OnVideo Guide to Home Video Releases: November Calendar of Releases

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Guide to Home Video Releases:
November 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.

November 1 (Friday)
  • Spider-Man Director Sam ("Evil Dead," "Army of Darkness," "Darkman") Raimi has taken the famous Stan Lee comic book hero and turned him into a big-screen star. The outing is perfect: Tobey Maguire is impeccable as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, a young man not so much a superhero as a bewildered youth with super powers; the settings, production design, visual effects and direction all mesh to create a comic book world that is easily normal -- and believable.

    The story: Orphaned at an early age, Peter Parker lives in Queens, N.Y., with his beloved Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Peter leads the life of a normal student, working as a photographer at the school paper and pining away after the beautiful Mary Jane Watson and hanging out with buddy Harry Osborn. But on a school trip, during which Peter and his classmates are given a science demonstration on arachnids, Peter is bitten by a genetically altered spider and soon after discovers that he has unusual powers: he is endowed with the strength and agility of a spider along with a keen, ESP- like "spider sense."

    Peter first uses his powers to make money, but in the face of a tragedy that hits close to home, he vows to dedicate his life to fighting crime, taking to heart the words of his beloved Uncle Ben: "With great power comes great responsibility." Meanwhile, megalomaniacal businessman Norman Osborn, Harry's father, is undergoing some changes of his own. An experimental formula has gone awry, increasing his intelligence and strength but also driving him insane. He is now the Green Goblin, Spider-Man's arch-enemy, who will put young Peter Parker's vow to fight crime and help innocent people to the ultimate test.

DVD coverThe two-disc "Spider-Man" DVD set will be available in widescreen and fullscreen editions: The widescreen special edition packaging will feature Spider-Man scaling the side of a skyscraper and the full screen special edition packaging will feature Spider-Man crouching over a skyline.
    Also available day and date will be a specially-packaged limited-edition Collector's DVD Gift Set featuring the widescreen special edition Spider-Man DVD and loaded with extras including a reprint of Marvel Comic's "Amazing Fantasy" #15 in which Spider-Man was created; an exclusive collectible drawing by former Spider-Man artist John Romita Sr. and current Spider-Man artist John Romita Jr.; a collectible numbered film cel from the movie; and more.

    • Disc 1: Commentary by Raimi, producer Laura Ziskin, Dunst and co-producer Grant Curtis; SFX commentary by special effects designer John Dykstra and the visual effects crew; Branching Web-i-sodes (access via Spider- Sense); Marketing campaigns: Trailers & TV spots; Filmographies & character files; Music videos: Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott, "Hero" & Sum 41, "What We're All About"; Subtitled factoids "Weaving the Web": Pop-On production notes and historical facts; DVD-ROM: Comic/feature comparison, record-your-own commentary, countdown to "Spider-Man 2," Weblinks.

    • Disc 2: HBO "Making of Spider-Man"; "Spider-Mania": an E! Entertainment special; Director profile: Sam Raimi; Composer profile: Danny Elfman; Screen tests: Tobey Maguire, J.K. Simmons and CGI Spider-Man costume and makeup tests; Gag/Outtake reel; Conceptual art & production design gallery; Historical documentary" "Spider-Man: The Mythology of the 21st Century"; The Spider-Man Comic Book Archives; Rogues gallery; The loves of Peter Parker; Comic Book artist pin-up gallery; Activision game: Hints & tips; DVD-ROM: Activision Game (two playable levels for PC), three exclusive Marvel dot.comics ("Spider- Man: Blue #1," "Black Cat #1,"and "Peter Parker: Return of the Goblin"), Spider- Man: Visualizer.

    Director: Sam Raimi. Stars: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, Gerry Becker, Bill Nunn, Jack Betts, Stanley Anderson, Ron Perkins. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 121 min., Action, Box office gross: $404.000 million, Columbia TriStar, $24.96 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

