OnVideo NOVEMBER 1996 Releases
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OnVideo NOVEMBER 1996 Releases

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ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO, THE
This live-action version of the classic story about a rambunctious puppet who longs to be a boy is closer to the spirit of Collodi's story than previous versions. The folks at Jim Henson's Creature Shop have not only created a "living" wooden puppet, they've breathed life into the cricket who helps guide Pinocchio through the vagaries of wooden boyhood. With a fine turn by Martin Landau as woodworker Geppetto, this is one story that will grow on you. A great family film.
Director: Steve Barron. Stars: Martin Landau, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Bebe Neuwirth. CC (MPAA rating: G 88 min.) Animated Kids 1996 (New Line N4438V) $19.98 SRP Available: 11/5
4 stars go
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ANNE FRANK REMEMBERED
This 1995 Academy-Award winner for best documentary, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, is the first-ever first-hand account of the life and legacy of Anne Frank, the 25-year-old Jewish girl who came to symbolize the horrors of the Holocaust. Combining personal testimony, never-before-seen photos, undiscovered family letters and rare archive footage with commentary, the film chronicles the history of the Frank family with special focus given to the girl -- not the icon -- whose diary of two years in hiding from the Nazi in Amsterdam during World War II has sold over 25 million copies in 54 languages since it was first published in 1947. The original editions of the diary, by the way, were excised by Anne's father, Otto; a more definitive edition, recently published, paints a teenage girl more self-absorbed and more naturally curious about sex than the one mythologized by the original book and the 1959 movie. Excerpts from the unexcised diary are read by Glenn Close.
Director: Jon Blair. Stars: Narrated by Kenneth Branagh and Glenn Close. CC (MPAA rating: PG 117 min.) Documentary 1995 (Sony Classics 84643) Priced for rental Available: 11/5
3 stars go
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BOYS
The ever-popular Winona Ryder steals more hearts in this romantic drama about a young girl on the run from her terrible past who takes refuge in a boy's school and changes the life of the boy who shields her from her pursuers. Lukas Haas plays a high school senior at the end of his miserable stint at the Sherwood School for Boys, dreading having to follow in his father's corporate footsteps. But his life soon takes on new meaning when he encounters the mysterious "older woman" and puts her up in his room. Their mutual attraction turns to romance; for the boy, it's a portal to adulthood; for the young woman, a return to innocence. But reality beckons and Ryder must reconcile the dark choices of her recent past. Flopped at the box office but a definite for Ryder fans.
Director: Stacy Cochran. Stars: Winona Ryder, Lukas Haas. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 86 min.) Romantic comedy 1996 (Touchstone 5951) Priced for rental Available: 11/12
3 stars go
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COLD COMFORT FARM
This charming period satire stars Kate Beckinsale as Flora Poste, a 1930's London society girl, recently orphaned, who exercises her familial "rights" and seeks refuge with her feudal relatives, the woebegone Starkadders of Cold Comfort farm, a part of her family tree that contains more than a few nuts. This odd collection of eccentric and superstitious family members don't necessarily befit Flora's upper crust social standing but they do provide heady material for the novel she's writing. Flora quickly discovers that her work is cut out for her when she discovers a variety of concerns on the farm -- hygiene, grooming, proper manners, commerce, finance and romance -- and in her own inimitable way, she managers to create order out of chaos. Despite a meager box office performance, the film is developing a small but strong following.
Director: John Schlesinger. Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Joanna Lumley, Rufus Sewell, Ian McKellen. CC (MPAA rating: PG 104 min.) Comedy/Satire 1996 (MCA/Universal 82959) Priced for rental Available: 11/12
3 stars go
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Dragonheart photoDRAGONHEART
Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery star in this costume drama filled with spectacular special effects and chivalrous adventure. A disillusioned but noble knight (Quaid) in the 10th century goes on a quest to destroy dragons but meets more than he bargained for in the "person" of Draco (voiced by Connery), the last of the magical dragons, whose wit, intelligence, power and strength changes the knight's mission and changes the face of the medieval world. Despite a name cast, this is for sword and sorcery lovers only.
