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Movie Renter's Guide
Current Movies - Part 19 - March, 1997


By John E. Johnson, Jr.

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Ratings:    
  Extraordinary
  Good
  Acceptable
  Mediocre
  Poor

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The Fan"The Fan", TriStar, 1996, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 54 min, Rated R; Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin; Bobby Rayburn (Snipes) has signed a $40,000,000 contract with the San Franciso Giants baseball team. Gil Renard (De Niro) is Rayburn's number one fan. A radio talk show host (Barkin) gets them together on her show, by telephone, and we begin to see how obsessed Renard is with baseball and with Rayburn. The first half of the film develops the Rayburn and Renard characters separately, but slowly ties them together using the radio talk show. Renard is a latent psychopath, and when he loses his job as a knife salesman, the psychopathology becomes overt, and he resorts to extreme violence in order to help Rayburn out of a batting slump. De Niro is brilliant as usual, but the script doesn't do him justice. It's like putting a 400 cubic inch engine in the back seat of a Volkswagen. Lots of power but no acceleration because the vehicle is too light.

Entertainment:
Video Quality:
Audio:
Photography:
Violence: yes
Sex: no
Language: the "F" and "S" words

 

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2 Days in the Valley"2 Days in the Valley", Rysher Entertainment, 1996, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.27:1, Surround Sound, AC-3, 1 Hr 44 min, Rated R; Danny Aiello, Teri Hatcher, James Spader; This film is about two "typical" days in the San Fernando Valley, California. A hit man named Dosmo (Aiello) is hired to handle a drug deal gone sour, and then finds himself the target of those who hired him. He escapes. Meanwhile, two undercover vice cops find the former wife of the man who was killed in the hit, when she wanders onto the road, covered in blood (she woke up next to the dead man). While this is going on, a failed film director contemplates suicide near the grave of his mother, but meets a nurse at the cemetery and asks her if she wants his dog. She takes him to meet her brother. Slowly but surely, all these characters end up together in this "Pulp Fiction-like" story.

Entertainment:
Video Quality:
Audio:
Photography:
Violence: yes
Sex: explicit
Language: the "F" and "S" words

 

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Feeling Minnesota"Feeling Minnesota", Fine Line Features, 1996, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 39 min, Rated R; Keanu Reeves, Vincent D'Onofrio, Cameron Diaz; Sam Clayton (D'Onofrio) is given Freddie (Diaz) as a bride in return for "finding" a mistake in the accounting books of a sleazy bar. Brother Jjaks (Reeves) comes to the wedding. Jjaks and Freddie hit it off in a big way, so he steals her from his brother. Sam chases them all over the place, while Jjaks tries to get back home to rob Sam's safe. Meanwhile, a bumbling cop (Dan Akroyd) attempts to catch Jjaks, because he robbed a gas station during the wedding to buy Sam a wedding gift. With the success of "Fargo", it was inevitable that there would be others trying to imitate. This is one of them, and it has its moments, but mostly fails.

Entertainment:
Video Quality:
Audio:
Photography:
Violence: yes
Sex: explicit
Language: the "F" and "S" words

 

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Death and the Maiden"Death and the Maiden", Fine Line Features, 1994, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.61:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 43 min, Rated R; Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Stuart Wilson; In South America, 1977, Paula Lorca (Weaver) was captured and tortured by the secret police who wanted her to reveal who the underground editor for a revolutionary newspaper was. She would not reveal his name - Gerardo Escobar (Wilson) - and suffered terribly. Later, she married Escobar, and in 1994, Gerardo is named by the president to head a commission to research those troubled times. Paula is incensed because it will be a whitewash. Suddenly, Dr. Roberto Miranda (Kinglsley), one of her tormentors, turns up on her doorstep, bringing Gerardo home after he has a flat tire in a storm. She knocks him cold, ties him up, and attempts to force a confession. The film is very interesting, and is directed by legendary Roman Polanski.

Entertainment:
Video Quality:
Audio:
Photography:
Violence: yes
Sex: yes
Language: the "F" and "S" words

 

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Eddie"Eddie", Hollywood Pictures, 1996, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.78:1, Surround Sound, DD (AC-3), 1 Hr 40 min, Rated PG-13; Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Langella, Dennis Farina; Eddie Franklin (Goldberg) is a diehard New York Knicks basketball fan with lots of charisma. The new owner, Wild Bill Burgess (Langella) sees her as a temporary means of getting out of an expensive contract with the existing coach, John Bailey (Farina). She turns out to be a good coach, getting the Knicks out of a slump. Basically, this is a harmless, reasonably funny, feel good picture.

