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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 63 - June, 2000

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"Boy's Don't Cry", Fox Searchlight Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.81:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 56 min, Rated R; Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny; In 1993, Teena Brandon (Swank) changes her name to Brandon Teena, and moves to a small town in Nebraska, where she cuts her hair short and pretends to be a man. Brandon is having a sexual identity crisis, and is considering a sex change operation. He falls in love with a young woman in town, who does not know he is really a she. When her brothers find out, they are surprised, and angered, to learn that their sister does not care, so they become violent, and a tragedy is the result. The film has accolades all over the place, but be warned, the story is very intense. - JEJ -

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

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"Snow Falling on Cedars", Universal Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.27:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 8 min, Rated PG-13; Ethan Hawke, Youki Kudoh, Rick Yune, Max Von Sydow; During World War II, the United States put many American Japanese in detention camps because the government was afraid they would spy for Japan or perform acts of sabotage. However, camps to detain German Americans and Italian Americans were not set up. Even those Japanese Americans who were not in the camps, were under suspicion. Perhaps it was in retaliation for Pearl Harbor, but in any case, it is a shameful part of US history where people, who were just as American as anybody else, were treated badly. "Snow Falling on Cedars" chronicles the 1940s story of a young Japanese American, Kazuo Miyamoto (Yune), who is charged with the murder of his friend on a fishing boat in a Northwestern small town. Ishmael Chambers (Hawke), a local reporter assigned to cover the trial, wants to help the defendant more than most, because Ishmael and Kazuo's wife, Hatsue (Kudoh), were lovers as teenagers. His search for the truth leads to a startling discovery. The film received many kudos, but I thought it to be a little too sedate. - JEJ -

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

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"Fight Club", Fox 2000 Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.34:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 19 min, Rated R; Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter; An insomniac (Norton) and soap salesman Tyler Durden (Pitt), bored with a normal lifestyle, start a fight club, bringing in other bored young men. They set up shop in abandoned buildings all over the country. Little by little, they degenerate into more and more violent activities, including blowing up buildings. In the meantime, Marla Singer (Carter) keeps another part of their testosterone-generated needs satisfied. It is a very "male" kind of movie: drinking, fighting, sleeping like a log, and waking up in the fireplace. The psychotic packaging of the DVD matches the storyline. There are several places in the early part of the film that have single frame inserts of one of the actors. Although you could not really tell who it was in the theater, DVD's ability to do freeze frame will let you figure it all out. - JEJ -

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

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"American Pie", Universal Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), 1 Hr 35 min, Rating: R, Tara Reid, Jason Biggs, Natasha Lyonne, Chris Klein, Mena Suvari, Shannon Elizabeth, Jennifer Coolidge, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Chris Owen, Seann W. Scott, Allison Hedegax; Not much to say. This is a pretty basic teen comedy. Remember the Porkyís series, Meatballs, Animal House, etc. Well, here is more of the same, except it has the added shine that you expect movies today to have compared to those of 20 years ago. Do not get me wrong, I did thoroughly enjoy myself, laughed heartily, and am still smiling as I remember some of the scenes. I do not believe much more was intended of this production, so do not anticipate that it will change your life. If you have not already guessed by now, the story revolves around a group of high school seniors about to graduate, and guess what they are in pursuit of. No, itís not the Holy Grail. They form a pact to lose their virginity by Prom Night, and the rest of the movie follows them as they attempt to do so. The movie had some good moments, but do not expect too much. - Arvind Kohli -

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

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"Next Friday", New Line Cinema, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 38 min, Rated R; Ice Cube, Tamala Jones, Mike Epps, Don Curry, John Witherspoon, Tom Lister Jr;  This movie is titled "Next Friday" because it literally takes place on the Friday after the first movie.  The second film picks up right where the first left off with Craig Jones (Cube) just having beat up the neighborhood bully, Debo (Lister Jr.).  This quarrel would land Debo in jail and Craig out of town.  Deciding that the hood was too rough of a place for Craig to be, Mr. Jones (Witherspoon) takes his son to Rancho Cucamonga to live with his lottery-winning brother, Elroy (Curry).  Here, he is reunited with his wannabe player cousin Day-Day (Epps).  However, paradise is not all it's cooked up to be when Craig learns of his Uncle's financial mishaps and his drug-dealing neighbors.  Real trouble is brewing when Craig takes a liking to D'Wana (Jones) who just happens to be sister to the high-rolling (pun intended) neighbors.  If that wasn't enough, Debo, who had vowed revenge for his beating, breaks out of prison and is heading straight for his return rematch.  This movie relies heavily on drug and toilet humor.  It's unfortunate that almost all of the jokes have been told before. - Jared Baldwin -

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

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"Eye of The Beholder", Columbia/Tristar, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 41 min, Rated R;  Ashley Judd, Ewan McGregor, Patrick Bergin, K.D. Lang, Genevieve Bujold, Jason Priestley;  Ewan McGregor plays an intelligence agent known simply as "the eye".  Plagued by visions of his daughter who was tragically lost years ago, he goes about his daily business trying to appease the thoughts of a child who isn't there.  His latest assignment has him tailing a suspect named Joanna (Judd) who is accused of blackmailing a government official.  However, it becomes very clear that blackmail is the least of her crimes as she embarks on a killing spree in the name of her father.  As "the eye" listens in on Joanna's cries, he identifies with the torture she has endured.  Before he even realizes his deeds, he is wiping out any trace of evidence that could lead the crimes back to Joanna.  An obsessive relationship, one that Joanna doesn't even know about, builds as he follows her around the country.  The high point of this movie was definitely Jason Priestley as a road thug named Gary, who, just looking for a good time, meets up with a needy Joanna.  My only question is, "Why didn't Obi-Wan just use his Jedi powers to stop Joanna from killing?" - Jared Baldwin -

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

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"The Green Mile", Castle Rock Entertainment, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.71:1 (DVD), DD, 3 Hr 8 min, Rated R: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, Doug Hutchison; In 1935, Cold Mountain Penitentiary Guard Paul Edgecomb (Hanks) receives a new death row inmate, John Coffey (Duncan). Although Coffey is a huge man, he has a gentle soul, in spite of his crime. The entire crew of guards and other inmates are surprised to learn that Coffey also has supernatural powers to cure illness. Coffey demonstrates this not only on Paul's urinary infection, but the warden's wife, who is dying of cancer. Although the film is superbly acted by Duncan, and it has some humorous moments with a resident mouse named Mr. Jingles, it just goes on much too long. Otherwise, it probably would have received the "Best Picture" Oscarģ. - JEJ -

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

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"Bicentennial Man", Touchstone Pictures, 1999, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.78:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 11 min, Rated PG; Robin Williams, Sam Neill, Embeth Davidtz, Oliver Platt; A futuristic family purchases an android, considered to be a household appliance. They name him Andrew (Williams). Instead of being just a routine robot, Andrew turns out to have personality and creativity. He even tells jokes. Andrew is so intelligent, he decides he wants to be like humans, and begins a quest that takes him through several generations of the family who owns him. The film did poorly at the box office, and the rental store told me I probably would not like it, so you can imagine my mindset when I put the disc into the player. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself really enjoying the movie. My daughter liked it too. It's warm, gentle, and funny. A family movie. - JEJ -

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

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