Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Difficult times lie ahead for Harry Potter. Beset by nightmares that leave his scar hurting more than usual, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is all too happy to escape his disturbing dreams by attending the Quidditch
World Cup with his friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson). But something sinister ignites the skies at the Quidditch campsite -- the Dark Mark, the sign of the evil Lord Voldemort. It's conjured by his followers, the Death Eaters, who haven't dared
to appear in public since Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) was last seen thirteen years ago -- the night he murdered Harry's parents. Harry longs to get back inside the safe walls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon)
can protect him. But things are going to be a little different this year.
Dumbledore announces that Hogwarts will host the Triwizard Tournament, one of the most exciting and dangerous of the wizarding community's magical competitions. One champion will be selected from each of the three largest and most
prestigious wizarding schools to compete in a series of life-threatening tasks in pursuit of winning the coveted Triwizard Cup. At a candlelit ceremony fraught with anticipation, the enchanted Goblet of Fire selects one student from each school to compete. Amidst a hail of
sparks and flames, the cup names three participants ... but then, inexplicably, the Goblet spits out one final name: Harry Potter. At just 14 years old, Harry is three years too young to enter the grueling competition. He insists that he didn't put his name in the Goblet and
that he really doesn't want to compete. But the Goblet's decision is binding, and compete he must.
Suspecting that whoever did enter Harry's name in the Tournament deliberately wants to put him in grave danger, Dumbledore asks Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody (Brendan Gleeson), the eccentric new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor,
to keep his highly perceptive and magical eye trained on the teenage wizard. Harry prepares for the challenging Triwizard tasks -- evading a fire-breathing dragon, diving into the depths of a great lake and navigating a maze with a life of its own. But nothing is more
daunting than the most terrifying challenge of them all -- finding a date for the Yule Ball.
Events take an ominous turn when someone is murdered on Hogwarts grounds. Scared and still haunted by dreams of Voldemort, Harry turns to Dumbledore. But even the venerable Headmaster admits that there are no longer any easy
answers. As Harry and the other champions battle through their last task and the advancing tendrils of the ominous maze, someone or something is keeping a watchful eye. Victory is in sight, but as they edge closer to the Triwizard Cup, all is not as it seems -- and Harry
soon finds himself hurtling head-first toward an inevitable encounter with true evil.
Vitals: Director: Mike Newell. Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Mark Williams, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Bonnie Wright, Tom Felton, Stanislav Ianevski. Katie Leung, Robbie
Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Brendan Gleeson,
Miranda Richardson, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 157 min., Fantasy, Box office gross: $284.361 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
"Jarhead" (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows "Swoff" (Gyllenhaal), a third-generation enlistee, from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, sporting a sniper's rifle and a hundred-pound ruck on his back through
Middle East deserts with no cover from intolerable heat or from Iraqi soldiers, always potentially just over the next horizon. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don't
understand against an enemy they can't see for a cause they don't fully fathom. Jamie Foxx portrays Sergeant Sykes, a Marine lifer who heads up Swofford's scout/sniper platoon, while Peter Sarsgaard is Swoff's friend and mentor, Troy, a die-hard member of STA --
their elite Marine Unit. An irreverent and true account of a war that was antiseptically packaged a decade and a half ago, Jarhead is laced with dark wit, honest inquisition and episodes that are at once surreal and poignant, tragic and absurd.
Vitals: Director: Sam Mendes. Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Scott MacDonald, Lo Ming, Kevin Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Damion Poitier. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 123 min., War drama, Box office gross:
$62.479 million, Universal, $29.98 VHS SRP.
Howl's Moving Castle
Sophie (voiced by Emily Mortimer), a diligent teenage girl working in her family's hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome-but-mysterious wizard named Howl
(voiced by Christian Bale). This encounter engages the vain and conniving Witch of the Waste (voiced by Lauren Bacall) who transforms Sophie into a 90-year-old woman (voiced by Jean Simmons). Sophie's efforts to break the curse bring her to Howl's magical moving
castle, where she befriends Markl (voiced by Josh Hutcherson), Howl's apprentice, and the hot-headed fire demon Calcifer (voiced by Billy Crystal). Her love and support have a major impact on Howl, who can be maddeningly self-indulgent and singularly noble.
Extraordinary characters, inventive imagery, and stunning artistry make this latest masterpiece from the visionary Hayao Miyazaki an unforgettable experience.