November 5
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Sidda Lee Walker (Sandra Bullock), a prominent young playwright living in New York City, is a long way from her Louisiana hometown and a nice safe distance from her loving, but highly dramatic and eccentric mother, Vivi (Ellen Burstyn). And that's just fine with her. When a Time magazine profile on Sidda implies that Vivi was not a good mother, Vivi is outraged and mother and daughter begin a fight that threatens to destroy not only their relationship but Sidda's tenuous wedding plans. Enter the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Fionnula Flanagan, Shirley Knight, Maggie Smith) -- Vivi's intrepid gang of lifelong friends, eager to restore peace, no matter what it takes. Director: Callie Khouri. Stars: Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Smith, James Garner, Shirley Knight, Fionnula Flanagan, Angus Macfadyen. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min., Comedy-Drama, Box office gross: $68.684 million, Warner, $22.98 SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, The Offbeat coming of age saga. An official entry at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" is a dark comedy about a rebellious group of eighth grade boys at a Savannah Catholic school. When the boys get caught drawing an obscene comic book featuring priests and nuns having sex, they avenge with daring prank on their ultra-strict teacher, nasty peg-legged nun Sister Assumpta (Jodie Foster), in hopes of becoming local legends. Also features comic book art by Thomas Fleming and imagination animation segments art directed by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane. Director: Peter Care. Stars: Jodie Foster, Kieram Culkin, Jena Malone, Emile Hirsch, Vincent D'Onofrio. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Drama, Box office gross: $11.743 million, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Powerpuff Girls Movie, The Kids will get down to crime-busting action with the world's (or at least Cartoon Network's) favorite pint-sized heroes, the Powerpuff Girls, as Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup serve a knockout punch in their feature film debut. Created by a perfectly powerful experiment, Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup explode into action as the new kids in Townsville. But, after one enthusiastic game of tag, they nearly destroy their beloved city. Now called social freaks, they turn to the mysterious Mojo Jojo for help ... but this sinister simian has other plans -- big plans -- like leading an army of evil monkeys to destroy the world! Will the Powerpuff Girls save Townsville and the world -- for the first time -- before bedtime? Unfortunately for the Girls, their antics couldn't save themselves at the boxoffice, and the film was a minor flop. Director: Craig McCracken. Voices of Tara Strong, Cathy Cavadini, Elizabeth Daily, Robert L. Jackson, Tom Kenny. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 87 min., Animated, Box office gross: $11.411 million, Warner, $22.95 SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Pumpkin Offbeat comedy about sexy college girl Carolyn (Christina Ricci) who has it all: great looks, a wealthy family, a hot boyfriend and one wicked hula step. But when she meets wheelchair-bound Pumpkin (Hank Harris) through her sorority's charity work, Carolyn suddenly realizes that her "have-it-all" existence doesn't have all she wants. Embracing the imperfection around her -- and within her -- she embarks on an unlikely romance that creeps out her glossy sorority sisters, appalls her jock boyfriend and draws them all kicking and screaming into a culture clash that leaves no one unchanged. Though rough in spots -- and almost falling all over itself with its message of the need to look into oneself to find meaning in life -- the film scores points for its generous spirit. Carolyn must transform herself from a preppy snob to a humanist -- and find pain in order to find deep feelings and ultimate happiness -- and Ricci, with her almost smoothly perfect exterior, does the job quite well. Bubbling below that calm exterior is a warmth and depth that finally comes to the surface. It's as if we were suddenly transported back to the 1960s, when the "search for the meaning of life" consumed a generation of middle-class kids fighting off the repression of conformity: Carolyn -- and Ricci -- is a 21st century flower child. The DVD of the film is sans any extras, which is too bad because a backgrounder on the filmmakers would have been illuminating. Best line in the film: "The pain inside feels like a shattered mirror." And the soundtrack is great, highlighted by Emillana Torrini's English version of Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas" (If You Go Away). Director: Anthony Abrams, Adam Larson Broder. Stars: Christina Ricci, Hank Harris, Brenda Blethyn, Dominique Swain, Marisa Coughlan. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 117 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $0.250 million, MGM, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Dead Zone, The Premiere episode of TV series adapted from Stephen King's novel of the same name. USA Network's highest rated show to date. Director: Robert Lieberman. Stars: Anthony Michael Hall, Nicole de Boer, Chris Bruno, John L. Adams, David Ogden Stiers. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 87 min., Science Fiction, Lions Gate, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Fighter A unique adventure unfolds as two friends take a risky road trip into their past. Together, Jan Wiener and Arnost Lustig -- both survivors of Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia and now living in America -- revisit scenes of romance and humor, of narrow escapes from life-or-death confrontations. But their journey home becomes a clash of personalities that takes their friendship to the brink. Director: Amir Bar-Lev. 2000, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 86 min., Documentary, First Run Features, $29.95 SRP. DVD: November 19.

