OnVideo NOVEMBER Video Reviews
Comedy about a loveable group of misfit slackers who create their own college. High school slacker Bartleby Gaines ("B" to his buddies) is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his parents from finding out he's been rejected by every college he applied to -- even if that means creating a bogus university, with a demented burnout of a dean and a curriculum that includes "How to Design a Smokin' MySpace Page" and "Cooking with Illicit Substances." With a killer Web site to attract students and an abandoned loony bin to call home, the South Harmon Institute of Technology is open for business. The school attracts a standing-room-only crowd of losers, slackers, dweebs and rejects, as well as the unwanted attention of the snide dean of nearby Harmon College. An all-out, low- down battle between the two schools proves that there's more to college life than just being "Accepted."
Director: Steve Pink. Stars: Justin Long, Jonah Hill, Blake Lively, Maria Thayer, Anthony Heald, Adam Herschman, Columbus Short, Lewis Black. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 93 min.), Comedy, 2006, Box office gross: $35.426 million, (Universal), Available: 11/14.
ANT BULLY, THE
New in town, friendless and tormented by a neighborhood bully, young Lucas Nickle has been taking out his frustration on the innocent ant hill in his yard. But one day the ants retaliate. Using a magic potion, they shrink Lucas down to ant size and sentence him to live like an ant in their colony. In this strange new world Lucas learns important lessons about friendship, gets a whole new perspective on life and ultimately finds the courage to stand up for himself.
Director: John A. Davis. Stars: Voices: Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti, Zach Tyler, Regina King, Bruce Campbell, Lily Tomlin, Cheri Oteri, Larry Miller. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 88 min.), Animated, 2006, Box office gross: $27.520 million, (Warner), Available: 11/28.
Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), a hotshot rookie race car driven to succeed, discovers that life is about the journey, not the finish line, when he finds himself unexpectedly detoured in the sleepy Route 66 town of Radiator Springs. En route across the country to the big Piston Cup Championship in California to compete against two seasoned pros, McQueen gets to know the town's offbeat characters -- including Doc Hudson (a 1951 Hudson Hornet with a mysterious past, voiced by Paul Newman), Sally Carrera (a snazzy 2002 Porsche voiced by Bonnie Hunt), and Mater (a rusty but trusty tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) -- who help him realize that there are more important things than trophies, fame, and sponsorship.
Writer-director Kevin Smith returns to the scene of his cult comedy classic "Clerks" and pushes his nothing-is-sacred humor right to the edge and then over. Set 10 years later, slacker heroes Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) are now "funployees" at Mooby's fast food. The two continue to offend customers and debate anything and everything, with their uber-nerd co-worker (Trevor Fehrman) and sexy manager (Rosario Dawson) caught in the crossfire. But, even as riotous debates rage between them over such burning matters as George Lucas v. Peter Jackson v. Jesus, change is on the horizon. When Dante announces that he's going to leave Jersey forever and marry Emma Bunting, Randal plots a going-away party so shocking it will draw the police, the fire department and potential protests from PETA, while altering their lives forever.
Director: Kevin Smith. Stars: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Trevor Fehrman. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 97 min.), Comedy, 2006, Box office gross: $23.951 million, (The Weinstein Company), Available: 11/28.
DA VINCI CODE, THE
While in Paris on business, famed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci - - clues visible for all to see -- yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. Clues all leading to a covert society dedicated to guarding an ancient secret that has remained hidden for 2000 years. Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion -- an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others. In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret -- and an explosive historical truth -- will be lost forever. Based on Dan Brown's controversial novel.
Director: Ron Howard. Stars: Tom Hanks, Jean Reno, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, Paul Bettany, Jurgen Prochnow.. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 149 min.), Mystery, 2006, Box office gross: $217.536 million, (Sony), Available: 11/14.
ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN
The sub-zero heroes from the worldwide blockbuster CGI film "Ice Age" are back-- Manny the woolly mammoth, Sid the sloth, Diego the saber-toothed tiger, and the hapless prehistoric squirrel/rat known as Scrat. In the new outing the Ice Age is coming to an end, and the animals are delighting in the melting paradise that is their new world. Manny may be ready to start a family, but nobody has seen another mammoth for a long time; Manny thinks he may be the last one. That is, until he miraculously finds Ellie, the only female mammoth left in the world. Their only problems: They can't stand each other -- and Ellie somehow thinks she's a possum! Ellie comes with some excess baggage in the form of her two possum "brothers," Crash and Eddi, a couple of daredevil pranksters and cocky, loud-mouthed troublemakers. Manny, Sid, and Diego quickly learn that the warming climate has one major drawback: A huge glacial dam holding off oceans of water is about to break, threatening the entire valley. The only chance for survival lies at the other end of the valley. So our three heroes, along with Ellie, Crash and Eddie, form the most unlikely family as they embark on a mission across an ever-changing, increasingly dangerous landscape towards their "salvation."
