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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 39 - June, 1998

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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Mimic"Mimic", Dimension Films, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.76:1, DD, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 45 min, Rated R; Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam; In New York City, Entomologist Dr. Susan Tyler (Sorvino) and her husband Dr. Peter Mann (Northam) of the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) help to eliminate Strickler's Disease by producing a hybrid of cockroaches and termites (mmmm . . . is lunch ready yet?). The hybrids are supposed to die, but they don't (surprise!) and grow to incorporate humans in their reproductive cycle. So, now the good doctors must destroy the little beasts before they take over the city. The film is sort of a stylized combination of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Alien". The soundtrack even has Alien overtones. - JEJ -

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

 

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The Jackal"The Jackal", Universal Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.27:1, Surround Sound DD, 2 Hr 5 min; Rated R; Buce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier; In Moscow, the FBI helps the Russian Militia capture a Russian Mafia member. The Russian Mafia decides to take revenge on the United States by hiring a terrorist, the Jackal (Willis), to kill the FBI Director in Washington, D.C. Deputy Director Carter Preston (Poitier) is in charge of capturing the Jackal before this can happen. Preston secures the help of a convicted Irish terrorist, Declan Mulqueen (Gere) who knows what the Jackal looks like. In the meantime, the Jackal prepares for the assassination by obtaining an enormous cannon to be mounted in a van and operated by remote control. The chase takes us to Moscow, Helsinki, London, Montreal, and finally Washington, when we find that the target may not be who was originally thought. The film is reasonably well done, with plenty of action, and Bruce Willis goes through more hair color changes than Dennis Rodman. - JEJ -

 

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

 

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Red Corner"Red Corner", MGM, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.78:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 2 min, Rated R; Richard Gere, Bai Ling; Businessman Jack Moore (Gere) is in Beijing, China, to sell a television program package that includes scantily clad women. There are those in high places who don't want such programming, but it appears the deal will be struck. Moore picks up a girl in a bar and beds her. The next morning, he is awakened by the Chinese Police to find himself covered in blood and the girl murdered. He is thrown into prison and charged with murder. A young woman, Shen Yuelin (Ling) becomes his Advocate (lawyer), and she is surprised to find that he wants to plead not guilty in spite of heavy evidence to the opposite. Over the course of the story, she discovers that something is just not right about the case, and is swayed to his point of view. Although the story had potential, it is sullied by a muted, but obvious attempt to show the Chinese legal system in an unfavorable light, compared to the Western system, almost as if this were the primary purpose of the film. Like most people, I feel the issue of human rights is extremely important, but turning the movie theater into a method of disseminating propaganda is not the answer to achieving world peace and democracy. - JEJ -

Entertainment: **
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ****
Photography: ***
Violence: yes
Sex: mild
Language: the "S" word

 

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Flubber"Flubber", Walt Disney Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.78:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 34 min, Rated PG; Robin Williams, Marcia Gay Hardin, Christopher McDonald, Raymond Barry; At Medfield College, Professor Phillip Brainard (Williams) is a chemist and physicist, inventing things in between teaching and trying to remeber to show up for his wedding to the College President, Dr. Sara Jane Reynolds (Hardin) . He finally succeeds with a polymer that defies gravity when exposed to gamma radiation. Chester Hoenicker (Barry) is the financial backer of the college and he threatens to foreclose on the mortgage. Dr. Brainard thinks he can sell the polymer to Hoenicker in return for the mortgage, but Hoenicker wants it for free (as in stealing). In the meantime, Phil's old nemesis, Dr. Wilson Croft (McDonald), of nearby Rutland College, is also trying to steal the formula. The plot and character names from the original movie decades ago are the same. The flying car and legendary basketball game between the Medfield Squirrels and Rutland Rangers are here too. But now it's in color, with DD surround sound, and flubber talks. Your adolescent children will love it, just like we did in the 1950s, but you may find it a trifle silly (so just keep quite and eat your popcorn). - JEJ -

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

 

