful performances by all involved, particularly Samantha Morton as Sarah and Djimon Hounsou as the "fearsome" artist. Director: Jim Sheridan. Stars: Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Sarah Bolger, Emma Bolger, Neal Jones, Randall Carlton, Ciaran Cronin, Djimon Hounsou. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 107 min., Drama, Box office gross: $9.000 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Scary Movie 3 Taking shots at the latest crop of blockbusters, "Scary Movie 3" irreverently roasts "The Ring," "Signs," "Matrix Reloaded," "Eight Mile," "The Others" and more, and also skewers pop trends like "American Idol." In the third installment of the "Scary Movie" franchise, Cindy Campbell has to investigate mysterious crop circles and video tapes, and help the President in preventing an alien invasion. Anna Faris stars as the eager anchorwoman Cindy; Charlie Sheen as the alien-attracting farmer Tom and Denise Richards as his hapless wife Annie; Eddie Griffin as Orpheus and Queen Latifah as The Oracle, Aunt Shaneequa; Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy as Catholic School girls; Leslie Nielsen as the President of the United States; Simon Rex as rap star wannabe George; Jeremy Piven as reporter Ross Giggins; Camryn Manheim as the formidable Trooper Champlin; Regina Hall as eerie school teacher Brenda Meeks; Anthony Anderson as rap promoter Mahalik; as well as George Carlin, Fat Joe, Simon Cowell, Method Man, Redman, Macy Gray, Master P., Ja Rule, D.L. Hughley, Wu Tang Clan and The Coors Twins. Director: David Zucker. Stars: Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Eddie Griffin, Queen Latifah, Denise Richards, Regina Hall, Jeremy Piven, Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Leslie Nielsen, Camryn Manheim. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 84 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $109.897 million, Dimension, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Fog of War, The: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara A masterpiece from gifted filmmaker Errol Morris As if ripped from today's gripping headlines, the documentary is the thought-provoking, historically riveting story of America as seen through the eyes of Robert S. McNamara, former Secretary of Defense under the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Inspired by the book "Wilson's Ghost," "The Fog of War" is a 20th Century fable, a story of an American dreamer who rose from humble origins to the heights of political power. One of the last century's most controversial and influential figures in world politics, McNamara takes us on an insider's journey through many of the seminal events of the 20th Century -- from the firebombing of 100,000 Japanese civilians in Tokyo in 1945 to the brink of nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban missile crisis to the devastating effects of the Vietnam War. Through unreleased archival footage and first-hand account interviews with McNamara conducted over a span of two years, "The Fog of War" is not a standard historical drama but rather an important personal drama of a provocative historical figure. Winner of the Best Documentary Oscar, the Best Documentary Award from the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles and Chicago Film Critics Associations, among many, many other honors. Director: Errol Morris. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 107 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $1.575 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Van Helsing: The London Assignment In the heat of the $54 million debut of "Van Helsing," Universal Studios Home Video will release "Van Helsing: The London Assignment," an all-new original animated film that unlocks the series of events that sets the stage for the theatrical film. In an adventure that transpires immediately before the events of the feature film, the mysterious monster-hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is sent to London by the Knights of the Holy Order to capture a demonic creature who has been terrorizing the late-night streets, murdering young women. As he unravels the mystery behind the creature's dark purpose, Van Helsing learns of the identity of the sinister Dr. Hyde (Robbie Coltrane). The pursuit leads to a series of perilous chases through 19th century London, from its newly built underground railway system to a dizzying aerial pursuit over the under-construction Tower Bridge, and all the way to Buckingham Palace. The monster must be stopped before he destroys the monarchy but has Van Helsing possibly met his match in the form of this new evil nemesis? Director: Sharon Bridgeman. Stars: Hugh Jackman, Robbie Coltrane, Alun Armstrong, David Wenham. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 33 min., Animated, Universal. DVD: Only.

