8 Seconds

8 Seconds

Starring: Perry, Luke Baldwin, Stephen Rebhorn, James Perry, Luke Geary, Cynthia Rebhorn, James Ashby, Linden Finley, Cameron Finley, Cameron Mayfield, Dustin
Director: Avildsen, John G.

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.6/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

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Amazon.com The title refers to the time required by all rodeo cowboys to stay on a bull if they want a judge's score. For them, such a short time can seem like an eternity. The same is true of the beginning of this true story, a country tale of Lane Frost, a real-life, crowd-pleasing bullrider who rose to rodeo fame in the late '80s. The characters seem so irrepressibly good, so unreal, that the film comes out of the chute without a buck or much of a purpose. But Frost's story, and that of his relationship with his wife, Kellie (Cynthia Geary), eventually gains momentum. Luke Perry is an underrated actor, and he balances an "aw-shucks-ness" with an internal spark that makes that salt-of-the-earth stuff not so salty. When the film is finally over and the end credits show home movies and stills of the real-life Frost, you'll wish the ride was just a little longer. --Keith Simanton --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

A Few Good Men (Special Edition)

A Few Good Men (Special Edition)

Starring: Cruise, Tom Nicholson, Jack Cruise, Tom Gooding Jr., Cuba Bowe, David Walsh, J.T. Marshall, James Bacon, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Sutherland, Kiefer
Director: Reiner, Rob

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 138 min

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Amazon.com essential video A U.S. soldier is dead, and military lawyers Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee and Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway want to know who killed him. "You want the truth?" snaps Colonel Jessup (Jack Nicholson). "You can't handle the truth!" Astonishingly, Jack Nicholson's legendary performance as a military tough guy in A Few Good Men really amounts to a glorified cameo: he's only in a few scenes. But they're killer scenes, and the film has much more to offer. Tom Cruise (Kaffee) shines as a lazy lawyer who rises to the occasion, and Demi Moore (Galloway) gives a command performance. Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, J.T. Walsh, and Cuba Gooding Jr. (of Jerry Maguire fame) round out the superb cast. Director Rob Reiner poses important questions about the rights of the powerful and the responsibilities of those just following orders in this classic courtroom drama. --Alan Smithee --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Basic

Basic

Starring: John Travlota Connie Nielsen Samuel L Jackson Timothy Daily Harry Connick Jr.
Director:

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating:
Running Time: 99 minutes

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Amazon.com If you thought The Recruit was full of surprises, Basic will spin your head around. Assuming that cleverness is its own reward, this military mystery shares many of The Recruit's strengths and weaknesses, offering multi-layered deception as its dramatic raison d'etre. Copping plenty of machismo attitude befitting a semi-effective thriller from Die Hard director John McTiernan, John Travolta stars as an ex-Army Ranger-turned-DEA agent, recruited by an Army investigator (Connie Nielsen) to solve the fratricide of a reviled Sergeant (Samuel L. Jackson) who was allegedly killed while commanding a Special Forces training mission in the hurricane-swept rainforests of Panama. Two survivors (Giovanni Ribisi in a showboat role, and Brian Van Holt) recall the ill-fated mission as the truth unfolds, Rashomon-style, in a series of repetitive flashbacks. Tricky enough to hold one's attention as it grows increasingly irrelevant, Basic is so enamored of its bogus ingenuity that its ultimate twist is a letdown. A second viewing might prove rewarding, if only to confirm that it all holds together. --Jeff Shannon

Blue Crush (Widescreen Collector's Edition)

Blue Crush (Widescreen Collector's Edition)

Starring: Bosworth, Kate Rodriguez, Michelle Davis, Matthew Bosworth, Kate Boorem, Mika Taloa, Chris Alexander, Kala Tejada, Ruben Tejada, Ruben Aquino, Asa
Director: Stockwell, John

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.7/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 105 minutes

