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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 65 - August, 2000

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"Galaxy Quest", DreamWorks, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.35:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 42 min, Rated PG;  Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni;  It's that time of year again.  Time for the annual Galaxy Quest Television Show Reunion-Convention.  All your favorite characters including Commander Peter Taggart (Allen), Lieutenant Tawny Madison (Weaver), Dr. Lazarus (Rickman), Tech Sergeant Chen (Shaloub), and Lieutenant Laredo (Mitchell), have been reunited once again to sign autographs and to answer any questions you may have about conquering the galaxy.  Shortly after arriving fashionably late, Jason Nesmith (a.k.a. Commander Taggart), realizes that he has probably milked one too many of these pay-to-view-him-type events.  Ready to leave, Nesmith shrugs off any attempts of autograph seekers or booking agents, including some who turn out to be not mere autograph seeking fans, but real life aliens eager to seek the services of the greatest commander in the galaxy.  The aliens, who unknowingly modeled a whole civilization after an earthly television program, place an unconvinced Commander Taggart onto the frontlines of an interstellar war.  After making several hasty decisions just to get back home, Nesmith realizes that the war he just waged is much more real than the television show was ever designed to be.   Now, with the help of his fantasy crew, Commander Taggart will try on the role of hero to save an entire alien race.  Tim Allen was a huge success as Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story movies, so why not try a real-life space hero?  This movie can be enjoyed by all ages. - JB -

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ****
Photography: ****
Violence: mild
Sex: suggestive
Language: mild

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"Reindeer Games", Dimension Films, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.35:1, DD, 1 Hr 44 min, Rated R; Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, Charlize Theron, Denis Farina, James Frain; While in a Michigan prison, Nick Cassidy (Frain) writes letters to his pen pal Ashley (Theron), promising to find her when he is released. Nick is murdered, and his friend Rudy (Affleck) takes his place when he is released after seeing how beautiful Ashley is. Unfortunately, Ashley's brother Gabriel (Sinise), forces "Nick" to help his gang with a plot to rob the Tomahawk Casino, where the real Nick had worked before going to prison. Rudy continues the ruse in order to stay alive, but now knowing that Nick had been set up by Ashley for the robbery attempt. The plot sounds interesting, but the story is told so amateurishly, the movie fails, in spite of Gary Sinise's chilling portrayal of the psychopathic brother. - JEJ -

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

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"Flawless", MGM/UA, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 1.85:1, Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 41 min, Rated R;  Robert DeNiro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rory Cochrane, Barry Miller, Daphne Rubin Vega, Chris Bauer;  Sometimes in life we find support from where we least expect it.  Retired and highly decorated police officer Walter Koontz (DeNiro) is about to experience this gift firsthand after he suffers a stroke while attempting to foil a crime in his apartment building.  A bitter helplessness toward his crippled condition grips Walter as he ignores any attempts by his friends make to contact him, not to mention any attempts to help him.  A breakthrough comes in the form of Rusty (Hoffman), a musically inclined fellow apartment dweller, after singing is recommended to Walter by his physical therapist, which is a vital part of his speech recovery.  Rusty, who is a transsexual that so badly wants to correct the mistake he feels Mother Nature made when he was born a man, identifies with the type of pain and humiliation Walter must now face because he is different.  After the initial past is broken between them, an honest friendship (at times too honest) develops between the two as they learn to deal with each other's shortcomings.  This film tackles sensitive subject matter in a clever and heartwarming way.  Robert De Niro and Phillip Seymour Hoffman each showcase their incredible range of acting ability. - JB -

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

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"The Cider House Rules", Miramax Films, 1999, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.32:1, DD, 2 Hr 5 min, Rated PG-13; Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Delroy Lindo, Michael Caine; In 1930's rural Maine, young Homer Wells (Maguire) lives at St. Cloud's Orphanage, run by Dr. Wilbur Larch (Caine) and several nurses. Dr. Larch feels Homer would make an excellent doctor himself, and grooms him to take over when he retires. Homer has other ideas though, and sets out on his own, taking a job in a local cider house. There, he meets Candy Kendall (Theron) and soon falls in love. Dr. Larch tries to talk Homer into returning to St Cloud's, but Homer stays at the cider house with Candy. A turn of events shows Homer where he really belongs. Michael Caine won the Academy Award  for Best Supporting Actor. This, and the award for Best Adapted Screenplay, are pretty good indicators that this is a fine movie. You see the quotation "One of the Year's Best" on a lot of movie jackets these days, because somewhere, someone says that about any particular film. But this time, I agree.  - JEJ -

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

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"Play it to the Bone", Touchstone Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.31:1, DD, 2 Hr 5 min, Rated R; Woody Harrelson, Antonio Banderas, Lolita Davidovich, Tom Sizemore, Lucy Liu; Boxers past their prime, Vince Boudreau (Harrelson) and Cesar Dominguez (Banderas), are called to Las Vegas on a moment's notice to fill in for two other boxers who were injured and could not fight. They accept reluctantly because they are best friends. But, the fight turns out to be the best thing on the card. Although the boxing sequences are the best since "Rocky", there is just not enough in the buildup, where they go from one truck stop to another on their way to Las Vegas. But, the last 30 minutes are worth the DVD rental. - JEJ -

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

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Copyright 2000 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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