Down-home comedy from Robert Altman about the seemingly placid Southern town of Holly Springs, shaken by the death of Camille Dixon's aunt. Things get stirred up when Camille -- to avoid the stigma of her aunt's suicide -- decides that the death should look like a murder -- and events in the town soon spin out of control. Stars Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler, Chris O'Donnell, Charles S. Dutton and Ned Beatty.
Director: Robert Altman. Stars: Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler, Chris O'Donnell, Charles S. Dutton, Ned Beatty. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 117 min.), Comedy, 1999, Box office gross: $10.799 million, (USA Home Entertainment), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 9/14, DVD: Day & Date.
Moody, convoluted actioner set in New York's Chinatown pitting bad cops against nasty villains. Feeble attempt at mimicking Hong Kong action flicks, with Mark Wahlberg all too bland and Chow Yun-Fat wasted. There's plenty of fast and furious action -- albeit so stereotypical that it all kind of blends together in an amorphous mass that's unmemorable after the film is over. Add to that characters who are papier-mache dragons, and the film becomes an uninvolving -- and unsatisfying -- mess.
Director: James Foley. Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Mark Wahlberg, Ric Young, Paul Ben-Victor, Elizabeth Lindsey. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 100 min.), Action, 1999, Box office gross: $15.156 million, (New Line), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 9/14, DVD: Day & Date.
DOUG'S 1ST MOVIE
Animated adventures of "Disney's Doug" (originally a Nick staple) come to the big screen, with Doug Funnie and friend Skeeter discovering that Bluffington's mythical monster of Lucky Duck Lake is for real, but is in danger due to pollution. Naturally the pair try to save him, but things get complicated when they uncover an elaborate cover-up by the town's leading citizen, Bill Bluff. And all the while Doug is trying to impress his girlfriend-to-be, Patty Mayonnaise. For kid fans of the show.
Director: Maurice Joyce. Voices of Thomas McHugh, Fred Newman, Chris Phillips, Constance Shulman. CC, (MPAA rating: G, 84 min.), Animated, 1999, Box office gross: $18.550 million, (Buena Vista), $22.99 SRP, Available: 9/21, DVD: Day & Date.
Raunchy comedy about brothers -- Miles "Foolish" Waise (funnyman Eddie Griffin) and Quentin "Fifty Dollah" Waise (hip-hoper Master P) -- trying to make it big in the comedy business. Both have their problems: Foolish has a bad temper that costs him his girlfriend; Fifty gets in trouble with a local gangster. But they both struggle on in their desire to succeed in the comedy club scene. Plenty of nudity and rude jokes.
Director: Dave Meyers. Stars: Eddie Griffin, Master P, Amy Petersen, Frank Sivero, Marla Gibbs. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 84 min.), Comedy, 1999, Box office gross: $6.0 million, (Artisan Entertainment), No SRP, Priced for rental Available: 9/21, DVD: Day & Date.
FORCES OF NATURE
Everything seems to be getting in the way of button-down book-sleeve copy writer Ben Affleck's road to marriage: first his grandfather suffers a heart attack at the groom's bachelor party, his airplane flight to the wedding crashes, and then he gets teamed up with a free-spirited woman (Sandra Bullock), making his trek to the altar that more difficult. Will their romance blossom or will he get to the church on time? Pleasant, if not remarkable, comedy outing.
Director: Bronwen Highes. Stars: Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck, Maura Tierney, Blythe Danner, Steve Zahn, Ronny Cox. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min.), Comedy, 1999, Box office gross: $ 52.9 million, (DreamWorks), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 9/14, DVD: Day & Date.
