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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 38 - May, 1998

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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The Edge"The Edge", Twentieth Century Fox, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.31:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 57 min, Rated R; Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, Rated R; Charles Morse (Hopkins) is a rich old man with a young wife, Mickey (Elle McPherson), who is also a fashion model. She has to go on a photo shoot in the wild outdoors of Alaska, and Charles decides to go along. The photographer, Bob Green (Baldwin), seems to be a bit too friendly with Mickey, and Charles becomes suspicious. Charles and Bob fly to a small village looking for photographic subjects, and there is a spectacular plane crash. They, along with one other person, survive, and must make their way back to camp by foot. A huge bear slows them down, and in the meantime, Charlie still thinks Bob is going to kill him to get his wife and money. Hopkins' acting plus beautiful Canadian (filmed in Alberta, Canada) winter scenery are enough to make this worth seeing. I have a feeling that the character name Mickey Morse is an inside joke. - JEJ -

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

 

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Boogie Nights"Boogie Nights", New Line Cinema, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 35 min; Rated R; Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds; In the late 1970s, Southern California porno film director Jack Horner (Reynolds) is constantly looking for new stars. He finds a restaurant waiter named Eddie Adams (Wahlberg) who wants to be in the movies. So, Jack introduces Eddie to the rest of the crew and they make porno flicks. Eddie changes his name to Dirk Diggler and becomes a huge success in the sex film business after his mother threw him out of the house, screaming at him that he was a failure in life. In fact, all the young people in the story seem to have come from a deprived background, with various emotional weaknesses, and they are exploited by the director as well as financial backers. Over several years, we see how some of them move on to a higher plane of existence in other businesses, while some remain locked into sex films. Unfortunately, the movie is so explicit with sex acts, it invades the viewer's personal privacy and space, and will be unacceptable to many who see it. On the other hand, the video is selling like crazy, so somebody out there likes the movie. And, it is definitely the best acting Burt Reynolds has done in a long, long time. - JEJ -

 

Entertainment: ***
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ***
Photography: ***
Violence: explicit
Sex: explicit
Language: in the gutter

 

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Seven Years in Tibet"Seven Years in Tibet", Columbia Tristar, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, THX; 2 Hr 16 min, Rated PG-13; Bradd Pitt, David Thewlis, B.D. Wong; In 1939, Austrian mountain climber Heinrich Harrer (Pitt) sets off to conquer a mountain in Tibet. At the mountain base, the entire team is arrested by the British because of the declaration of war against Germany. They are sent to a prisoner of war camp in India, where he plots escape, finally being successful two years later, escaping with friend Peter Aufschnaiter (Thewlis). They both are able to gain entry to the Forbidden City where the young Dalai Lama is being educated. During the next several years, they befriend the future spritual leader, and at the end of the war, when China decides to occupy Tibet, Heinrich helps the Dalai Lama escape. Although perhaps a half hour too long, the film is blessed with beautiful scenery, ancient culture, and a splendid film score by John Williams. - JEJ -

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

 

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Kansas City"Eve's Bayou", Trimark Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.71:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 48 min, Rated R; Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Jurnee Smollet; In a rural Louisiana community called Eve's Bayou, Louis Batiste, a family doctor and descendant of the founder, has the bad habit of philandering. His daughters Eve (Smollett) and Cisely watch as their mother Roz (Whitfield) struggles to hold the family together. Finally, Eve decides to take the problem up with a local fortune teller. Although I don't agree with the quote from the movie jacket that this is the best film of 1997, I do think it is very good. Listening to the Cajun French reminds me of my childhood, when I visited my Grandmother in Bunkie, Louisiana. The adults spoke French when they were telling jokes that they didn't want us to hear. - JEJ -

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

 

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U Turn"U Turn", Phoenix Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, DD, Surround Sound, 2 Hr 5 min, Rated R; Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte; Bobby (Penn) is on his way to Las Vegas to pay off a big gambling debt, and in a small Arizona town, his radiator hose breaks. He has to leave the car at a repair shop for a few hours, and kills the time by going home with a local girl only to find that she is married, and her husband Jake (Nolte) doesn't appreciate the visit. Later on, Jake picks Bobby up on the highway and jokingly asks him to kill his wife Grace (Lopez) because she is always picking up guys, and he is sick of her (I guess this story doesn't meet the criterion of family values). Bobby declines, but when he is robbed of the money he was taking to Vegas for the gambling debt, he changes his mind. In the meantime, Grace asks Bobby to take her away. So, there's the conflict. Jake wants Grace dead, and Grace wants Bobby to leave with her. Oliver Stone can usually be counted on to deliver something unusual, and he does it here. Unfortunately, the choppy editing leaves much to be desired, and you may find yourself making a U turn in the TV room. - JEJ -

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

 

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The Full Monty"The Full Monty", Twentieth Century Fox, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.81:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 31 min, Rated R; Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Addy; In Sheffied, England, a steel mill shuts down, and the former employees are looking for work. Gaz (Carlyle), Gerald (Wilkinson), and Dave (Addy) decide to put together a male striptease act called "Hot Metal", and gather three more willing men who are also out of work and just as desperate as they are. So, for the remainder of the film, up until the final strip scene (going "The Full Monty"), the six of them work on their dance routines. Although the film is reasonably funny, it is not Academy Award material, in my opinion (it was nominated for four awards). - JEJ -

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

 

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Kiss the Girls"Kiss the Girls", Paramount Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.30:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 57min, Rated R; Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Cary Elwes; Washington, D.C. Police Forensic Psychologist Dr. Alex Cross (Freeman) travels to Durham, North Carolina, to find out why his niece disappeared. He finds that she is part of an investigation into the abduction of several beautiful young women from a local college campus. Dr. Kate Mctiernan (Judd) is the next victim, but she escapes. Together, Alex and Kate start their own investigation into finding the psychopath who apparently doesn't like strong women. The story takes them to Los Angeles, where they discover that two psychos are involved, each competing with the other. Pacing the action is everything to a film like this, and it is beautifully done. The ending is very satisfying. - JEJ -

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

 

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L.A. Confidential"L.A. Confidential", Warner Brothers, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 18min, Rated R; Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito; Los Angeles in the late 1940s. Crime Boss Mickey Cohen is put in prison. L.A. Chief of Detectives takes over where Mickey C. left off. Trouble is, how to get rid of those in the way . . . including good cop Ed Exley (Pearce). Old timers Bud White (Crowe) and Jack Vincennes (Spacey) know too much. Have to deal with them somehow . . . even if it means the deep six. Need to protect his 25 pounds of "H" at all costs. "Hush Hush Magazine" reporter Sid Hudgens (De Vito) is a nuisance. Got to get him too. And what about that hooker Lynn Bracken (Basinger)? Will she stay on the Q.T.? Wish the first half of the movie were as good as the second. - JEJ -

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

 

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