Vitals: Director: Hayao Miyazaki. Stars: Voices of Christian Bale, Billy Crystal, Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer, Josh Hutcherson, Jean Simmons, Lauren Bacall. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 119
min., Animation, Box office gross: $4.705 million, Buena Vista, No
VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Romantic comedy about the trials and tribulations of two
mismatched lovers. Uma Thurman stars as Rafi, a 37-year-old photography producer
reeling from a recent divorce, who meets David (Bryan Greenberg), a 23-year-old
recently out of college. At first, David and Rafi's blossoming relationship
appears to be an ideal match, as each unexpectedly fulfills the other's needs.
Despite their intense attraction, the charmed couple soon realizes that vastly
different ages and backgrounds create conflict. A Jewish hip-hop lover and
closet painter who still lives with his grandparents, David has little in common
with Rafi -- a non-practicing Catholic from a wealthy, broken family who travels
in the sophisticated, high-end world of fashion. To make things worse, there's
complications with Rafi's therapist, Dr. Lisa Metzger (Meryl Streep). Lisa, who
is working to help Rafi overcome her fears of intimacy, finds out that Rafi's
new lover David is -- unfortunately for Lisa -- her only son David. Ouch.
Vitals: Director: Ben Younger. Stars: Uma Thurman, Meryl Streep, Bryan Greenberg, Jon
Abrahams. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 105 min., Romantic comedy, Box
office gross: $22.728 million, Universal, $29.99 VHS SRP.
Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) has it all -- money, good looks and a flashy job as an L.A. music executive. But things weren't always this way for him. Back in high school in New Jersey in the 1990's, Chris was shy, overweight
and the butt of the cool crowd's jokes. The only bright spot in his life was his friendship with Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart) a super-popular cheerleader and the hottest girl in school. Throughout high school, Chris was harboring a secret -- he was hopelessly in love with
her. On the night of their high school graduation, Chris finally works up his courage and makes his feelings known. In response, a surprised Jamie tells Chris that she loves him ... like a brother. She proceeds to give him the "Just Friends" speech. Ten years later, Chris
has reinvented himself as a smooth talking lady-killer. Chris's boss has just given him his most challenging job assignment yet -- turning spoiled socialite, diva and magazine pin-up girl Samantha James (Anna Faris) into a pop-singing sensation. The well-known fact that
Chris and Sam used to date, and that she still carries a torch for him, makes it all the more hellish. The less than talented Sam doesn't feel she can "create" unless Chris whisks her off to Paris. En route, a plane malfunction causes them to make an unexpected pit-stop in
New Jersey. Chris takes the opportunity to drop in on his overly excitable mom (Julie Hagerty) and smart-aleck brother, Mike (Christopher Marquette). But Chris' plans to only stay the night are detoured when he runs into Jamie working at the local bar. Suddenly faced
with the "just friends" girl of his dreams, Chris finds himself postponing Paris. This sets off a chain of events in which Chris tries to woo Jamie, all the while distracting the suspicious Samantha. Unbelievably, Chris is finding it more difficult to romance Jamie than it
was 10 years ago. The harder Chris tries, the deeper he finds himself entrenched in the "friend zone."
Vitals: Director: Roger Kumble. Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Chris Klein, Chris Marquette, Julie Hagerty. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 96 min., Comedy, Box office gross:
$31.576 million, New Line, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Good Night, and Good Luck.
"Good Night, and, Good Luck." takes place during the early days of broadcast journalism in 1950's America. It chronicles the real-life conflict between television newsman Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph
McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee. With a desire to report the facts and enlighten the public, Murrow, and his dedicated staff -- headed by his producer Fred Friendly and Joe Wershba in the CBS newsroom -- defy corporate and sponsorship
pressures to examine the lies and scaremongering tactics perpetrated by McCarthy during his communist 'witch-hunts.' A very public feud develops when the Senator responds by accusing the anchor of being a communist. In this climate of fear and reprisal, the CBS crew
carries on and their tenacity proved historic and monumental.