  • God Is Great and I'm Not Sparkling performance by Audrey Tautou in this charming comedy that follows the romantic and spiritual journey of 20 year-old model Michele as she searches for happiness. In her quest for meaning and love, Michele jumps from one religion to another, much like she changes clothes. After a breakup with her boyfriend, she jumps from Catholicism to Buddhism to, finally, Orthodox Judaism. In French with English subtitles. Director: Pascale Bailly. Stars: Audrey Tautou, Edouard Baer, Julie Depardieu. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 95 min., Romantic Comedy, Koch Lorber Films, $24.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Safe Conduct Set in German-occupied France during World War II, director Bertrand Tavernier's epic tells the story of two filmmakers -- real- life scriptwriter Jean Aurenche (Denis Podalydes) and director Jean Devaivre (Jacques Gamblin) -- who face the choice of collaborating with the enemy or joining the Resistance. While Aurenche spends his time evading the Nazis' attempts to employ him, Devaivre works for the German-run Continental Films as a cover for his role in the French Resistance, subtly incorporating subversive messages into his work. In French with English subtitles. Director: Bertrand Tavernier. Stars: Jacques Gamblin, Dennis Podalydes. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 163 min., Drama, Koch Lorber Films, $24.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Sister My Sister Astonishing account of two sisters pushed to their limits and drawn to each other under the oppression of Victorian propriety. The film was adapted from Wendy Kesselman's acclaimed stage play, "My Sister in This House." In a small provincial town in 1930s France, sisters Christine and Lea are dutiful maidservants for their domineering new mistress, Madame Danzard. Danzard is delighted by the fastidiousness of her servants who, in turn, relish the few free hours they have together. But as the oppressive atmosphere in the house becomes too much, and Danzard becomes harsher and harsher, passion begins to build between them, erupting with disastrous results. Director: Nancy Meckler. Stars: Julie Walters, Joely Richardson, Jodhi May. 1994, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 85 min., Drama, Koch Lorber Films, $24.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Pigalle Taking place in the seedy Pigalle district of Paris, the eccentric cast of characters consists of drug dealers, junkies, pimps, prostitutes, transvestites, drag queens and the mob of criminals who target them as prey. The film revolves around a transsexual performer and her life and loves while barbaric survival tactics in the streets obscure all moral codes and everyone is caught up in a drug trade turf war. In French with English subtitles. Director: Karim Dridi. Stars: Bianca Li, Francis Renaud, Vera Briole. 1994, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 78 min., Drama, Koch Lorber Films, $24.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Code, The (La Mentale) A hardcore, international cult-hit that with a Tarantino-esqe attitude. For Dris (Samuel Le Bihan) and his best friend, Yanis (Samy Naceri), growing up in the bleak concrete jungle of Paris, meant rites of passage ranging from petty break-ins to armored car robberies, but their luck finally ran out and Dris got sent to prison. Four years later, Dris is back home and all he wants is to lead a quiet life and settle down with his fiancee, Lise, who begs him to abandon his criminal life. But Yanis has since grown into a fearsome mob boss and wants his old friend to come back. Dris is unable to resist the pressures from Yanis and the seductions of his former lover, a gypsy hooker named Nina, and finally agrees to one more heist. But they haven't counted on Feche, godfather of the Paris night and sworn enemy of Yanis, who's been hatching his own violent plan. Once back into the world of organized crime, Dris discovers that the code of the streets is strict and the penalty for betrayal is far worse than prison. Torn between loyalties, Dris must decide whether adhering to the code is worth risking his life. Director: Manuel Boursinhac. Stars: Samuel Le Bihan, Samy Naceri, Clotilde Courau, Marie Guillard. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 107 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $0.008 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Japanese Story A cross-cultural journey, an emotional drama and a haunting love story as wide and complex as the Australian outback, where the film takes place. "Japanese Story" premiered at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, and screened at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. Toni Collette plays Sandy Edwards, an ambitious geologist who suddenly finds herself having to baby-sit Hiromitsu (Gotaro Tsunashima), a taciturn Japanese businessman. Hoping to strike up a business deal, she agrees to take him on a field trip around Western Australia's remote Pilbara Desert. Against the background of the outback, these two diametrically opposed strangers are to find themselves thrust together in a potentially life or death situation. As they journey further and further into the desert, they leave more and more of what they know about each other and themselves behind. Winner of Eight Australian Film Institute Awards including Best Actress (in a leading role), Best Cinematography and Best Film. Director: Sue Brooks. Stars: Toni Collette, Gotaro Tsunashima. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.313 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Legend of Johnny Lingo, The Far away on a Polynesian island, an orphan boy named Tama is cursed by his tribe and finds comfort in a fellow outcast: Mahana, a feisty girl shunned for her ragged appearance. When Tama sails off in search of a new life, he promises a tearful Mahana to return for her someday. But Tama's journey leads him to Johnny Lingo, a wealthy trader who makes Tama his apprentice and heir. Tama eventually inherits Johnny Lingo's fortune, spirit and namesake and learns that the measure of a man is not in his possessions but in love, friendship and honoring a promise from the past. Director: Steven Ramirez. Stars: Rawiri Paratene, Joe Folau, Alvin Fitisemanu, Kayte Ferguson, Fokikovi Soakimi, Tausani Simei-Barton, George Henare. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: G, 117 min., Animated, family, MGM, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Dragon Lord Martial arts action-adventure written directed and starring Jackie Chan. Dragon (Chan) and his buddy Cowboy (Mars) have been best friends since childhood but when they both fall head over heels for the same woman, they become rivals. When they come across a gang stealing valuable Chinese artifacts, Dragon and Cowboy join forces again and high-kick into gear to prevent the thieves from doing their dirty work. Choreographed by legendary Corey Yuen. Director: Jackie Chan. Stars: Jackie Chan, Mars, Wai-Man Chan. 1982, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 86 min., Martial Arts, Dimension, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