Director: Carlos Saldanha. Stars: Voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Queen Latifah, Will Arnett, Jay Leno, Chris Wedge, Peter Ackerman, Caitlin Rose Anderson, Connor Anderson, Joseph Bologna. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 91 min.), Animated, 2006, Box office gross: $200.000 million, (Fox), Available: 11/21.
INCONVENIENT TRUTH, AN
"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so." -- Mark Twain Humanity is sitting on a time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet's climate system into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced --- a catastrophe of our own making. If that sounds like a recipe for serious gloom and doom -- think again. From director Davis Guggenheim comes the Sundance Film Festival and boxoffice hit, "An Inconvenient Truth," which offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man's commitment to expose the myths and misconceptions that surround global warming and inspire actions to prevent it. That man is former Vice President Al Gore, who, in the wake of defeat in the 2000 election, re-set the course of his life to focus on an all-out effort to help save the planet from irrevocable change. In this eye-opening and poignant portrait of Gore and his "traveling global warming show," Gore is funny, engaging, open and downright on fire about getting the surprisingly stirring truth about what he calls our "planetary emergency" out to ordinary citizens before it's too late. With wit, smarts and hope, "An Inconvenient Truth" brings home Gore's persuasive argument that we can no longer afford to view global warming as a political issue -- rather, it is the biggest moral challenge facing our global civilization.
JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE
Run of the mill teen comedy about three high school girls who band together to seek revenge on the school's resident stud who has broken their hearts. Three gorgeous, popular girls from competing high school cliques discover that they've each been dating the same guy: the school's smooth and hunky basketball team captain, John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe). After comparing notes, the fuming trio -- reporter-wannabe Carrie (Arielle Kebbel), head cheerleader Heather (Ashanti), and vegan activist Beth (Sophia Bush) -- conspire to teach Tucker a lesson he'll never forget. They decide to attack his game and make him "undatable." Unfortunately, every wacky, grossly embarrassing scheme they hatch to undermine him backfires and only makes him more popular than ever. Desperate, the girls realize they'll have to step up their assault. There's only one way left to take: to break his heart. The girls recruit a pretty, but anonymous school newcomer, Kate (Brittany Snow), to get the hot jock to fall for her, so she can ceremoniously dump him. Kate's hesitant to play along but, desperate for new friends and a chance to finally be "visible," she agrees to the plan. Can Kate keep her romantic wits about her and pull off the ultimate revenge against a girl's worst enemy: the serial dater? Can fantasy guy John Tucker possibly change his ways and become a one-woman man? And can Carrie, Heather, and Beth actually stay friends with Kate -- and with each other?
Director: Betty Thomas. Stars: Jesse Metcalfe, Brittany Snow, Ashanti, Sophia Bush, Arielle Kebbel. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 90 min.), Comedy, 2006, Box office gross: $40.828 million, (Fox), Available: 11/14.
JOYEUX NOEL (MERRY CHRISTMAS)
Based on a true story that happened on Christmas Eve 1914 during the World War I. When a German tenor-turned-soldier and his partner, a beautiful Dutch soprano, brave the front lines to bring Christmas music to the troops, their songs are heard by enemy French and English forces in nearby trenches. Touched by the familiar melodies and emboldened by loneliness, the soldiers declare a momentary truce and come forward to greet each other. They spend a memorable evening -- exchanging stories, chocolates and cigarettes. The truce gives them the opportunity to bury their dead, play a game of soccer and celebrate a Christmas Mass together. The next morning, they will once again be enemies but with a much greater understanding of the men they are fighting. In French, German and English with English subtitles.
Darryl Edwards (Shawn Wayans) is so eager to become a father that he mistakes Calvin Sims (Marlon Wayans), a short, baby-faced thief on the lam, for an abandoned toddler. He and his wife take the "baby" into their home while Calvin's partner Percy P (Tracy Morgan) tries to help him recover a stolen diamond. Ugh!
Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans. Stars: Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Tracy Morgan, Kerry Washington, Linden Porco. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 98 min.), Comedy, 2006, Box office gross: $58.255 million, (Sony), Available: 11/7.
Twisted tale of murder and mystery set in the drawing rooms of contemporary London. The late U.K. journalist Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) is being mourned by his colleagues -- even as, stuck in limbo, Joe remains committed to pursuing a hot tip on the identity of "the Tarot Card Killer" at large in London. But how can his legwork get done now? Via the very much alive Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson), an American journalism student visiting friends in London. During a stage performance by another American, magician Sid Waterman (Woody Allen), Sondra is shocked to find herself able to "see" and hear "Joe." From beyond, he gives her the scoop of a lifetime and urges her to pursue it. Sondra immediately starts chasing the big story, enlisting the aid of a reluctant Sid (a.k.a. Splendini). That chase leads right to handsome British aristocrat Peter Lyman (Hugh. Jackman), who draws her in with his mysterious charm, causing her to begin a whirlwind romance with the subject of her search. Soon, Sondra finds that the romance of her life may well be the dangerous scoop she's looking for.
