Selected March and April Releases on Video/DVD
Meet The Parents
Robert De Niro stars in this very silly film with lots of easy laughs--just the perfect movie for an evening when the last thing you want to do is take anything too seriously. One scene alone is worth the price of admission. So as not to spoil it, let me just say that it has to do with a chain reaction involving an errant champagne cork, an urn containing ashes, and a beloved cat.
The Broken Hearts Club
The Broken Hearts Club is a warm, funny, light movie about a circle of friends who are gay men living in West Hollywood. Its meant to be a mainstream film, and anyone who's fond of love and laughter will probably enjoy it.
In this political thriller, Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) is nominated for Vice President of the United States, only to become the victim of a smear campaign during the confirmation process. Allen received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in this film.
The 6th Day
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this thriller set in the near future when people routinely have their pets cloned. Although illegal, an evil corporation clones humans as well. In a case of mistaken identity the corporation clones the unsuspecting Adam Gibson (Schwarzenegger), who then must figure out just what is going on while avoiding the thugs sent by the corporation to kill him.
Set in the early 1970s, this is a coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy who gets assigned by Rolling Stone to write an article about an up-and-coming rock band. The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical, and Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand both received Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress.
Richard Dreyfuss and Burt Reynolds star in this comedy about four mobsters, all of whom have retired to the same rundown residential hotel in Miami. When plans to upgrade the hotel and charge higher rents threaten to price them out of their rooms, the four try to thwart those plans by embarking on a wacky scheme to make it look like a murder has been committed in the hotel.
The Legend of Drunken Master
Jackie Chan stars in this martial arts movie featuring virtuoso action sequences. Chan plays the role of Wong Fei-hung, a martial arts master who must stop foreign gangsters from smuggling precious artifacts out of China. Wong employs a style of fighting that involves duping his opponent either by pretending to be drunk or by being less drunk than the opponent thinks.
In this unusual comedy/drama, Michael Douglas stars as a tired, depressed college professor and novelist who is having a mid-life crisis. His third wife has left him, hes gotten his department chairmans wife pregnant, and his editor is hounding him to finish his new novel. Memorable characters, fine acting, and witty dialogue make this one of the years most entertaining films.
Dancer in the Dark
In this melodrama with musical numbers, Bjork portrays Selma, a woman who is going blind from an eye disease. Selmas young son has inherited the disease, and shes struggling to earn enough money for him to have an operation that will prevent him from going blind, too. But soon Selma is swept up in a series of events that lead to tragic consequences.
In this dark comedy about rigging the Pennsylvania State Lottery, a television weatherman (John Travolta) and the TV lotto girl (Lisa Kudrow) successfully work a scam to fix the outcome of the drawing. But when they try to cash in the $6.4 million winning ticket, everything spins wildly out of control.
Remember the Titans
Denzel Washington stars in this drama about racially integrating a Virginia high school football team in 1971. When the high school is integrated, a black man (Washington) is brought in as head coach, and the white man who had successfully lead the Titans for years becomes his assistant. But the two men learn to work together and build a team comprised of both blacks and whites.
The Tao of Steve
This offbeat romantic comedy revolves around Dex (Donal Logue), a teacher in his early 30s who has bedded many women over the past dozen years. He credits his success to a Zen-like way of thinking hes developed, which he calls "The Tao of Steve." But Dex has grown increasingly fat over the years, and though his method still seems to sometimes work, his success rate is considerably diminished. Then he meets a woman he really cares about, and he fears she wont find him attractive because of his weight. At the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, Logue won a Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Performance.
Turn It Up
In this drama, Diamond (Pras) and Gage (Ja Rule) are best friends and inner-city residents who yearn for a better life. They pin their hopes on hip-hop artist Diamond making it big, but complications arise when Diamonds girlfriend gets pregnant, his mom dies, and his dad moves in with him. Meanwhile, Gage goes on a crime spree to get money to advance Diamonds career.
Spun-off from the long-running television show of the same name, this blend of action and comedy stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu as three good-looking private investigators. Via speakerphone, they receive an assignment from their boss, Charlie Townsend, to rescue a kidnapped software executive. But soon they stumble onto a diabolical plot and find themselves fighting for their lives. Of course, the story itself isn't the important thing about Charlie's Angels; it's merely something to frame and showcase the considerable talents and sex appeal of the film's three female leads. To be sure, Charlie's Angels is only a mindless popcorn movie, but it's one a lot of people loved. This film was a hit in the theaters, and even in pre-release, the DVD was a bestseller.
