|Home Video/DVD: April 2002 Releases|
Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett star in the crime comedy "Bandits," which is directed by Barry Levinson. Joe Blake (Willis) and Terry Collins (Thornton) escape from prison and, with some help from Joe's cousin Harvey Pollard (Troy Garity), again start robbing banks. They soon begin to employ the novel approach of taking the bank manager hostage in his home the night before a robbery and become known as the "Sleepover Bandits." The trio of bank robbers is eventually joined by unhappy wife and homemaker Kate Wheeler (Blanchett), leading to divisive romantic entanglements. But things really get complicated for the gang when their identities become widely known because their exploits are featured on national television, and they decide to risk one last heist in an attempt to get enough money to retire on.
Inspired by the 1960 William Castle film "Thirteen Ghosts," "Thir13en Ghosts" is a haunted house horror movie. Arthur (Tony Shalhoub) is a widower struggling to raise his daughter (Shannon Elizabeth) and son (Alec Roberts) when he inherits a mansion from his Uncle Cyrus (F. Murray Abraham). Soon Arthur and his children move into the mansion, which turns out to feature sliding steel panels and strange glass walls with Latin words written on them. With some help from ghost specialists Dennis Rafkin (Matthew Lillard) and Kalina (Embeth Davidtz), Arthur comes to realize that his uncle had captured a dozen ghosts and kept them in the house. Eventually, Arthur, his kids, their nanny (Rah Digga), Rafkin, and Kalina wind up locked inside the house with the ghosts on the rampage.
Written and directed by David Lynch ("Blue Velvet," "Twin Peaks"), "Mulholland Drive" was a big hit at film festivals and much-admired by the art house crowd during its theatrical release. "Mulholland Drive" is a weird drama that tells a noirish tale of Hollywood, but be advised that it celebrates the irrational and seemingly defies logical explanation. Betty (Naomi Watts) is an aspiring movie actress who travels from Canada to Hollywood. There she encounters an amnesia victim (Laura Elena Hastings), who takes the name Rita from a poster for "Gilda." As Betty and Rita try to discover Rita's real identity, they become romantically involved. Meanwhile, film director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) is pressured to hire an actress named Camilla Rhodes to star in his upcoming movie. Four out of every five critics on Rotten Tomatoes liked "Mulholland Drive.""Serendipity" (2001)
This romantic comedy stars John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. While Christmas shopping at Bloomingdale's in Manhattan, Jon (Cusack) and Kate (Beckinsale) meet when they try to buy the same pair of gloves. Although each of them is already dating someone else, they are attracted to each other and spend a little time together. They set up a series of tests to see if they are fated to be together, but when the tests prove unsuccessful, they go their separate ways. A few years later Kate is living in San Francisco, where she is engaged to a Yanni-like musician, while Jon has remained in New York, where his wedding day is fast approaching. Independently, Kate and Jon conclude that they may be on the verge of missing out on the perfect mate, and each sets out to track down the other and find out if they were meant for each other.
"Spy Game" (2001)
Robert Redford and Brad Pitt star in this spy thriller. Redford plays Nathan Muir, a veteran CIA officer who is about to retire. On his last day with the Agency, Muir learns that his former protégé Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) is about to be executed in a Chinese prison. In flashback, the relationship between Muir and Bishop is sketched from Vietnam to Berlin to Beirut, where Bishop had a romantic relationship with a British woman named Elizabeth Hadley (Catherine McCormack). Muir desperately wants to save Bishop, but it quickly becomes clear to the veteran that the Agency brass would prefer to let his former protégé die than to risk having anything get in the way of a trade agreement between the United States and China. As Muir struggles to arrange a rescue for Bishop, he has to rely on everything he's learned over his long career.
"Black Knight" (2001)
Martin Lawrence stars in this comedy, which is seemingly inspired by "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." Lawrence plays Jamal Walker, an employee at Medieval World theme park. One day while cleaning out the park's moat, Jamal is magically transported to 14th-century England. Soon he finds himself at the court of the tyrannical King, where he is mistaken for a messenger from Normandy and sometimes referred to as the Moor. There he is appalled at 14th-century sanitation, and he must deal with the sexual advances of the King's daughter. But it's not long before Jamal teams up with a beautiful chambermaid and an alcoholic knight who are working to stage a rebellion to overthrow the King. Fully 85 percent of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes found "Black Knight" to be rotten."The Deep End" (2001)
This psychological thriller features a fine performance by Tilda Swinton. Swinton plays Margaret Hall, who lives with her three children on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Nevada. While Margaret's husband, a naval officer, is away at sea on a lengthy tour of duty, a problem arises with their 17-year-old son Beau (Jonathan Tucker). Beau has become sexually involved with a thirtyish man named Darby Reese (Josh Lucas) who runs with a bad crowd. Margaret asks Darby to stay away from Beau, and Darby responds that he will if Margaret will pay him $5,000. Margaret refuses, and soon Darby winds up dead, resulting in a murder investigation. Meanwhile, the mysterious Alek Spera (Goran Visnjic) shows up and tries to blackmail Margaret. Eighty-five percent of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes liked "The Deep End.""Domestic Disturbance" (2001)
This thriller stars John Travolta in the role of Frank, the divorced father of a troubled 12-year-old boy named Danny. When Frank's ex-wife Susan (Teri Polo), who is Danny's mother, marries Rick (Vince Vaughn), Danny's behavior worsens because he doesn't like his new stepfather. Soon Danny sees Rick kill a man, but when the boy tries to tell people about it, they don't believe him because he has lied so often in the past. But Frank comes to believe that maybe there is something to what his son says, and he sets out to find out what he can about Rick and try to get to the bottom of Danny's story. Meanwhile, Rick tries to intimidate Danny into believing that he or his father will be harmed if he doesn't keep quiet. All this results in a violent confrontation that leads to tragedy.
