Hide and Seek
Robert De Niro stars as David Callaway, a troubled father and widower, and Dakota Fanning portrays his young daughter Emily, who is hiding an incredible secret. As the story opens, Callaway's wife Alison (Amy Irving) dies
suddenly, traumatizing Emily. Father and daughter move to Upstate New York to distance Emily from the memories of her life in Manhattan with her mother. Soon thereafter, Emily develops a Hide and Seek game friendship with an imaginary friend named Charlie. At
first, David sees Charlie as a positive way for Emily to express herself. But a series of terrifying acts lead him to imagine the unimaginable: Charlie may actually be real ... and if so, he must be stopped.
Director: John Polson. Stars: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker, Melissa Leo. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 101 min., Horror, Box office gross: $50.977 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for
Bride & Prejudice
"Bride and Prejudice" puts an entirely different spin on Jane Austen's story of spirited courtship -- Bollywood-style. Music, dance and spectacle merge with love, vanity and social pressures, as director Gurinder Chadha
transports the comic tale of a witty young woman trying to find a suitable husband to a cross-cultural setting that spans 21st century India, London and America. It all begins in a modest Indian village when the determined Mrs. Bakshi sets out to find marriage matches
for her four beautiful daughters while there's a lavish wedding party in town. Right away, the smart and headstrong Lalita (Aishwarya Rai) announces she will only marry for love, giving her mother nightmares. Then Lalita meets the wealthy American Will Darcy
(Martin Henderson) and sparks immediately fly. But is it love or hate? Darcy comes off to Lalita as an arrogant California snob. Lalita looks to Darcy like a small-town Indian beauty who knows nothing of the world. Alternately enchanted by and suspicious of one
another, Lalita and Darcy nearly fall prey to assumptions, gossip and a comedy of errors ... until pride is humbled and prejudice overcome so that love can triumph.
Director: Gurinder Chadha. Stars: Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson, Nadira Babbar, Anupam Kher, Naveen Andrews, Namrata Shirodkar, Daniel Gillies. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 111 min., Musical romantic comedy, Box office gross: $6.231 million,
Buena Vista, DVD only.
In My Country
Based on the international best-selling book "Country Of My Skull" by Antjie
Krog and inspired from real-life events. The film chronicles how the dismantling
of the apartheid system in South Africa starting in 1990 was just the beginning
of an amazing odyssey for the South African people, demonstrating that even the
cruelest acts can be healed with love and compassion. In 1996, the South African
government established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate
abuses of human rights under apartheid. These hearings would serve as a forum
for those accused of murder and torture to be confronted by their victims and,
by admitting their guilt, be granted amnesty under Ubuntu, the native custom of
forgiveness. Covering the sessions are Langston Whitfield (Samuel L. Jackson)
and Anna Malan (Juliette Binoche), two journalists who, through their reporting,
inspire both the world and themselves with these extraordinary stories about
courage, compassion and the redeeming power of love. Winner of the "Diamond
Cinema for Peace Award" at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival.
Director: John Boorman. Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Juliette Binoche, Brendan Gleeson, Menzi Ngubane, Sam Ngakane. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 103 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.110 million, Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Emotionally charged story about one woman's
struggle with depression and self discovery. Based on the national bestselling
Elizabeth Wurtzel autobiography. Wurtzel (Christina Ricci) is an exceptional
student writer who earns a scholarship to Harvard. This scholarship finally
gives her the chance to escape from her overbearing mother (Jessica Lange), put
her absentee father out of her mind and concentrate on her true talent. But once
Elizabeth is on her own at college, she dives into a self-destructive mode of
drug abuse, drinking and sex. This ultimately leads her into a dark depression
that paralyzes her academically and socially. Her saving grace is her therapist
and the wonder drug of the 80s, Prozac.
Director: Erik Skjoldbjr. Stars: Christina Ricci, Jessica Lange, Jason Biggs,
Anne Heche Michelle Williams, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. 2001, CC, MPAA rating:
R, 95 min., Drama, Miramax, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental. DVD only.
Having left her abusive husband years earlier, Lizzie Morrison (Emily Mortimer) tried to shelter her deaf son, Frankie (Jack McElhone) from the truth. Believing his dad is a world traveler by ship, Frankie writes him regularly
while Lizzie answers his letters in disguise as his father. By a fluke, his dad's ship is scheduled to port in their town, so Lizzie hires a stranger (Gerard Butler) to act as Frankie's dad. What she doesn't expect is the bond Frankie will develop with this stranger and the
feelings she finds deep within herself.