LULU ON THE BRIDGE
Off-beat thriller about hip jazz saxophonist Izzy Maurer (Harvey Keitel) and the weird world he enters when he's hit by a stray bullet, ending his musical career. After he recovers, Izzy stumbles upon a murdered man in an ally, picking up a briefcase and finding a strange stone that glows in the dark and which brings intense pleasure to whomever holds it. A phone number on a napkin leads him to Celia (Mira Sorvino), who becomes his true love. Soon events get more bizarre as a group of ruthless murderers come after the pair, demanding the stone back. What could have been a first-rate spiritual adventure in the vein of last year's "Pi" gets bogged down with too much talk -- over-philosophized, over-intellectualized boring passages that alienate the viewer from the characters. The action moves in fits and starts, and the direction has Keitel sleepwalking when he should be be-bopping. Still, an ambitious effort for novice director Paul Auster, and worth a peek.
Director: Paul Auster. Stars Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, Willem Dafoe, Gina Gershon, Mandy Patinkin, Vanessa Redgrave. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min.), Thriller, 1999, (Trimark), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 9/21, DVD: Day & Date.
Bizarre and totally absorbing virtual reality thriller about humans being manipulated by a future machine-intelligence to believe they are living in the late-20th century -- when they are in fact bred in vats as "batteries" to fuel the energy of the Matrix, the computer net that strings the world together. Story revolves around a group of revolutionaries who choose computer geek Neo (Keanu Reeves) as the "one" to overthrow the machines and break down the veil of the Matrix's virtual reality. Astounding special effects and believable story line make this one of the most original sci-fi films to come down the pike in years (despite Reeves' acting). In widescreen and pan-and-scan. Sell- through edition available December 7 for $14.98.
Director: The Wachowski Brothers. Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 136 min.), Science Fiction, 1999, Box office gross: $170.00 million, (Warner), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 9/21, DVD: Day & Date.
Delightfully entertaining horror-adventure-thriller (with great touches of comedy/whimsy) about a beautiful librarian (radiant Rachel Weisz) who searches for the Egyptian City of the Dead with her loopy brother and a reluctant hero of an ex-Legionnaire (Brendan Fraser), inadvertently setting loose on the world the 3,000 year-old mummy of evil high priest Imhotep, whose resurrected power will destroy the world. It's up to the threesome to stop the invincible menace. Great special effects, a thrill-every-minute. This one is our family favorite of the year: it can be viewed over and over again with no loss of pleasure (my six and a half-year-old daughter has seen it four times now). In widescreen and pan-and-scan. Also stars Arnold Vosloo, John Hannah and Kevin J. O'Connor.
Director: Stephen Sommers. Stars: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo, John Hannah, Kevin J. O'Connor. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 125 min.), Horror, 1999, Box office gross: $154.00 million, (Universal), $22.98 SRP, Available: 9/28, DVD: Day & Date.
MY FAVORITE MARTIAN
Weak remake of the 1960s TV series about a Martian who crash lands on Earth and befriends a young man, posing as his uncle until he can fix his spaceship. When a television reporter (Jeff Daniels) stumbles upon the Martian (Christopher Lloyd), he thinks that he's got the scoop of the century. But the reporter ends up becoming pals with the misplaced alien, and the pair eventually team up to fend off a host of snoops. Co-stars Elizabeth Hurley and Daryl Hannah. Plenty of terrific special effects here but the film lacks a punchy script.
Director: Donald Petri. Stars: Jeff Daniels, Christopher Lloyd, Daryl Hannah, Elizabeth Hurley. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 93 min.), Comedy, 1999, Box office gross: $35.389 million, (Disney), $22.99 SRP, Available: 9/28, DVD: Day & Date.
OTHER SISTER, THE
A somewhat mentally challenged 24-year-old young woman (Juliette Lewis) comes home from a special boarding school, where she successfully exceeded many of her limitations, except one -- her mother (Diane Keaton). She's determined to assert herself in the face of the overly protective older woman, along the way falling for a similarly challenged young man (Giovanni Ribisi) and setting out to experience life and its great adventures. Co-stars Tom Skerritt.
Director: Garry Marshall. Stars: Juliette Lewis, Diane Keaton, Tom Skerritt, Giovanni Ribisi. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 124 min.), Romantic Comedy, 1999, Box office gross: $27.316 million, (Buena Vista), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 9/7, DVD: Day & Date.
