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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 69 - December, 2000

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"Gone in 60 Seconds", Touchstone Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.29:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 58 min, Rated PG-13; Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Duvall, Delroy Lindo; When a car theft ring has only three days to deliver 50 stolen automobiles, they force retired car thief Memphis Raines (Cage) to do the job for them. Or else, his brother Kip will be killed. So, Raines enlists the help of old friends (Duvall and Jolie) to get it all done in just 72 hours. Meanwhile, the police (Lindo) are on to him and are just waiting for him to make his move. The film is pure drivel. The only thing going for it is some explosions that will chase the spiders out of your subwoofer. - JEJ -

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

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"Nutty Professor II: The Klumps", Universal Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.83:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 47 min, Rated PG-13; Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson; In this sequel, Professor Sherman Klump (Murphy) discovers a method to reverse the aging process and asks fellow genetics researcher Dr. Denise Gaines (Jackson) to marry him. Meanwhile, Sherman's alter ego Buddy Love (Murphy) causes a problem with his salacious behavior, and Sherman's family (mostly played by Murphy) offer their own rude suggestions. Eddie Murphy shows off his genius for character roles in this film, and if you like his style of humor (e.g., flatulence setting the curtains on fire), you will enjoy the movie. Otherwise, forget it. - JEJ -

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

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"Shaft", Paramount Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.36:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 39 min, Rated R; Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Christian Bale, Dan Hedaya, Richard Roundtree; NYPD Detective John Shaft (Jackson), nephew of Private Detective John Shaft (Roundtree), is assigned the case of gathering evidence to prove that Walter Wade (Bale), the son of a rich real estate developer, has murdered a black youth in a racial hate crime. Shaft and Wade are both looking for the only witness to the murder, a waitress at the bar where the crime took place, and Wade hires a gang of drug dealers to find and kill her before the police can get to her. The film is reasonably entertaining and has a satisfying ending. - JEJ -

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

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"X-Men"20th Century Fox, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.27:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 44 min, Rated PG-13;  Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry;  In the future, mankind is faced with a new challenge when mutants make themselves heard.  However, it's not our fear of the mutant threat, but their own fear of the unknown with which they will have to do battle.  Lead by Professor Charles Xavier (Stewart), most of mutant kind has found a home at his special school for the gifted, one that teaches mutants to deal with the harsh reality that humans are not ready to accept their differences.  Unfortunately, not all mutants share the professor's views nor have his patience for the intolerance humans have shown for them.  Soon it will be up to Professor X and his loyal X-Men to harness their special abilities to stop the most powerful mutant of all, Magneto (McKellen) who, with his minions of evil, feels that humans should pay for their disrespect to the higher order of evolution.  This film did a nice job of re-creating the X-Men comic book and TV cartoon.  It was great to see the extent of Rebecca Romijn's acting ability when she speaks her one line in the movie ;->. - JB -

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

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"The Cell", New Line Cinema, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.36:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 47 min, Rated R; Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jake Weber; Serial murderer Carl Stargher (D'Onofrio) kidnaps young women and tortures them before killing them. After his latest victim is kidnapped, but not yet murdered, he collapses into a coma after being captured, so he cannot tell the police team, headed by Peter Novak (Vaughn), where the woman is hidden. The police take Stargher to a research center where comatose victims are treated by a new technology that lets a psychologist enter their minds to help them. Together, Psychologist Catherine Deane (Lopez) and Peter enter Stargher's mind to discover where the kidnapped woman is being held. The computer graphics are spectacular, and the ride is wilder than "The Matrix", but the story is not quite as engaging. Nevertheless, there is an interesting idea here. You take an adult who has severe mental problems because he was physically and mentally abused as a child, and you enter his mind through this hypnotic technology. Then, you beat the living *$#& out of the parent who still tortures that person in the patient's psyche. - JEJ -

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

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"Erin Brockovich", Universal Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.82:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 12 min, Rated R; Julia Roberts, Albert Finney; A young woman, Erin Brockovich (Roberts), takes a job as a file clerk for a small California town lawyer, Ed Masry (Finney). She discovers a series of files that link Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to chromium contamination in the ground water of a nearby town called Hinckley, where residents have all sorts of illnesses. She gathers more evidence that PG&E covered up the problem in an attempt to prevent massive lawsuits. Ed is hesitant to take on such a large corporation, but the accumulating evidence is so devastating, he finally agrees. The case goes to trial, and a huge judgment against PG&E results, which helps the large number of people who suffered terrible diseases as a result of the contamination. Julia Roberts does a very good job of portraying a real life character, but it is Albert Finney who really shines (Oscar quality) in this story, based on true events. I would like to meet the real Erin. She sounds like someone who should be working for Secrets. - JEJ -

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

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"The Art of War", Warner Brothers, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.32:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 56 min, Rated R: Wesley Snipes, Anne Archer, Michael Biehn, Donald Sutherland; When the UN Trade Agreement with China is about to be signed, the Chinese representative to the UN is murdered, and UN Agent Neil Shaw (Snipes) is framed for the crime. The problem is, no one but the Secretary General of the UN, Douglas Thomas (Sutherland), and his assistant, Eleanor Hooks (Archer), know that the UN even has secret agents, and the FBI thinks Shaw is an agent for the Chinese underworld who stand to lose a valuable market to the US if the trade agreement is signed. With all the twists and turns, this story has a lot of potential, but it seems to have lost its flow in the editing room, and it takes about a half hour into the movie before you can figure out what is going on. - JEJ -

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

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Copyright 2000 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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