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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 58 - January, 2000

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"Dick", Columbia Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 30 min, Rated PG-13;  Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Dan Hedaya, Will Ferrell, Bruce McCulloch, Teri Garr, Dave Foley, Jim Breuer;  Betsy Jobs (Dunst) and Arlene Lorenzo (Williams) are two 15 year olds with a lot on their minds.  Actually they have very little on their minds besides mailing a letter to Arlene's most sincere teen crush she's ever had.  By accident, while mailing this letter to Arlene's dream guy, these two naÔve girls put themselves into the middle of the biggest presidential scandal of all-time when they stumble upon the events that lead to the unraveling of the Watergate conspiracy.  The White House staff quickly takes action to silence these girls who they think have seen too much.  President Nixon (Hedaya) decides to appoint Betsy and Arlene to the important job of walking his dog and also to become honorary youth advisors.  When Arlene develops a new crush for the President, the two girls decide to leave him a message on the very tapes that will eventually prove his guilt in the Watergate scandal.  This movie is quite clever and ties directly into the way the real events unfolded in 1972 - 1974. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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The General's Daughter"The General's Daughter", Paramount Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 56 min, Rated R;  John Travolta, Madelaine Stowe, James Cromwell, Timothy Hutton, Clarence Williams III, James Woods, Leslie Stefanson;  When General Campbell's (Cromwell) daughter is found murdered, warrant officers Paul Brenner (Travolta) and Sarah Sunderland (Stowe) are called in to investigate.  What is of particular interest to Brenner and Sunderland are the bizarre circumstances under which the murder took place.  This inquiry reveals highly sensitive information about the nature of the victim's private life that could destroy the General's good name.  Finding the truth as to why the general's daughter has been murdered will mean sifting through years of covered-up events and hidden reasons.  This film shows overtones of "Courage Under Fire" with a twist of  "8MM".   As with any other institution, the military has had its share of scandalous affairs.  However, all is forgiven because freedom is pretty cool. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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Drop Dead Gorgeous"Drop Dead Gorgeous", New Line Cinema, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 38 min, Rated PG-13;  Kirsten Dunst, Ellen Barkin, Denise Richards, Kirstie Alley, Sam McMurray, Allison Janney;  The American beauty pageant: some call it tradition, some call it degrading to women, and still others call it a way of life.  For the residents of Mount Rose, Minnesota, the beauty pageant is a way of life.  Gladys Leeman (Alley), the reigning pageant queen of 17 years ago, wants her daughter Becky (Richards) to carry the torch she lit so long ago.  To do this, Gladys will do absolutely anything to make it happen, including murder.  This becomes very apparent to the rest of the contestants during the annual local pageant after several "accidents" happen to some of the girls.  Now it's up to Amber Atkins (Dunst), who just happens to be Becky's number one rival, and the rest of the girls to not only compete, but to survive this time honored tradition in Mount Rose.  The off-again on-again mid-western accents throughout the movie were annoying, becoming almost unbearable at times.  Watching the actual Miss USA pageant is funnier than watching this movie. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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The Iron Giant"The Iron Giant", 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.35:1 (DVD); Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 26 min, Rated PG;  Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Eli Marienthal, Vin Diesel, Christopher McDonald, Cloris Leachman; In the midst of all of the glitz and glamour attitude of recent movies comes a simple film about the innocence of youth and the ignorance of the Atomic Age.  Hogarth Hughes (Marenthal) is your average small town boy who stumbles upon a crash-landed giant from outer space. Question: Is it a threat to the security of the United States? Thanks to secret government employee Kent Mansley (McDonald) and a few local stories, the army believes there is a possible security threat.  This spells big trouble for the Iron Giant who has quickly become Hogarth's best friend after he brought him home to stay, in spite of what his mom Annie (Aniston) might say.  With the help of beatnik Dean McCoppin (Connick, Jr.), Hogarth will do whatever he can to save his new friend from being destroyed.  This movie will remind anyone why they began watching movies in the first place.  Give me an Iron Giant over Pokemon any day. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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Teaching Mrs. Tingle"Teaching Mrs. Tingle", Disney/Buena Vista, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, 1 Hr 35 min, Rated PG-13;  Katie Holmes, Helen Mirren, Marisa Coughlan, Barry Watson, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael McKean, Lesley Ann Warren;  For some high school students, grades are everything.  This will be a hard lesson learned for Mrs. Tingle (Mirren), the toughest teacher in school.  With her scholarship future at stake, Leigh Ann Watson (Holmes) is desperate to make the highest grades possible to keep her college dream alive.  This future just happens to rely on the grade she needs in Mrs. Tingle's history class.  To help ease the situation, the class rebel, Luke Churner (Watson), slips a stolen test from Mrs. Tingle's class into Leigh Ann's school bag.  However, she is immediately caught unknowingly with the test.  Desperate times are about to require desperate measures when a simple visit to Mrs. Tingle's house to plead her case turns into an unlikely situation.  Now with the help of her friends Jo (Coughlin) and Luke, negotiations for the grade of choice will begin.  This movie is quite gratuitous at times for a PG-13 rating, but it still leaves most of the sex and violence up to the imagination. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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SLC Punk"SLC Punk", Columbia/TriStar, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.35:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 37 min, Rated R;  Matthew Lillard, Michael A. Goorjian, Annabeth Gish, Jennifer Lien, Christopher McDonald, Devon Sawa;  Stevo (Lillard) and Heroin Bob (Goorjian) aren't just sick of life, they're sick of the Salt Lake City life.  And what better way to break out of their funk than to become a punk.  To do their part, these two eat, sleep, and breathe the punk way of life.  This life includes skipping school, ducking cops, and wreaking havoc every chance they get.  The only problems with this lifestyle are the consequences that it sometimes has.  Contrary to his nickname, Heroin Bob never touched a drug until the end when the lifestyle got the best of him.  The philosophical nature of this movie was a breath of fresh air, just like many other well made independent films.  Another big plus is that this movie is shot on location in Salt Lake City. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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The Thomas Crown Affair"The Thomas Crown Affair", MGM, 1999, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.27:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 53 min, Rated R; Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Frankie Faison, Faye Dunaway, Fritz Weaver;  Millionaire Thomas Crown (Brosnan) has everything a man could ask for, including boredom. What better way than to cure the common doldrums than to steal something?  A very expensive something.  So Crown sets up an elaborate plan to steal a $100 million painting from a Manhattan gallery.  After his plan is executed to perfection, Crown has everyone including the police and city investigators jumping through hoops for his personal amusement.  However, his personal amusement is about to get more personal when insurance officer Catherine Banning (Russo) arrives with some ideas of her own concerning the stolen painting.  Apparently, the city's finest along with countless others searching for clues are no match for an insurance officer when it comes to finding criminals.  I never did see the original version (1968), but I imagine it is twice the film of the remake.  This movie makes me wonder (along with "Entrapment"), are all millionaires this bored? - Jared Baldwin - (P.S., I did see the original, and it is better. Steve McQueen was Crown and Faye Dunaway was Banning. They put her in the remake for old time's sake, except this time, she is Crown's psychiatrist! - JJ -)

