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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 62 - May, 2000

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"Being John Malkovich", USA Entertainment, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 43 min, Rated R;  John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, Orson Bean, Mary Kay Place, John Malkovich;  John Cusack is Craig Schwartz, an out of work puppeteer, whose wife, Lotte (Diaz), has just run out of patience with his lack of a regular career.  Giving in to his wife's demands, Craig winds up finding a job fit for a man with his unique resume, oddly placed on the 7 1/2 floor of a building.  It's here that he meets Maxine (Keener), an unattainable woman who captures his eye as well as his unique imagination.  While laboring on his less than fulfilling job, Craig stumbles upon a doorway that leads directly into the mind of one of the greatest actors of our time, John Malkovich.  Not knowing exactly what to think, he decides to share this unbelievable discovery with Maxine, who finds a renewed interest in succumbing to Craig's advances, namely a profitable business within a business.  By charging a few hundred dollars for each trip through John Malkovich's psyche, Craig and Maxine eagerly exploit one of man's oddest desires, that of seeing the world through another person's eyes.  All is running smoothly until Lotte insists that she experience the doorway for herself.  While on this trip, Lotte discovers what she believes is her true self through the eyes of John Malkovich, while he is on a date with Maxine, who has taken an interest in the real deal.  Craig and Lotte, husband and wife, are now competing for the same woman.  Cameron Diaz is sensational as the twenty-something pseudo-housewife Lotte.  Great writing and screenplay come together fully in this amazing film. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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"The Bachelor", New Line Cinema, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.77:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 42 min, Rated PG-13; Chris O'Donnell, Renee Zellweger, Artie Lange, Hal Holbrook, James Cromwell, Mariah Carey, Brooke Shields;  Jimmie Shannon (O'Donnell) has always had a problem with commitment.  The only thing he has ever been committed to is letting his horses run free.  In fact, he has become sort of a hero among his friends, being the last one of them not to be corralled . . . married that is.  This is, of course, until he meets that special someone, Anne (Zellweger), ironically in the midst of one of his patented break-up routines.  Three years later the stage is set for Jimmie to pop the big question.  However, Anne furiously declines when Jimmie butchers the punch line.  Soon after, Jimmie's father passes away leaving to him his estate and all of his other assets, including a profitable billiards company.  To keep his inheritance and to keep the company from a buyout, Jimmie does have to meet the requirements his father set out for him, most important of which is to be married by his 30th birthday (with some heavy strings attached).  After another failed attempt at asking Anne to be his bride, Jimmie has less than 24 hours to find a replacement to become his wife.  I'm just glad they didn't call this movie "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?" - Jared Baldwin -

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

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"The Story of Us", Universal Studios, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 36 min, Rated R; Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tim Matheson, Paul Reiser, Rob Reiner, Rita Wilson;  Lately Ben (Willis) and Katie Jordan (Pfeiffer) have been experiencing only the downside of marriage.  To help remedy this, while the kids are away for summer camp (to avoid telling them), they decide that maybe some time away from each other would be best for the both of them.  After a few weeks apart, Ben and Katie decide to give it another try, but with no success.  At this point, divorce seems inevitable.  Through a series of flashbacks, Ben and Katie explore the possibilities of why their marriage is on the verge of collapse.  This movie begins in the middle of a marriage several years after its happy beginning, giving little indication of how it got there, but that's the crux.  One day you wake up and you have built a bad relationship.  On a brighter note, a little more of Paul Reiser's comic relief would've lightened the burden of this film.  Just be ready for a fairy tale ending. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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"Bringing Out The Dead", Paramount Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.27:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 1 min, Rated R; Nicholas Cage, John Goodman, Tom Sizemore, Patricia Arquette, Ving Rhames, Marc Anthony;  What is it about the power of a full moon to influence the actions of so many?  It's a question that paramedics Frank (Cage) and Larry (Goodman) would definitely like to have answered.  Facing a long weekend, the big city, and a full moon, Frank is more than ready to quit.  However, things turn a little for the better while responding to a routine call, when Frank takes a personal interest in Mary Burke (Arquette), the daughter of a heart attack victim.  Frank's affection for Mary grows every time he returns from another "dead" run, while she waits for news about her father.  In the end, the distance this difficult career choice has created with their emotions may cost Frank and his colleagues any chance they have at a normal life.  Some innovative lighting and direction quicken the pace of this film.  At times, though, it makes the movie uncomfortable to follow. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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"Full Metal Jacket", Warner Brothers, 1987, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.33:1, DD, 2 Hr 36 min, Rated R; Matthew Modine, Arliss Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Dorian Harewood, R. Lee Ermey, Adam Baldwin, Kevyn Major Howard, Ed O'Ross; As with any other Kubrick work, you will either love it or hate it. But you will not come out unaffected, and you will not have a pleasant feel-good grin on your face either. To me, Kubrick had mastered building intense emotional involvement in his viewers. The movie has two almost separate stories. Though they logically follow one another, the pace and setting are in different directions. Set in the Vietnam War era, the first half takes you through boot camp with some memorable characters. Notably, the drill sergeant played by R. Lee Ermey and Private Pyle played by Vincent D'Onofrio. Their performances alone justify the movie. The second half is set in Vietnam. You instantly feel relived from the oppressive presence of the drill sergeant, who of course is back on Parris Island training center. The sniper scene is an excellent example of Kubrick’s genius. He manages to transport the fear and anxiety with brilliance. One of my all time favorites, now on DVD. - Arvind Kohli -

