OnVideo DECEMBER 1996 Releases
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OnVideo DECEMBER 1996 Releases

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CABLE GUY, THE
Even die-hard Jim Carrey fans were taken aback by this very, very dark comedy, about a cable TV installer who makes life miserable for one of his customers. Jim Carrey plays the cable guy, a perfectionist so lonely that he jumps at the chance to hang out with nice-guy Matthew Broderick. But when Broderick decides to end their paling around, Carrey destroys all aspects of Broderick's life. A mean, sadistic comedy.
Director: Ben Stiller. Stars: Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller, George Segal. CC (MPAA rating: R 96 min.) Comedy 1996 (Columbia TriStar 82428) Priced for rental Available: 12/3
2 stars go
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CHAIN REACTION
Some director's have a lust for life, director Andrew ("The Fugitive") Davis has a lust for people-on-the-run. In this totally unbelievable scenario, Keanu Reeves plays a machinist working with scientists on a project to create free energy from water; when the experiment succeeds and professional killers murder the project leader, Keanu is framed and must run for his life from the FBI, the CIA and the police. A fun if unplausable popcorn chomper.
Director: Andrew Davis. Stars: Morgan Freeman, Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 106 min.) Thriller 1996 (FoxVideo 4130) Priced for rental Available: 12/17
2 stars go
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CROW, THE: THE CITY OF ANGELS
This weak sequel to the highly successful and cult fave 1994 "The Crow" still has a few tantalizing moments, most notably those by rock star Iggy Pop as a nasty biker demon. The story line has the requisite supernatural crow summoning from the dead a young man to exact revenge on his killers. Set in a future, wasteland city of Los Angeles, the film's visuals far outdistance the actors. Fun for fans.
Director: Tim Pope. Stars: Vincent Perez, Mia Kirshner. CC (MPAA rating: R 85 min.) Horror thriller 1996 (Dimension 8887) Priced for rental Available: 12/3
2 stars go
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FAMILY THING, A
Strange little film about racial relations, specifically what happens when a white Southerner discovers that his natural mother was a black woman. The journey to self-discovery commences when the man (Robert Duvall) decides to track down his half-brother (James Earl Jones). Though the men's lives have been distanced by more than just miles, they find that the bonds of family are indestructible. An inspirational outing.
Director: Richard Pearce. Stars: Robert Duvall, James Earl Jones. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 109 min.) Drama 1996 (MGM/UA 905535) Priced for rental Available: 12/23
2 stars go
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FRIGHTENERS, THE
Finally, a role Michael J. Fox can sink his ectoplasm into. Here he plays a shady "ghostbuster" who promises to rid houses of the dead spirits who haunt them. Actually, the swindle is on: Fox is in cahoots with the ghosts he promises to evict (he somehow has the ability to communicate with the dead). But his world is turned inside out when he uncovers a nasty poltergeist bent on killing everyone in town. A fast-paced, exciting tour-de-spirit.
Director: Peter Jackson. Stars: Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, John Astin. CC (MPAA rating: R 85 min.) Horror 1996 (MCA/Universal 82830) Priced for renta Available: 12/17
3 stars go
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ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, THE
On the 100th anniversary of the H.G. Wells story, director John Frankenheimer tried his hand at reinterpreting the classic horror tale. Here Dr. Moreau, played by Marlon Brando, is a geneticist tinkering with DNA, combining humans and animals to create a "perfect race." Unfortunately, the beast-people get tired of it all and revolt, causing much terror for all involved. Co-stars Val Kilmer as the mad scientist's assistant.
Director: John Frankenheimer. Stars: Val Kilmer, Marlon Brando. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 96 min.) Horror Thriller 1996 (New Line N4444V) Priced for renta Available: 12/24
2 stars go
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Joe's Apart photoJOE'S APARTMENT
A young man fresh from Iowa rents a New York City apartment and is befriended by 50,000 talking, singing, and dancing cockroaches. What's more, these roaches take a liking to Joe, and help him woo a young lady, fend off an unscrupulous landlord and beat back a couple of bad guys. While based on the "Joe's Apartment" short that developed a cult following on MTV, the translation to a full-length feature doesn't quite make it. If you haven't seen the original, though, check this one out for the special effects and the roaches.