  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Sea Stories 5 adventures (10 on the DVD version, which runs 99 minutes and sells for $19.99) of the hip darling of Nick. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 62 min., Animated, Paramount, $12.95 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Blue's Clues: It's Joe Time! Get to know the new host of pre-school delight "Blue's Clues." Two episodes (the DVD, under the title "Blue's Clues: Get to Know Joe" runs for 96 minutes and contains four episodes. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 51 min., Animated, Paramount, $9.95 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

November 12
  • Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones Clones DVD
coverLucasfilm and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have announced the official release date and specs for "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones": Nov. 12 on special-edition two-disc DVD ($29.98) and VHS ($24.98).

    The two-disc "Clones" DVD, which will be available in both full-screen and anamorphic widescreen versions, will include more than six hours of additional materials.

    • Disc 1: Commentary by writer-director George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, sound designer Ben Burtt, Industrial Light + Magic animation director Rob Coleman and ILM visual effects supervisors Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow; Dolby 5.1 Surround EX.

    • Disc 2: As it did with the "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" disc, ILM went back and finished the special Yoda photoeffects in eight deleted scenes and included them on the DVD. Additional content includes full-length documentary "From Puppets to Pixels," which follows the process of Yoda from puppet to full CGI character as well as showing fans how digital stunt doubles were incorporated into the film; documentary"State of the Art: The Previsualization of Episode II," which explores how entire scenes can be created from scratch; documentary "Films Are Not Released; They Escape," which delves into the sound process for the making of the film; three featurettes that explore the general storyline, action scenes and love story; a 12-part Web documentary series; theatrical trailers; 12 TV spots; theatrical posters and print campaigns from around the world; the Fox TV "R2-D2: Beneath the Dome" mockumentary; a visual effects breakdown montage; a production photo gallery; and an "Across the Stars" music video featuring John Williams.

    • The special-edition VHS will include six selected deleted scenes and a "Star Wars: Connections" featurette hosted by R2-D2.

    Director: George Lucas. Stars: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Samuel Jackson, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 135 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $300.000 million, Fox, $24.98 SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Lord of the Rings, The: The Fellowship of the Ring Special Extended Edition A Special Extended Edition two-VHS set, with more than 30 minutes of additional footage. The theatrical VHS version of the film was released August 6. Director: Peter Jackson. Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Christopher Lee, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 208 min., Fantasy, Box office gross: $310 million, New Line, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Complete Monterey Pop Festival On a beautiful June weekend in 1967, at the height of the "Summer of Love," the first and only Monterey International Pop Festival roared forward -- capturing a decade's spirit and ushering in a new era of rock 'n' roll. Monterey would launch the careers of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, but they were just a few among a wildly diverse cast including Simon and Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas, The Who, The Byrds, Hugh Masekela, and the extraordinary Ravi Shankar. With his characteristic verite style, D.A. Pennebaker captured it all, immortalizing those moments that have become legend: Pete Townshend destroying his guitar; Jimi Hendrix burning his. The Criterion Collection presents the most comprehensive document of the Monterey International Pop Festival ever produced, featuring all three films of the Festival -- "Monterey Pop," "Jimi Plays Monterey," and "Shake! Otis at Monterey" -- along with nearly every complete performance filmed by Pennebaker and his crew.

    The Criterion Collection's three-DVD release of "The Complete Monterey Pop Festival" will feature almost two hours of rarely seen outtakes. Among the confirmed performances are the Association: "Along Comes Mary"; Country Joe & the Fish: "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine"; Al Kooper: "(I Heard Her Say) Wake Me, Shake Me"; The Butterfield Blues Band: "Our Love is Driftin'"; Electric Flag: "Drinkin' Wine"; The Byrds: "Chimes of Freedom," "He Was a Friend of Mine" and "Hey Joe"; Laura Nyro: "Wedding Bell Blues" and "Poverty Train"; The Jefferson Airplane: "Somebody to Love"; The Blues Project: "The Flute Thing"; The Who: "Substitute," "Summertime Blues," "Quick One While He's Away"; The Mamas & the Papas: "Straight Shooter," "Somebody Groovy," "I Call Your Name," "Monday, Monday," and "Dancing in the Street". Also included in the Monterey Pop package will be the complete D.A. Pennebaker documentaries "Jimi Plays Monterey" and "Shake! Otis at Monterey," as well as a host of other supplemental features. 1967, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 238 min., Music, Home Vision/The Criterion Collection, $79.95 SRP. DVD: Only 4 stars

