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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 64 - July, 2000

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"The Talented Mr. Ripley", Paramount Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.73:1, DD, 2 Hr 18 min, Rated R; Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Baker Hall, James Rebhorn;  Mr. Thomas Ripley (Damon) is deemed talented because of his ability to copycat others and relatively assume the identity of anyone he chooses.  His special talent proves very prosperous, since the wealthy father of a son gone astray in Europe wants to pay him $1000 (in the 1950's) to convince his son to come back to the United States.  After meeting face to face with Dickie Greenleaf (Law), the man he is supposed to steer back, Tom takes an immediate liking to the hospitality and charm of his newly found cohort.  Together with Dickie's girlfriend Marge (Paltrow), weeks of exploring a new world were at hand, while the only convincing Tom did was to persuade Dickie to let him stay in Europe with them.  However, when Tom realizes that the sun from Dickie doesn't shine in his direction every day and that he wasn't going to let him tag along anymore, a fight fueled by jealous rage ends badly when Tom kills Dickie while out at sea.  Desperation leads Tom back to the shore and directly into the life he wanted to live with Dickie, living this life instead as Dickie.  This movie asks you to assume a lot as it takes leaps and bounds ahead at times, but nothing that will derail the story.  - JB -

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

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"Onegin", Sterling Home Entertainment, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, DD, 1 Hr 46 min, Rated R; Ralph Fiennes, Liv Tyler, Toby Stephens, Lena Heady; In 19th century Russia, Evgeny Onegin (Fiennes) inherits his Uncle's estate and upon arriving there, meets the neighbor's daughter Tatyana (Tyler), who falls in love with him. Evgeny does not return her feelings and tries to assuage her pain by telling her she will someday meet a man who is worthy of her attention. He goes away for six years, and when he returns to Petersburg, he attends a party at the home of a powerful politician. He sees a young woman with whom he is immediately fascinated, and asks his host to introduce him. It turns out to be Tatyana. Now, he decides he made a mistake in turning away from her affections originally, and pursues her. Unfortunately, she is married. This movie comes off almost like a Shakespearian tragedy, and it is very well done. - JEJ -

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

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"Topsy Turvy", October Films, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, DD, 2 Hr 30 min, Rated R; Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Ron Cook; In late 1800's London, Gilbert and Sullivan are at the height of their popularity for their fabulously entertaining shows. William Schwenck Gilbert (Broadbent) writes the lyrics, and Arthur Sullivan (Corduner) composes the music. Even though the shows are successful, Sullivan does not feel that he is fully actualizing his potential and wants to write a serious opera. Gilbert reluctantly agrees, and "The Mikado" is born. According to the storyline, Gilbert and Sullivan had a very formal relationship and were quite competitive with one another. It is surprising that so many terrific shows came to fruition. - JEJ -

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

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"The Hurricane", Universal Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.76:1, 2 Hr 26 min, Rated R: Denzel Washington, John Hannah, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schrieber, Vicellous Reon Shannon; Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (Washington) is persecuted by a racist policeman (Hedaya) in Paterson, New Jersey, and wrongly accused of murder. In 1966, he is sentenced to life in prison. Twenty years later, a young Brooklyn boy reads a book ("The Sixteenth Round") written by Carter and convinces his mentors, who are activists, to research the trial records in hopes of setting him free. The film is based on a true story and is certainly one of the best films of 1999. Although Washington didn't win the Oscar, he did win the Golden Globe award for best actor. - JEJ -

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

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"Angela's Ashes", Paramount Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.85:1, DD, 2 Hr 25 min, Rated R; Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle; In 1935, the McCourt family, desperately poor, move back to Ireland from the Bronx in New York, only to find that their life is just as bad there. Young Frank, seeing that his father (Carlyle) is an inveterate drunk, decides that he will return to American no matter what it takes. He finds various small jobs and contracts Typhoid fever. While in the hospital, he discovers the world of books, and his course is set for a career in writing. Based on a Pulitzer Prize winning true story by Frank McCourt, the movie is fabulously entertaining, and it will certainly make you think twice about leaving any food on your plate, to be wasted. - JEJ -