In Husbands and Wives, Gabe and Judy Roth (Woody Allen and Mia Farrow) are a childless couple who have been married for ten years. The Roths are shocked when their long-married friends Jack (Sydney Pollack) and Sally (Judy Davis) tell them they plan to divorce. Soon Jack is living with an air-headed aerobics instructor half his age, and Sally is struggling with dating. Meanwhile, Gabe is attracted to a 20-year-old student of his, and Judy is drawn to a man (Liam Neeson) that Sally has dated. For me, "Husbands and Wives" offers big laughs and sharp insights into human nature, but its too edgy to be considered a feel-good comedy."The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001)
Written and directed by the Coen brothers, "The Man Who Wasn't There" is a neo-noir crime drama that was shot in black-and-white. In a Northern California town in 1949, Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) is a barber who is married to Doris (Frances McDormand), the bookkeeper at Nirdlinger's department store. Doris' boss is Big Dave (James Gandolfini), who is married to a Nirdlinger. Ed suspects his wife of having an affair with Big Dave. One day in the barber shop a traveler touts dry cleaning as an investment that will yield big returns, and Ed hits on the scheme of blackmailing Big Dave to get money to invest. Soon someone dies, and Doris winds up in jail. Ed hires a slick lawyer (Tony Shalhoub), but the hapless barber's actions have put him on a long, dark road that has many twists and turns.
This military action/adventure film stars Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. As the war in Bosnia is winding down, Lieutenant Burnett (Wilson) is an American Navy flier based on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, which is commanded by Admiral Reigart (Hackman). While flying a reconnaissance mission over Bosnia, Burnett obtains some photographic evidence of mass graves before his plane is shot down by the Serbs. Burnett parachutes to the ground in hostile territory, and the Serbs dispatch men to track him down and kill him. As Burnett tries to avoid the Serbs and make his way to a pickup point, Admiral Reigart engages in a battle of wills with his superior officer, Admiral Piquet (Joaquim de Almeida) of NATO, over sending in troops to rescue Burnett."My First Mister" (2001)
Starring Leelee Sobieski and Albert Brooks and directed by Christine Lahti, "My First Mister" is a drama that tells the story of the development of an unusual friendship between a teenage girl and a lonely middle-aged man. Jennifer (Sobieski) is an alienated 17-year-old who has just graduated high school. In an effort to get her own apartment and move out of her mother's home, Jennifer approaches the 49-year-old Randall (Brooks), who runs an upscale men's clothing store that sells conservative business suits, about a job. Because Jennifer is a tattooed, pierced goth, Randall is reluctant, but he decides to give her a break. As the two loners Jennifer and Randall gradually get to know each other, each learns from the other. Eventually Jennifer has made such great strides in her life that when a crisis befalls Randall, she is able to be of great help to him."Novocaine" (2001)
This dark comedy stars Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter, and Laura Dern. Frank Sangster (Martin) is a successful dentist who is engaged to his lovely hygienist Jean Noble (Dern). Then Frank becomes sexually involved with Susan Ivey (Bonham Carter), who poses as a patient but is actually trying to obtain drugs like Demerol. Also, Frank's freeloader brother Harlan (Elias Koteas) is trying to get money from him, and Susan's psychopathic brother Duane (Scott Caan) shows up and makes trouble for the dentist. Soon Frank finds himself involved in a DEA investigation, and when a dead body turns up in his house, he becomes a murder suspect. During the murder investigation, Frank is questioned by an actor (Kevin Bacon, in a cameo), who is doing research for a role he will be playing. As Frank's problems mount, he has to try to figure out how to deal with the mess he's gotten himself into.
This biopic about boxing great Muhammad Ali features fine performances by Will Smith in the title role and Jon Voight as sportscaster Howard Cosell. The film covers Ali's life from when he first won the world heavyweight championship by defeating Sonny Liston in 1964 through his 1974 bout with George Foreman dubbed "The Rumble in the Jungle." It was during this period that Ali joined the Nation of Islam, changed his name from Cassius Clay, refused induction into the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, and was banned from organized boxing for about three years. It was also during this period that Ali met his first three wives. Will Smith does a splendid job of capturing Ali's celebrated public persona, and the film lovingly recreates some of Ali's famous fights."Not Another Teen Movie" (2001)
Flatulence, people covered in excrement, and sex-obsessed kids all figure heavily in this raunchy comedy that parodies teen movies of the last two decades. While most of "Not Another Teen Movie" is based on recent films like "American Pie," "Scary Movie," and Freddie Prinze Jr. movies, it sometimes harks back to Reagan-era John Hughes films like "Pretty in Pink" and "The Breakfast Club." In fact, the teens in "Not Another Teen Movie" attend John Hughes High School, and there's a story line about a popular jock (Chris Evans) who bets his buddies he can turn a plain girl (Chyler Leigh) into a prom queen. But J.H.H.S. also has a catty cheerleader (Jaime Pressly), a foreign exchange student who is always naked except for her backpack, and an adult reporter who is posing as a high school student.
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