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Amazon.com With refreshing energy, Blue Crush is the kind of movie that girls and young women deserve to see more of. It's mostly for them (although nice tans and bikinis will attract the guys), and it rejuvenates the surf-movie tradition by showing real girls with real friendships, coping with absent parents, borderline poverty, rocky romance, and the challenge of raising a kid sister. For young Hawaiian Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth), those responsibilities are motivations to excel as a champion-class surfer... if she can overcome the fear of drowning, which she nearly did in a previous wipeout. Supportive friends (Girlfight's Michelle Rodriguez, and Sanoe Lake) help her reach the climactic competition on Oahu's infamous Bonzai Pipeline, and like Saturday Night Fever, this engaging film uplifts the working class without condescension, riding high toward the joy of achievement. Himself an amateur surfer, director John Stockwell (Crazy/Beautiful) captures the extreme thrill of the sport while respecting the forces of nature and human behavior. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Brian's Song

Brian's Song

Starring: Caan, James Williams, Billy Dee Warden, Jack Casey, Bernie Fabares, Shelley Huddleston, David Pace, Judy Gibron, Abe Gibron, Abe O'Bradovich, Ed
Director: Kulik, Buzz

Rating: G
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 73 min

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Amazon.com While women shed more than a few tears over Love Story back in 1970, men had their equivalent with Brian's Song on TV. This biopic about the Chicago Bears' Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers is no mere sports film. It's one of those transcendent stories that struck a rare cultural nerve, a sensitive film about love, friendship, cancer, racial harmony, and football that came along at just the right time. James Caan is at his free-spirited best as Piccolo, and Billy Dee Williams is very charming as the quiet Sayers destined for superstardom. Roommates and rivals, these two rookies soon become best friends because of their competitive natures and complementary personalities. When Piccolo becomes stricken with cancer, his relentless will to live inspires the talented Sayers to reach his athletic potential. Jack Warden, as the masterful coach George Halas, superbly manipulates the ying and yang relationship for all it's worth. Michel Legrand's melancholy theme still lingers in the mind as one of the all-time greats. --Bill Desowitz --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition. Additional features Audio commentary by costars James Caan and Billy Dee Williams is typical memory-book stuff, with both actors (mostly Caan) casually reminiscing about the filming of Brian's Song. Caan had just finished The Godfather, so his star was quickly rising, and he spent much of the time carousing and playing practical jokes with players from the Chicago Bears football team. Williams, in contrast, was a relative unknown getting a big career break, and he approached the filming with utter seriousness.... read more

Bring It On

Bring It On

Starring: Dunst, Kirsten Dushku, Eliza Bradford, Jesse Union, Gabrielle Kramer, Clare Bilderback, Nicole Joelson, Tsianina Bell, Rini Bell, Rini Ritter, Huntley
Director: Reed, Peyton

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.2/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 98 min

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Amazon.com Sunny, happy Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) is the new leader of the Toros, the cheerleading squad of Rancho Carne, an affluent San Diego high school that has lousy football players but one hell of a cheerleading team. National champions, they're the ones who bring in the bodies to the football games with their award-winning moves and sassy grace, and they're poised to take their sixth national cheer title. Torrance's new reign as cheer queen, though, is cut short when she discovers that her snotty, duplicitous forerunner was regularly stealing routines from the East Compton Clovers, the hip-hop influenced cheerleaders of a poor inner city school, and passing them off as the original work of the Toros. Scrambling to come up with a new routine for the Toros--and do the right thing by giving the Clovers their due--Torrance butts heads with the proud and understandably wary Isis (Gabrielle Union), the leader of the Clovers, who wants nothing to do with a rich blond white girl, but does want to get her squad to the championships. Problem is, only one team can take home the national title. Who's it gonna be? An unexpected box-office hit in the late summer of 2000, Bring It On is a smart, snappy teen comedy that bristles with good cheer (literally) and lively, down-to-earth characters. The story may be fairly predictable (who's going to win the big championship?), but director Peyton Reed and screenwriter Jessica Bendinger have fleshed out their characters with formidable strength and provided them with sharp dialogue. Dunst is a radiant comedian, projecting warmth, determination, sincerity, and a sublime airheadedness, and Union is an impressive dancer and counterpart to Dunst, matching her admirably despite her limited onscreen time. An excellent young supporting cast rounds out the film, most notably Eliza Dushku (Faith of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Jesse Bradford (Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill) as siblings new to Rancho Carne, who become Torrance's best friend and potential new boyfriend, respectively. All in all, a pleasantly surprising and intelligent teen movie. Don't miss the opening sequence, a hilarious send-up of all those high school cheerleading routines you had to sit through at boring pep rallies. --Mark Englehart