Director: Shona Auerbach. Stars: Emily Mortimer, Jack McElhone, Gerard Butler, Mary Riggans, Sharon Small, Katy Murphy, Sean Brown. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 105 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.328 million, Miramax. DVD only.
Million Dollar Baby
Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) has trained
and managed some incredible fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. The
most important lesson he teaches his boxers is the one that rules his life:
above all, always protect yourself. In the wake of a painful estrangement from
his daughter, Frankie has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for
a very long time. His only friend is Scrap (Morgan Freeman), an ex-boxer who
looks after Frankie's gym and knows that beneath his gruff exterior is a man who
has attended Mass almost every day for the past 23 years, seeking the
forgiveness that somehow continues to elude him. Then Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary
Swank) walks into his gym. Maggie's never had much, but there is one thing she
does have that very few people in this world ever do: she knows what she wants
and she's willing to do whatever it takes to get it. In a life of constant
struggle, Maggie's gotten herself this far on raw talent, unshakable focus and a
tremendous force of will. But more than anything, what she wants is for someone
to believe in her. The last thing Frankie needs is that kind of responsibility
-- let alone that kind of risk. He tells Maggie the blunt hard truth: she's too
old and he doesn't train girls. But "no" has little meaning when you have no
other choice. Unwilling or unable to give up on her life's ambition, Maggie
wears herself to the bone at the gym every day, encouraged only by Scrap.
Finally won over by Maggie's sheer determination, Frankie begrudgingly agrees to
take her on. In turns exasperating and inspiring each other, the two come to
discover that they share a common spirit that transcends the pain and loss of
their pasts, and find in each other a sense of family they lost long ago. What
they don't know is that soon they will both face a battle that's going to demand
more heart and courage than any they've ever known.
Director: Clint Eastwood. Stars: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman,
Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brian F. O'Byrne. 2004, CC, MPAA
rating: PG-13, 132 min., Drama, Box office gross: $97.825 million, Warner, No
VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Very Long Engagement, A
From the director and star of "Amelie"
(Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Audrey Tautou) comes a very different love story. Based
on the acclaimed novel by Sebastien Japrisot, the film is set in France near the
end of World War I in the deadly trenches of the Somme, in the gilded Parisian
halls of power, and in the modest home of an indomitable provincial girl.
As World War I draws to an end, a young French woman's (Tautou) greatest fight
is about to begin. Mathilde has received word that her fiance Manech is one of
five wounded soldiers who have been court-martialed and pushed out into the
no-man's land between the French and German armies -- and almost certain death.
Unwilling to accept that her beloved Manech is lost to her forever, Mathilde
embarks on an extraordinary journey to discover the fate of her lover. At each
turn, she receives a different heartbreaking variation on how Manech must have
spent those last days, those last moments. Still, she never gets discouraged.
With a steadfast faith, strengthened by hope and a stubbornly cheerful
disposition, Mathilde follows her investigation to its conclusion, convincing
those who might help her and ignoring those who will not. It's an investigation
into the arbitrary nature of secrecy, the absurdity of war, and the enduring
passion, intuition and tenacity of the human heart. In French with English subtitles.
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Jean-Pierre
Becker, Dominique Bettenfeld. 2004, CC, MPAA rating: R, 134 min., Drama, Box
office gross: $6.167 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
In this pitch-black comedy from legendary
writer-director Preston Sturges, Rex Harrison stars as Sir Alfred De Carter, a
world-famous symphony conductor consumed with the suspicion that his wife is
having an affair. During a concert, the jealous De Carter entertains elaborate
visions of vengeance, set to three separate orchestral works. But when he
attempts to put his murderous fantasies into action, nothing works out quite as
planned. A brilliantly performed mixture of razor-sharp dialogue and uproarious
slapstick, "Unfaithfully Yours" is a true classic from a grand master of screen
Director: Preston Sturges. Stars: Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell, Barbara Lawrence,
Kurt Kreuger. 1948, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 105 min., Comedy, The Criterion Collection.