May 18
  • Paycheck In this exciting John Woo adaptation of a story by famed sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, Ben Affleck plays Michael Jennings, a man being hunted, but for what he doesn't know why. A world-famous genius hired by high-tech corporations for specialized top-secret projects, Jennings routinely has his memory erased once a job is completed so as not to divulge any company secrets. Highly paid for his work, he expects to earn eight figures for his latest three-year project, which has him locked up in a high-tech facility with no contact with the outside world save a few company workers. But upon finishing the work, instead of a big paycheck, he is given an envelope full of random objects and told that he has agreed to forfeit all payment. With his memory erased per his contract, Jennings has no defense, until he discovers that the objects are clues to his past. Now, with the help of Rachel (Uma Thurman), the woman he has worked with and loved for the last three years, Jennings is in a race against time to put the pieces of his past together -- before his previous employers have him killed. Director: John Woo. Stars: Ben Affleck, Aaron Eckhart, Uma Thurman, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Sci-Fi Thriller, Box office gross: $53.557 million, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Torque Biker Cary Ford (Martin Henderson) lives to ride. Now he's riding to live. The Reapers biker gang wants him for a murder he didn't commit. The leader of the Hellions wants to get his hands on his neck and on the contraband he thinks Ford ripped off. And the FBI wants to have a little chat. Exciting action for the younger set, including a wild bike-chase atop and through a moving commuter train. Director: Joseph Kahn. Stars: Martin Henderson, Ice Cube, Monet Mazur, Jay Hernandez. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 81 min., Action, Box office gross: $20.878 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Miracle The amazing, true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team and their incredible triumph against overwhelming odds. In 1980, the United States ice hockey team's coach, Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) challenged a ragtag squad of college kids to take on the awesome juggernaut from the Soviet Union -- the greatest hockey team in the world -- at the 1980 Olympic Games. Despite the long odds, Team USA carried the pride of a nation yearning for a distraction from world events. With the world watching, the team rose to the occasion, prompting broadcaster Al Michaels' now-famous question to the millions viewing at home: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" Director: Gavin O'Connor. Stars: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 135 min., Sports drama, Box office gross: $56.328 million, Walt Disney, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • You Got Served You find street dancers all across the country -- on street corners, in alleyways, on playgrounds or in dark, sweaty warehouses. Crowds gather to cheer and scream for their favorite crew locked into battle with other formidable crews. With unbelievable raw talent, they demonstrate explosive moves that defy gravity and spin like tops to the rhythmic sounds of urban music. "You Got Served" delves into that competitive, underground world. Elgin and David are best friends and leaders of the best dance crew in the area. When another town's top group challenges them to a battle, David and Elgin, along with their buddies must create and perfect the most cutting edge moves in order to remain on top. The stakes are raised as friends double-cross each other and true motives are revealed. When the biggest battle comes to town, David and Elgin must work past their differences to prove that they are still the best crew on the streets. Director: Christopher B. Stokes. Stars: Marques Houston, Omari Grandberry, Jarrell Houston, Lil' Kim, Steve Harvey, Meagan Good, Jennifer Freeman. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 94 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $33.006 million, Columbia TriStar, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Embalmer, The Drawing inspiration from a scandalous tabloid story, Italian director Matteo Garrone creates a compelling drama of desire and its consequences. Peppino (Ernesto Mahieux), a taxidermist who stashes contraband in corpses for the Mafia, may be undersized, but he shouldn't be underestimated. After Peppino persuades the handsome Valerio (Valerio Foglia Manzillo), a waiter of heroic proportions, to be his well-paid assistant, he shows his new protege a good time by hiring prostitutes to entertain them both. But Peppino's eyes are not on the girls ... and Valerio's new girlfriend Deborah (Elisabetta Rocchetti) knows it. The battle for Valerio's affections are about to take a deadly turn. Garrone has entered complex, mature territory that pulls from classic film noir to create an underlying sense of dread in this beautifully shot, dramatically riveting character study. He started with a simple question: How does a man who isn't especially rich or good-looking seduce a young, handsome man, who doesn't happen to be homosexual? To answer this question Garrone created three compelling characters and a well-crafted screenplay that keeps the audience wondering why the tall and beautiful Valerio stays with the crafty, diminutive and possibly dangerous Peppino. Is it strictly professional? Is there a mutual romantic attraction? The money? Mentor and protege? In Italian with English subtitles. Director: Matteo Garrone. Stars: Ernesto Mahieux, Valerio Foglia Manzillo, Elisabetta Rocchetti. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 96 min., Psychological drama, First Run Features. DVD: Only.

