Here's a selection of new movies on DVD for January, 2006.
Bill Murray, supported by half a dozen well-known actresses,
stars in this offbeat film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. Don (Murray)
is an emotionally shut-down man who learns he may have a 19-year-old son. He visits
four former lovers (Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton)
who may be his son's mother. Don's journey changes him a little, and there are
some laughs along the way. Also appearing in the movie are Julie Delpy, Chloë
Sevigny, Alexis Dziena and Jeffrey Wright.
According to this horror movie, there's a vast system of unexplored
flooded caves in Romania. The story then is about what happens when a crack team
of explorers goes into those caves. It turns out the caves are inhabited by previously
undiscovered nasty creatures that attack the explorers, who are played by not-so-well-known
actors, including Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut and Eddie Cibrian. The explorers'
situation becomes desperate when they are trapped deep inside the caves by an
This drama that centers around an African-American church
in Atlanta is enlivened by spirited performances of gospel music. The main character
is David (Boris Kodjoe), a successful R&B singer who has fallen away from
that church, even though his father (Clifton Powell) is in charge of it. But things
change when David learns his father is dying and an ambitious young pastor (Idris
Elba) is assuming leadership of the congregation. With the church in a deep financial
crisis, David must make some major decisions.
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star in this comedy that did
huge box office during its theatrical release. John (Wilson) and Jeremy (Vaughn)
are pals who habitually crash weddings to pick up women. When they crash a wedding
thrown by Treasury Secretary Cleary (Christopher Walken), they get involved with
two of his daughters (Rachel McAdams and Isla Fisher). But when John and Jeremy
visit the Cleary family back at their Kennedy-esque vacation compound, a number
of comic complications arise.
Based on the novel by John le Carré and
directed by Fernando Meirelles, this thriller stars Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz.
The story is set mostly in Kenya, where Justin Quayle (Fiennes) is a mild-mannered
British diplomat and his wife Tessa (Weisz) is a feisty social activist. When
Tessa is murdered, Justin investigates and finds out there was much he didn't
know about his late wife. He also uncovers a web of corruption involving pharmaceutical
companies and government bureaucracies.
Set in the seamy parts of Memphis, this drama features
a strong lead performance by Terrence Howard as Djay, a drug-dealing pimp. His
hookers are portrayed by Taryn Manning, Taraji P. Henson and Paula Jai Parker.
But Djay aspires to become a hip-hop artist and enlists the aid of characters
played by Anthony Anderson and DJ Qualls. They set out to create a demo tape and
get it to rapper Skinny Black (Ludacris), but all does not go smoothly as Djay
tries to make the transition to recording artist.
Wes Craven directed this thriller starring Rachel McAdams and
Cillian Murphy. Lisa (McAdams), a Miami hotel manager, is on a flight back from
Dallas when she finds herself seated beside a terrorist (Murphy) who is part of
a plot to assassinate a Homeland Security official. The terrorist tells Lisa that
her father (Brian Cox) will be killed unless she arranges for the official to
be moved to a different suite at her hotel. Trapped aboard the airliner, Lisa
tries to figure out how to save the lives of her father and the official.
This actioner is the sequel to "The Transporter" (2002),
and Jason Statham returns as Frank Martin, the man who transports anything for
clients with no questions asked. However, Martin has now relocated from France
to Miami and chauffeurs the son of the head of the U.S. anti-drug program. The
son is kidnapped by a creepy villain named Gianni (Alessandro Gassman), and Martin
must battle Gianni's thugs as he struggles to set things right. But the movie
is primarily about spectacular chase and combat sequences.
The Smartest Guys in the Room"
Based on the book by Bethany McLean
and Peter Elkind, this is an entertaining documentary about the rise and fall
of Enron, one of America's biggest corporations. Enron, whose businesses were
mostly energy-related, was flying high and much admired in the 1990's, but collapsed
in 2001 amid scandal, bringing formerly respected accounting firm Arthur Andersen
down with it. The film tells a tale of arrogance, greed and amorality, revolving
around insiders getting rich through deception.