The Story of Marie and Julien
Julien (Jerzy Radwilowicz) is a man who repairs clocks and is in the process of blackmailing a woman known only as Madame X (Anne Brochet). Julien is in love with Marie (Emmanuelle Beart), who he once met
at a party and has dreamt of ever since. When they bump into each other in the street she too is keen to renew their acquaintance and soon moves into Julien's rambling old house. Slowly, it becomes apparent that there's something strange about Marie. Madame X helps
Julien gradually realize that he has to uncover Marie's secret -- and by doing so face losing her. By one of the grand masters of the French New Wave and modern cinema, Jacques Rivette, who, at 77, can still make a delightful and meaningful film. In French with
Director: Jacques Rivette. Stars: Emmanuelle Beart, Jerzy Radwilowicz, Anne
Brochet, Bettina Kee, Olivier Cruveiller. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 150
min., Drama, Fox Lorber, DVD only
Le Notti Bianche
A chance encounter on a canal bridge results in
a series of twilight rendezvous between a lonely city transplant (Marcello
Mastroianni) and a sheltered woman (Maria Schell) haunted by a lover's promise.
Their hesitant courtship soon entangles both of them in a web of longing and
self-delusion. Adapted from the Fyodor Dostoyevsky short story, director Luchino
Visconti's film -- shot entirely on indoor sets in ravishing black-and-white --
is a shattering, dreamlike tale of longing and faith. In Italian with English subtitles.
Director: Luchino Visconti. Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Schell. 1957,
CC, MPAA rating: NR, 101 min., Drama, The Criterion Collection.
J.S.A. (Joint Security Area)
Murder mystery set at the only meeting point between North and South Korea. In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier.
But the 11 bullets found in the bodies, together with the 5 remaining bullets in the assassin's magazine clip, amount to 16 bullets for a gun that should normally hold 15. The investigating Swiss/Swedish team from the neutral countries overseeing the DMZ suspects that
another unknown party was involved -- all of which points to some sort of cover up. The truth is much simpler and much more tragic. In Korean with English subtitles.
Director: Park Chan-wook. Stars: Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-hun Lee, Kang-ho Song,
Tae-woo Kim, Ha-kyun Shin. 2000, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 110 min.,
Mystery, Palm Pictures, DVD only.
At the center of the Middle East conflict, hearts beat in tragic comedy and deadpan irony: a sexy young Palestinian woman defies Israeli soldiers and struts through a check-point as if it were the catwalk of a fashion show;
Santa Claus is chased up the sun-drenched hills of Nazareth by a gang of knife-wielding school kids; Israeli police use a blindfolded prisoner to provide directions to tourists in Jerusalem; a Palestinian collaborator casually extinguishes his firebombed house on a daily
basis; and a female ninja descends from the sky, holding the map of Palestine as her battle shield. These are but a few of the provocative images that filmmaker Elia Suleiman puts forth in his critically-acclaimed satire chronicling the absurdities of life and love on both
sides of the Palestinian-Israeli border. Arabic, Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Elia Suleiman. Stars: Elia Suleiman, Nayef Fahoum Daher. 2002, CC,
MPAA rating: NR, 90 min., Comedy, Fox Lorber. DVD only.
Climbing your way to success takes on a new meaning in this South Korean horror-thriller. Two friends studying ballet find themselves in competition for a single coveted spot at a prestigious Russian dance school. An urban
legend about the staircase behind the school's dormitory building says that if you climb the 28 steps, counting each aloud, a 29th step will appear and a wish will be granted to the lucky person. Yun Ji-seong knows just what she wants to wish for. But unbeknownst to
her, the wishing stairs have consequences -- and she's about to find out the hard way. This is the directorial debut of Yun Jae-yeon, one of the few female directors on the Asian horror scene. In Korean with English subtitles.
Director: Yun Jae-yeon. Stars: Ji-hyo Song, Han-byeol Park, An Jo, Ji-Yeon Park. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: R, 97 min., Horror-thriller, Tartan Asia Extreme.
The Boys & Girl From County
County Clare, Ireland, 1970.
John Joe MacMahon (Bernard Hill) may be an aging bachelor and solitary farmer,
but he plays a rousing fiddle with his own little band. John Joe is quite the
local hero in County Clare because his band has won the All Irish Band
Competition for the last two years. Naturally, John Joe is determined to win the
trophy again this year, but rumor has it that for the first time a hot Irish
band out of Liverpool will be crossing the Sea to give them a run for their
money and the band is none other than that of his long lost brother, Jimmy (Colm
Meany), whom he has not heard a bloody word from for 20 odd years. Both brothers
try their darndest to prevent the other from registering in time for the
competition -- Jimmy pays some hooligans to steal the wheels from John Joe's
van, and John Joe has arranged for the customs inspector to delay Jimmy as he
drives off the ferry -- but both manage by hook or by crook to register in the
nick of time. Now the brothers not only have to face each other, they have to
deal with members from opposing bands falling in love with each other. When enemies fall in love, and fueding brothers face off, anything can happen --
to the tune of music. A charming romantic comedy.
