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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 29 - September, 1997


Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

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The Devil's Own"The Devil's Own", Columbia Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 51 min, Rated R; Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Margaret Colin; In Northern Ireland, 1972, little Frankie McGuire (Pitt) witnesses his father's murder at the hands of the IRA's foes. So, as an adult, he becomes an IRA assassin. He travels to New York under a new name, supposedly to work in a construction job, and stays with Tom O'Meara (Ford), a New York cop who does not know McGuire's real identity. McGuire's plan is to buy Soviet hand held missiles and take them back to Northern Ireland. The sale is put on hold, but the arms dealer wants his money now, and tries to steal it from the hiding place in Tom's home. Tom becomes suspicious, finds the hidden cash, and confronts Frankie who escapes. Tom tries to capture him before the arms dealers do. The story starts out with a bang, but then is much too slow for most of the way. It has an exciting finale though, and Pitt does a pretty good job with the Irish accent. - JEJ -

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

 

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Smilla's Sense of Snow"Smilla's Sense of Snow", Fox Searchlight Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, 2 Hr 1 min, Rated R; Julia Ormond, Gabriel Byrne, Richard Harris, Robert Loggia, Vanessa Redgrave; Smilla Jaspersen (Ormond) is a glaciologist (specializes in ice formations), whose young neighbor apparently falls off a snowy roof to his death. Although the police consider it an accident, Smilla believes the footprints indicate that he was forced off the roof. She pursues her theory, and along with a friend (Byrne), finds that Greenland Engineering, run by a man named Tork (Harris) will resort to anything in order to prevent her from discovering why the little boy died. The film is captivating, but the "secret" that Greenland Engineering is supposedly hiding, is a little off the wall for a murder mystery. - JEJ -

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

 

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Evita"Evita", Hollywood Pictures, 1996, Color, Filmed anamorphically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.27:1, Surround Sound, AC-3, THX, 2 Hr 15 min, Rated PG; Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce; The stage musical "Evita" comes to the big screen, chronicling Eva Peron's rise from poverty to becoming the wife of Argentina's President Juan Peron in the 1940s. As an illegitimate child, and later, a prostitute, Eva Duarte (Madonna) will not let anything get in her way of achieving success. She meets Army Colonel Juan Peron (Pryce), and becomes the woman-behind-the-man who helps him get elected to the Presidency. Argentina peasants love her, but the aristocracy does not. She becomes very ill, and dies from cancer in 1952. The story is musically annotated by a peasant named Che (Banderas). Most musicals have songs and speaking mixed liberally, but this one is 99% singing. Yet, Andrew Lloyd Webber's score is sheer genius, and Madonna does a fine job of acting. - JEJ -

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

 

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Donnie Brasco"Donnie Brasco", Mandalay Entertainment, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, 2 Hr 7 min, Rated R; Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen; FBI Agent Joseph Pistone (Depp) goes undercover as Donnie Brasco, to infiltrate the New York mob, and befriends a hitman Benny "Lefty" Ruggiero (Pacino). Lefty sponsors him so that he can become a "wiseguy". The FBI asks Pistone to go to Florida and expand the operations. Pistone must vouch for the undercover agent in Florida to the mob (they think he is just a nightclub manager), and in doing so, endangers his own life for the sake of someone he never met. The pressure causes his marriage to fall apart since he has to keep the entire operation a secret from everyone, including his family. The first hour and a half of this film are very boring, with little to no action. We are simply "educated" about terminology used in the mob, such as the difference between "our friend" and "my friend". The last half hour has all the good stuff. - JEJ -

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

 

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Shadow Conspiracy"Shadow Conspiracy", Hollywood Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.29:1, Surround Sound, AC-3, 1 Hr 44 min, Rated R; Charlie Sheen, Donald Sutherland, Linda Hamilton; When a group belonging to the Center for Civic Responsibility is brutally murdered, Special Assistant to the President, Bobby Bishop (Sheen) tries to contact their leader, only to have an attempt made on his own life. White House Chief of Staff, Jake Conrad (Sutherland) wants to help, but an assassin seems to always show up. An investigative reporter, Amanda Givens (Hamilton) has information on a Shadow group in the White House, and together, Bobby and Amanda try to uncover it. The plot is a good one, but the direction leaves something to be desired, and the story flow does not gel. - JEJ -

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


Copyright 1997 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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