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For Richer or Poorer"For Richer or Poorer", Universal Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 56 min, Rated PG-13; Tim Allen, Kirstie Alley; Brad (Allen) and Caroline (Alley) Sexton are part of the jet set in New York, living it up, but not loving it up. They find out that their accountant has embezzled their fortune, and now they have to hide while their attorney sorts it all out. They end up in Amish country (Pennsylvania) accidentally, and decide to pretend they are visiting cousins Jacob and Emma Yoder until things are settled with their New York troubles. Unfortunately, they find that hard working country people make life not quite what they are used to back in the city. What with milking cows and working the north 40, getting up before dawn and such. It sounds like a nice idea for a funny movie, but, alas, no one is laughing. It's a terrible film, and a good thing Tim has his TV show to go back to. - JEJ -

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

 

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Tomorrow Never Dies"Tomorrow Never Dies", Eon Productions, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 57 min, Rated PG-13; Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher; Media Mogul Elliot Carver (Pryce) owns the Carver Global Satellite Network and "Tomorrow Magazine". Like all Bond foes, he wants to take over the planet. His method is to cause worldwide chaos, and in particular, the beginning of World War III, by making China and England think that each has attacked the other. All he wants is exclusive broadcast rights in China when the smoke clears. Bond (Brosnan) and Chinese military officer Wai Lin (Yeoh) join forces to prove that Carver is the culprit before nuclear fireworks begin. Of course, we need a femme fatale, whose name in this film is Paris Carver (Hatcher), Elliot's wife. Between Vodka Martinis (shaken, not stirred), fabulous chases on motorcycle, and a remote controlled BMW, the movie has plenty of pyrotechnics and action to satisfy all Bond fans. - JEJ -

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ****
Photography: ****
Violence: yes
Sex: mild
Language: mild

 

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Starship Troopers"Starship Troopers", TriStar Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 10 min, Rated R; Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Neil Patrick Harris, Dina Meyer; Fast forward to the year whatever. Johnny Rico (Van Dien), Carmen Ibanez (Richards), Carl Jenkins (Harris), and Dizzy Florez (Meyer) all sign up for the military program that will turn them into "Citizens". Johnny and Dizzy train as ground troops, Carmen becomes a pilot, and Carl goes into military intelligence (long raincoat and all). The goal is to destroy giant bugs on the Klendathu star system. And these bugs are really nasty. They like to suck humans' brains out and shred their bodies into tiny pieces. The plot is rather unimaginative, but the special effects are some of the best I have ever seen. If you can stand the tremendous amount of blood and guts that are spilled everywhere, it's very rentable. - JEJ -

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

 

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As Good as it Gets"As Good as it Gets", TriStar Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.78:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 19 min, Rated PG-13; Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Goodings, Jr.; Melvin Udall (Nicholson) is a very successful novelist, living in New York City. He also suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, performing strange rituals like locking and unlocking the doors several times, turning light switches on and off. Part of his ritual is to have lunch at a local diner, and he makes a nuisance of himself. When his waitress Carol Connelly (Hunt) quits to take care of her son, Melvin's ritual is disturbed and he makes even more of a nuisance of himself by going to her home and asking her to cook his lunch. Simon Bishop (Kinnear), who is a neighbor in his apartment building, is injured by a burglar, and asks Melvin to take care of his dog, Verdell. The dog changes Melvin's life, improving his writing, making him less compulsive, and he falls in love with Carol. It's a cute film, and Nicholson is fantastic as usual. - JEJ -

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

 

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Copland"Copland", Miramax Films, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 45 min, Rated R; Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro; Garrison, New Jersey is a nice quite little town. That's because the mob bought it for some of the New York City Police to live there. Sherrif Freddie Heflin (Stallone) turns a deaf ear - literally - to minor infractions by the policemen he so much admires. Then, one day, Internal Affairs officer Mo Tilden (DeNiro) tells him that the infractions are not so minor, and that he wants Freddie to get some incriminating information about Ray Donlan (Keitel) and Gary Figgis (Liotta). In the meantime, life goes on, with coverups, arson, and murder, all courtesy of those who wear a badge. Maybe it's just a bit too much of a dose of reality, but if I wanted to hear about the trials and tribulations of life near a toxic waste dump, I wouldn't have to rent a movie. I could watch the TV talk shows. - JEJ -

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

 

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