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Movie Renter's Guide
 

Number 112 - July, 2004

Staff

 


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Secret Window Cold Creek Manor
Starsky & Hutch

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Columbia Pictures

2004, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 36 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 Enh)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Starring Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, Charles S. Dutton

Directed by David Koepp

 

DVD Release Date 7/6/04

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

Bad

"Secret Window"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Novelist Mort Rainey (Depp) lives in the mountains of New York, near a small town, and is in the middle of a divorce from his wife Amy (Bello), who is living in their old house with her new boyfriend (Hutton).

A strange man named John Shooter (Turturro) shows up at his door one morning, saying that Rainey had plagiarized one of his stories several years ago, and demands that Mort write another ending to the story with Shooter's name on it.

Mort claims that he has an old magazine that is proof of his originality in the published story before Shooter wrote his version.

Shooter asks to see the magazine, but in the meantime, keeps harassing Mort.

When Mort finds that Shooter is not only causing him a problem, but is bothering Amy too, he asks a private detective (Dutton) for help, and then murder enters into the game.

Commentary

Coming off a very successful Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp was a hot actor, and everyone expected Secret Window to be a big success because of his sudden high visibility, but it was not much at the box office. The film is reasonably entertaining, and has some scary moments, but it is no Hitchcock thriller

Extras

These include the Director Interview, Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes Featurettes, and Animated Storyboards.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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Touchstone Pictures

2004, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 59 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 Enh)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

French, Spanish

 

Starring Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Stephen Dorff, Juliette Lewis, Kristen Stewart, Christopher Plummer

Directed by Mike Figgis

 

DVD Release Date 7/6/04

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

Nudity

Language

Bad

"Cold Creek Manor"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Cooper Tilson (Quaid) and his wife Leah (Stone) have had enough of New York traffic and noise, so they buy a rundown home in the countryside, called Cold Creek Manor.

The whole family, including the children, begin immediately to clean out all the old furniture and photos which were left there by the previous family, the Massies.

One day, Dale Massie (Dorff) shows up and explains that he was in jail and had lost the house because he wasn't paying the mortgage. He wishes the Tilsons well, but asks if he can work at the house to make a little money. The Tilsons agree, but the kids, Kristen (Stewart) and Jesse (Ryan Wilson) are suspicious of him.

When snakes start appearing in the house, Cooper suspects Dale and fires him. This causes a real problem in town, where Dale is well liked by the townspeople.

Cooper, who is a documentary producer, decides to put together a story about the history of Cold Creek Manor, and interviews the Massie father (Plummer) who is in a nursing home. Cooper finds that the father does not know that he has bought the house, and that there is a great deal of animosity in the family. Something about a group who were killed with a hammer. Was it sheep, or people?

Commentary

The title of the movie and the DVD jacket lead one to believe this might be another haunted mansion story, but it is not. Dorff is very creepy as the psychotic Dale Massie, and there are indeed some skeletons buried, but it is not a very well done production. The box office receipts confirm that, as well.

Some of the photos that Cooper finds in the Cold Creek estate are pictures of a nude adolescent child posed in a seductive way, implying, I suppose, that there was incest going on. This is very disturbing, but nothing is made of it in the rest of the movie. It should have been left out altogether. There is no reason to have this kind of thing in a major film release.

Extras

These include the Director Commentary, Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, Cooper's Documentary, and Rules of the Genre.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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Warner Brothers

2004, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 40 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 Enh)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

French

 

Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Juliette Lewis, Snoop Dogg

Directed by Todd Phillips

 

DVD Release Date 7/20/04

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

Stretching it for PG-13 Rating

Language

Bad

"Starsky & Hutch"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

It is 1975, and undercover police detective David Starsky (Stiller), along with his partner Ken Hutchinson (Wilson) try to find out where the big cocaine deal is going down in Bay City.

Their information peddler, Huggy Bear (Dogg) tells them that local kingpin Reese Feldman (Vaughn) is arranging the cocaine-for-cash operation.

When they find a sample package of cocaine, the police lab says that it is only a sugar substitute, but in fact, Feldman has discovered a way to make cocaine undetectable by regular scientific methods. So, Starsky uses some of it in his coffee, with spectacular effects (he goes wild in a Disco dancing contest).

Starsky and Hutch are thrown off the case for going a bit too far in trying to get information from a bar owner in jail, but manage to get back into the action anyway, and capture the bad guys.

Commentary

This movie is another revitalization of an old TV program that was popular in the 1970's.

All of the cultural icons of those years are here, including lots of hair, macrame pot holders, big collars on shirts, bell bottom pants, disco music, and so on.

It works for about a half hour, especially if you remember the original TV series, and of course, the original stars of that series, David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser, show up at the end. But the novelty wears off after awhile, and we are left with the story to carry us through. Unfortunately, the plot isn't all that exciting, but the plots of 1970's TV shows weren't very exciting either. On the other hand, this is supposed to be a comedy, and Stiller is very good at that.

I am a little surprised at seeing a menage a trois with Hutch and two women, and the women kissing each other, in a movie rated PG-13. Well, I guess this is no longer the 1970's.

Extras

These include a Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, Fashion Fizzle with Huggy Bizzle, Making-of, and a Commentary by the Director.

 - John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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