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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 40 - July, 1998

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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Desperate Measures"Desperate Measures", Columbia TriStar, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.78:1, DD, Surround Sound, 1 Hr 41 min, Rated R; Michael Keaton, Andy Garcia, Marcia Gay Harden; In San Francisco, Police Detective Frank Connor (Garcia) is looking for a bone marrow donor for his son who has leukemia. The only match is a convicted murderer Peter McCabe (Keaton) who is in prison. Reluctantly, McCabe agrees to donate marrow, but then escapes during the surgery. McCabe is extremely dangerous and violent, and Connor has to figure out a way of capturing him alive in spite of the fact that McCabe is shooting people right and left while everyone is chasing him all around the hospital. I thought this movie was going to be much better than it actually turned out to be. But, it is like a novel where the first 10 pages are gripping, and then you get 250 pages of "filler" material to give it some bulk. - JEJ -

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

 

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The Sweet Hereafter"The Sweet Hereafter", Fine Line Features, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.37:1, Surround Sound DD, 1 Hr 56 min; Rated R; Ian Holm; A schoolbus runs off an icy road in a small Canadian town, killing several of the children. Lawyer Mitchell Stephens (Holm) comes to help the victims' parents plan a lawsuit. During and in between interviews, we find out how miserable everyone is, including Stephens. Drug abuse, spouse abuse, and all sorts of unpleasant things. A dose of the nasty real world in a freezing little town in the middle of nowhere. And I thought we go to the movies to escape. "Best film of the year", yeah right. "Winner 1997 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix", yeah right. "Academy Award Nominations", yeah right. The public may beg to differ. - JEJ -

 

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

 

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Alien: The Resurrection"Alien: The Resurrection", Twentieth Century Fox, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.30:1 Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 49 min, Rated R; Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder; In Alien Part 3, as you may remember, Ellen Ripley (Weaver) died. The movie did too. To redeem themselves, the studiio had to do Part 4. So, Ripley is cloned by a military group, with an alien queen inside her. She wakes up. The giant alien escapes, and here we go again, with everyone running around the ship trying to get away from all that K2 Jelly that's dripping from the monster. Ryder plays Call, having been sent to kill Ripley before she can give birth. Sorry, too late. So the lineup is as follows: Part 2 was the best (IMHO), followed by Part 1, then Part 4, and Part 3. - JEJ -

Entertainment: **
Video Quality: ****
Audio: ****
Photography: ***
Violence: excruciatingly graphic as usual
Sex: no
Language: the "F" and "S" words

 

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Midnight in the Gardent of Good and Evil"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", Silver Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 1.71:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 35 min, Rated R; Kevin Spacey, John Cusak; In Savannah, Georgia, Jim Williams (Spacey) is one of the elite whose invitations to his parties are sought by all local residents wishing to be part of the "in" group. John Kelso (Cusak) is invited to attend one of these parties and write an article about it for a well known magazine. After the party, one of Williams' employees is found shot to death. Williams claims he shot the employee in self defense, but the lack of powder marks on the employee's hands suggests otherwise, so Williams is charged with murder. In the course of the trial, Williams discovers that the people he thought were his friends refuse to testify as to his character. Kelso is hired to assist with the defense, and dirty little secrets are uncovered. It is ironic that the defense attorney mentions to the jury that the story around the trial is not even worthy of a Perry Mason show, because it truly is the case. And, at 2 1/2 hours, it is even more so. - JEJ -

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

 

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Playing God"Playing God", Touchstone Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 34 min, Rated R; David Duchovny, Timothy Hutton, Angelina Jolie; Dr. Eugene Sands (Duchovny) has lost his license to practice medicine because he is a drug addict. But he is still a good surgeon, and a dealer in stolen goods, Raymond Blossum (Hutton) hires Sands to take care of his wounded comrades. An FBI agent tries to get Sands to help him trap Blossum, in exchange for looking the other way regarding his continued drug habit. In the meantime, Blossum's girlfriend Claire (Jolie) starts to get under his skin. The film is basically just a vehicle to capitalize on Duchovny's popularity as a successful star in the TV series "The X Files". Hutton is a much better actor, but he does not have the current starpower that Duchovny does. In any case, the movie is a dud. - JEJ -

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

 

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Fallen "Fallen", Turner Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 5 min, Rated R; Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland; Detective John Hobbes (Washington) is responsible for putting serial killer Edgar Reese in the gas chamber. An evil demon Azazel has inhabited Reese's body and now must find a new "host", so he tries to get into Hobbes. It does not work, so he goes from human to human, transferred by touch, trying to find a way into Hobbes. Only Hobbes knows what is going on, and Lt. Stanton (Sutherland) and Hobbes' partner Jones (Goodman) become suspicious of Hobbes' behavior. Hobbes consults an expert on religious history and tries to destroy the demon. Unfortunately, it is not so easy, and Azazel starts killing people, making it seem that Hobbes is the murderer. So now Hobbes has only a short time left to kill Azazel before the police close in on him. Washington is a superb actor. I just wish the studios would give him better scripts. - JEJ -

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

 

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ThePostman"The Postman", Warner Brothers, 1997, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 58 min, Rated R; Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Olivia Williams; In the year 2013, after a final war, civilization has been devastated. While the Federal Government in the United States tries to regroup, an illegal army takes over, commanded by a copier salesman who calls himself General Bethlehem (Patton). He goes from town to town, taking young men for his army. One of those is a wandering office clerk (Costner). The clerk escapes during the brutal training, and finds a postman's uniform. He dons the uniform and tells the inhabitants of a local town that he is part of the regrouping US Government. He organizes more postal clerks to begin communications again between towns on the West Coast. Word of this gets back to the General, and he sets out to find the Postman to kill him before it can all take root. This might have been a good story, but three hours of Costner's mediocre acting kill it. - JEJ -

Entertainment: *
Video Quality: *****
Audio: **
Photography: ****
Violence: graphic
Sex: nudity
Language: surprisingly mild

 

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The Boxer"The Boxer", Universal Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 54 min, Rated R; Daniel Day-Lewis, Emily Watson; In Belfast, Northern Ireland, Danny Flynn (Lewis) is released from prison after having served his term for crimes committed in the Catholic vs. Protestant strife. He decides that he has had enough of violence and opens a gym for children of both sides, teaching them boxing. Maggie (Watson) is a former girlfriend who married Danny's best friend while he was in prison, and now, her husband is in prison himself. Danny and Maggie resume their relationship in spite of family and friends objecting. The film takes a while to get going, but when it does, the viewer is thrust into a very reallistic illustration of the terrible situation that Northern Ireland has faced for so many years. The Rocky series could take some boxing lessons from these superbly trained actors. - JEJ -

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

 

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Gattaca"Gattaca", Columbia Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 46 min, Rated PG-13; Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin; In the "not too distant future", Jerome Morrow (Hawke) is an "invalid". He took the identity of another person who was genetically selected for mental and physical superiority, but who had an accident that paralyzed him. Jerome, whose real name is Vincent, uses the identity of the other person to get into "Gattaca", the top organization in space exploration. Co-worker Irene (Thurman) suspects that Jerome is not who he claims to be, and when an executive is murdered, she becomes even more suspicious because of his evasive behavior. Although Jerome did not commit the murder, the police still want to find out who the invalid is, after having found one of his hairs in the offices. Together, Jerome and Irene find the way out. The film is visually slick, but it never gets above subdued angst. - JEJ -

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

 

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