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

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"Scream 3", Buena Vista, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.35:1, DD, 1 Hr 46 min, Rated R;  Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Lance Henriksen, Parker Posey, Patrick Dempsey;  What is slated to be the final chapter in the once mighty horror series, Scream 3 provides answers to questions posed in earlier films and tries to bring it all together.  Sydney Prescott (Campbell) has taken refuge in a secluded area outside of Hollywood to try and rebuild her life by finding solace in helping battered women via telephone.  This pursuit of tranquility is cut short when, once again, a mystery person dressed in a ghost costume will do anything to draw her attention to try and get one last hack at her.  This includes murdering the cast members of Stab 3, a movie based on Sydney's life, in the order they perish in the film.  When Sydney comes out of the woodwork, she finds support in long time friend Dewey Riley (Arquette) and from an unlikely source in newswoman Gale Weathers (Cox).  Together with the help of the police, Dewey and Gale try to protect Sydney and the remaining cast members from the terror they have come to know in the past.  A surprising strong (and funny) performance came from Parker Posey as the actress who plays Gale in Stab 3.  There are also numerous cameos throughout the movie ranging from Carrie Fischer to Jay and Silent Bob.  Included is the alternate ending along with extras that give an interesting look as to what gets edited and what stays in a film.  Extras don't necessarily make a DVD though. - JB -

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

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"Independence Day", 20th Century Fox, 1996, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.35:1, DD, 2 Hr 33 min (special ed.), 2 Hr 22 min (original release), Rated PG-13;  Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Robert Loggia, Judd Hirsch, Mary McDonnell, Vivica A. Fox, Randy Quaid;  One of the biggest blockbuster films of all time finally makes it to DVD with over 9 hours of goodies packed into a 2-disc set.  The question of whether or not we're alone in the universe has been answered when aliens come knocking on all doors.  After futile attempts to communicate with the visitors, the aliens turn hostile, turning their strategic targets of the world into utter wastelands.  All seems lost when a counter-offensive ends with even less success than their first meeting, that is until civilian David Levinson (Goldblum) finds a way to break through the advantage of alien technology.  Captain Steven Hiller (Smith) and Lenvinson are sent to deliver a special package to bring down the mother ship, while President Thomas J. Whitmore (Pullman), pilot Russell Casse (Quaid), and the rest of the free world wage an interstellar war in their own backyard.  Disc #1 holds both the original and special edition of the movie.  Disc #2 holds extras such as the making of Independence Day and a "Mockumentary" of the alien invasion.  The bonus footage of the special edition just seemed to slow the pace of the movie down, pushing the total running time to over 2 1/2 hours.  In spite of this fact, "ID4" is still an extremely entertaining film. - JB -

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

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"Girl, Interrupted", Columbia/Tristar, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.85:1, DD, 2 Hr 7 min, Rated R;  Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Vanessa Redgrave, Whoopi Goldberg, Jared Leto;  Susanna Kaysen (Ryder) has had her share of problems lately.  Being the only graduate at her high school not going on to college, and maintaining a boyfriend headed in the wrong direction, hasn't exactly helped.  All this has lead up to sessions in therapy that have yielded only one result, a stay in a mental hospital.  It is here that she meets Lisa (Jolie) and the rest of her temporary family.  Taking a look at Lisa's actions and how she handles herself (or doesn't handle herself) allows Susanna to embrace her problems.  After weeks of being in the hospital, Susanna finds that she may not have a problem at all.  This film encompasses the consequences of being labeled with borderline personality disorder or any other mental illness during the 1960's.  Bravo, Angelina Jolie, who won a best supporting actress award for her role as the antisocial Lisa. - JB -

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

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"Boiler Room", New Line Cinema, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 2 Hr, Rated R;  Giovanni Ribisi, Ben Affleck, Nia Long, Vin Diesel, Ron Rifkin, Nicky Katt, Scott Caan, Tom Everett Scott;  There are two ways one can finish college: graduate or dropout.  Seth (Ribisi) is of the dropout variety.  After a short stint in a prestigious school, Seth decides that college is not for him and instead focuses his attention on exploiting the needs of other college students by running a small, but still very illegal casino in his own house.  Needless to say, his father, Marty Davis (Rifkin), who just happens to be a Federal judge, is not impressed in the least by his son's enterprise.  Eager to seek the approval of his unforgiving father, Seth takes up the offer of a friend to enter the ludicrously paced environment of day trading.  It is here at his new out-of-the-loop trading firm, that Seth is introduced to brokerage sharks like Greg (Katt) and Chris (Diesel) who are willing to show him the ropes, but will definitely have him paying the price.  Some questionable dealings with small-time clients force Seth to take a hard look at his actions and what his company is really doing with their investor's money.  Although Ben Affleck's role as recruiter Jim Young was brief, he shows off some of his wide range of acting ability.  More importantly, Giovanni Ribisi proves that he can handle the role of headliner in a feature film. This movie didn't do much at the box office, and is severely underrated. It is a very worthwhile flick to rent. - JB -

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

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Copyright 2000 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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