  • Bad Company Action-director Joel Schumacher takes a very serious actor (Anthony Hopkins), a comic whiz (Chris Rock) and lots of special effects, combines them with a CIA thriller involving identical twins and switched identities, mixes well and comes up with a dud. Hopkins plays CIA agent Gaylord Oakes who, along with partner Kevin Pope (Rock), is about to finish a deal to buy a nuke and capture some bad guys when Pope is killed. Fortunately for the CIA, Pope has an identical twin -- separated at birth, of course. But unlucky for them, that twin is one Jake Hayes, a New York neer-do-well who jumps at the opportunity (for money, of course) to impersonate his dead brother and complete the deal. Now Hopkins and the CIA have just nine days to turn Hayes into a gleaming member of the secret agency. The laughs mostly come from the fish-out-water Hayes trying to become the suave Pope. For the most part, though, the film failed to tickle any funnybones. Director: Joel Schumacher. Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Chris Rock, Gabriel Macht, Matthew Marsh, Kerry Washington, Adoni Maropis, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, Brooke Smith. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $29.682 million, Buena Vista, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • What to Do in Case of Fire In his cinema debut, director Gregor Schnitzler tackles a slice of recent German history with humor, action and excitement in this comedy set against the background of Berlin's former squatter community. It tells an amusing story about friendship, dreams and lost values. Thirteen years have passed since Tim (Til Schwieger), Flo (Doris Schretzmayer), Maik (Sebastian Blomberg), Hotte (Martin Feifel), Nele (Nadja Uhl) and Terror (Matthias Matschke), lived together in an occupied building in the 1980s and gave the establishment their collective middle fingers. This period of creative anarchy appears to have been the best of their lives. But now, with the passage of time, almost everything has changed. Only the charismatic Tim and the wheelchair-bound Hotte have remained true to their former ideals. The others have gone on to lead fairly bourgeois lives. The time they spent together has long since been reduced to a fading memory. In New Berlin, the divergent paths of these former friends have not crossed in many years. But all that changes when a long-since forgotten, homemade bomb they had planted in an empty mansion in 1987 explodes unexpectedly. Now the past catches up with them and threatens their quiet lives. After all these years, the six former friends feel compelled to cover their past tracks and avoid discovery by the police -- especially the aggressive detective Manowsky (Klaus Lowitsch). In German with English subtitles. Director: Gregor Schnitzler. Stars: Til Schweiger, Martin Feifel, Sebastian Blomberg, Nadja Uhl, Matthias Matschke, Doris Schretzmayer, Klaus Lowtisch. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 101 min., Comedy, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Spider's Web In this erotic thriller, a sexy investment executive (Kari Wuhrer) is seduced by a younger man (Stephen Baldwin) into stealing $40 million from his politically ambitious father. As the elaborate swindle is set in motion and their erotically charged affair reaches a boiling point, the two begin to question the intentions of one another. Is he a pampered rich boy getting his kinky kicks with an experienced older woman or is she a shrewd "black widow" out to make a killing. As the bodies pile up and the double-crosses multiply, one of the pair will be left holding the fortune, while the other will be caught in a web of deadly deception. Director: Paul Levine. Stars: Stephen Baldwin, Kari Wuhrer, Benjamin King, Scott Williamson, Michael Gregory, George Lazenby, Tony Colitti, George Murdock. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 87 min., Erotic thriller, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Importance of Being Earnest, The Oscar Wilde's comedy about two young bachelors who create alter egos in order to find romance. Worthing (Colin Firth) resides in the country but often visits the city as his "brother" Ernest. There he falls in love with Gwendolyn (Frances O'Connor) who's mother (Judi Dench) is given the duty of finding an appropriate suitor for her. Moncrieff (Rupert Everett) is Worthing's boisterous but reckless friend. In order to escape bill collectors and boring dinner parties, Moncrieff creates "Bumbry," a sick friend whom he often visits in the country. When Moncrieff visits Worthing's country estate and falls head-over-heels for Worthing's ward Cecily (Reese Witherspoon), a romantic comedy of misadventure ensues. Director: Oliver Parker. Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 94 min., Romantic Comedy, Box office gross: $8.139 million, Miramax, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year New Winnie the Pooh animated adventure has Winnie, Tigger and the rest of the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood discovering the importance of sharing holiday cheer and the New Year with those they care about most. Features four new songs, as well as holiday carols sung by Carly Simon. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: G, 65 min., Animated, Disney, $22.99 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