Vitals: Director: George Clooney. Stars: David Strathairn, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Ray Wise, FrankLangella, Jeff Daniels, George Clooney, Tate Donovan. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG,
93 min., Drama, Box office gross: $23.684 million, Warner, No
VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
History of Violence, A
Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is living a
happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife (Maria Bello) and their two children
in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana, but one night their idyllic existence
is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. Sensing
danger, he takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defense
killings of two-sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom's life is
changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the
spotlight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the
normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and
threatening man (Ed Harris) who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who's
wronged him in the past. As Tom and his family fight back against this case of
mistaken identity and struggle to cope with their changed reality, they are
forced to confront their relationships and the divisive issues which surface as
Vitals: Director: David Cronenberg. Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris,
William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Peter MacNeill. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 96
min., Drama, Box office gross: $30.848 million, New Line, No VHS SRP, Priced for
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Based on the book about Evelyn Ryan (Julianne Moore), a devoted mother and housewife who used her self-described "knack for words" to keep her struggling family afloat. In the 1950s and '60s,
housewives across the country used their wits to win thousands of dollars in cash and prizes in jingle contests staged by corporations to promote their products. But of all the "jingle-belles" vying for supremacy, none out-rhymed Evelyn Ryan, whose creative resources
usually corresponded directly to her family's needs -- and with 10 kids and an alcoholic husband (Woody Harrelson), those needs were numerous and unending. Her husband can't seem to make ends meet, but that doesn't stop the car from breaking down, the mortgage
coming due and the bills from piling up. Applying her remarkable ingenuity and an uncommon wit, Evelyn found the way to keep her family together, despite the enormous odds stacked against them.
Vitals: Director: Jane Anderson. Stars: Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 99 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.626 million, DreamWorks, $29.99 VHS
In November, 1959, Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the author of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and a favorite figure in what is soon to be known as the Jet Set, reads an article on a back page of the New York Times. It tells of
the murders of four members of a well-known farm family -- the Clutters -- in Holcomb, Kansas. Similar stories appear in newspapers almost every day, but something about this one catches Capote's eye. It presents an opportunity, he believes, to test his long-held theory
that, in the hands of the right writer, non-fiction can be as compelling as fiction. What impact have the murders had on that tiny town on the wind-swept plains? With that as his subject -- for his purpose, it does not matter if the murderers are never caught -- he
convinces The New Yorker magazine to give him an assignment and he sets out for Kansas. Accompanying him is a friend from his Alabama childhood: Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), who within a few months will win a Pulitzer Prize and achieve fame of her own as the
author of "To Kill a Mockingbird." Though his childlike voice, fey mannerisms and unconventional clothes arouse initial hostility in a part of the country that still thinks of itself as part of the Old West, Capote quickly wins the trust of the locals, most notably Alvin
Dewey (Chris Cooper), the Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent who is leading the hunt for the killers. Caught in Las Vegas, the killers -- Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Dick Hickock (Mark Pellegrino) -- are returned to Kansas, where they are tried, convicted
and sentenced to die. Capote visits them in jail. As he gets to know them, he realizes that what he had thought would be a magazine article has grown into a book, a book that could rank with the greatest in modern literature. His subject is now as profound as any an
American writer has ever tackled. It is nothing less than the collision of two Americas: the safe, protected country the Clutters knew and the rootless, amoral country inhabited by their killers. Hidden behind Capote's often frivolous facade is a writer of towering
ambition. But even he wonders if he can write the book -- the great book -- he believes destiny has handed him. He's soon shocked, however, to find himself forming a friendship with Smith. As the book nears completion and execution day approaches, Capote finds
himself torn in directions he never anticipated and is forever changed by his experiences. "Sometimes, when I think how good it could be," he writes a friend, "I can hardly breathe."
Vitals: Director: Bennett Miller. Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Chris Cooper. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 98 min., Drama, Box office gross: $12.032 million,
Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Computer-animated comedy-adventure that gives a
sophisticated and satirical twist to the classic fable. It is now one year after
the "unfortunate acorn incident" when Chicken Little caused big-time havoc in
his hometown of Oakey Oaks by proclaiming that the sky was falling after being
conked on the head by what appeared to be an acorn. Down but not out, the plucky
chicken joins the local baseball team in the hopes of reviving his reputation
and winning the respect of his father, Buck Cluck. When he leads the town to an
upset victory, he becomes the toast of the town. But no sooner has the champion
chicken redeemed himself when he is hit on the head one more time. And this time
the sky really is falling! Fearful of once again being labeled crazy, he is
reluctant to tell anyone what has happened. Instead, he enlists the help of his
closest pals -- Runt of the Litter, Abby Mallard (aka Ugly Duckling), and Fish
Out of Water -- in an attempt to save the day without sending the town into a
whole new panic.