Director: John Irvin. Stars: Bernard Hill, Charlotte Bradley, Andrea Corr, Colm
Meaney, Shaun Evans. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 90 min., Comedy, Box office
gross: $0.117 million, First Look Home Entertainment, No VHS SRP, Priced for
Based on the DC/Vertigo comic book "Hellblazer," "Constantine" tells the story of irreverent supernatural detective John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), who has literally been to hell and back. Born with a gift he didn't want, the
ability to clearly recognize the half-breed angels and demons that walk the earth in human skin, Constantine was driven to take his own life to escape the tormenting clarity of his vision. But he failed. Resuscitated against his will, he found himself cast back into the land
of the living. Now, marked as an attempted suicide with a temporary lease on life, he patrols the earthly border between heaven and hell, hoping in vain to earn his way to salvation by sending the devil's foot soldiers back to the depths. But Constantine is no saint.
Disillusioned by the world around him and at odds with the one beyond, he's a hard-drinking, hard-living bitter hero who scorns the very idea of heroism. Constantine will fight to save your soul but he doesn't want your admiration or your thanks -- and certainly not
your sympathy. All he wants is a reprieve. When Constantine teams up with skeptical policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister (also played by Weisz), their investigation takes them through the world of demons
and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Caught in a catastrophic series of otherworldy events, the two become inextricably involved and seek to find their own peace at whatever cost.
Director: Francis Lawrence. Stars: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf,
Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Tilda Swinton,
Peter Stormare. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 121 min., Horror thriller, Box
office gross: $75.390 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Man of the House
A by-the-book Texas Ranger Roland Sharp (Tommy
Lee Jones) tracks down a key informant with the help of an ex-con turned
preacher Percy Stevens (Cedric the Entertainer). But when the informant is
offed, the hard-headed Sharp is assigned to protect the only witnesses to the
crime -- a group of University of Texas cheerleaders -- by going undercover and
moving in with the five uncontrollable college coeds. For a guy used to ducking
bullets and confronting heavily armed drug dealers, he's now up to his elbows in
Director: Stephen Herek. Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Cedric the Entertainer,
Christina Milian, Paula Garces, Monica Keena, Vanessa Ferlito, Kelli Garner,
Anne Archer. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: Pg-13, 97 min., Comedy, Box office
gross: $19.118 million, Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
A high-school bookworm transforms into a swan in this family entertainment. Brainy Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg) has never quite fit in. Caught between her fantasy of becoming a championship figure skater and her
strong-willed mother (Joan Cusack), who has her on the fast track to Harvard, she can only hope to be like Nikki, Tiffany and Gen -- three elite skating prodigies who are ruthlessly competing on the U.S.Figure Skating circuit (and have attitudes to match). But when
Casey gets the chance to train with Gen (Hayden Panettiere) and her coach, a disgraced former skating champion who also happens to be Gen's mother (Kim Cattrall), she must dash her own mother's hopes in order to pursue her dream. Now, with only the support of
Gen's teenage brother, a hunky Zamboni driver (Trevor Blumas), Casey takes on the challenge of her life when she finds herself competing against the best to make it into the championship circuit and become a real "ice princess."
Director: Tim Fywell. Stars: Joan Cusack, Kim Cattrall, Michelle Trachtenberg, Hayden Panettiere, Trevor Blumas, Connie Ray, Kirsten Olson. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: G, 92 min., Family, Box office gross: $20.942 million, Buena Vista, $29.99 VHS
One of the most popular Imax films ever, "Space
Station" treats audiences like real astronauts from blast-off to life inside the
International Space Station. Made with the cooperation of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), "Space Station" is the story of the
unique partnership of 16 nations building a laboratory in outer space -- a
permanent facility for the study of the effects of long-duration exposure to
zero gravity and the necessary first step towards the global co-operative effort
needed if man is to someday set foot on Mars. The film is highlighted by the
challenges, setbacks and triumphs of this groundbreaking engineering feat -- and
ultimately, the shared international victory of men and women whose dreams
exceed the limits of life on Earth. "Space Station" follows two separate space
shuttles that leave from Florida's Kennedy Space Center and Russia's Baikonur
Cosmodrome to rendezvous with their new home in orbit 220 miles above Earth. A
gorgeous and involving film.
Director: Toni Myers. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 47 min., Documentary, Box
office gross: $50.287 million, Warner.