First-time director/writer Karyn Kusama won the Best Directing Award at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival for this simple but compelling story. Diana Guzman (Michelle Rodriguez) is a young Brooklyn woman who discovers her passion for boxing, and with the help of coach Hector (Jaime Tirelli), she starts to train and finds out what it takes to be a contender. There's also a love story thrown into the mix when she falls for featherweight Adrian (Santiago Douglas).
Once in the Life
Laurence Fishburne wrote, directed, and stars in the crime drama Once in the Life, which he adapted from his play Riff Raff. Fishburne plays 20/20 Mike, a small-time hustler who has recently been released from prison. 20/20 and his half-brother Torch (Titus Welliver) get themselves in big trouble with a local drug lord and spend most of the movie hiding out in an abandoned room, where they are joined by 20/20's longtime friend Tony (Eamonn Walker). While holed up together, the three men are forced to try to come to a better understanding of the lives they are leading and their relationships with one another. The film is well-acted and has a musical score by Branford Marsalis.
In this science-fiction film set in the near future, pollution on Earth has become so bad as to prompt a major effort to colonize Mars. As part of the advance preparations for colonization, a small team of scientists is sent on the first manned mission to the red planet. But problems beset the mission, and the scientists must use every bit of ingenuity they can muster just to remain alive.
Rugrats in Paris
Like the 1998 Rugrats movie, this animated childrens film is spun off from the Rugrats TV show. The father of one of a group of kids goes to Paris to repair a mechanical monster in a theme park and takes the whole gang with him. While there, a child-hating park executive seeks to marry the father of one of the kids for business reasons, but the kids try to thwart her scheme.
In this film based on Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust, director/co-screenwriter Raul Ruiz focuses on the last volume, while interweaving elements of the whole monumental work throughout the film. Linear storytelling is not the thing here, but the quality of memory is all. This film is not for everyone, but art-house aficionados are in for a treat. Its superb cast includes Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Beart, John Malkovich, Greta Olafsdottir, Marcello Mazzarella, and Marie-France Pisier.
The following selection of films are already available on VHS and will be released on DVD March 27, 2001.
Reindeer Games: Director's Cut
There are plenty of twists and turns in this film directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate). So as not to spoil things for you, here are the barest bones of the plot: newly released convict Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) assumes the identity of dead cellmate Nick (James Frain), hoping to have an affair with Nick's pen pal Ashley (Charlize Theron). Before long, Rudy winds up being forced into participating in a casino robbery scheme.
Enemy Mine (1985)
Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot) directs this English-language science fiction film. A battle in space results in a crash landing on a desolate planet, forcing two mortal enemies together. An earthling (Dennis Quaid) and a lizard-like space alien (Louis Gossett Jr.) must somehow learn to overcome their differences as they fight for their survival against the planet's harsh, hostile environment.
The live-action family movie 102 Dalmatians is a sequel to the 1996 film 101 Dalmatians, and Glenn Close again stars as the central character, Cruella De Vil. In the earlier movie, Cruella was jailed for dognapping, and in the new film, shes out on parole. Cruella again plans to abduct Dalmatian puppies to use their skins to make a coat, but her parole officer and an animal shelter operator work together to try to stop her.
The Legend of Bagger Vance
Matt Damon and Will Smith star in this fable-like drama directed by Robert Redford. Rannulph Junuh (Damon) was a promising young golfer from Savannah, Georgia, but combat experiences during World War I broke his spirit, and he drifted around for years before coming home. There Junuh meets a poor black man called Bagger Vance (Smith), who becomes his caddie and helps him along the road to recovery.
The following selection of films are already available on VHS and will be released on DVD April 3, 2001.
Based on Jerzy Kosinski's satiric novel, Being There is a rare gem that is genuinely touching as it slyly skewers things like American politics and the vulnerability of a public thats too easily seduced by vacuous simplicity. Peter Sellers gives a subtle, low-keyed, yet disarmingly powerful performance as Chance, a childlike man whose only knowledge of the world outside of the estate where he works comes from watching television. After his employer dies, Chance is hit by a limousine. Then through luck, along with the appeal of his quiet, cipher-like naivete, he becomes a celebrity and Washington political insider.
Lawrence of Arabia - Special Edition
Winner of seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director (David Lean), Lawrence of Arabia is a masterpiece of epic adventure. The film chronicles the life of eccentric Englishman T.E. Lawrence as he rallies the Arabs to fight the Turks during World War I, and Peter O'Tooles unforgettable performance in the title role made him a star. This is arguably the most visually lush adventure film ever made. In addition to the superb cinematography, what impresses me about this movie is how it succeeds in creating a nuanced character study of the enigmatic, complex Lawrence.
