Index to Articles in this Issue Home Page

 

Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 48 - March, 1999

Staff

Divider

 

Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

Divider

Legionnaire"Legionnaire", Quadra Entertainment, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.27:1, Surround Sound, DD (two-channel), 1 Hr 39 min, Rated R; Jean-Claude Van Damme, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Danel Caltagirone, Steven Berkoff; In 1928 Marseilles, a boxer named Alain (Van Damme) is paid to throw a match, but he changes his mind at the last minute and wins. The criminals who paid him now try to kill him. Alain joins the French Foreign Legion to escape and is assigned to an outpost in North Africa. The Arabs there don't appreciate the Legion invading their country, and they attack the outpost. Meanwhile, the French criminals discover where Alain is, and two of them join the Legion too, just to murder Alain. A final attack by the Arabs is quite inconvenient, in that it interrupts their murder plans. Although this film went direct to video rather than hitting the theaters, it is not all that bad, and in my opinion, is much better than the last Van Damme film that did make it to the CinePlex ("Knock Off"). - JEJ -

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

Divider

Mafia"Mafia", Touchstone Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.78:1, Surround Sound, DD (two-channel), 1 Hr 27 min; Rated PG-13; Jay Mohr, Lloyd Bridges, Olympia Dukakis, Christina Applegate; In this parody of "The Godfather", Lloyd Bridges stars as Don Vincenzo Cortino, head of the Cortino family. His son Anthony Cortino (Mohr) returns from the war, and vies for the head honcho spot with his nutcase brother. All of the classic scenes are there from the original movie, including the one where Michael Corleone shoots the police captain and rival mafia boss in the restaurant. Unfortunately, the jokes have worn thin now, and this sort of slapstick humor isn't funny anymore. - JEJ -

 

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

Divider

Snake Eyes"Snake Eyes", Paramount Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 38 min, Rated R; Nicholas Cage, Gary Sinise, Carla Gugino; In Atlantic City, New Jersey, a heavyweight boxing match is about to take place, and Police Detective Rick Santoro (Cage) is there, chasing the ladies, chasing a few bucks, and sitting next to his friend DOD (Department of Defense) Officer Kevin Dunn (Sinise). Suddenly a shot rings out, killing Secretary of Defense Charles Kirkland, whom Dunn was supposed to protect. Santoro tries to help his friend Kevin get out of the mess, but when a mysterious woman tells Rick what she saw just before Kirkland was murdered, he is faced with an ugly truth. The story is good, having been directed by veteran Brian di Palma, although it is a bit predictable. The problem is that Cage overacts so furiously, it destroys the continuity of the movie. In fact, I think this is the worst job of acting Cage has ever done, but perhaps it was just that he may have been wrong for this role. - JEJ -

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

Divider

Practical Magic"Practical Magic", Warner Brothers, 1998, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 44 min, Rated PG-13; Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Aidan Quinn; A witch from New England in the 1700s, who has a failed love affair, spites her family by placing a curse on any man in the future who has a romantic relationship with Owens women. In the 20th century, two Owens sisters, Sally (Bullock) and Gillian (Kidman) are living with their aunts (Stockard Channing and Diane Wiest) who are practicing witches. Gillian asks Sally's help in ridding her of an abusive boyfriend, Jimmy. They kill him accidentally, and try to revive him with witch's brew. He turns into a zombie (the walking dead), so they kill him a second time and bury him in the garden. A Special Investigator from Arizona, Garry Hallet (Quinn) comes to their house, looking for Jimmy. Instead, he finds romance with Sally. It's a girl's movie, with just enough action and special effects to keep the guys awake. - JEJ -

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

Divider

Ronin"Ronin", United Artists Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.27:1, Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 1 min, Rated R ; Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Jonathan Pryce; A group of mercenaries meet in Paris to be instructed by Irish terrorists on how to steal a briefcase for which they will pay a fortune. The mercenaries are from different countries, so they must learn to trust one another. Sam (De Niro) is an American, and he trusts no one, but he and the Irish terrorist Deirdre (McElhone) become romantically involved while dodging bullets from the owners of the briefcase, as well as the French Police. The plot is solid, but the storytelling is very poor. Producers need to understand that we don't mind a whodunnit, but they can't leave us totally in the dark about the who and what for all the characters until halfway through the film. Fortunately, the car chases are worth renting the movie just for their own sake. - JEJ -

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

Divider

Soldier "Soldier", Warner Brothers, 1998, Color, Filmed in panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.37:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 39 min, Rated R; Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Gary Busey; Military personnel select newborn babies for particpation in project Adam, beginning in 1996. These babies are trained throughout life to be soldiers. Sergeant Todd (Russell) is one of these. At age 38, Todd tries to compete with newer, genetically engineered soldiers, and after failing, he finds himself cast onto a deserted planet, where space garbage is dumped. He discovers a group of people who crash landed there, but doesn't fit in because of his warlike nature. Meanwhile, the genetic soldiers land on the planet and try to exterminate the population as an exercise, and Todd must help his newfound friends survive. The movie doesn't pretend to be anything other than a panoply of spectacular sets, visual effects, and gratuitous violence. - JEJ -

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

Divider

Ever After"Ever After", Twentieth Century Fox, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.27:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 40 min, Rated PG-13; Drew Barrymore, Angelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Jeanne Moreau; In 16th century France, a young girl named Danielle (Barrymore) is turned into a house servant when her father dies suddenly, leaving the estate to her stepmother, the Baroness (Huston) and her two stepsisters. The Baroness wants to see one of her real daughters married to the Crown Prince of France, Prince Henry (Scott), but Henry falls in love with Danielle instead, who has pretended to be a royal courtier. At the mask ball, where Henry must announce his choice of a bride, the Baroness exposes Danielle's secret to keep her from marrying the Prince. Although it is a cute Cinderella story, the script seems a bit too recited. Also, if this is supposed to be France, why is everyone speaking with English accents, including Barrymore whose English accent is contrived for the movie? Somebody somewhere in production was not awake when this film was organized. - JEJ -

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

Divider

A Bright Shining Lie"A Bright Shining Lie", HBO Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.33:1, Surround Sound, DD (two-channel), 1 Hr 58 min, Rated R; Bill Paxton, Amy Madigan, Vivian Wu; During the Viet Nam War, Lt. Colonel John Vann (Paxton) discovers that the South Vietnamese soldiers don't seem to be very motivated. He attempts to promote an idea on how to win the war, namely by throwing out the rice dealers and giving the rice farms back to the citizens, since the North Vietnamese leaders have promised that very thing to the south. His concept is not looked upon favorably in Washington, and he is forced to resign. Several years later, he is asked to return to Viet Nam as an advisor, and is so successful, he is promoted to General. Now in a commanding position, he changes his attitude and requests massive bombing strikes by B-52s. This movie turned out to be one of the best Viet Nam war films I have ever seen, and it is based on a true story. - JEJ -

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

Divider

© Copyright 1999 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
Return to Table of Contents for this Issue.