November 19
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Who would have thought that a full-length animated feature whose main character was a horse could be so absorbing. DreamWorks -- whose experience with animation runs the gamut from "Prince of Egypt" to "Shrek" -- has here created a delightfully heartfelt tale about the spirit of freedom in the form of a mustang stallion born into the wilds of the old West. Spirit is born into an untamed land and grows to become the leader of his herd. Unfortunately, he's captured by scouts for the U.S. Cavalry but attempts at breaking him prove futile, and he escapes -- with an Indian brave -- to live among the Lakota tribe. When the army attacks the Indian encampment, Spirit is captured again, and sent to a railroad work camp. But his spirit remains strong, and the horse bolts again, wreaking havoc on the railroad during the course of his escape. What's amazing about the film is its lack of dialogue -- Spirit and companions utter nary a word, but communicate in whinnies and neighs and the language of the heart. And the messages for kids -- the need, at times, to fight for freedom, and to have trust in your true, strong heart -- are miles ahead of much of what, today, passes for children's entertainment. Director: Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook. Voices of Matt Damon (narrator), James Cromwell, Daniel Studi. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: G, 83 min., Animated, Box office gross: $72.929 million, DreamWorks, $24.99 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 4 stars

  • Reign of Fire At times thrilling apocalyptic sci-fier set in the near future in which fire-breathing dragons -- spawned from a single giant reptile awakened from a centuries-long slumber -- have overrun the Earth, leaving rag-tag survivors to defend themselves the best they can -- mostly hiding in medieval castles in England. Along come some gung-ho Americans, led by Matthew McConaughey, who mobilizes the remnants of humanity to track down the big daddy dragon of them all. Not very exciting visually -- or aurally ... and keep your finger on the fast-forward button to get past all the silly exposition. Director: Rob Bowman. Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, Izabella Scorupco, Gerald Butler, Scott James Moutter, Ben Thornton, Alice Kriege. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 100 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $41.628 million, Buena Vista, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Sunshine State Set in Plantation Island Florida, this John Sayles' comedy-drama unfolds during the weeklong Buccaneer Days Festival, a new "tradition" created by the local Chamber of Commerce. But local real estate developers are changing the modest beachside community into an upscale, manicured resort for winter-weary Northerners. The long-time locals are divided on whether to cash in or stand their ground. Plantation Island, like its residents, is in transition. There's Marly, running her father's motel and hating every minute of it. Lester and Greg will stop at nothing to buy the motel, and Dad will never sell. Mom is living in her own dream world down at the Community Theater when she's not off to the Audubon meetings, saving what's left of the natural habitat. Marly is wasting away in Margaritaville, dodging her ex-husband, losing her golf pro and tempted by the new guy in town -- even though he is definitely working for the other side. Then we have Desiree, back for her first real visit home since she left under a cloud 25 years ago. She doesn't trust her mother Eunice and won't be drawn into staying in the black enclave of Lincoln Beach, even though family friend Dr. Lloyd works her pretty hard. Her trophy husband, Dr. Reginald Perry, does his best to fit in, but he's worried about the old boyfriend Flash Phillips. And nobody's comfortable with the boy Eunice has taken in, a young arsonist named Terrell. Chamber of Commerce stalwart Francine Pinckney keeps a smile on her face and pom poms high, championing Buccaneer Days through its course. She's too busy to see much of her husband, banker Earl, whose gambling debts are giving him problems of his own. Welcome to Florida! and America. Another biting Sayles outing. Director: John Sayles. Stars: Angela Bassett, Edie Falco, Timothy Hutton, Jane Alexander, Mary Alice, Gordon Clapp, Miguel Ferrer, James McDaniel. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 141 min., Drama, Box office gross: $2.767 million, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • 13 Conversations About One Thing Examines, through conversations, five distinct New York tales, observing the lives of seemingly disparate characters -- a public defender (Matthew McConaughey) whose life suddenly mirrors that of the criminals he prosecutes; a college professor (John Turturro) facing a poignant crossroads; an envious businessman (Alan Arkin) seeking revenge on a compulsively cheerful co-worker; an optimistic cleaning woman (Clea Duvall) searching for miracles in the aftermath of a tragic accident; and lastly, a woman (Amy Irving), forced to face her husband's infidelity due to the untimely return of a lost wallet -- interwoven to create a tapestry of human experience. These ordinary people all find themselves asking the fundamental question philosophers have asked throughout history: What is Happiness, and how does one achieve it. Director: Jill Sprecher. Stars: Matthew McConaughey, John Turturro, Clea Duvall, Amy Irving, Alan Arkin. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 94 min., Drama, Box office gross: $3.004 million, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • Juwanna Mann Uninspired comedy about a black pro basketball player (Miguel A. Nunez Jr.) whose outrageous behavior gets him banished from the game, whereupon he loses his Hummer, his home and his girlfriend. Retreating to his aunt's house in Charlotte, N.C., he decides to go drag and join a woman's basketball league, fooling his agent, his new teammates and new coach. And, naturally, the team, thanks to "Juwanna," heads for the league championship. It's "Tootsie" all over again: a rapper falls for the in-drag basketball star, who, in turn, learns what it means to be a real man. Director: Jesse Vaughn. Stars: Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Vivica A. Fox, Kevin Pollak, Tommy Davidson, Kim Wayans, Jennifer Lewis, Ginuwine, Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones, Annie Corley. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 91 min., Sports Comedy, Box office gross: $13.571 million, Warner, $22.98 SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars

  • R-Xmas Currently in theatrical release to positive mainstream reviews (which is a surprise, since most of director Ferrara's fare takes an acquired taste). It's Christmas in Manhattan, and a picture-perfect family basks in the seasonal glow, secure in their gorgeous uptown apartment. Trouble looms, however, as the lifestyle they've created -- with heavy drug trade profits -- is threatened by growing tensions between dealers. The husband is kidnapped and a ransom of drugs and impossible money is demanded, fast. No one is answering the phones, the streets have dried up, and the clock is ticking. Each successive nerve-shredding confrontation with the kidnapper forces the wife to anguish over the possibilities: her husband has either betrayed her by faking his own kidnapping, or his death is imminent. Merry R-Xmas. Director: Abel Ferrara. Stars: Ice-T, Drea de Matteo, Lillo Brancato Jr.. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 83 min., Suspense Thriller, Artisan, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Robin Cooks Invasion Mini-series about an invasion from outer space. It seems that small rocks are falling from the sky, rocks that trigger a seemingly innocuous human virus, causing people to mutate into an alien species. A small group of humans must try to formulate a drug to reverse the effects before it's too late. Stars: Luke Perry, Kim Cattrall, Rebecca Gayheart. 1998, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 175 min., Science Fiction, Artisan, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Fast Food Fast Women Contemporary New York comedy follows the romantic twists and turns of the patrons of a Manhattan coffee shop. Director: Amos Kollek. Stars: Louise Lasser, Anna Thomson. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 96 min., Comedy, New Yorker, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • King Is Alive, The An international ensemble cast charts the tale of 10 hapless tourists lost in the heart of Africa. When their bus breaks down in the middle of the Namibian desert, a mismatched group of travelers meets the absurdity of their situation head on -- by staging an impromptu production of "King Lear." But as tempers flare, passions ignite and their hopes of rescue dwindle, they soon begin to realize that in the heart of the African wilderness, the only thing more fearsome than Mother Nature is human nature. Last of the original four Danish Dogme project films. Director: Kristian Levring. Stars: Miles Anderson, Romane Bohringer, David Bradley, David Calder, Bruce Davison, Brion James, Peter Kubheka, Vusi Kunene, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Janet McTeer, Chris Walker, Lia Williams. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: R, 107 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.103 million, MGM, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Price of Milk, The Once upon a time on a dairy farm in a faraway land of fertile green valleys, there lived two lovers -- Lucinda and Rob, and their one hundred and seventeen cows. When Lucinda discovers a mystical old Maori woman, and barters away Rob's precious cows, their fairytale romance spins out of control. A psychedelic New Zealand fable. Director: Harry Sinclair. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 87 min., Romantic Fable, New Yorker, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

