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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 77 - August, 2001

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"Chocolat", Miramax Films, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.81:1, DD, 2 Hr 2 min, Rated R; Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin, Johnny Depp; In a small French town, the Comte de Reynaud (Molina), who is the town mayor, likes to see everyone behave properly, which means going to church every sunday. When Vianne (Binoche) and her daughter Anouk move into town, and open a Chocolaterie right in the middle of Lent, and also state that they don't attend church, he decides that they will not be long in business. At first, everyone else in town sides with the mayor, but soon begin to enjoy not only Vianne's help with their problems, but the delicious chocolates she prepares for them. This includes a crusty old woman, Armande Voizin (Dench), her daughter Caroline (Moss), grandson, and a physically abused woman down the street (Olin). A group of Irish vagabonds, led by Roux (Depp) comes into town, and the mayor decides something must be done, especially when Vianne throws a party on one of their boats. I thought this might end up being a silly movie, but was delighted to find how enjoyable it was. The five Academy Award nominations were well deserved.  - JEJ -

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

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"Enemy at the Gates", Paramount Pictures, 2001, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.29:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 11 min, Rated R; Joseph Fiennes, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Bob Hoskins, Ed Harris; During the winter of 1942, Nazi Germany assaulted Stalingrad as part of Hitler's plan to conquer the Soviet Union. One of the tactics that Russia had was to use snipers to kill Nazi officers, demoralizing the German Army. Russia had one sharp shooter in particular, Vassili Zaitsev (Law), who was promoted in the newspapers by his friend Danilov (Fiennes) to hero status. The Nazis sent one of their best snipers, Major Koenig (Harris) to kill Zaitsev. Complicating things was that both Vassili and Danilov fell in love with the same girl, Tania (Weisz), and they become jealous of one another. Based on a true story, this is a superb war movie, having adapted to the new level of graphic portrayal of how terrible the violence really was, as shown by Spielberg in "Saving Private Ryan". I have seen some inept reviews of this film elsewhere, complaining that there was too much emphasis on the love story, and that it moved too slowly here and there, but if you pay attention to The History Channel on TV, where the details of these two historic soldiers have been discussed from time to time, you will find the movie as thrilling as I did, even though the real German sniper was named Konings, and the real Tania was a blonde. Bob Hoskins' portrayal of Nikita Kruschev deserves an Oscar in my opinion. - JEJ -

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

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"15 Minutes", New Line Cinema, 2001, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.27:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 1 min, Rated R; Robert De Niro, Edward Burns, Kelsey Grammer, Karel Roden, Oleg Taktarov, Vera Farmiga, Melina Kanakaredes. New York Detective Eddie Flemming (De Niro) is legendary for his ability to solve cases, and when he steps on the toes of Arson Inspector Jordy Warsaw (Burns) after a fire kills two people in an apartment, the friction begins. Eddie and Jordy both think that the two people were murdered, with the fire started to cover it up. When a third person is found stabbed to death later, they begin to put the pieces together, linking two East European travelers, Emil Slovak (Roden) and Oleg Razgul (Taktarov) to the crimes. A witness, Daphne Handlova (Farmiga) surfaces, and Eddie and Jordy start closing in. They find that the two murderers have been video taping their crimes, in hopes of finding fame in the movies after they are caught. Local TV show host Robert Hawkins (Grammer) is only too willing to help them reach his audiences. The movie has some innovative photography, with a good deal of it shown through the eyes of the murderers, using their video camera. It is fast paced and brutal, with a satisfying conclusion. - JEJ -

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

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"Hannibal", MGM/Universal, 2001, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.84:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 11 min, Rated R; Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta; FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Moore) just does not want to give up on finding escaped murderer Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), so Hannibal comes out of hiding. In the meantime, one of his former victims is also hunting for him. Top that off with an Italian police detective discovering who a local museum curator really is (Hannibal), and wanting to turn him in for the reward, and Hannibal starts getting nervous. But not so out of sorts that he cannot do his usual things, like eating the brains of one of his predators. Jullianne Moore does a wonderful job of taking up where Jodie Foster left off, and of course, Hopkins is brilliant as the psychotic doctor who likes his meals from things that are not on the menu. However, the story is not as captivating as "Silence of the Lambs", with very little in the way of suspense. The shock value, though, is everything you could imagine. - JEJ -

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

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Copyright 2001 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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