Director: Woody Allen. Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Woody Allen, Ian McShane. CC, (MPAA rating: PG_13, 96 min.), Drama, 2006, Box office gross: $10.226 million, (Universal), Available: 11/21.
STRANGERS WITH CANDY
A prequel of sorts to the Comedy Central series of the same name. Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), a 47-year-oldr old ex-con, junky whore decides to return home after 32 years as a runaway. Jerri decides to turn her life around by picking it up exactly where she left off -- as a high school freshman. But the path to the prom is fraught with adolescent problems and temptations that plague all teenagers, but especially this middle-aged former boozer, user and loser.
Director: Paul Dinello. Stars: Amy Sedaris, Greg Hollimon, Paul Dinello, Deborah Rush, Stephen Colbert, Dan Hedaya, Allison Janney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kristen Johnston, Justin Theroux, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ian Holm. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 97 min.), Comedy, 2006, Box office gross: $1.564 million, (ThinkFilm), Available: 11/14.
Superman -- born on a planet which has long since died -- has been raised by adoptive parents on the Kent farm in Kansas. The young boy Kal-El is renamed Clark Kent, and though he has grown up among humans, he is not one of them. Under Earth's yellow sun, he can do things humans can only dream of, but to co- exist with them he must live a dual life as mild, unassuming Clark Kent, secretly transforming into the Man of Steel when the world cries out for him. But now, the world's crises have gone unheeded for five long years since Superman's mysterious disappearance. Without him, crime has risen in the city of Metropolis and beyond; that's not even counting the future destructive acts of Lex Luthor, who has been sprung from prison with the specific intent of using Superman's technological secrets for his own personal gain and glory. Lois Lane, star reporter for the Daily Planet and the love of Superman's life, has moved on since Superman left without a word. She has even won a Pulitzer Prize for her essay, "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." Lois has other issues to contend with -- she is now engaged to the editor's nephew and has a young son to look after. But for Superman, the long search for his place in the universe ends back at the Kent farm, among the only family he has ever known. His destiny lies in Metropolis, where one look in Lois's eyes tells him that this place, among the flawed but ultimately good people of Earth, is his true home. And with Lex's plan coming to fruition mere hours after his return, the world will never need Superman more than it does now.
Director: Bryan Singer. Stars: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Sam Huntington, Eva Marie Saint, Marlon Brando, Kal Penn. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 154 min.), Action, 2006, Box office gross: $197.430 million, (Warner), Available: 11/28.
WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?
General Motor's EV1 was among the fastest, most efficient production electric automobiles ever built. It produced zero emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert? "Who Killed the Electric Car?" chronicles the life and mysterious death of the GM EV1, examining its cultural and economic ripple effects and how they reverberated through the halls of government and big business. Featuring EV1 driving Peter Horton, Ralph Nader and Alexandra Paul and interviews with a wide range of interested parties, from drivers to scientists and environmentalists to people who were part of GM's EV1 sales team, and who remain committed believers today.
YOU, ME AND DUPREE
Comedy about a newlywed couple (Kate Hudson, Matt Dillon) whose relationship problems boil over when the groom's unemployed best man, Dupree (Owen Wilson), moves in with them for a brief period and seems to have no intention of leaving. Carl and Molly have found the one unfortunate hitch in their perfectly constructed newly wedded world: Dupree. A slacker with the soul of a poet, Dupree just can't seem to catch a break from "The Man." When he takes a week off to best-man Carl and Molly's marriage in Hawaii, Dupree gets the unceremonious heave-ho from his boss. Now jobless, car-less and evicted from the cot at his favorite watering hole, he just needs to crash with the Petersons for a couple of days; which goes on to become a couple of weeks, then months. At first, Carl is excited to have the couch guest while Molly bears the brunt of Dupree's well- meaning antics. But, as Carl becomes buried in his grown-up job of land development and headaches, he finds it hard to juggle Dupree and his newlywed responsibilities. As time passes, his and Molly's houseguest uses his ample spare time to become a great companion to her, underscoring Carl's new workaholic tendencies. Even Molly's dad begins to fall for Dupree's carefree wisdom, frustrating Carl to no end. Just as the impish buddy starts becoming a fixture in the Petersons' home, three becomes not just a crowd ... but a full- blown catastrophe.
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. Stars: Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, Matt Dillon, Seth Rogen, Amanda Detmer, Michael Douglas. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 110 min.), Comedy, 2006, Box office gross: $74.634 million, (Universal), Available: 11/21.
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.
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October 31, 2006