November 26
  • Men in Black II It's been five years since the alien-seeking agents averted an intergalactic disaster of epic proportions, and agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) has since returned to the comforts of civilian life while agent Jay (Will Smith) continues to work for the Men in Black, the highly funded yet unofficial government agency that regulates all things alien on Earth. Kay and Jay reunite to provide the last and only line of defense against a sinister seductress who levels the toughest challenge yet to the MIB's untarnished mission statement: Protecting the earth from the scum of the universe. Lara Flynn Boyle plays Serleena, an intergalactic blob that morphs into a curvaceous woman and who threatens the world if she doesn't get what she wants -- and only Kay knows where it's hidden. Again, the best part of MiBII (after you discount the oozing special effects that are by now old hat) is the repartee between Jones and Smith, which carried the original to new heights. The DVD edition will come on two discs (in widescreen and fullscreen versions). Director: Barry Sonnenfeld. Stars: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Rip Torn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Ton Shalhoub, Patrick Warburton. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 88 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $187.000 million, Columbia TriStar, $24.96 SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Ice Age From the very first opening seconds you know that this animated adventure is going to be a snow-covered sled ride of fun and hilarity. The film opens with Scrat (a prehistoric squirrel/rat) hyperactively trying to bury an acorn into the ice of a giant glacier, causing a monumental avalanche from which the little critter runs -- barely one step ahead of disaster. From there the story segues to the main characters -- though Scrat makes occasional appearances throughout, and at the end of, the film -- Manfred, a wooly mammoth migrating South, and Sid, an obnoxious sloth who tags along with Manfred on the journey. The main plot line involves a group of saber-toothed tigers who want to get even with humans by kidnapping a human child. Unfortunately for the big cats, the child falls into the hands of Manfred and Sid, who vow to take care of it and return it to its family. So the sneaky Sabers send one of their own -- Diego -- to join the pair to lead them into an ambush. Much of the film revolves around the trek to return the child to its human "herd" -- while Diego plots to lead the group astray. There's plenty of stand-up comic patter, wild rides and adventures, and slapstick humor for kids of all ages. And there's even a moral of friendship, trust and love at the end. Director: Carlos Saldanha, Chris Wedge. Stars: Voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizano, Denis Leary, Goran Visnjic, Jack Black, Tara Strong, Cedric the Entertainer. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 80 min., Animated, Box office gross: $177.000 million, Fox, $24.98 VHS SRP. DVD: Day & Date. 3 stars