Buddy Holly Story, The

Buddy Holly Story, The

Starring: Busey, Gary Stroud, Don Smith, Charles Martin Janis, Conrad Jordan, William Richwine, Maria Johnston, Amy O'Neill, Dick O'Neill, Dick Patterson, Neva
Director: Rash, Steve

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.1/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 113 min

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Amazon.com Rock historians and hard-core Buddy Holly fans can and do take issue with director Steve Rash's 1978 biopic of the Lubbock, Texas, rocker's life: the script liberally juggles details from Holly's brief but blazing career, replacing producer Norman Petty and Holly's original bassist and drummer with fictionalized composite characters. Yet the core of the film, and the reason it's definitely worth a look and listen, is Gary Busey's lusty performance in the title role, triumphing against what might have seemed miscasting. The burly, lantern-jawed Busey steps into the lankier, narrow-faced Holly's blue suede shoes and dances off with the movie. At a time when live rock albums thought little of overdubbing mistakes in the studio, director Rash honored Busey's nervy gamble in performing these songs live, singing in his own raw voice and rumbling through his own approximations of Holly's guitar work. What's lost in precise verisimilitude is more than compensated by Busey's conviction and a palpable, almost ecstatic terror as he charges through Holly's wonderful songs before indifferent roller-rink audiences. Other films have nailed the period more accurately through art direction or script, but Busey's authentic energy gives this movie an emotional veracity that's just right for this chapter in rock history. Still, for musical purposes, go straight to the source, Holly's wonderful recordings.--Sam Sutherland --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Edition)

Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: DiCaprio, Leonardo Hanks, Tom Walken, Christopher Sheen, Martin Baye, Nathalie Adams, Amy Brolin, James Howe, Brian Howe, Brian Eastin, Steve
Director: Spielberg, Steven

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.7/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 141 min

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Amazon.com An enormously entertaining (if somewhat shallow) affair from blockbuster director Steven Spielberg. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr., a dazzling young con man who spent four years impersonating an airline pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer--all before he turned 21. All the while he's pursued by a dedicated FBI agent named Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), whose dogged determination stays one step behind Abagnale's spontaneous wits. Both DiCaprio and Hanks turn in enjoyable performances and the movie has a bouncy rhythm that keeps it zipping along. However, it never gets under the surface of Frank's drive to lose himself in other identities, other than a simplistic desire to please his father (Christopher Walken, excellent as always), nor does it explore the complex mechanics of fraud with any depth. By the movie's end, it feels like one of Frank's pilot uniforms--appearance without substance. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Changing Lanes

Changing Lanes

Starring: Affleck, Ben Jackson, Samuel L. Peet, Amanda Cooper, Bradley Baker, Dylan Dundas, Jennie Jenkins, Richard Pollack, Sydney Pollack, Sydney Hurt, William
Director: Michell, Roger

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.7/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 99 min

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Amazon.com Impeccably crafted and smarter than your average thriller, Changing Lanes proves that revenge is a dish best served cold. A high-powered attorney (Ben Affleck) learns that lesson the hard way after he flees the scene of an accident involving an insurance salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) who holds a powerful advantage in his retaliatory strike against the lawyer's arrogant behavior. Affleck has everything to gain if he can retrieve a lost document from Jackson, who has everything to lose (wife, family, savings) when threatened with financial sabotage. To his versatile credit, Notting Hill director Roger Michell never plays the race card in this escalating battle of wills, focusing instead on the percolating resentments of men at opposite ends of the economic scale. As he did in Eyes Wide Shut, actor-director Sydney Pollack chillingly embodies the venal elite in a pivotal supporting role, and Changing Lanes potently illustrates the wisdom of heeding a guilty conscience. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy Theory

