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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 71 - February, 2001

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"What Lies Beneath", Dreamworks Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox, 2000, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.38:1 (DVD), DD, DTS, 2 Hr 10 min, Rated PG-13; Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Scarwid, Katharine Towne, Amber Valletta; In a small Vermont town, Dr. Norman Spencer (Ford) and his wife Claire (Pfeiffer) lead a quiet life. Norman's busy university research schedule is interrupted when Claire begins having visions of a woman she believes her new neighbor has murdered. Norman has her see a psychiatrist colleague, but all to no avail. The visions become more vivid. Norman thinks it is because of a depression caused by their daughter moving away to college. Then, Claire realizes that the ghost vision is not her neighbor, but a student, Madison Elizabeth Frank (Valletta)  from the university who disappeared two years ago. Although Norman claims not to have known her, something arouses her suspicions, and she searches for the truth. Although the movie does have its scary moments, it moves just a little too slow. It seems more suited to 45 minutes of an hour-long TV program that has 15 minutes of commercials. - JEJ -

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

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"But I'm a Cheerleader", Universal Studios, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, 1 Hr 36 min, Rated R;  Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Dante Basco, RuPaul, Eddie Cibrian, Bud Cort, Melanie Lynskey, Mink Stole;  Peter (Cort) and Nancy Williams (Stole) have a growing suspicion about the "lifestyle" that their daughter Megan (Lyonne) has been living, and when they take in to account telltale signs, they accept that their suspicions are right.  After a planned intervention headed up by coach Mike (RuPaul), Megan's parents send her off to "True Directions", a camp-like experience that proposes to rehabilitate gay persons.  While attending camp, Megan is introduced to Graham Eaton (DuVall) and other "recovering" gays living in a saturated environment covered in the gender identifying colors of pink and blue.  Several weeks into the step-by-step program laid out for them, Megan begins to discover who she really is inside, and particularly on the outside when she takes a liking to another female camper in Graham.  With the help of an underground resistance and the support of one another "True Directions" may finally live up to its name when the campers decide to be proud of who they really are.  This movie has all the trappings of a made for TV movie, but in the end has a relatively positive message about acceptance. - JB -

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

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"Saving Grace", New Line Cinema, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.35:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 35 min, Rated R;  Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson, Martin Clunes, Tcheky Karyo, Jaime Foreman, Bill Bailey (IV), Valerie Edmond;  Grace Trevethyn’s (Blethyn) husband has just committed suicide.  Unfortunately, for Grace, he left behind more than memories past, in the form of many unpaid debts.  These debts threaten to take away the only thing Grace could count on: her home.  With no money left to borrow and nothing left to sell off, Grace takes up her gardener, Matthew (Ferguson), on an offer for her to help take care of his special medicinal plants.  Consumed by the potential profit now growing in her greenhouse, Grace finds herself pushing harder and harder to yield a bigger crop.  Even Matthew has been a little surprised by Grace’s latest actions.  In fact, Matthew’s girlfriend, Nicky (Edmond), is definitely not impressed by what she feels Grace has gotten him into and wants Matthew to pull out of the operation completely.   This is one last chance for Grace to right the ship her husband tipped over with his selfish life and she's not going to give it up so easily.  Although this movie deals with an old question of pot legality, it follows the main plot for the most part without turning it into a political statement. - JB -

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

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"Road Trip"2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), DTS, 1 Hr 33 min, Rated R;  Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, DJ Qualls, Rachel Blanchard, Anthony Rapp, Tom Green;  Josh Parker (Meyer) has spent his whole adult life with his girlfriend Tiffany (Blanchard).  Even when they both went away to different colleges, a pact was made that neither of them would ever be unfaithful to the other.  Well, as Josh and Tiffany find out, this is college and the window of opportunity to experience life with other people is getting smaller by the day.  Fast-forward several months in the lives of these two when Josh has been unable to communicate with Tiffany for several days.  Convinced she has dumped him for another man, Josh, with the push of his good friend E.L. (Scott), decides he can no longer ignore the opportunity presented to him, which is to be with Beth (Blanchard), the stunning blonde who has been courting Josh for weeks.  Fast-forward again to the morning after when Josh learns that a relative of Tiffany's has died, and that's why he hasn't heard from her.  To complicate things further, Josh's most recent video gram of himself to Tiffany was accidentally switched with a naughty tape he made of his night with Beth.  What this means is an 1800-mile road trip that may save a lifelong relationship for Josh and serves as an excuse for his friends to simply get out of school.  Unfortunately for the movie, during this trip, the discoveries along the way seem forced and contrived.  Also, there is very little that takes place on the trip that we didn't already know at the beginning of the film.  MTV's Tom Green gets to play basically himself, although his name is Barry Manilow in the movie.  Good for him, bad for us. - JB -