Director: Rob Cohen. Stars: Sean Connery, Dennis Quaid, Julie Christie. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 103 min.) Fantasy 1996 (MCA/Universal 82826) Priced for rental Available: 11/26
4 stars go
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HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE
Pinhead, that Grand Black Prince of Hell, is back again in what is billed as the final chapter in writer Clive Barker's "Hellraiser" saga. In this nightmarish "finale," all the loose ends of the previous installments are tied up and the beginning, middle and end of the mythology are brought together. Pinhead puts up a grand fight but the portal to hell is finally closed. Or is it? Of limited appeal even to horror film lovers. The director's name -- Alan Smithee -- is a pseudonym used when the real director doesn't, for whatever reason, want to be associated with a film.
Director: Alan Smithee. Stars: Bruce Ramsey, Valentina Vargas. CC (MPAA rating: R 81 min.) Horror 1996 (Dimension 9245) Priced for rental Available: 11/12
2 stars go
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ID4
photoINDEPENDENCE DAY
No need to rant or rave about this one: American (and now international) moviegoing audiences have made this movie one of the highest grossing films of all time (approaching $300 million). The only question that remains about this alien-invasion saga about beings from outer space that attack the Earth on the Fourth of July is how those incredible special effects of city-sized flying saucers and mass-destruction will play on the small screen. Get this one while it's hot.
Director: Roland Emmerich. Stars: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Margaret Colin, Vivica Fox. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 145 min.) Science Fiction 1996 (FoxVideo 4118) $22.98 SRP Available: 11/22
4 stars go
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KAZAAM
This is basketball star Shaquille O'Neal's first segue to the big screen and, naturally, he plays a superstar, although of a very different nature. He's Kazaam, a 3,000-year-old genie who pops out of a boombox when its knocked over by a young city kid being chased through a condemned warehouse. The kid gets the benefit of Kazaam's powers to get out of trouble while the loveable genie becomes a rap star and falls in love. Ah, antiquity was never like this.
Director: Paul M. Glaser. Stars: Shaquille O'Neal. CC (MPAA rating: PG 94 min.) Comedy 1996 (Buena Vista 8294) Priced for rental Available: 11/19
3 stars go
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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLEMission: Impossible
photo
Tom Cruise took venerable 1960s TV series "Mission: Impossible" to the big screen and, despite a drumming by the critics, audiences loved the spectacular action and special effects, ignoring the lost story line (something about a list of undercover agents falling into the wrong hands) embedded in techno-gloss (a hallmark of the TV series - the impossible missions were always impossibly obtuse). No need for plot: there's Cruise, espionage and stunts, and that's all that's required for this popcorn-chomper. Directed by Brain De Palma and co-starring Jon Voight and Emmanuelle Beart.
Director: Brian De Palma. Stars: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Beart, Jean Reno. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 110 min.) Action thriller 1996 (Paramount 31899) $14.79 SRP Available: 11/12
3 stars go
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MRS. WINTERBOURNE
Weak remake of Barbara Stanwyck's 1950 tearjerker "No Man of Her Own" about a down-and-out pregnant woman (Ricki Lake) who takes the identity of a socialite when the rich woman (also pregnant) and her husband are killed in a train crash. Nurturing her new son and her new identity, the young woman enters the rich world of the Winterbournes, headed up by matron Grace (Shirley MacLaine), and becomes an integral part of her "new" family.
Director: Richard Benjamin. Stars: Ricki Lake, Brendan Fraser, Shirley MacLaine. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 106 min.) Romantic Comedy 1996 (Columbia TriStar 11663) Priced for rental Available: 11/05
2
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NUTTY PROFESSOR, THE
Nutty
Professor
photo Based on the 1963 Jerry Lewis film of the same name, this wild comedy has been touted as a "comeback" of sorts for Eddie Murphy, who weaves his manic comic prowess in seven different roles. Murphy challenges himself as 400-pound professor Sherman Klump who invents a revolutionary fat gene formula that literally melts off pounds. Now incarnated as sweet-talking ladies man Buddy Love, Sherman pursues the woman of his dreams (Jada Pinkett) only to discover that his wonder drug is unstable -- and can wear off at any time.