Vitals: Director: Mark Dindal. Voices of Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Don Knotts, Patrick
Stewart, Amy Sedaris, Steve Zahn, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Harry Shearer,
Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Patrick Warburton, Adam West. 2005, CC, MPAA
rating: G, 81 min., Animated family, Box office gross: $128.829 million, Buena
Vista, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Suspense thriller about ad exec and family man Charles Schine (Clive Owen) who meets business woman Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston) when he misses his commuter train to Chicago. Lucinda is charming, beautiful and seductive. Despite
the fact that each are married with children, their attraction to one another is magnetic. Lunch dates quickly become cocktails after work, and before long, Charles and Lucinda's infatuation leads them to a hotel room. But their fling turns dangerous when a violent
criminal, LaRoche (Vincent Cassel), blackmails them, promising to reveal their indiscretion and threatening their families. With their lives thrown terrifyingly off-course, they must figure out how to turn the tables on LaRoche and save their families. Vitals: Director: Mikael
Hafstrom. Stars: Vincent Cassel, Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Melissa George, RZA, Tom Conti, Xzibit. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 107 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $35.722 million, The Weinstein Co., No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Everything Is Illuminated
Based on the acclaimed, best-selling novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, "Everything Is Illuminated" tells the story of a young American Jewish man's (Elijah Wood) quest to find the woman who saved his grandfather -- in
a small Ukrainian town that was wiped off the map by the Nazi invasion during WWII. The journey begins as a comic nightmare -- with an eccentric trio of paid "expert" guides sorely lacking in expertise: a cranky grandfather who insists on bringing his unruly
seeing-eye dog to help him drive, and his over-enthusiastic grandson (Eugene Hutz), whose fractured command of English, passion for retro American pop culture, and inability to shut up threaten to make the worst of every situation. But what starts out as the tour from
hell turns into a surprisingly meaningful journey -- with an unexpected and powerful series of revelations that will indelibly change all of their lives. With a great soundtrack by the Ukrainian rock group Gogol Bordello (headed up by Hutz).
Vitals: Director: Liev Schreiber. Stars: Eugene Hutz, Elijah Wood, Jana Hrabetova, Stephen Samudovsky, Ljubomir Dezera, Oleksandr Choroshko, Gil Kazimirov, Zuzana Hodkova, Boris Leskin.
2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 105 min., Drama-Comedy, Box office
gross: $1.705 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Squid and the Whale, The
Captures with extraordinary immediacy
the inner workings of the Berkman family in 1986 Brooklyn. Bernard (Jeff
Daniels), who claims to have been a famous novelist but is now reduced to
teaching, and his restless wife Joan, (Laura Linney), a literary talent of her
own and an up-and-coming writer, have given up on their marriage. Their two sons
Walt (Jesse Eisenberg), 16, and Frank (Owen Kline), 12, are divided between
their parents. Joan starts an affair with her younger son's tennis coach, while
Bernard starts sleeping with a student whom his elder son is courting. The
break-up and affairs release emotional tensions and strains that redefine the
family dynamics, making the experience a moving coming-of-age for Walt and a
tortuously premature one for Frank,
Vitals: Director: Noah Baumbach. Stars: Owen Kline, Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse
Eisenberg, William Baldwin, Halley Feiffer, David Benger, Anna Paquin. 2005,
CC, MPAA rating: R, 80 min., Drama, Box office gross: $4.299 million, Sony, No
VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
The Dying Gaul
A tale of lust, power, corruption, betrayal and revenge set in the seductive world of the Hollywood elite. Robert Sandrich (Peter Sarsgaard), a fledgling screenwriter who has been living on the fringes, finds his life changed
when he is offered a million dollars for his latest and most personal work - "The Dying Gaul," a raw, autobiographical story of the death of his male lover. There is one catch -- the studio demands that Robert change his dead lover's character from a man to a woman to
make the story more commercially viable. Making the offer is Jeffrey (Campbell Scott), a smooth, ruthless and sexually avaricious studio executive who seduces Robert with the intoxicating Hollywood cocktail of power, money and sex. When Robert confides to Jeffrey's
wife, Elaine (Patricia Clarkson), that he finds solace, both sexual and emotional, in the ghost-like world of chat rooms, the curious Elaine meets him there anonymously. As their online dialogue unfolds, she discovers that Robert and her husband are having an affair.
