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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 37 - April, 1998

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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In & Out"In & Out", Paramount Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.76:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 32 min, Rated PG-13; Kevin Kline, Joan Cusak, Matt Dillon; Howard Brackett (Kline) is enjoying life in the small Indiana town of Greenleaf, and is getting ready for his marriage to Emily (Cusak). On Academy Award night, a former student, Cameron Drake (Dillon), mentions that Howard is gay during his acceptance speech. Now poor Howard must prove he isn't gay to the entire community, including his mother, father, and fiancee. The first half of the film is devoted to hilarious things like listening to a tape on how to be manly. Then, the second half of the film is much more serious, and surprising. To me, it is a bit much for PG-13, and perhaps, we should not assume our 13 year old children are this sophisticated. - JEJ -

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: ****
Audio: **
Photography: ***
Violence: no
Sex: two men kissing on the mouth may be offensive to some people
Language: the "F" word

 

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Mad City"Mad City", Warner Brothers, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 55 min; Rated PG-13; Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Alan Alda; Max Brackett (Hoffman) is a news reporter for a local TV station, and he is looking for a story that will take him back to the network. When he is accidentally caught inside a museum after a disgruntled former guard, Sam Baily (Travolta), takes over the building at gunpoint in an attempt to get his old job back, Max sees this as his ticket to the top. Max coaches Sam on how to deal with the police, how to make demands, and how to hold the microphone when he is giving a live interview for network TV. Even though he has the chance to take the gun away from Sam, his TV instincts keep him from doing it, because he wants to milk the story for everything it's worth. Unlike "Network" which was a brilliant condemnation of the news media, "Mad City" succeeds only in condemning itself as a ludicrous farce. - JEJ -

 

Entertainment: **
Video Quality: ****
Audio: ***
Photography: ***
Violence: yes
Sex: no
Language: the "S" word

 

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The Game"The Game", Polygram, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, THX; 2 Hr 8 min, Rated R; Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Unger; Nick Van Orten (Douglas) is a wealthy investment banker in San Francisco. One day, his brother Conrad (Penn) pays him a visit and gives him a strange birthday present. Conrad has enrolled Nick in a game for the rich, supplied by a company called Consumer Recreation Services, and the point of the game is to figure out what is the point of the game. Nick realizes very quickly that maybe the point is not to get killed, and what unfolds is a very bizarre tale. The story is somewhat confusing at first, so I'll help you out a little. Nick discovers that someone is trying to distract him so that his foreign bank accounts, containing 600 million dollars, can be cleaned out. There . . . that's all I'm going to say. - JEJ -

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

 

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Kansas City"Kansas City", Fine Line Features, 1996, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.78:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 54 min, Rated R; Jennifer Jason Leigh, Miranda Richardson, Harry Belafonte, Dermot Mulroney; In Kansas City, 1934, hoodlum Johnny OHara (Mulroney) robs a gambler on his way to play in a big game at the Hey Hey Club, run by Seldom Seen (Belafonte). He gets caught, and while the mob decides what to do with him, his wife Blondie (Leigh) becomes desperate to get him back. She kidnaps Carolyn Stilton (Richardson), the wife of an important man in the city, and threatens to kill her unless he gets the mob to return her husband. Although it sounds like an interesting story, and the jazz sessions at the Hey Hey Club are terrific, the plot just doesn't jell. - JEJ -

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

 

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City of Industry"City of Industry", Orion Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.78:1, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 37 min, Rated R; Harvey Keitel, Stephen Dorff, Timothy Hutton, Famke Janssen; Roy Egan (Keitel) is a retired bank robber, but Skip Kovich (Dorff) asks him to help out with one last job, and it's a big one, worth $3 million in diamonds. Roy's brother Lee (Hutton) and Jorge Montana (Wade Dominguez) are also part of the team. The heist goes fine, but then Skip decides to take all the loot, and kills Lee and Jorge in the process. Roy befriends Jorge's wife Rachael (Janssen) who helps him find Skip, not only to get the diamonds, but to extract revenge. The story is vaguely interesting, but I am getting a little tired of films that wallow in truck stops, pool halls, trailer parks, and cheap motels, with heavy metal music in the background. - JEJ -

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

 

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Devil's Advocate"Devil's Advocate", Warner Brothers, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 24 min, Rated R; Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron; Kevin Lomax (Reeves) is a hotshot trial attorney in a small Florida town, winning 64 cases in a row. In fact, he has never lost. He and his wife are content, but not financially well off. John Milton (Pacino), the head of a New York law firm changes all that by offering Kevin a job. He accepts and they move to the Big Apple. Kevin continues to win cases, but his wife becomes lonely in the huge Manhattan apartment, lush as it is. Soon, Kevin finds he has to choose between job and family, and makes the wrong choice. The movie jacket calls this film "gleeful", but it is anything but that, as it has a scene with a woman cutting her own throat, and ritual animal sacrifice. It is also sexually graphic. The monologue at the end is fascinating, but this is definitely not a film to watch while the kids are in the room. - JEJ -

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

 

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She's So Lovely"She's So Lovely", Miramax Films, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.27:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 36 min, Rated R; Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, John Travolta; Eddie (Sean Penn) and Maureen Quinn (Robin Wright Penn) are a married couple on the edge, living in the big city slums. Booze flows, cigarette smoke fumes, and Eddie shows signs of mental illness. When he erupts in violence, he is sent to a mental institution, and Maureen divorces him without telling him about it (don't you just love these morally uplifting tales?) Eddie emerges 10 years later, unaware of the time that has passed, to find that Maureen has remarried to Joey (Travolta). She has three children, one by Eddie, and is not very happy. So, now we get to sit through the classic triangle of the new husband - former husband - wife caught in the middle, and it stinks. In fact, the whole film stinks. It's seedy and depressing, with a ridiculous ending. - JEJ -

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

 

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Copyright 1998 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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