Nicolas Cage stars in this drama with dark humor about the
international arms trade. The film was written and directed by Andrew Niccol ("Gattaca,"
"S1m0ne"). Cage plays Yuri, a New Yorker whose family came from Ukraine.
Yuri goes into business with his brother (Jared Leto) and becomes a big-time arms
dealer, enjoying a lavish lifestyle with his ex-model wife (Bridget Moynahan).
But eventually Yuri runs into major problems with his brother, his wife and an
Interpol agent (Ethan Hawke).
Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy star in this slight comedy.
Andy (Levy) is a Wisconsin dental supply salesman who travels to Detroit to attend
a convention. In the Motor City, he gets entangled with Vann (Jackson), an ATF
agent trying to crack a case involving the theft of weapons from the government.
Vann eventually embarks upon a sting operation where bad guys think that Andy
is an arms dealer. The cop and the conventioneer make an unlikely pair, and Andy
has lots of flatulence.
for the Money"
Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey star in this drama.
Brandon (McConaughey) shows a knack for handicapping football games, and he goes
to work for Walter (Pacino), who operates a business that advises clients how
to bet on sports and takes a percentage of their winnings. Walter, who has heart
trouble and was once addicted to gambling, makes Brandon his protégé.
Initially all goes well, but eventually things get complicated for Brandon, Walter
and Walter's wife (Rene Russo).
This documentary focuses on an old dirty joke about a
guy pitching an act to a talent booker where the joke-teller paints a vile, filthy,
disgusting word picture of the act. The joke ends with the talent booker asking,
"What do you call yourselves?" and the guy replying, "The Aristocrats!"
In the film, scores of professional comedians, including George Carlin, Whoopi
Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried, Robin Williams, Jon Stewart, Drew Carey and Chris
Rock, talk about the joke, and a few dozen variations of it are heard.
Foster stars in this thriller. She plays Kyle, a widow who takes a transatlantic
flight with her six-year-old daughter. When Kyle awakens from a nap on the plane,
she can't locate the girl. The crew conducts a search, but reports finding nothing,
and airline personnel claim they have no knowledge that the daughter ever even
boarded the flight. But Kyle is no ordinary passengershe's an engineer who
is intimately familiar with the airliner's design. As the flight continues, she
tries to figure out what is going on.
This horror film is a remake of John Carpenter's 1980 movie of
the same name. On a remote island off Oregon, a thick fog rolls in carrying spirits
that start killing the townspeople. Among those caught up in the mayhem are the
local D.J. (Selma Blair), a fishing boat operator (Tom Welling from "Smallville")
and his one-time girlfriend (Maggie Grace from "Lost"). They try to
solve the mystery of what's going on, but it's apparently revenge for something
the town's founding fathers did back in the 19th century.
Directed by Curtis Hanson and adapted from Jennifer Weiner's
novel, this is an upbeat drama starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley
MacLaine. Maggie (Diaz) and Rose (Collette) are sisters, but very different: Maggie
is a good-looking freeloader, while Rose is a career-oriented attorney who's on
the plain side. When the sisters have a falling out over a man, Maggie moves in
with her grandmother (MacLaine) in a retirement community, leading to all three
women making changes in their lives.
Legend of Zorro"
This action-adventure movie is the sequel to "The
Mask of Zorro" (1998), and Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones reprise
their roles as Zorro/Alejandro and Elena. This time around Alejandro and Elena
de la Vega are a married couple with a son, Joaquin, who's about 10. The year
is 1850, and villains are trying to block California statehood. But the De la
Vegas have marital problems, and Elena files for divorce. However, eventually
Zorro, Elena and Joaquin unite in a battle to set things right.
Burton's Corpse Bride"
This is a visually dazzling animated comedy
set in the 19th century. Everything is arranged for Victor (voice of Johnny Depp)
to marry Victoria (voice of Emily Watson) when he wanders into a graveyard. There
he comes into contact with the corpse of Emily (voice of Helena Bonham Carter)
and is transported to a lively underworld, where Emily is considered his bride.
All three of these characters are presented sympathetically, and the film features
lots of singing and dancing to musical numbers by Danny Elfman.
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