The shock of that revelation -- and the unexpected way she responds -- sets off a dangerous series of deceptions, confessions and betrayals.
Vitals: Director: Craig Lucas. Stars: Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard, Campbell Scott. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 96 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.329 million, Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) was once a great horseman, whose gifts as a trainer are now being wasted on making other men's fortunes. Souador -- called Sonya -- was a great horse whose promising future on the
racetrack was suddenly cut short by a career-ending broken leg. Considered as good as dead to her owner, who also happens to be Ben's boss, Sonya is given to Ben as severance pay, along with his walking papers. Now, it will take the unwavering faith and
determination of Ben's young daughter, Cale (Dakota Fanning), to bring these two damaged souls together in a quest for a seemingly impossible goal: to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. Kris Kristofferson stars as Ben Crane's father whose strained relationship with his son
is bridged by their mutual hopes for Sonya.
Vitals: Director: John Gatins. Stars: Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue, David Morse, Freddy Rodr’guez, Luis Guzman, Oded Fehr, Ken Howard. 2005, CC, MPAA
rating: PG, 102 min., Family drama, Box office gross: $32.701
million, DreamWorks, $29.98 VHS SRP.
Story of what may be the last 48 hours in the lives of two Palestinian men -- friends since childhood -- who have been recruited as suicide bombers. When they are intercepted at the Israeli border and separated from their handlers,
a young woman who discovers their plan causes them to reconsider their actions. But with pressure mounting, time running out, and passions running high ... there's no way to know which way they will go. In Arabic with English subtitles.
Vitals: Director: Hany Abu-Assad. Stars: Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal, Amer Hlehel, Hiam Abbass. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 90 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.062 million,
Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
After his award-winning "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Peter Jackson turns his attention to the iconic tale immortalized in 1933 by adventurers-turned-filmmakers Merian C. Cooper and co-director Ernest B. Schoedsack, who first
conjured the indelible image of the gigantic ape atop the Empire State Building, protecting his human companion from an onslaught of attacking biplanes. Jackson refashions the tragic beauty-and-the-beast love story and gives us a Kong never before thought possible
through the combined efforts and visual effects wizardry of the multiple-Oscar-winning Weta Digital Ltd. and Weta Workshop Ltd.
It's 1933, and vaudeville actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) has found herself without the means to earn a living. Unwilling to compromise and allow herself to sink into a career in burlesque, she considers her limited options while
aimlessly wandering the streets of Manhattan. When her hunger drives her to try to steal an apple from a fruit vendor, she's rescued by filmmaker and multiple hyphenate Carl Denham (Jack Black).
It seems that Denham has until the end of the day to get his crew onboard the Singapore-bound tramp steamer, the S.S. Venture, in hopes of completing his travelogue/action film. With that, the showman is certain he will finally achieve the
personal greatness he knows awaits him: Denham actually hopes to find and capture on film the mysterious place of legend: Skull Island.
Unfortunately, his headlining actress has pulled out of his project, but his search for a size-four leading lady (the costumes have all been made) has, fatefully, led him to Ann. The struggling actress is reluctant to sign on with Denham, until
she learns that the up-and-coming, socially relevant playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) is penning the screenplay.
With his newly discovered star and coerced screenwriter onboard, Denham's "moving picture ship" heads out of New York Harbor ... and toward a destiny that none aboard could possibly foresee. You know the rest by now: Once on
Skull Island, Ann is kidnapped by native warriors to use as a sacrifice to Kong. But Kong falls in love with the woman, and his love for her results in his capture: he's taken back to New York to be exploited as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Faced with popping
flashbulbs and the loss of Ann, Kong escapes, finds his love, and eventually winds up at the top of the Empire State Building, facing off against a fleet of World War I fighter planes. Sad.
As expected, the special effects are terrific, but the story takes a bit too long to unfold. Not to be missed: the Kong/Ann ice skating date in Central Park.
Vitals: Director: Peter Jackson. Stars: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell, Lobo Chan.