Starring: Gibson, Mel Roberts, Julia Stewart, Patrick Roberts, Julia Stewart, Patrick Cozart, Cylk Kahan, Stephen Alexander, Terrence Alexander, Terrence Williams, Brian J.
Director: Donner, Richard

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

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Amazon.com essential video What is it about director Richard Donner that Mel Gibson enjoys so much that he's appeared in five of Donner's films? Is it the on-set pranks? Could it be the big-budget perks and $20-million paychecks? Or is it just a well-stocked catering table? Whatever the case, the Lethal Weapon star and director teamed up again, along with fellow superstar Julia Roberts, for this typically glossy, entertaining but ultimately hokey thriller. Gibson plays New York cab driver Jerry Fletcher, whose wacky belief in conspiracies finally hits on a coincidental truth involving an evil figure named Jonas (Patrick Stewart) and a secret program of government-funded mind control. Roberts plays the Justice Department attorney who finally believes in Jerry's paranoid ramblings. With a plot (from LA. Confidential cowriter Brian Helgeland) that's a lot of fun as long as you don't think about it too critically, Conspiracy Theory benefits immeasurably from the charisma of its high-magnitude stars. --Jeff Shannon

Coyote Ugly

Coyote Ugly

Starring: Perabo, Piper Garcia, Adam Goodman, John Bello, Maria Miko, Izabella Banks, Tyra Moynahan, Bridget Lynskey, Melanie Lynskey, Melanie Weston, Michael
Director: (II), David McNally

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 97 min

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Amazon.com As a producer, Jerry Bruckheimer makes movies for guys, mostly action films like Top Gun and Gone in 60 Seconds. The ones he makes that feature women, such as Flashdance and now Coyote Ugly, broaden their appeal with a fondness for "strong women." For Bruckheimer, that means self-determined, attractive women who don't need men to get what they want. Is there anything sexier than that? In Coyote Ugly, the charming young waif Piper Perabo stars as Violet, a New Jersey waitress who moves to New York to make it big as a songwriter. She has absolutely no idea how the music business works, relying instead on her faith in her own abilities. In order to make ends meet, she gets a job in a bar called Coyote Ugly, where the bartenders are scantily clad women who dance on the bar and order around their mostly male clientele. Really, they are strippers who don't have to take off their clothes. In fact, the owner (Maria Bello) orders them to enact the first rule of strip clubs: "Appear available but never be available." Bruckheimer is smart enough to focus on the naive girl instead of the seamier side of the story, following her as she realizes her dream and picks up a disposable but nice man along the way. Further "empowering" the female figures in the film, Zoe (Tyra Banks), the bartender whom Violet is replacing, leaves in order to go to law school. See? They're as smart as they are sexy! Then there's John Goodman, who turns in an absolutely charming performance as Violet's concerned father. This is a sweet and inoffensive film as long as you don't think too much about it. --Andy Spletzer

Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions

Starring: Gellar, Sarah Michelle Phillippe, Ryan Witherspoon, Reese Mabius, Eric Reid, Tara Kurtz, Swoosie Baranski, Christine Phillippe, Ryan Phillippe, Ryan Gellar, Sarah Michelle
Director: Kumble, Roger