Bland remake of 1970 Jack Lemmon-Sandy Dennis comedy about visitors to New York set upon by the wilds of the city, here with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn in the lead roles. Martin is a recently fired Ohio ad executive who treks to the Big Apple for a job interview; Hawn accompanies him on the trip. The adventure immediately goes awry -- with lost luggage -- and accelerates with a mugging and an overdrawn credit card account that leaves them penniless and hotel-less -- until all manner of discomfort beset them. It's too painfully self-conscious, though, to elicit much in the way of laughs.
Director: Sam Weisman. Stars: Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn, Mark McKinney, John Cleese. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 91 min.), Comedy, 1999, Box office gross: $28.400 million, (Paramount), No SRP, Priced for rental Available: 9/21, DVD: Day & Date.
THE PRINCE OF EGYPT
Beautifully animated story of Moses and his ascension to the leadership of the Hebrews. Based on the Book of Exodus, with a nod to Cecile B. De Mille, this DreamWorks version of Moses' struggle to save his people from the oppression of his brother, Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses, is an energetic visual romp that, although taking some liberties with the Bible for the sake of exposition, comes up a winner. With the voices of Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin and Martin Short.
Director: Brenda Chapman, Steven Hickner, Simon Wells. Voices of Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover. CC, (MPAA rating: PG, 96 min.), Animated, 1998, Box office gross: $101.105 million, (DreamWorks), $26.99 SRP, Available: 9/14, DVD: Day & Date.
RAZOR BLADE SMILE
150-year-old Lilith Silver is part seductress, part La Femme Nikita, and all vampire in this delightful send-up and homage to the bloodsucking genre. Lilith should have died in 1850, but the sinister Sir Sethane Blake grants her eternal life and the freedom to wander through time as a vampire. Flash forward to England in the 1990s: Lilith, a la the female vampire in "Innocent Blood," feasts on the blood of the people she kills as part of her job as a contract killer. She's sexy, strong-willed, and a bit of a rake. Hired to knock off the members of an underground sect, Lilith stays one step ahead of a British detective, with buckets of blood overflowing as she plows her way to the film's denouement. A fanciful farce, with wry commentary (by Lilith in voiceover) on the foibles and myths of vampire hunters. It's kind of a " 'The Avengers' meets Roger Corman."
Director: Jake West. Stars: Eileen Daly, Christopher Adamson, Jonathon Coote, Kevin Howarth, David Warbeck. CC, (MPAA rating: R, 101 min.), Horror, 1999, (A-Pix), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 9/21, DVD: Day & Date.
This 1999 Sundance Film Festival winner weaves together four absorbing tales about life in modern-day Vietnam, following the day-to-day lives of a cyclo driver, a prostitute, a young man hustling trinkets on the street, and a girl hired to be the assistant to a reclusive spiritual master. The film buoyantly captures a people -- and a country -- torn between the past and the future.
Director: Tony Bui. Stars: Don Duong, Ngoc Hiep, Tran Manh Cuong, Harvey Keitel, Zoe Bui. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 113 min.), Drama, 1999, Box office gross: $1.957 million, (USA Home Entertainment), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 9/28, DVD: No.
Jackie Chan does double duty in this Hong Kong martial arts actioner, playing identical twins separated at birth and raised in two different worlds -- one as a concert pianist in New York, the other on the streets of Hong Kong. When the musician arrives in Hong Kong to lead a symphony orchestra, he's mistaken for his petty hoodlum brother -- now in trouble with a local gangster -- and the worlds of sophistication and riffraff collide -- in typical Chan fashion.
Director: Ringo Lam and Hark Tsui. Stars: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Nina Li Chi. CC, (MPAA rating: PG-13, 100 min.), Action, 1992, Box office gross: $7.758 million, (Miramax), No SRP, Priced for rental, Available: 9/7, DVD: Day & Date.
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