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

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"Dr. T & The Women", Artisan Entertainment, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.35:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 2 min, Rated R; Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Laura Dern, Shelley Long, Tara Reid, Kate Hudson, Liv Tyler; A Dallas gynecologist, "Dr. T" (Gere) has so many patients, most of them with no problems other than social, he takes to hiding out with his buddies in the Texas fields, hunting birds. In the meantime, his wife Kate (Fawcett) must be institutionalized in a Psychiatric hospital, and his daughter Connie (Reid) insinuates that his other daughter Dee Dee (Hudson) has been having an affair with friend Marilyn (Tyler), even though she is about to be married. The stress is too much, so he has an affair of his own, with local golf pro Bree (Hunt). If this plot sounds pathetic, it is. If you subscribe to one of those movie clubs, and you are unfortunate enough to get this DVD in the mail, you can use it as a coaster. - JEJ -

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

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"Get Carter", Morgan Creek Productions, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.35:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 43 min, Rated R; Sylvester Stallone, Miranda Richardson, Rachael Leigh Cook, Alan Cumming, Mickey Rourke, Michael Caine; In Las Vegas, loan shark enforcer Jack Carter (Stallone) thinks that his brother, who supposedly was driving drunk when he died in a car crash, was actually murdered. In the process of investigating that possibility, he beats the daylights out of numerous people in the porn and gambling industry, bullies women, and shoots a shady, but unarmed, businessman in the back. That pretty much says it all about this movie. It is definitely one of the worst films, not only of the year 2000, but of the last decade. - JEJ -

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

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"Gossip", Warner Bros., 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 30 min, Rated R;  James Marsden, Lena Headey, Norman Reedus, Kate Hudson, Sharon Lawrence, Eric Bogosian, Edward James Olmos, Joshua Jackson;  Derrick Webb (Marsden), Cathy Jones (Headey), and Travis (Reedus) are college roommates with a flare for the extreme.  While discussing the ethical implications of reporting false stories in their senior-level class, they decide to take this disposition to a new level.  For a class project, the trio decides that they are going to start their own rumor so they can watch it grow from an insider's perspective.  The target of choice:  recent transfer and notable tease Naomi Preston (Hudson).  The rumor:  that she had unwanted sex with her current boyfriend Beau (Jackson) at a recent party.  As the rumor steadily grows, Cathy struggles with her sense of responsibility to stop this rumor when their experiment is over.  See what happens when a few slanderous words mature to destroy the lives of their victims.  This was a very well paced and exciting movie up until the very end, when the last ten minutes comes out of nowhere to blindside you with unimaginative predictability. - JB -

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

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"Bring It On", Universal Studios, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 38 min, Rated PG-13;  Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradford, Gabrielle Union, Clare Kramer, Nicole Bilerback, Tsianina Joelson; For most high schools, tradition seems to lie within the boundaries of the playing field.  At Rancho Carne High School in San Diego, tradition can be found crossing those lines with their five-time national champion cheerleading squad. Torrance Shipman (Dunst), who has just been named the newest captain of the squad, intends on continuing the excellence that has been placed in her charge.  However, her ambition to live up to expectation costs the squad one of their members on the first day of practice when a difficult maneuver goes wrong.  This unfortunate turn of events leads to an open tryout to fill the open position on the squad, one that is filled by Missy Pantone (Dushku), who is a former gymnast and transfer student. Unfortunately, Missy would rather be tumbling than cheering.  After attending practice for a couple of minutes, Missy immediately realizes why the Toros of Rancho Carne have been so good and is prepared to take Torrance on a 100-mile trek to prove so.  Upon their arrival, Torrance is witness to the origination of their own cheers, long time challenger, the East Compton Clovers.  With this revelation fresh in her mind, Torrance approaches her team about coming up with a new cheer for the regional cheer-offs, a competition that is only a few weeks away.  The choreography, cheers, and acting throughout this movie are top-notch all the way around.  Also the re-creation of the real life experience of the national cheerleading championship (presented on ESPN2) rounded out the sense of realism.   This movie has a great soundtrack and is packed with tons of extras.  On a funny note, it is nice to see that 20 something's can still find work as high school seniors in Hollywood. - JB - 

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

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"The Watcher", Universal Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.86:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 37 min, Rated R;  James Spader, Marisa Tomei, Keanu Reeves; When FBI Agent Joel Campbell (Spader) has had enough of chasing serial killer David Allen Griffin (Reeves), he retires from the force and moves to Chicago. Griffin follows him there and entices him to start chasing him again by sending him photos of the women he plans to kill, giving Joel one day to find the intended victims. So, Joel temporarily goes active with the FBI again, leading the charge to capture Griffin. The story is riveting, and this is one case where the stroboscopic type of photography actually works to improve the impact. - JEJ -

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

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© Copyright 2001 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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