Up and Down
A dysfunctional family reunion between a college
professor, his long-estranged son and the lover they both shared. Two petty
pickpockets who attempt to rob a black belt in karate. A dimwitted soccer
hooligan whose wife buys a baby in a pawnshop. These are just a few of the
unconnected strangers who find a common connection in the award-winning comedy
from the director of "Divided We Fall." Winner of five Czech Lion Awards
including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actress. In Czech with English subtitles.
Director: Jan Hrebejk. Stars: Petr Forman, Emilia Vasaryova, Jan Triska, Ingrid
Timkova, Kristina Bokova. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 113 min., Comedy, Box
office gross: $0.204 million, Sony.
Award-winning director Ulf Malmros' bold visual
style, breakneck pacing, and a pulse-pounding soundtrack make this a viscerally exhilarating black comedy. In a quaint rural village filled with small town madness, former beauty queen Susie (Tuva Novotny) is missing. Her brother, Erik (Jonas Rimeika) returns from
Stockholm to find out what happened to her, and is shocked to discover his sweet and innocent sister was anything but! In Swedish with English subtitles.
Director: Ulf Malmros. Stars: Tuva Novotny, Jonas Rimeika, Bjuorn Starrin, Kjell
Bergqvist. 2003, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 97 min., Comedy, Home Vision Entertainment.
A potent brew of suspense and black humor, "Nowhere
Man" is the story of one man's search for his missing member, severed and stolen
by his jilted fiancee after her pornographic past comes to light. To make
matters worse, she's demanding a ransom for the penis -- which a doxtor says can
be re-attached if tracked down in time -- and is hiding out with the
well-endowed porn star who started all the trouble. Weird, idiosyncratic
low-budget film (shot on video) with intriguing plot (the search for manhood)
and top-notch acting. It's a pulp psychodrama of love and revenge. Not for the
Director: Tim McCannn. Stars: Michael Rodrick, Debbie Rochon, Frank Olivier, Bob
Gosse, Lloyd Kaufman. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 80 min., Drama, First Run
The Upside of Anger
Joan Allen stars as the sharp-witted Terry
Wolfmeyer, a suburban wife and mother whose life takes an unusual turn when her
husband unexpectedly disappears. Struggling to deal with his sudden absence,
Terry finds herself increasingly at odds with her four headstrong daughters
(Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russell and Alicia Witt) and
regularly drowning her anger in alcohol, until she develops an offbeat
relationship with her next-door neighbor, Denny (Kevin Costner). A once-great
baseball star turned radio DJ, Denny becomes a drinking buddy for Terry and
slowly evolves into her source of strength, as well as an ad-hoc father to her
daughters. But things get complicated as Terry's daughters grow accustomed to
having Denny around while attempting to juggle not only their mother's romantic
dilemmas, but their own.
Director: Mike Binder. Stars: Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Erika Christensen, Evan
Rachel Wood, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt, Mike Binder. 2005, CC, MPAA rating:
R, 118 min., Drama, Box office gross: $18.204 million, New Line, No VHS SRP,
Priced for rental.
A successful and wealthy businessmen, with plenty
of attitude to spare, Malcolm (Anthony Anderson) has made more than his share of
enemies over the years, including his soon-to-be ex-wife (Kellita Smith) and his
overworked, under-appreciated employees. Not wanting to go through a messy and
expensive divorce played out in the media, Malcolm devises a plan to save his
money from his wife's eager hands. Along with the help of his mistress, Peaches
(Regina Hall), Malcolm plots his own kidnapping in order to secure a fictitious
ransom so extremely high that, once paid, the public will think he's broke and
unable to meet his wife's financial demands. But unbeknownst to Malcolm, he's
not the only one with a kidnapping plan. Not only his wife, but one of his
long-suffering employees (Nicole Parker) and a dim-witted local bumpkin (Jay
Mohr), have all cooked up separate schemes of their own, each more ridiculous
than the next.
