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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 49 - April, 1999

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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Bulworth"Bulworth", Twentieth Century Fox, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 48 min, Rated R; Warren Beatty, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Paul Sorvino, Jack Warden; Senator Jay Bulworth (Beatty) is running for re-election, but thinks he does not have a chance. So, feeling very depressed, he decides to hire a hit man to kill him while he is on the campaign trail. He wants to go out in a blaze of glory, telling everyone how things really are, such as paying attention only to those voters who have money. He insults lots of groups in doing this, but finds that the common man really likes what he has to say. Realizing that his new tactics may actually put him back in office, he desperately tries to find the hired assassin so he can call his own murder off. This is one of the few cases where the same person produces, directs, and stars in his own film, and it turns out to be very good. - JEJ -

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

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Mighty Joe Young"Mighty Joe Young", Walt Disney Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.81:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 54 min; Rated PG; Bill Paxton, Charlize Theron, Rade Sherbedgia; When a zoologist studying gorillas in Africa loses her life to a poacher's murderous ways, her daughter Jill Young (Theron) carrys on her mother's studies and raises a baby gorilla (Joe) to full adulthood. He turns out to be 12 feet tall. She tries to keep the secret of Joe's existence, but soon the world finds out, and poachers want the valuable animal. Visiting zoologist Gregg O'Hara (Paxton) helps out by taking Jill and Joe to an animal reserve in California, where they think Joe will be safe. Unfortunately, the poachers follow, and they try to steal him. The movie is a remake of the classic by the same name many decades ago. It does not have much of a storyline, but the digital graphics are startling. - JEJ -

 

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ****
Photography: ***
Violence: giant gorilla on the rampage
Sex: no
Language: no

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Return to Paradise"Return to Paradise", Polygram Entertainment, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (Laserdisc) 2.30:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 52 min, Rated R; Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix, David Conrad; Three young men entertain themselves for a couple of years in Malaysia, with drugs, women, and the easy life. Two of them - Tony (Conrad) and Sheriff (Vaughn) - return to the states, while Lewis (Phoenix) stays on. Two years later, Tony and Sheriff discover that Lewis has been in prison for the leftover drugs that the authorities found in their trash can. He will be executed unless Tony and Sheriff return to take their share of the punishment . . . three years in prison each. Lewis' lawyer Beth (Heche) tries to convince them both that going back is the right thing to do. The prison in Panang is a third world dungeon, so the choice is not easy. - JEJ -

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

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Rush Hour"Rush Hour", New Line Cinema, 1998, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.30:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 37 min, Rated PG-13; Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker; When the 10 year old daughter of a Chinese diplomat is kidnapped from the Chinese Embassy in Los Angeles, the FBI wants to handle the case all by themselves, but the diplomat brings a Chinese policeman named Lee (Chan) from China to help out. The L.A. P.D. assigns Detective James Carter (Tucker) to watch out for Detective Lee so that he does not get hurt while the FBI does its job. But trouble is Lee's middle name, and he drags Jimbo all over town, with bullets and fists flying everywhere. Tucker is a very funny guy, but the movie is so trite, his comedic skills and Chan's uncanny athletics are not enough. - JEJ -

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

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American History X"American History X", New Line Cinema, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 59 min, Rated R ; Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Stacey Keach, Elliott Gould; Derek Vinyard (Norton) is a skinhead (racist) in Los Angeles, and after brutally killing someone who broke into his car, he is imprisoned. While there, he has a change of heart about what he was, and after being released, he tries to reform his skinhead younger brother Danny (Furlong) before he ends up the same place. Norton received an Academy Award nomination as best actor for his performance in this excellent motion picture, and it shows that the best movies are always the ones about people, not about special effects. - JEJ -

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

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Meet Joe Black "Meet Joe Black", Universal Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.80:1, Surround Sound, DD, 3 Hr, Rated PG-13; Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani; A few days before his 65th birthday, Bill Parrish (Hopkins) meets a stranger, Joe Black (Pitt), who soon reveals that Bill's time has come and he is there to take him to the beyond. In return for enough time to enjoy his birthday, Bill agrees to take Joe around town and show him what the world is like. While he is there, Joe falls in love with Bill's daughter Susan (Forlani). Bill does not particularly care for the idea of Death having a romantic infatuation with his daughter, and that, combined with fighting a takeover of his company . . . well, it's no wonder he is about to have a fatal heart attack. The movie was a box office disaster, and I can see why. This is one time I definitely agree with the newspaper movie critics. - JEJ -

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

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One Tough Cop"One Tough Cop", Patriot Pictures, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.71:1, Surround Sound, DD (2 channel), 1 Hr 30 min, Rated R; Stephen Baldwin, Chris Penn, Gina Gershon, Michael McGlone; When a nun is brutally raped, New York Police Detective Bo Dietl (Baldwin) calls on his friend, a mafia capo, Ritchie La Cassa who is just as outraged as Bo is. Ritchie provides some leads to track the rapists down, but the Police Chief and FBI Agents don't like the idea of a policeman working with a criminal. Bo messes around with Ritchie's girlfriend Joey (Gershon), and this heats up the conflict. Not to mention that Bo's partner, Duke (Penn) is in over his head with gambling debt to the mob. Although true stories are usually exciting, and especially New York police yarns, this one fails to do that. Clandestine conversations in automobiles just don't make it with today's high-impact-demanding audiences. - JEJ -

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

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Savior"Savior", Initial Entertainment Group, 1998, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.30:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 44 min, Rated R; Dennis Quaid, Natassja Kinski, Stellan Skarsgard, Natasa Ninkovic; In France, American Army Officer Joshua Rose (Quaid) is called away from lunch with his wife Maria (Kinski) and son, and a terrorist bomb kills them both. He takes retribution in a local Muslim Mosque and hides by joining the French Foreign Legion. After six years, he furthers his desire for revenge by joining the Serbian Army in Bosnia, killing Muslim opponents. He rescues a young woman with a baby and tries to take them to their home, but meets resistance along the way in the form of brutality by the warring ethnic groups. This film involves a number of people from Yugoslavia before the current war there. It shows that over our thousands of years of recorded history, the human race has apparently learned nothing about co-existence. - JEJ -

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

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