Director: John Payson. Stars: Jerry O'Connell, Megan Ward. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 82 min.) Comedy 1996 (Warner Home Video 14042) Priced for renta Available: 12/17
2
stars go
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Matilda
photoMATILDA
Danny DeVito directed and stars in this quirky family film about a young girl (Mara Wilson) with dimwitted parents (DeVito and real-life wife Rhea Perlman) who are so caught up in their world that they don't see the budding genius growing up in their midst. When she finally gets the opportunity to go a proper education, she faces nasty adults who make the school a purgatory for the kids. When Matilda discovers she has telekinetic powers, she's able to triumph over all the wicked grownups in her world.
Director: Danny DeVito. Stars: Mara Wilson, Danny DevIto, Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz. CC (MPAA rating: PG 98 min.) Comedy 1996 (Columbia TriStar 86860) Priced for rental Available: 12/17
3 stars go
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ROCK, THE
The Rock photo
This fast-paced, non-stop action thriller barrels straight ahead from start to finish -- so don't stop to worry about the weak character development or some of the improbabilities of the story line. When a disgruntled General and his commandos take over Alcatraz Island and threaten to destroy San Francisco, an FBI chemical weapons expert (Nicolas Cage) and a top secret federal prisoner (Sean Connery) -- the only man to ever escape from the Island -- are the only hope to prevent tragedy. Get your popcorn ready. One of this summer's hottest action thrillers explodes on the little screen.
Director: Michael Bay. Stars: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris. CC (MPAA rating: R 136 min.) Thriller 1996 (Hollywood Pictures 8887) Priced for rental Available: 12/10
4 stars go
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TIME TO KILL, A
An all-star cast is featured in this John Grisham-penned hit. When a Mississippi factory worker (Samuel L. Jackson) kills the white men who brutally assaulted his 10-year-old girl, the case serves to highlight the generations-long divisions in the South: between whites and blacks, rich and poor, civil rights workers and Klan members. Newcomer Matthew McConaughey plays the defense lawyer, aided by a Boston law-student (Sandra Bullock) and a veteran attorney (Donald Sutherland). Co-stars Kevin Spacey.
Director: Joel Schumacher. Stars: Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey. CC (MPAA rating: R 150 min.) Drama 1996 (Warner Home Video 14317) Priced for rental Available:12/30
3 stars go
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TIN CUP
Tin Cup photo The life of a ramshackle driving-range instructor (Kevin Costner), whose legendary ball-striking skills are matched only by his self-destructive nature and low-life charm, is upset when he's smitten by the woman of his dreams (Rene Russo). To win her over, he enters the U.S. Open, competing with a longtime rival (Don Johnson) to prove to himself and his lady friend that he has the right stuff. Cheech Marin co-stars.
Director: Ron Shelton. Stars: Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin. CC (MPAA rating: R 133 min.) Romantic comedy 1996 (Warner Home Video 14318) Priced for rental Available: 12/17
3 stars go
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WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE
This dark comedy about high school puberty is highlighted by a rave performance by newcomer Heather Matarazzo. Life is hell for seventh grader Dawn Weiner (Matarazzo): the geeky girl has few friends at school, where her classmates call her names and the boys shoot spitballs at her; at home her folks ignore her in favor of younger sister Missy. Yet somehow Dawn perseveres, struggling against reality and fighting back at her antagonists. It's a time and a place that we've all been through -- and have lived to laugh at. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, and an original outing for director Todd Solondz.
Director: Todd Solondz. Stars: Heather Matarazzo, Matthew Faber, Angela Pietropinto. CC (MPAA rating: R 87 min.) Comedy 1996 (Columbia TriStar 82563) Priced for rental Available: 12/31
3 stars go
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