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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 74 - May, 2001

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"Charlie's Angels", Columbia Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio (DVD) 2.33:1, DD, 1 Hr 39 min, Rated PG-13; Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Tim Curry, Kelly Lynch; In keeping with 1970's current popularity, the hit program from that era "Charlie's Angels" hits the big screen. Natalie (Diaz), Dylan (Barrymore), and Alex (Liu) are assigned the task of finding a kidnap victim before magnate Roger Corwin (Curry) can wreak his havoc on the world. The victim's partner, Vivian Wood (Lynch) claims she knows nothing about it, but of course, she does and the Angels discover. Bosley (Murray) is along for the ride, just so you know it is going to be a comedy. The film has lots of action, lots of explosions, lots of chases, and lots of giggling Angels. The whites are clipped and the colors are over-saturated, but it is a fun, silly movie, just what the teenagers ordered. - JEJ -

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

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"The Emperor's New Groove", Walt Disney Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.68:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 17 min, Rated G; A long, long time ago, in a world that looks distinctively Aztec, Emperor Kuzco (voice of David Spade), a spoiled selfish young man, has decided to build a summer home on top of a hill where people already live. One of the hill's inhabitants, Pacha (voice of John Goodman), comes to ask the Emperor if he would mind choosing a different place for his new home, so that he won't have to move. Kuzco refuses and throws Pacha out of the palace. In the meantime, evil Yzma (voice of Eartha Kitt) and her bodyguard Kronk (voice of Patrick Warburton) cook up a potion that turns Kuzco into a Llama so that she can take the throne. The hoofed emperor asks Pacha if he will help him get back to the palace so that he can take an antidote. Pacha agrees on the condition that Kuzco find that other hill to build his summer home. So, the chase is on, and the fun is typical Disney. One of the few "G" rated movies of this century, I think. - JEJ -

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

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"Rangers", Phoenician Entertainment, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.75:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 40 min, Rated R; Matt McCoy, Glenn Plummer, Corbin Bernsen; A team of US Army Rangers, led by Captain Scott Broughten (McCoy), is sent to the Middle East to extract (kidnap) a terrorist leader named Hassim al Haddad. The terrorists seem to be waiting for them, but they succeed in taking Haddad, although one of the team, Lt. Shannon (Plummer) gets left behind. Haddad's fellow terrorists let Shannon in on a little secret, that he was betrayed by Americans who wanted the mission to fail. They offer him millions of dollars in a foreign bank account if he will help them get Haddad back. He agrees, and they all go to the US. It turns out the people very high up are involved in the dirty tricks, including an Army General and a US Senator (Bernsen), so Plummer does not know who to trust. The story has all the ingredients that a typical American male would probably enjoy: terrorists vs. tough soldiers, beautiful women, exit wound violence, the bad guys getting blown up, etc. Unfortunately, the script is terrible, and the whole thing comes off as very amateurish. - JEJ -

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

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"Tigerland", Regency Enterprises, 2001, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.82:1, DD, 1 Hr 41 min, Rated R; Colin Farrell, Matthew Davis, Shea Whigham, Russell Richardson; Roland Bozz (Farrell) is drafted into the Army, and decides he is not going to play by the rules. His troublemaking gets him into constant trouble with the drill instructors and the commanding Major. After six weeks of basic training, he is sent to Tigerland, which is another training base made to give the recruits an experience like they will expect in Viet Nam. In spite of having checked out of wanting any responsibility, Bozz finds himself a platoon leader who turns his group into an effective fighting team. The movie has been suggested as a real sleeper, but it seems one that would only be interesting to a few. - JEJ -

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

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"Quills", Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.82:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 4 min, Rated R; Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine; In late 18th century France, Napoleon is Emperor, and the Marquis de Sade is in an insane asylum writing pornographic novels. Father Coulmier (Phoenix), who manages the asylum, does not mind de Sade writing, but unbeknown to him, the Marquis is using the laundry maid, Madeleine (Winslet) to sneak the manuscripts out so that they can be published. The entire country is aflame with wanton behavior, and since the French Revolution is underway, Napoleon thinks there is enough trouble already. He assigns Dr. Royer-Collard (Caine) the task of shutting down these novels. So, Collard goes to the asylum and tries to talk some sense into Father Coulmier about restricting de Sade. The manuscripts continue, and the asylum ends up being burned to the ground. I will tell you something you probably already know: this is no Disney film. It is graphically depraved and filled with all sorts of debauchery. So, be forewarned, you will get more than you bargained for. - JEJ -

