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Movie Renter's Guide
Current Movies - Part 3 - November, 1995


By John E. Johnson, Jr.

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Ratings:    
  ***** Extraordinary
  **** Good
  *** Acceptable
  ** Mediocre
  * Poor

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"Pulp Fiction", Miramax Films, 1994, Color, Filmed in Panavision, Measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.27:1, Surround Sound, 2 Hr 34 min, Rated R; John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel Jackson, Bruce Willis; Drug dealing and fight fixing Marsellus Wallace provides the anchor for this powerful film, while Travolta, Thurman, Jackson, and Willis provide the action. In the midst of having to "hit" a bunch of street dealers who try to run off with the goods (a briefcase that lights up the face of any who look inside), Travolta is assigned the task of entertaining Mia Wallace (Thurman) while Marsellus is on a trip. There are some great scenes of Travolta resisting temptation here. Meanwhile, Willlis, who plays a boxer paid to take a dive in the fifth round, but doesn't, tries to escape the vengeful Marsellus, and the lurid outcome fits the movie title very well. I did not think I was going to like this motion picture, but it is fantastic. Some feel it is a "sick" movie, but that is the point of pulp fiction. It is supposed to be.

Entertainment: starstarstarstarstar
Video Quality: starstarstarstar
Audio: starstarstar
Photography: starstarstarstarstar (Absolutely astonishing - great use of moving camera following the action)
Violence: yes, however, not as much as I thought there was going to be
Sex: yes and occasionally savage - definitely not a film for children to see on the home video
Language: the "f" and "s" words, and other course vulgarities

"Kiss of Death", Twentieth Century Fox, 1995, Color, Filmed spherical and matted to measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.77:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 41 min, Rated R; Nicholas Cage, Samuel Jackson, Helen Hunt, David Caruso; Cage is terrific as "Junior" in th is remake of the 1947 film of the same title (updated to 1995 and minus certain scenes and the brutal way of voicing this character that made Richard Widmark a star). His sadistic power in killing with his bare hands, in spite of asthmatic attacks, is astounding. Caruso is a con who is forced by the police into an attempt to trap Junior into admitting his murdering ways (Caruso wears a microphone - "wire" - under his shirt). The tension resulting from being caught between the proverbial rock (police) and a hard place (Junior), which was one of the trademarks of the Film Noire, keeps this picture moving at a fast pace.

Entertainment: starstarstar
Video Quality: starstarstarstar
Audio: starstar (There is not much of a soundstage here, let alone use of the rear surround)
Photography: starstarstarstar
Violence: sadistic
Sex: partial nudity
Language: the "f" and "s" words

"Rapa Nui", Warner Brothers, 1994, Color, Filmed in Panavision, Measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.27:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 47 Min, Rated R; Jason Scott Lee, Sandrine Holt, Esai Morales; The setting is the island of Rapa Nui (later named Easter Island) some 300 years ago. Six clans of "long ears" (shells placed in the earlobes to make the ears longer) have a yearly contest to see who will be the chosen "birdman" (leader) of all clans during the following year. A seventh clan, called the "short ears" slave away at building the mysterious stone carvings (the ones we can still see today). Short eared girl (Holt) and long eared boy (Lee) want to marry, which is not acceptable to the present bird man. Short eared boy (Morales) also loves the same girl, and happens to be best friends with Lee. The long ears agree to allow the short ears a slot in the annual competition if they will stop grumbling about having to build the statues. Rapa Nui provides a beautiful backdrop for this interesting film that chronicles the legend of tribal history.

Entertainment: starstarstarstar
Video Quality: starstarstar
Audio: starstarstarstar (Score is electronic music, but it is a good one with excellent subwoofer sounds)
Photography: starstarstarstar(You should see the widescreen version if you can)
Violence: yes, tribal battles
Sex: partial nudity
Language: harmless

"Village of the Damned", MCA Universal, 1995, Color, Filmed in Panavision, Measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.27:1, Matrixed surround, 1 Hr 39 min, Rated R; Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley; A small New England town (Midwich) goes to sleep for a few hours on a lazy afternoon, and they awaken to find that ten womenfolk are pregnant. They are in a Victorian uproar until they realize that the pregnancies are an unexplainable phenomenon. The infants are all born on the same day, and as they grow, the townspeople discover to their horror, that the children possess terrible powers. What to do about some brilliant kids who can read the minds of adults wanting to get rid of them, is the theme that takes us to a chilling conclusion. The original movie (highly recommended) starred George Sanders, who was a marvelous actor. Reeve plays the role in a laid back sort of way, but the story is so riveting, that I could not take any notes until it was over.

Entertainment: starstarstarstar
Video Quality: starstarstarstar
Audio: starstarstar (Not much use of surround)
Photography: starstarstarstar(You should see the widescreen version if you can)
Violence: yes, John Carpenter (director) style
Sex: no
Language: no

"Only You", Columbia TriStar, 1994, Color, Filmed spherical and matted to measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.77:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 49 min, Rated PG; Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey, Jr.; Faith Corvatch (Tomei) is engaged to be married in about a week. Suddenly, she takes a phone message from her fiance's colleague, who happens to have the name Damon Bradley. The coincidence is that, when she was 10, a fortune teller predicted she would marry someone with this name. So, off to Venice and Rome (in her wedding dress), with her best friend, to find Damon. Some hilarious moments, and great Italian countryside scenery, take up the remainder of the story. This is a girl's movie, so hey guys, she sat with you to watch Demolition Man, and you should get this one for her. A nice change from looking at exit wounds.

Entertainment: starstarstarstar
Video Quality: starstarstar
Audio: starstarstar
Photography: starstarstar(You should see the widescreen version if you can)
Violence: no
Sex: no
Language: no


Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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