Director: Jeff Byrd. Stars: Anthony Anderson, Jay Mohr, Kellita Smith, Nicole
Ari Parker, Regina Hall, Loretta Devine, Donald Faison. 2005, CC, MPAA
rating: PG-13, 98 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $2.137 million, New Line, No
VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
xXx: State of the Union
A follow-up to the blockbuster 2002 film starring Vin Diesel. In this lackluster sequel, the winds of political change are rumbling through the halls of the Capitol as a popular president is being targeted for assassination
by a radical splinter group of dissenters deep within the United States government. Only two people stand between anarchy and freedom: One of them, Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson), has just survived a hit on the National Security Agency's top-secret
headquarters and is on the run. The other, a decorated Special Ops soldier, Darius Stone (Ice Cube), sits under close guard in a military prison. Gibbons aids in Stone's daring escape from prison and convinces him to become a new xXx agent to stop the overthrow of the
U.S. government. At the White House, the centrist President Sanford (Peter Strauss) butts heads with his radical Secretary of Defense, George Deckert (Willem Dafoe), a former general with past ties to both Gibbons and Stone. When Deckert attends a government gala,
Stone impersonates a waiter in the hopes of overhearing insider information. Stone then is pursued by FBI agent Kyle Steele (Scott Speedman), an ambitious up-and-comer who considers Stone a dangerous criminal. To aid him in his mission, Stone turns to two old
friends from his days on the streets of Washington: Lola (Nona Gaye), a former flame who now owns a high-end car dealership, and Zeke (Xzibit), a renegade chop-shop operator with access to both weaponry and personnel. When President Sanford is kidnapped after a
brazen attack on the U.S. Capitol, Stone and his compatriots must unite to oppose one of the most formidable threats to American freedom ever mounted, led by an enemy with the ultimate in modern firepower and manpower at its disposal.
Director: Lee Tamahori. Stars: Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, Willem Dafoe, Scott
Speedman, Peter Strauss, Xzibit. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min.,
Action thriller, Box office gross: $25.607 million, Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for
A young taxi driver looking for a fresh start, Young-hyun (Kim Myeong-min) moves into apartment 504 of a crumbling tenement -- an eerie building that seems strangely familiar. He soon discovers that the previous tenant died
mysteriously, burning to death in the apartment, and that everyone on the floor -- the grieving fiancee, a novelist, am elderly barber and the bickering couple down the hall -- are all connected to the dead man. When he stumbles into an affair with a neighbor, a battered
wife named Sun-yeong, it sends them both down a dark and fearful path. But something else is amiss, something far more sinister. Strange secrets begin to reveal themselves. Does a ghost haunt the tenants of this rundown apartment complex or does true evil exist within
everyone left behind? In Korean with English subtitles.
Director: Yun Jong-chan. Stars: Kim Myeong-min, Jang Jin-young. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 112 min., Horror-thriller, Tartan Asia Extreme.
Gate of Flesh
In the black markets of bombed-out post-WWII
Tokyo, a band of prostitutes scratch out a meager existence, trying to maintain their self-dignity within a self-imposed code that forbids romantic attachments. But when they take in both a young orphan eager to join their group and a rough but attractive ex-soldier,
personal lusts conflict with their ordered world and
loyalties become strained. Director Seijun Suzuki's stylish adaptation of the
often-filmed novel seethes with brilliant color and raw passion. In Japanese
with English subtitles.
Director: Seijun Suzuki. Stars: Yumiko Nogawa, Jo Shishido, Kayo Matsuo, Satoko
Kasai, Tamiko Ishii. 1964, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 90 min., Drama, The Criterion Collection.
Story of a Prostitute
Volunteering as one of seven "comfort
women" expected to serve hundreds of soldiers on the Manchurian front during
World War II, Harumi is commandeered as the sole property of the brutal
adjutant Narita, but falls in love with the sensitive Mikami, Narita's direct
subordinate. In this tragic love story, director Seijun Suzuki takes a
rule-bending approach to the classic Taijiro Tamura novel, challenging the code
of honor among men and country, as seen through young Harumi's eyes. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Director: Seijun Suzuki. Stars: Yumiko Nogawa, Tamio Kawaji, Isao Tamagawa.
1965, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 96 min., Drama, The
Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi's debut is a mesmerizing
symphony of sight and sound that chronicles a series of mysterious interconnected events both idyllic and sinister. From an elderly man's hiccup (or hukkle) to a microscopically observed menagerie of animals, "Hukkle" lovingly magnifies the little moments of a summer
day that usually pass unnoticed. With minimum dialogue, "Hukkle" brims with subtle secrets waiting to be unlocked and etches a quirky portrait of a rustic village where things are not what they seem. In Hungarian with English subtitles.
Director: Gyorgy Palfi. Stars: Ferenc Bandi, Jozsefne Racz, Jozsef Forkas,
Ferenc Nagy. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 75 min., Comedy, Home Vision Entertainment.
All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a
Rotel RDV-1060 DVD Audio/Video Player, a
Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center),
and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.