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

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"Raise the Red Lantern", Miramax Films, 1991, Color, Presented at measured aspect ratio 1.33:1 (VHS), 2 Hr 5 min, Rated PG; Gong Li, Ma Jingwu, He Caifei, Cao Cuifeng, Jin Shuyuan, Kong Lin, Ding Weimin, Cui Zhihgang; The story is set in 1920’s China, within the household of a wealthy and powerful man. He is rich enough to afford several wives, and powerful enough to have complete control over all aspects of their lives. The story unfolds the secrets and intense emotional drama within the household. I cannot remember a poor moment within any part or aspect of the movie. If there were any weaknesses, I was too engrossed to notice. Not surprisingly, it has won many reviewer’s awards and has built quite a name with foreign film buffs. I don’t have enough thumbs to express how good this film is. - Arvind Kohli -

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

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"The World Is Not Enough", MGM/UA Studio, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.35:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr 8 min, Rated PG-13;  Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, John Cleese, Robert Carlyle, David Calder, Judi Dench;  More importantly than the world not being enough, it never seems to run out of terrorists.  Thankfully, the world also never seems to run out of James Bonds (or actors willing to play him!)  This time around, trouble strikes when terrorist attacks threaten to stop construction of an oil pipeline that is to become a major artery to the West.  These attacks include a strike on oil tycoon Sir Robert King (Calder) in the heart of MI6 headquarters, in other words, right in James Bond's (Brosnan) backyard.  Heiress to the oil fortune, Electra King (Marceau), is accompanied by the watchful eyes of Bond to ensure her safety as she sees no other alternative than to finish the work her father had started.  At the same time, Bond slips undercover into a nuclear testing site just in time to unsuccessfully stop the highjacking of a nuclear warhead.  This is where Bond meets Dr. Christmas Jones (Richards), who is assigned to help locate and disarm the stolen weapon.  When Renard (Carlyle), the suspected villain behind the attacks, is discovered, Bond finds out that there is much more going on behind closed doors than his own affairs.  Take out the sporadic scenes of action, mixed together with the long, drawn out scenes filled with dialogue, combined with noticeable lack of cool gadgets, and you don't have much of a movie.  Denise Richards is about as believable as a Doctor of Nuclear Physics as Sophie Marceau is as an actress. - Jared Baldwin -

Entertainment: **
Video Quality: *****
Audio: *****
Photography: *****
Violence: Bond style
Sex: Bond style
Language: mild

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"Three To Tango", 1999, Warner Bros., Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 39 min, Rated PG-13;  Matthew Perry, Neve Campbell, Dylan McDermott, Oliver Platt;  Oscar Novak (Perry) and Peter Steinberg (Platt) are trying to land the largest proposal of their careers with business tycoon Charles Newman (McDermott).  To do this, it's going to take more than the usual brown nosing, but a special favor sent down from the man himself.  The favor, to keep an eye on Mr. Newman's girlfriend while he makes good with the wife at home.  Immediately, this personal favor turns into a nightmare, when, of course, Oscar falls for the girlfriend, Amy (Campbell) in a matter of hours.  To further complicate things, all parties involved believe Oscar is gay, the only reason Oscar was chosen for the spy job in the first place.  A messy circle of events soon follows.  Oscar keep his boss happy, his partner employed, and tries to get the girl at the same time.  This movie may have worked five years ago when the gay persona was novelty.  At times this movie was just insulting (try and count how many times Matthew Perry says, "I'm not gay"). - Jared Baldwin -

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

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"Sleepy Hollow", Paramount Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 45 min, Rated R;  Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Casper Van Dien, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Christopher Walken;  As a man of science Constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) believes in investigation and the power of deduction, not witchcraft or the supernatural.  This didn't always sit well with men of traditional belief at the end of the 18th century.  Tired of hearing Ichabod's alternative answers to everything, the establishment sends Ichabod north from New York to New England on a two-day journey to use his skill of investigation to the find answers to three unexplained murders.  This journey takes Ichabod to Sleepy Hollow, where the locals already have postulated an answer to these mysterious murders.  Baltus Van Tassel (Gambon), the richest man in town, and the rest of the town leaders are convinced that the murders are works of the headless horseman.  Katrina Van Tassel (Ricci), daughter of Baltus, seems to be the only person in town that Ichabod can talk to rationally about his theories based on reason, not legend.  This movie revives one of America's most popular tales.  Stunning visuals and a great cast (particularly Depp and Ricci) bring this story to blood chilling life. - Jared Baldwin -

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: *****
Audio: *****
Photography: *****
Violence: graphic
Sex: simulated
Language: the "S" word

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