Director: Tom Shadyac. Stars: Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett, James Coburn. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 96 min.) Comedy 1996 (MCA/Universal 82594) $22.98 SRP Available: 11/12
4 stars go
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ORIGINAL GANGSTAS
"Original Gangstas" features an unprecedented reunion of African-American actors who headlined a series of classic 1970s urban action films -- the so-called Blaxploitaion films. Uniting on the big screen were Fred Williamson, "The Hammer" from his football days and a director-producer through his Po'Boy productions; Jim Brown, the National Football League Hall of Famer whose credits include "The Dirty Dozen," "Ice Station Zebra" and "The Running Man"; Richard Roundtree, who gained international fame as "Shaft" (1971); Pam Grier, the undisputed queen of '70s Black action films, starring in "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown"; and Ron O'Neal, best known for his roles in "Superfly" and "Superfly T.N.T." Joining them are Paul Winfield, whose credits span every film genre, and Isabel Sanford of "The Jeffersons." And the story line is great -- old-time gangstas set out to rid the neighborhood of the new breed of remorseless urban punks. It's mainstream and overdone but fun to watch.
Director: Larry Cohen. Stars: Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, Richard Roundtree, Pam Grier, Paul Winfield, Isabel Sanford, Ron O'Neal. CC (MPAA rating: R 99 min.) Action 1996 (Orion Home Video OHV-8809) Priced for rental Available: 11/5
3 stars go
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PHANTOM, THE
True to its title, "The Phantom" disappeared without a trace from screens this summer. And that's too bad, because the film, loaded with tongue-in-cheek action and thrills, deserves a closer look. Billy Zane plays the title character, a kind of Indiana Jones in purple tights, who fends off villains seeking illicit riches in the Bengalla jungle, New York City and an uncharted island, with the aid of his horse, Hero, and his pet wolf, Devil. Love interest is supplied by Kristy Swanson.
Director: Simon Wincer. Stars: Billy Zane, Kristy Swanson, Treat Williams. CC (MPAA rating: PG 100 min.) Action-Adventure 1996 (Paramount 328503) Priced for rental Available: 11/19
3 stars go
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SPY HARD
Spyhard photo This self-indulgent spoof of the spy film genre in general and James Bond in particular stars Leslie Nielsen as agent WD-40 who's lured back to active duty to stop an evil villain (Andy Griffith) from destroying the world. Along the way we're treated to every sort of slapstick and joke revolving around spys and espionage, as well as parodies of scenes from "Speed," "Sister Act" and other recent films. Sex interest is provided by Nielsen (uhh, that's Nicollette Sheridan).
Director: Rick Friedberg. Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Nicollette Sheridan, Charles Durning. CC (MPAA rating: PG-13 81 min.) Comedy 1996 (Hollywood 8289) Priced for rental Available: 11/5
1
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Striptease photo STRIPTEASE
Here's a movie that goes to show what lots and lots of money can buy: Demi Moore and a perfect, well-conditioned body. This well- intentioned project that went awry with cost overruns and bad publicity is a comedy-drama (with scant few laughs) about a mother who takes a job as a stripper in order to raise enough money to wage a custody battle for her daughter. Andrew Bergman, who brought the smooth satires "The Freshman" and "Honeymoon in Vegas" to the big screen, helmed this rough outing: It's cliche-driven without the irony of his past outings.
Director: Andrew Bergman. Stars: Demi Moore, Robert Patrick, Burt Reynolds. CC (MPAA rating: R 115 min.) Comedy Drama 1996 (Columbia TriStar 80193) No SRP Priced for rental Available: 11/19
2
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SUNSET PARK
This typical teacher-turns-around-the-bad-boys saga stars Rhea Perlman as a female P.E. teacher who takes over as coach of a boys' high school varsity basketball team. The only problem is she's white, short and female. A soundtrack featuring 2Pac, Tha Dog Pound, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Onyx and Groove Theory lays a solid foundation as Perlman transform this group of mixed-up kids into a winning team.
Director: Steve Gomer. Stars: Rhea Perlman, Fredro Starr, Carol Kane, Terrence DaShon Howard. CC (MPAA rating: R 99 min.) Comedy 1996 (Columbia TriStar 89513) Priced for rental Available: 11/12
2
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