The World According to Garp
In one of his first movie projects, Robin Williams plays the novelist T.S. Garp in this film loosely based on of John Irving's tragic-comic novel. The movie version of The World According to Garp isnt quite as good as the book, but it does offer some terrific performances that bring the storys bizarre, wacky characters to cinematic life. Particulary memorable are Jenny Fields (Glenn Close), a feminist nurse/author who is Garps mother, and Roberta Muldoon (John Lithgow), a transsexual former professional football player.
Bounce pairs Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck in a well-crafted romantic drama. Buddy Amaral (Affleck) gives his plane ticket to another man, who is killed when the plane crashes. Later, Amaral seeks out the mans widow (Paltrow) and befriends her, but remains silent about the ticket switch. But the friendship turns into romance, and Amaral must deal with the problem of what to do about letting the woman know of his role in her husbands death.
Men of Honor
Starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert De Niro, this biopic is based on the life of Carl Brashear, the African American who overcame racism to become the first black diver in the U.S. Navy. When Brashear (Gooding) enters the Navy diving school, Master Chief Billy Sunday (De Niro) hates him and deliberately sets out to humiliate him. But eventually Brashears tenacity wins Sundays grudging respect, and both men gain from the experience.
Written and directed by Spike Lee, Bamboozled is a satire on the way television uses African American images. Damon Wayans portrays Pierre Delacroix, a black Harvard-educated executive at a failing cable TV network whos fed up with his job and how hes being treated at work. In desperation Delacroix develops a blatantly racist minstrel show, starring two blackface performers called Mantan and Sleep n Eat. But to Delacroixs consternation, the new show turns out to be a big hit!
Set in a coal mining town in 1984 England, Billy Elliot is a warm-hearted drama about an 11-year-old boy who wants to become a ballet dancer. Charmingly played by Jamie Bell, Billy must overcome the strong objections of his father, a miner who fears his sons interest in dance will influence him toward a homosexual orientation. But with the encouragement of his ballet teacher (Julie Walters), Billy works hard at achieving his dream of one day auditioning for the Royal Ballet School in London.
The Ladies Man
Tim Meadows stars in and coscripted the feature-length comedy The Ladies Man, based on a series of skits he performed on the Saturday Night Live television program. Meadows plays Leon Phelps, a radio talk-show host who, in spite of his 1970s wardrobe and hairdo, has seduced many married women. But things get complicated for Phelps when he gets fired from his job and struggles to find another, while trying to avoid a group of cuckolded husbands who are after him.
Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner, and Donald Sutherland star in this action/adventure movie about four former U.S. Air Force test pilots who are called out of retirement to go into space and deal with a problem onboard a Russian satellite. Many doubt that men their age can do the job, and the tough NASA physical training is not easy for the oldsters, but they eventually carry out their mission with wisdom and humor. In addition to his acting duties, Eastwood directed this highly entertaining film.
This nuanced crime drama boasts an impressive cast, including James Caan and Mark Wahlberg. Leo (Wahlberg) goes to work for his uncle (Caan), who runs the yards that maintain New York Citys subways. This business, which requires bribes and kickbacks, supports Leos ailing mom, her sister, and Leos best friend. Soon Leo is wrongly accused of murder, and he must try to avoid bringing down his uncles business while protecting himself.
The Girl on the Bridge
Directed by Patrice Leconte, this French-language fable-like film is the story of a quirky relationship between Gabor (Daniel Auteuil) and Adele (Vanessa Paradis). In Paris, Adele is a suicidal young woman who goes to a bridge where she meets Gabor, a knife-thrower looking for a partner for his act. They team up and perform together on the Riviera, in Athens, and in Istanbul. A mystical bond develops between Gabor and Adele as he throws knives that land very close to all the parts of her body.
In this drama, Jamal (Rob Brown) is a gifted black teenager who is good at basketball and also enjoys writing. Then Jamal befriends the reclusive William Forrester (Sean Connery), an old writer who hasnt published anything since his first book made him famous decades ago. Forrester believes Jamal has great potential as a writer and becomes his mentor. But when Jamal starts attending a private school on a scholarship, he must make some major decisions that will affect the rest of his life.
Adam Sandler stars in and cowrote this comedy that features a large number of cameo appearances by well-known movie and television personalities. In the film, the Devils two older sons go to New York City, where theyre responsible for all manner of mischief. Soon the Devils youngest son Nicky (Sandler) chases after his errant brothers to bring them back to Hell. But the plot is unimportant; what matters are the crude jokes and raunchy humor that Adam Sandler fans have come to expect in his films.