May 25
  • Lord of the Rings, The: The Return of the King New Line has taken a different tack with the third installment in the most successful trilogy of all time: instead of an August video release (as was the case with the first two "Rings" outings), the company will release the 11-Oscar winning "King" May 25 on VHS and as a two-disc DVD set. Later this year, most likely November, the company will release an expanded four-hour edition.

    Sauron's forces have laid siege to Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor, in their efforts to eliminate the race of men. The once-great kingdom, watched over by a fading steward, has never been in more desperate need of its king. But can Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) answer the call of his heritage and become what he was born to be? In no small measure, the fate of Middle-earth rests on his broad shoulders. With the final battle joined and the legions of darkness gathering, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) urgently tries to rally Gondor's broken army to action. He is aided by Rohan's King Theoden who unites his warriors for history's biggest test. Yet even with their courage and passionate loyalty, the forces of men -- with Eowyn and Merry hidden among them -- are no match for the enemies swarming against Gondor. Still, in the face of great losses, they charge forward into the battle of their lifetimes, tied together by their singular goal to keep Sauron distracted and give the Ring Bearer a chance to complete his quest. Their hopes rest with Frodo (Elijah Wood), a tiny but determined hobbit making a perilous trip across treacherous enemy lands to cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. The closer Frodo gets to his final destination, the heavier his burden becomes and the more he must rely on Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin). Gollum -- and the Ring itself -- will test Frodo's allegiances and, ultimately, his humanity. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" concludes the epic story of these characters, their relationships and rivalries, and reveals how through courage, commitment and determination even the least of us can change the world. Director: Peter Jackson. Stars: Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 201 min., Fantasy, Box office gross: $364.000 million, New Line, $24.97 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Son, The Olivier Gourmet was named best actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of Olivier, a divorced carpentry instructor at a vocational school whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of a mysterious student, Francis. The 16-year-old is unaware of any connection he may have to his new teacher, but it is clear that the weight of the past is a heavy burden on Olivier. While struggling to maintain a professional distance, he can't help himself from following the boy through the training center hallways and through the city streets after class. Eventually the two come to know each other and the relationship between the two psychologically bruised humans is strengthened. When Olivier's ex-wife, Magali, is told about the boy, she grows horrified. Soon the secret that binds the boy to Olivier and Magali is revealed and a profound emotional and morally complex situation unfolds. In French with English subtitles. Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Stars: Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne, Isabella Soupart. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 100 min., Drama, New Yorker, $24.95 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Weather Underground, The The remarkable story of The Weather Underground, radical activists of the 1960s, and of radical politics at its best and most disastrous. One of the top documentaries of 2003, "The Weather Underground" chronicles the unbelievable story of The Weathermen, the outlaw faction of radicals who, outraged by the Vietnam War and racism in America, went underground to wage a low-level war aimed at overthrowing the U.S. government. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Director: Sam Green, Bill Siegel. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 92 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $0.548 million, Docurama, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Club Dread From people who brought you the surprise video hit "Super Troopers" comes this lame horror-comedy. The non-stop booze-soaked party on an island resort owned by Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton), a rock star has-been, takes a turn for the weird when dead bodies start turning up. Everyone begins to look suspicious. Could it be Sam (Erik Stolhanske) of the Fun Police brigade, who is quick on the trigger with his tequila loaded super-soaker; Jenny (Brittany Daniel), the over-sexed fitness instructor; Juan (Steve Lemme), the flamboyant diving instructor with a secret third-world past; Putman (Jay Chandrasekhar), the bratty-British tennis coach/fanatic; Dave (Paul Soter), the ecstasy-crazed, adopted nephew of Coconut Pete; or the burly masseuse (Kevin Heffernan) blessed with a creepy 'touch' that can render anyone into instant Jell-O? Can the inhabitants of Pleasure Island unite, solve the mystery and restore happy hour to this tropical bacchanal? Who cares? Director: Jay Chandrasekhar. Stars: Bill Paxton, Erik Stolhanske, Brittany Daniel, Steve Lemme, Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter, Kevin Heffernan, Elena Lyons, Dan Montgomery Jr., Tanja Reichert, Nat Faxon, Michael Weaver. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 97 min., Horror-comedy, Box office gross: $4.920 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Welcome to Mooseport Ray Romano's failed attempt to crossover to the big screen also strands Gene Hackman in a weak comedy outing. Former President Monroe "Eagle" Cole (Gene Hackman) is, after two very successful terms in office, looking forward to retiring to the sleepy vacation town of Mooseport where he plans to work on his golf handicap, write his memoirs, and entertain corporate offers. Apart from going through a divorce with the former first lady, Cole intends to enjoy a relaxed and prosperous retirement. When the town fathers ask him to fill a mayoral seat that has recently become vacant, a position to which he'll be acclaimed, Cole sees no reason not to accept. That is until Harold "Handy" Harrison (Ray Romano), the popular owner of the local hardware store, decides to run against him. Cole, who has never lost an election in his entire political career, finds himself facing a potentially embarrassing defeat. Fate ups the ante when he unknowingly makes a move on Harrison's girlfriend, and the campaign becomes a race not just for the job, but for the girl. Not even Cole's high popularity ratings and years of political experience have prepared him to take on "Plumber Power," and what began as a sure thing quickly accelerates into a raucous campaign of clashing egos, misunderstandings and political conniving in the formerly benign and civilized environs of Mooseport. Director: Donald Petrie. Stars: Gene Hackman, Ray Romano, Marcia Gay Harden, Maura Tierney, Christine Baranski, Fred Savage. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 110 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $14.005 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Bubba Ho-Tep Weird comedy-thriller takes place in the Shady Rest retirement home in Mud Creek, Texas, where a series of mysterious deaths have been taking place. To solve the mystery, an aging, cantankerous Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) and a decrepit -- and black -- JFK (Ossie Davis) team up and face off against a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy who's been sucking the souls from the barely leaving. Will this Bubba Ho-Tep make sure there's never another Elvis sighting? Or can the King show the world that he can still take care of business? Director: Don Coscarelli. Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 114 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $1.239 million, MGM, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • What Boys Like "American Pie" clone follows the weekend adventures of groomsmen who make a last-minute bet: Jay must have a pure one-night stand and Dewey must put on hold his life's work of chalking up 20 000 women (supposedly Wilt Chamberlain's record) and remain celibate for three days. The stakes are a mint 1959 T-Bird convertible and, if Dewey wins, Jay's younger sister. From the rehearsal dinner to the bedrooms of estate, the boys have an irreverent romp through the days leading up to the walk down the aisle. Director: Lawrence Gay. Stars: Duane Martin, Christopher Wiehl, Charisma Carpenter, Lisa Brenner, Magaki Amadei. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Comedy, Monarch Home Video, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Orgy of the Dead Wacky tale, written by famed schlock director Ed Wood, follows a young couple through a spectacle of dancing zombies, vampires, vixens and more in a seductive ritual. In search of inspiration for his next novel, John and his girlfriend Shirley head out one evening to find a cemetery. After their car breaks down, the couple stumbles upon a crowd of sinners being punished by a group of the dancing dead. The couple is taken prisoner and forced to watch the naked ghouls mix and mingle, while the overseeing Emperor decides their fate for trespassing on such a private and momentous occasion. Director: Stephen Apostolof. Stars: Criswell. 1965, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 91 min., Horror, Rhino Video. DVD: Only.

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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
February 2004 Releases
March 2004 Releases
April 2004 Releases
June 2004 Releases
July 2004 Releases


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April 25, 2004