2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 187 min., Action adventure, Box office gross:
$215.699 million, Universal, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Set in a mysterious and exotic world, "Memoirs of a Geisha" begins in the years before World War II when a young Japanese girl, Chiyo (Suzaka Ohgo), is torn from her penniless family to work as a servant in a geisha
house. Despite a treacherous rival, Hatsumomo (Gong Li), who nearly breaks her spirit, the girl blossoms into the legendary geisha Sayuri. Beautiful and accomplished, Sayuri captivates the most powerful men of her day, but is haunted by her secret love for the man,
known as Chairman (Ken Wantanabe), who is beyond her reach. Sayuri (Ziyi Zhang) is taught that a geisha is not free to love, or to pursue her own destiny. Her mentor, the legendary geisha Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), understands the limits of an intimate relationship
with a special patron or danna, and teaches Sayuri to keep her feelings tightly reined. Mameha knows that a proper geisha cannot afford to indulge her passion for any man. Yet Sayuri cannot forget a moment of unexpected kindness she experienced at an early age. The
memory of that moment shimmers like a mirage, and sustains her through years of suffering. Looking back at her life, she remembers "a little girl with more courage than she knew," and reflects, "These are not the memoirs of an Empress, nor of a Queen. These are
memoirs of another kind."
Vitals: Director: Rob Marshall. Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Ken Wantanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li, Suzaka Ohgo. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 145 min., Drama, Box office gross: $53.819 million,
Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Hard-hitting drama directed by six-time Oscar nominee Jim Sheridan about an orphaned street kid who makes his mark in the drug trade but finally dares to leave the violence behind and become the rap artist he was
meant to be. Marcus (50 Cent) has always known he was going to be a rapper, but when his mother is murdered, he turns to dealing -- hustling drugs to pay the rent. Only his grandmother (Viola Davis), girlfriend Charlene (Joy Bryant), and violent-but-loyal friend
Bama (Terrence Howard) keep him grounded as his world spirals out of control. As Marcus applies the same manic intensity to his writing as he does to dealing, he finds that writing down his words helps him to stay sane. For years, he endures this living hell until a
tragedy that nearly kills him forces Marcus to change his life.
Vitals: Director: Jim Sheridan. Stars: 50 Cent, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Joy Bryant, Omar Benson Miller, Tory Kittles, Terrence Howard, Bill Duke, Viola Davis. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 117
min., Drama, Box office gross: $30.818 million, Paramount, No
VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Sound of Thunder, A
Based on a short story by master of science
fiction Ray Bradbury. Sometime in the future time travel becomes possible ...
and becomes a lucrative monopoly for the rich. It's especially profitable for
Charles Hatton (Ben Kingsley), the owner of Time Safari Inc., a travel agency
that specializes in escorting wealthy clients on exclusive hunting trips back to
the Prehistoric Age. There are only three essential rules: Don't change anything
in the past; don't leave anything behind; and most important, don't bring
anything back. The slightest alteration might impact the existing course of
evolution in ways that no one can imagine. Someone breaks the rules -- when an
expedition is compromised and alters the landscape of the future -- and
evolution runs off its tracks, populating the future with weird animals that
threaten to destroy humankind. A seasoned scout (Edward Burns) teams up with the
inventor of the time travel technology (Catherine McCormack) to unravel the
mystery behind the catastrophic historical changes that are threatening to erase
humanity from existence.
Vitals: Director: Peter Hyams. Stars: Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, Ben Kingsley.
2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross:
$1.891 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Where does imagination end and reality begin? A suicidal college student and his doctor enter a twisted world of supernatural horror. Dedicated New York psychiatrist Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor) urgently tries to stop a secretive and
unusual young patient, Henry Lethem (Ryan Gosling), from carrying out a planned suicide on the eve of his 21st birthday - in three days. Henry's been hearing disturbing voices and experiencing horrifying visions. But Sam is thrust into a hellish place between life and
death as he is drawn deeper into the web of Henry's life -- and then into the labyrinth of his subconscious. At first it simply puts stress on Sam's relationship with his artist girlfriend and former patient Lila (Naomi Watts). But soon Sam's own tightly-held grip on the
rational world begins to melt away. Faced with increasingly surreal encounters and a Manhattan transformed into a wildly shifting dreamscape, Sam can no longer figure out what is true and what is happening only in his head, nor where he begins and Henry ends.
Vitals: Director: Marc Forster. Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ryan Gosling, Kate Burton, Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Reaser, Bob Hoskins, Janeane Garofalo, B.D. Wong. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 99 min.,
Psychological thriller, Box office gross: $3.626 million, Fox, No
VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
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.