OnVideo JUNE Video Reviews
Historical drama set in 1839, about the ramifications of a revolt on a Spanish slave ship by 53 Africans. The ship, now helmed by the ex-slaves, is caught off the coast of Connecticut by the U.S. Navy and the men are tried in a U.S. court for the murder of the crew. The film is another conscious-raising think piece from director Steven Spielberg, with lots of opening action (the revolt) followed by courtroom histrionics. Fine turns by Morgan Freeman as an abolitionist and Anthony Hopkins as former President John Quincy Adams, who comes to the aid of the ex- slaves.
Director: Steven Spielberg. Stars: Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughy. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 152 min.), Drama, 1997, Box office gross: $44.175 million, (Universal), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/30
Supernatural thriller about evil incarnate (a fallen angel that has come to wreak havoc on Earth) that leaves the body of an executed serial killer and is passed from person to person to commit more crimes; Denzel Washington is the police detective who tracks down the demon and tries to stop it from spreading evil. Great supporting roles by John Goodman and Donald Sutherland as cops, however, can't keep this thriller from slipping into an unbelievable realm, especially its trick ending.
Director: Gregory Hoblit. Stars: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 124 min.), Horror thriller, 1998, Box office gross: $25.188 million, (Warner 6434), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/16
Three twentysomething slackers attempt to bail out a fourth bud arrested for killing a diabetic police horse by feeding him too much junk food. They have to come up with $100,000 to save their friend, stuck in jail and threatened by inmates looking for a "companion." What are three party boys to do -- why, start a home-delivery pot service, of course. From that premise the plot takes off in a wisp of smoke. There's plenty of silly comedy, doper jokes and, of course, close calls before a happy ending. For the young at heart.
Director: Tamra Davis. Stars: Dave Chappelle, Guillermo Diaz, Harland Williams, Rachel True, Tommy Chong. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 73 min.), Comedy, 1998, Box office gross: $17.278 million, (Universal 83586), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/30
HOME ALONE 3
Third in the series, not up to the previous two adventures but still with its funny parts. This time around Alex (now played by Alex D. Linz) is stuck home with the chicken pox and foils a group of international criminals who are after a top secret chip they thought was safely hidden in a toy car. Due to a mixup at an airport, Alex gets the car and when the criminals come after it, he retaliates by clobbering them with everything at the disposal of an 8-year-old boy. War is hell. This franchise, we think, has petered out.
Director: Raja Gosnell. Stars: Alex D. Linz, Haviland Morris, Kevin Kilner, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 110 min.), Comedy, 1997, Box office gross: $28.790 million, (Fox 2763), $19.98 SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/2
MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL
A writer gets involved in a shocking murder in Savannah, Georgia in this melodrama directed by Clint Eastwood and starring John Cusack and Kevin Spacey. John Kelso (Cusack) comes South to do a feature on the fabulous parties thrown by wealthy antique dealer Jim Williams (Spacey) and becomes privy to all the wicked secrets the city holds. This is sophisticated filmmaking at its best with plumb roles for all involved. There's sex, transvestitism, homosexuality, and old rich vs. nouveau riche in this oddball tale.
Leslie Nielsen brings to life the famous cartoon character of the 1950s and 1960s (voiced by Jim Backus) whose near-sightedness gets him into one comedic predicament after another. Here a stolen gem lands in his possession and a sinister plot is hatched to steal it back, but Mr. Magoo manages to escape unharmed, oblivious to the evil culprits after him and the dangers that surround him. Plenty of sight gags, slapstick and action stunts, from director Stanley Tong ("Rumble in the Bronx," Supercop").
Director: Stanley Tong. Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Kelly Lynch, Ernie Hudson. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 88 min.), Comedy, 1997, Box office gross: $21.157 million, (Walt Disney 1469300), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/9
Kevin Costner stars as a lone drifter who becomes an inspirational force in uniting America after the Apocalypse. The year is 2013, civilization is in trouble, the U.S. has been devastated and Marauding horsemen terrorize the West Coast. Costner plays a wandering entertainer who is transformed into a savior of sorts when he dresses in the uniform of a murdered postal worker: He starts delivering letters and becomes The Postman, a symbol of a lost, strong America and a harbinger that the country will survive and stop the anarchy. Despite plenty of sweeping action and plenty of mythology, this three-hour adventure died at the box office.
Director: Kevin Costner. Stars: Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Larenz Tate. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 178 min.), Action, 1997, Box office gross: $11.000 million, (Warner 15519), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/23
REPLACEMENT KILLERS, THE
Action adventure in the vein of the great Hong Kong shoot'em ups, starring one of the knights of Chinese action, Chow Yun-Fat. Here he's a hit man who backs off from killing a cop when his conscience gets the better of him. Now the target of an army of other hit men for not fulfilling his contract, he's joined by a killer of a female, played by Mira Sorvino, in a wild attempt to leave the country. There's little dialogue but plenty of ruthless and exciting action (taking place in a nameless, faceless city) engendered by the well-matched Chow-Sorvino duo. A homage to the genre -- not up to the best of Hong Kong but a heck of a lot better than what normally passes muster for American entries in the genre.
Director: Antoine Fuqua. Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Mira Sorvino. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 88 min.), Action, 1998, Box office gross: $19.011 million, (Columbia TriStar 21623), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/30
The crew from "Scream" return for more chills, thrills, and bloody spills. It's two years later and the action moves from high school to college. This time around there's a copy-cat killer who shows up after a movie is made of the book about the first set of "Scream" killings. And naturally everyone becomes a suspect. Self-referential, anyone? Directed by Wes Craven and starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
Director: Wes Craven. Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Jada Pinkett-Smith. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 120 min.), Thriller, 1997, Box office gross: $96.297 million, (Dimension 1355303), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/9
Five days in the life of the Spice Girls in a girl-power version of "A Hard Day's Night." The movie follows the five Spices as they gear up for their first live concert, guided on a wacky ride across London by their long-suffering manager (played by Richard E. Grant). The Girls have alien encounters, a haunted castle visit, boating mishaps, dance lessons and a modeling shoot. Also stars George Wendt, Roger Moore and Meat Loaf.
Director: Bob Spiers. Stars: The Spice Girls. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 93 min.), Musical, 1998, Box office gross: $26.000 million, (Columbia TriStar 02018), $14.95 SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/16
FBI agent (Dennis Quaid) steps outside his job to find the brilliant but nameless serial killer who has kidnapped his son. For more than a year he's been tracking the murderer across the country, but when the stakes get personal he's removed from the case. Against orders, he tracks down a former railroad man (Danny Glover) and a mysterious hitchhiker, both of whom nay hold the key to the search.
Director: Jeb Stuart. Stars: Dennis Quaid, Danny Glover, Jared Leto. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 120 min.), Thriller, 1997, Box office gross: $6.482 million, (Paramount 331203), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/16
WINGS OF THE DOVE, THE
This sensuous tale of romantic intrigue revolves around a young woman, taken in by a wealthy aunt when her mother dies, who enters the alluring world of fashionable London. When she has a secret affair with a journalist, whose station in life is far below hers, she must make an impossible decision between wealth and position or love -- her head or her heart. Based on a Henry James story. Stars Helena Bonham Carter, Charlotte Rampling, Elizabeth McGovern, Alison Elliott and Linus Roache.
Director: Iain Softley. Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Charlotte Rampling, Elizabeth McGovern. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 102 min.), Drama, 1997, Box office gross: $13.525 million, (Miramax 1354803), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 6/16
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