  • Lovely & Amazing Jane Marks is the matriarch of a confused trio of daughters who seem to have nothing in common, except for a peculiar sense of idealism: a heady brew of vanity, insecurity and humor. The eldest sister is stuck in a loveless marriage; the middle sister is an insecure actress whose career is beginning to take off and who compulsively picks up and takes home stray dogs; the youngest sister, an adopted black eight-year-old, seems to stand a chance at rising above the family's legacy. Each of the women seeks redemption in her own haphazard way, but whatever salvation they find is illusory and short-lived. Director: Nicole Holofcener. Stars: Catherine Keener, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Mortimer, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dermot Mulroney, James LeGroe. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 91 min., Drama, Box office gross: $4.200 million, Lions Gate, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Undisputed Prison drama has two champion boxers fighting to be the best. James "Ice Man" Chambers (Ving Rhames) is the world's top-ranked professional boxer until he's accused of a serious crime and sent to prison. Once inside, he meets Monroe Hutchen (Wesley Snipes), the undefeated prison boxing champ for 10 years running. When former mob boss and current inmate Emmanuel Ripstein (Peter Falk) gets the fight set, the two heavyweights square off to see who will be the undisputed champ. Director: Walter Hill. Stars: Wesley Snipes, Ving Rhames, Michael Rooker, Jon Seda, Fisher Stevens, Master P, Peter Falk. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 94 min., Drama, Box office gross: $12.341 million, Miramax, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date. 2 stars
  • When in Rome Pack your bags and jet off to Rome as Mary-Kate and Ashley -- the preconscious Olsen twins -- take a summer job with the legendary Derek Hanson, a totally cool international tycoon whose empire reaches from airlines to cutting-edge fashion. Amid the sights of Europe's most exciting city, Mary-Kate and Ashley do their best to impress their boss, while still finding time to design their own line of very hip clothing, meet some very cute guys and turn their summer abroad into one awesome adventure. For the pre-teen set only. Stars: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: NR, Teen romance, Warner, $19.96 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Angela Debut effort by Rebecca Miller, who directed Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and November theatrical release "Personal Velocity." Coming-of-age story about an imaginative 10-year-old girl (Miranda Stuart Rhyne) caught between the harsh realities of a difficult family life and the fantasy world she escapes to inside her head. When Angela and her 6-year-old sister Ellie leave home to embark on a fantastical journey, the girls seamlessly navigate their way through a stunning, mystical and enchanted world brimming with magical realism, unexpected humor and dark eccentricities. Presented by New Video and IFC. Director: Rebecca Miller. Stars: Miranda Stuart Rhyne, Charlotte Eve Blythe, Anna Levine, John Ventimiglia. 1995, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 99 min., Drama, New Video, $19.95 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Love and a Bullet In this intense urban action gangsta film, Malik Bishop is a young man with a troubled past. He has fulfilled his childhood ambition of becoming a professional hitman, but it has not turned out like he thought it would. Bishop's boss, the notorious hitman Damien Wiles, assigns Bishop the task of watching his girlfriend, whom he suspects of infidelity. While staking out his next assignment, Malik reflects on the dark path he's chosen but cannot escape. Torn between his sense of duty and his new found sense of humanity, he finds that the only way out is a perilous showdown with the men who are every bit as cold-blooded as he is. Director: Ben Ramsey. Stars: Anthony "Treach" Criss, Walter Jones, Kent Masters King. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 87 min., Urban action, Box office gross: $0.016 million, Columbia TriStar, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • One Special Night Two strangers take refuge in a small cabin during a blizzard and, despite many differences, discover that fate has brought them together. Telefilm. Stars: Julie Andrews, James Garner. 1999, CC, Family, MTI Home Video, $19.95 SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

  • It All Starts Today Acclaimed director Bertrand Tavernier here brings to the screen a small but powerful drama about a young teacher and his struggle to make a difference in the lives of his students. It's a powerful film about the meaning of passion and commitment, triumph an d defeat, and the resilience of the human spirit -- about what it takes for one individual to change other lives. In French with English subtitles. Director: Bertrand Tavernier. Stars: Phillippe Torretonis. 1999, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 117 min., Drama, Accent Cinema, $29.95 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Une Ravissante Idiote (A Ravishing Idiot) French spy spoof has Anthony Perkins playing a Russian spy sent out to steal sensitive NATO information. Without much intelligence of his own, the Soviet agent needs all the help he can get from his talented partner, Penelope Lightfeather (Brigitte Bardot) as they scatter around the countryside for secret rendezvous while trying to avoid being caught by counter-intelligence agents. English subtitles. Director: Eduardo Molinaro. Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Anthony Perkins. 1964, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 100 min., Comedy, Vanguard Cinema, $29.95 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Medea Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini's distinct take on the sexuality, love and desire at the heart of Euripides' drama. English subtitles. Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini. Stars: Maria Callas. 1970, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 110 min., Drama, Vanguard Cinema, $29.95 SRP. DVD: Day & Date.

  • Virgil Bliss Virgil Bliss is a mild-mannered Southerner and career criminal who is released from prison and sent to a half-way house in Brooklyn. Upon his release, he becomes obsessed with living a normal life, finding a good job, marrying a decent woman, and building a family of his own. Virgil meets Manny, a fiery troublemaker who initiates the emotionally naive Virgil in the ways of the world. Manny introduces Virgil to Ruby, an opportunistic junkie and prostitute, and Virgil falls instantly in love. Against all odds, they form a damaged family unit, dogged by mistrust, chemical dependency and regrets. Unimpressed by Virgil's attempts to straighten up, Manny expertly unravels all that Virgil has accomplished and teaches him a brutal and final lesson in the limits of love. Director: Joe Maggio. Stars: Clint Jordan, Anthony Gorman, Kirsten Russell. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 94 min., Drama, First Run Features, No SRP, Priced for rental. DVD: Day & Date.

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    All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a Rotel RDV-1080 DVD Audio/Video Player, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.

June 2002 Releases
July 2002 Releases
August 2002 Releases
September 2002 Releases
October 2002 Releases
December 2002 Releases
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February 2003 Releases


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November 18, 2002