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

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Universal Soldier: The Return"Universal Soldier: The Return", Columbia/Tristar, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 23 min, Rated R;  Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Jai White, Heidi Schanz, Bill Goldberg, Xander Berkeley, Justin Lazard, Kiana Tom;  Believe it or not, this is actually the fourth movie in a fizzling series.  Former universal soldier Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) has returned to the same government program that had created him some years earlier to ensure the safety of re-animating dead soldiers (called unisols).  Of course, something has to go wrong.  When S.E.T.H. (White's voice), the supercomputer that directs them and designs the training exercises for the soldiers, overhears a conversation threatening termination of the program, it decides that it wants to take over the world first.  However, Deveraux, already liking the world the way it is, takes on the insurmountable task of stopping S.E.T.H. (who finds himself a body) and his legion of unisols.  Why not throw in a helpless reporter named Erin (Schanz), who falls in love with Van Damme after knowing him a couple of hours?  The casting director's policy must have been to only hire actors that are worse that Van Damme so we won't notice him as much.  Thatís why we get a healthy dose of fitness guru Kiana Tom's less-than-perfected acting talents and wrestling star Bill Goldberg, who steals the show with his complete lack of acting ability, playing the ill-tempered unisol named Romeo.  Lucky for us, we did get to see some of his patented rasslin' moves throughout the movie. Who's next?  Ha!  Who's left in the theater? - Jared Baldwin -

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

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Lake Placid"Lake Placid", Fox 2000 Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.27:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 22 min, Rated R; Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson; At Black Lake, Maine (they wanted to call it Lake Placid, but that name was already taken), a 30 foot crocodile has migrated from another part of the world and taken up residence, so that it can eat the residents, namely those who venture out onto the dark pond. Natural History Museum Paleontologist Kelly Scott (Fonda) is called in to help Fish and Game Warden Jack Wells (Pullman) and Sheriff Hank Keough (Gleeson) investigate. A strange naturalist, Hector Cyr (Platt) also shows up to help. A local nutcase, Delores Bickerman (Betty White), along with Kelly's compulsive behavior, make the search for the beast less than innocuous. I think Hollywood has finally gotten the message, with the result that they are making monster movies with a lot more humor, and they are not taking themselves so seriously. - JEJ -

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

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The Big Brass Ring"The Big Brass Ring", Millennium Films, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.71:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD (2-channel), 1 Hr 44 min, Rated R; William Hurt, Nigel Hawthorne, Miranda Richardson, Irene Jacob; Front runner for Missouri Governor Blake Pellarin (Hurt) has everything he needs to be elected, including a rich wife (Richardson) who pays all the campaign bills, but unfortunately, a sordid past catches up with him. An old political nemesis, Kimball Mennaker (Hawthorne), seeks to destroy Pellarin's chances by bringing up the issue of a Pellarin's brother, who is the skeleton in the closet. A CNN news correspondent (Jacobs) presses the issue while Pellarin desperately tries to keep the closet door closed. Sometimes I wonder if Hollywood thinks it really knows what consumers think is entertaining, or perhaps, they have just decided to portray the corridors of power in all their lurid reality. - JEJ -

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

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