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

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"What Women Want", Paramount Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.78:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 6 min, Rated PG-13; Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Lauren Holly, Alan Alda; At Sloane/Curtis, an advertising agency in Chicago, Nick Marshall's (Gibson) hopes to become the Creative Director are dashed when the head of the agency, Dan Wanamaker (Alda) hires Darcy Maguire (Hunt) to take the job. At home, Nick accidentally almost gets electrocuted, and when he wakes up, he finds he has a new skill. He can hear women thinking. Using this, he attempts to get Darcy fired by announcing her ideas as his own, as soon as he hears her thinking of them. In the meantime, he also uses his thought reading to try and bring himself closer to his daughter Alex (Ashley Johnson). When Nick falls in love with Darcy, he has to decide whether or not to tell the truth about whose ideas were whose, especially when Darcy is fired. The basic concept of the plot is very intriguing, but it was not carried through with all the possibilities. Instead it wastes time with scenes that look like filler. But, it does have its moments. I never knew that at the Prom, it was really all about the dress. - JEJ -

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

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"Pay it Forward", Warner Brothers, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.78:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 3 min, Rated PG-13; Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Haley Joel Osment, Jon Bon Jovi, Angie Dickinson; Las Vegas Junior High School Social Studies teacher Eugene Simonet (Spacey) writes an assignment on the blackboard, suggesting to the students that they  think of a way to change the world and then do something about it. Young Trevor McKinney (Osment) takes the assignment to heart and brings a homeless man to his own house. He tells the man to repay the favor to three other people rather than to him, i.e., pay it forward. His mother, Arlene (Hunt) has a fit when she finds the homeless man sleeping in her garage and complains to Mr. Simonet. So begins a very odd relationship between the three, complicated by Arlene's abusive former lover Ricky (Bon Jovi) and father of Trevor, not to mention Arlene's alcoholism, her mother Grace (Dickinson) living in a hobo camp, and some serious burns on Eugene's face that he does not want to talk about. The storyline reminds me of an old movie called "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" with Glenn Ford. But that was a fun movie. "Pay it Forward" is filled with very depressing moments and has an unpleasant ending. It didn't do well at the box office. - JEJ -

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

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"Miss Congeniality", Castle Rock Entertainment, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.78:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 50 min, Rated PG-13;  Sandra Bullock, William Shatner, Benjamin Bratt, Michael Caine, Candice Bergen; FBI Agent Gracie Hart (Bullock) concentrates on her job 24/7, not having time for a social life. So, when she is chosen by her boss Eric (Bratt) to be an undercover agent at the Miss United States Beauty Pageant, because of terrorist threats, a lot of work has to be done. The job is assigned to Victor Melling (Caine), who specializes in turning ugly ducklings into swans. The people who run the pageant, Kathy Morningside (Bergen) and Stan Fields (Shatner), are appalled at her initial appearance, but Melling does his job well, and Gracie is now a swan. Just in time too, because the terrorists are getting ready to blow up the stage during the finals. The movie makes fun of all sorts of things, including the undeserved stereotype that beautiful women are dumb. Bullock is a very appealing actress, with an ease of portraying a beer swilling, chewing with her mouth open, character that is quite ingenuous. - JEJ -

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

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"Vertical Limit", Columbia Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.81:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 4 min, Rated PG-13; Chris O'Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn; Peter Garrett (O'Donnell), his sister Annie (Tunney), and their father Royce (Stuart Wilson) are mountain climbing when there is a bad accident that kills Royce. Annie blames Peter, and they don't speaker for several years. During a climb on K-2, a 28,250 feet high peak in Pakistan's Karakoram mountain range, Annie and a team of climbers, including a suspicious man by the name of Elliott Vaughn (Paxton), are stranded by a storm and fall into a crevice. Peter happens to be there as a photographer, and is talked into the rescue. He takes along an old climber, Montgomery Wick (Glenn), who is reluctant, but agrees because of a million dollar reward for rescuing them. The film has spectacular views and incredible digital effects, but it is no "Cliffhanger" in terms of maintaining interest.  - JEJ -

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

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Copyright 2001 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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