Entertainment:
Video Quality:
Audio:
Photography:
Violence: no
Sex: no
Language: the "F" and "S" words

 

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She's the One"She's the One", Fox Searchlight Pictures, 1996, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.78:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 36 min, Rated R; Jennifer Aniston, Maxine Bahns, Edward Burns, Cameron Diaz, Mike McGlone; Mickey Fitzpatrick (Burns) takes a job as a New York taxi cab driver after his father and brother Francis (McGlone) urge him to get a life. One of his first customers, Hope (Bahns) asks him to drive her to New Orleans. He returns, married, after knowing her only one day. In the meantime, Francis starts having an affair with Mickey's former fiancee, Heather (Diaz). Around and around we go, on a Catholic-guilt rampage. It really is quite funny, and if you can relate to the religion-guilt-frustration irony, you will get a kick out of it. Edward Burns shows great promise as a director. This is his second film (the first was "The Brothers McMullen"), and it would not surprise me to see this young man walking to the podium at the Academy Awards ceremony in the next few years to receive an Oscar.

Entertainment:
Video Quality:
Audio:
Photography:
Violence: no
Sex: they talk about it all the time
Language: the "F" and "S" words

 

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Fly Away Home"Fly Away Home", Columbia Pictures, 1996, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.78:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 47 min, Rated PG; Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin; Outside of Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, Thomas (Daniels) and Amy (Paquin) Alden have a farm. Some land developers begin taking down the surrounding forest, and Amy finds a nest of goose eggs. She puts them in a warm spot until they hatch and raises them herself. Of course, the goslings are imprinted onto Amy, so they follow her everywhere. Since the migration patterns of birds depend on the young ones learning from the elders, Thomas and Amy decide to teach the geese where to fly. The film is a heartwarming story, based on the true adventure of Bill Lishman, Joe Duff, and William Sladen. Artistic license was taken by the addition of Amy, since little girls and fuzzy animals go together like cookies and cream, and this is a movie for the whole family to enjoy.

Entertainment:
Video Quality:
Audio:
Photography:
Violence: no
Sex: no
Language: one "S" word

 

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Alaska"Alaska", Castle Rock, 1996, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.37:1 Surround Sound, 1 Hr 49 min, Rated PG; Thora Birch, Vincent Kartheiser, Dirk Benedict, Charlton Heston; Jake Barnes (Benedict) runs Quincy Air in a small Alaskan town. One stormy afternoon, he makes an emergency flight and crashes on a mountainside. His children, Sean (Kartheiser) and Jessie (Birch) set out on their own to rescue him. Along the way, they pick up a polar bear cub that had been captured by a poacher, Colin Perry (Heston). The bear helps them locate their father. This film was directed by Heston's son Fraser. If you are familiar with the classic movie, "The Ten Commandments", you will remember the infant Moses that was in the reed basket found on the Nile river. That was Fraser Heston. Now he is a director, and he does an adequate job on this movie. Unfortunately, the script is not up to par.

Entertainment:
Video Quality:
Audio:
Photography:
Violence: no
Sex: no
Language: no

 

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Solo"Solo", Triumph Films, 1996, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 34 min, Rated PG-13; Mario Van Peebles, William Sadler, Barry Corbin; Solo (Van Peebles) is a $2 Billion USA warrior. Totally electronic, but with a conscience, and that is the problem. He ruins a mission to destroy a group of South American insurgents, because innocent civilians are there. So, he is scheduled for reprogramming, finds out about it, and escapes because of his primary directive: "Preserve self." In the jungle, he stumbles upon a village that is being commandeered by the insurgents, and he teaches them how to protect themselves. In the meantime, the USA team comes after him, with the directive, "Seek and Destroy". The film has a "Robocop" theme to it, and is reasonably well done. However, Van Peebles walks around like he has seen too many Boris Karloff movies.

Entertainment:
Video Quality:
Audio:
Photography:
Violence: lots of it
Sex: no
Language: the "F" and "S" words

 


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