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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 42 - September, 1998

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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Blues Brothers 2000"Blues Brothers 2000", Universal Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 4 min, Rated PG-13; Dan Akyroyd, John Goodman; Elwood Blues (Akyroyd) gets out of prison and discovers that his brother is gone and the world greatly changed. He decides to put the band back together (The Blues Brothers Band of yore) and hires his friend Mighty Mack (Goodman) to help him. They chase all over the place locating the original band members, and talk them into firing up the ol' group again. Along the way, we are treated to some great blues music by some of the best in the business (Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, and others), but the whole thing is not much more than a 2 hour music video. - JEJ -

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

 

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Hard Rain "Hard Rain", Paramount Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (laserdisc) 2.27:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 38 min; Rated R; Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Randy Quaid; A small midwestern town is being flooded by torrential rains. While carrying 3 million dollars for a bank, security truck driver Tom (Slater) and his partner are stuck in deep water . . . and deep trouble. Another man, Jim (Freeman) and his friends try to hijack the truck, but Tom gets away and hides the money in a cemetary. So, the gang searches all over town, via boats, looking for Tom, and in the meantime, Sheriff Jim (Quaid) is attempting to evacuate the population. Freeman is a fine actor, but even someone of his caliber can't save this sinking ship of a film. There is only one scene of any real impact or suspense, and that is when Tom is locked in a jail cell that is rapidly being filled to the top with water from the town's broken dam. - JEJ -

 

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

 

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The Apostle"The Apostle", Universal Pictures, 1997, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.87:1, Surround Sound, DD (two channel), 2 Hr 14 min, Rated PG-13; Robert Duvall, Farrah Fawcett, Billie Bob Thornton; Sonny Dewey (Duvall), a.k.a. "E.F.", is the pastor at a church, and his wife Jessie (Fawcett) decides to divorce him and take the church away. Sonny becomes despondent, kills Jessie's new boyfriend, leaves town, and starts another church in Bayou Boutte, Louisiana. He preaches hard and preaches fast, all the time looking over his shoulder to see if the police have found him yet. Duvall produced, directed, and starred in this film, which won accolades. However, the sermons are too long. Almost as if someone set up a video camera in a church, pointed it at Duvall, and forgot to turn it off once in awhile. That is the type of problem you run into when you have too much control over your own movies. - JEJ -

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

 

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Primary Colors"Primary Colors", Universal Studios, 1998, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 24 min, Rated R; John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Cathy Bates; In this provacative and blatant parody of the Clinton Administration, Governor Jack Stanton (Travolta) and his wife Susan (Thompson) begin their campaign for the Presidency, while battling the media and other candidates over his sexual escapades. They hire a sharp campaign manager and "dust buster" (Bates) to keep a good "spin" on things, with one disaster after another. If you have followed all the real life scandals in Washington, D.C., then you know the story here. The one thing you might not know, if you didn't see it at the theater, is how well the story is told. The film was a box office flop, perhaps because there is no slapstick comedy nor is there any pyrotechnics. But, this is one terrific movie, and if you have an IQ of at least 3 digits, it is a must see film. - JEJ -

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

 

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Wildthings"Wild Things", Mandalay Entertainment, 1998, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 45 min, Rated R; Matt Dillon, Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards; Sam Lombardo (Dillon) is a Guidance Councelor at a high school, and after rebuffing the advances of two students, Kelly (Richards) and Susie (Campbell), they claim that he raped them. At the trial, the two girls admit that they lied, so Kelly's rich mother settles the issue with a check to Sam for 8 million dollars. Detective Ray Arquette (Bacon) believes something is fishy, and he sets out to prove his theory. It's a similar plot to "Palmetto", but more violent and more sexually explicit, and more of the characters are corrupt. However, it is not more entertaining, and the ending is ridiculous. - JEJ -

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

 

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Phantoms "Phantoms", Dimension Films, 1997, Color, Filmed sphereically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76.:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 36 min, Rated R; Peter O'Toole, Rose McGowan, Joanna Going, Ben Affleck; When two sisters, Jenny (Going) and Lisa Pailey (McGowan) arrive in a small Colorado town, they find that just about everyone is gone. Discovering their housekeeper murdered, they try to find the police (Sheriff Bryce Hammond - Ben Affleck), who are just as frightened as they are. It turns out that some evil force, "Ancient Enemy" has emerged from the sewers to destroy humankind. Dr. Timothy Flyte (O'Toole), a paleobiologist, attempts to help capture and kill Mr. Nasty. I often find that small budget movies with mostly unknown actors can surprise me with their innovation. Too bad this is not one of them. "Phantoms" has only tired old cliches, including cars that won't start, dead phone lines, and body parts falling out of dark places. - JEJ -

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

 

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Mercury Rising"Mercury Rising", Universal Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.30:1, Surround Sound, DD, Rated R; Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Chi McBride, Kim Dickens; FBI Agent Art Jeffries (Willis) is assigned to examine a murder scene and finds a little boy, Simon, hiding in the attic. When someone tries to kill the boy, he realizes that Simon knows something he shouldn't. The autistic child has decoded a puzzle and called a secure phone number which is part of a billion dollar security system designed by the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States. Code named "Mercury", the security system is responsible for the safety of overseas agents working for the US. The head of the agency, Col. Nicholas Kudrow (Baldwin) has traced where the phone call came from and had one of his agents kill the parents, but missed getting the boy. Now Jeffries must protect the child and expose the corrupt agency before they can kill him. He enlists the help of a stranger (Dickens) and another FBI agent (McBride) whom he can trust. The story is very fast paced and has two issues that keep it moving. One is protecting the boy from the NSA, and the other is keeping the boy from wandering into the path of trains, traffic, and other dangers. This is Willis' best effort since Diehard 2. - 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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