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

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Amazon.com This modern-day teen update of Les Liaisons Dangereuses suffered at the hands of both critics and moviegoers thanks to its sumptuous ad campaign, which hyped the film as an arch, highly sexual, faux-serious drama (not unlike the successful, Oscar-nominated Dangerous Liaisons). In fact, this intermittently successful sudser plays like high comedy for its first two-thirds, as its two evil heroes, rich stepsiblings Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe), blithely ruin lives and reputations with hearts as black as coal. Kathryn wants revenge on a boyfriend who dumped her, so she befriends his new intended, the gawky Cecile (Selma Blair), and gets Sebastian to deflower the innocent virgin. The meat of the game, though, lies in Sebastian's seduction of good girl Annette (a down-to-earth Reese Witherspoon), who's written a nationally published essay entitled "Why I Choose to Wait." If he fails, Kathryn gets his precious vintage convertible; if he wins, he gets Kathryn--in the sack. When the movie sticks to the merry ruination of Kathryn and Sebastian's pawns, it's highly enjoyable: Gellar in particular is a two-faced manipulator extraordinaire, and Phillippe, usually a black hole, manages some fun as a hipster Eurotrash stud. Most pleasantly surprising of all is Witherspoon, who puts a remarkably self-assured spin on a character usually considered vulnerable and tortured (see Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Liaisons). Unfortunately, writer-director Roger Kumble undermines everything he's built up with a false ending that's true to neither the reconceived characters nor the original story--revenge is a dish best served cold, not cooked up with unnecessary plot twists. --Mark Englehart

Cutting Edge, The

Cutting Edge, The

Starring: Sweeney, D.B. Kelly, Moira Dotrice, Roy Kelly, Moira Brown, Dwier Benson, Chris Peeks, Kevin Flatman, Barry Flatman, Barry Sears, Steve
Director: Glaser, Paul Michael

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

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Amazon.com As far as ice-skating movies go (or those that prominently feature the cold-bladed sport), this romantic movie is one of the best, thanks to utterly charming performances by underrated actors D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly. The couple play, respectively, a washed-up hockey player and a prima-donna skater who end up in doubles figure skating together at the Winter Olympics. Of course, the mismatched pair fall in love. In between, there's a lot of verbal sparring, talk of toe picks, and surprisingly skillful directing by Paul Michael Glaser (Kazaam, The Air Up There). Direction here is critical--unlike in Flashdance, where the dancing was done in the shadows, face and feet obviously shot separately--and The Cutting Edge credibly highlights the actors and their professional stand-ins. This is such a fun, sweet story that the facts the film takes liberties with--including the alacrity with which a hockey player takes to Olympic-level figure skating--are easily forgivable. --N.F. Mendoza --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Deeply

Deeply

Starring: Dunst, Kirsten Redgrave, Lynn Brendler, Julia Ford, Trent Carver, Brent Watson, Alberta Donaldson, Peter Rosling, Tara Rosling, Tara Turner, Jessica
Director: Elwood, Sheri

Rating: NR
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 101 min

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A mythic memory play in the vein of The Wicker Man, Deeply is the story of a traumatized teenager, Claire McKay (Julia Brendler)...

Dirty Dancing (Collector's Edition)

Dirty Dancing (Collector's Edition)

Starring: Grey, Jennifer Swayze, Patrick Orbach, Jerry Rhodes, Cynthia Weston, Jack Brucker, Jane Bishop, Kelly Price, Lonny Price, Lonny Coles, Charles 'Honi'
Director: Ardolino, Emile

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 100 min

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Amazon.com As with Grease (1978) and Footloose (1984) before it, Dirty Dancing was a cultural phenomenon that now plays more like camp. That very campiness, though, is part of its biggest charm. And if the dancing in the movie doesn't seem particularly "dirty" by today's standards--or 1987's--it does take place in an era (the early '60s) when it would have. Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey, daughter of ageless hoofer Joel Grey) has been vacationing in the Catskills with her family for many years. Uneventfully. One summer, she falls under the sway (as it were) of dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). Baby is a pampered pup, but Johnny is a man of the world. Baby's father, Jake (Law and Order's Jerry Orbach), can't see the basic decency in greaser Johnny that she can. It should come as no surprise to find that Baby, who can be as immature as her name, learns more about love and life--and dancing--from free-spirited Johnny than traditionalist Jake. Dirty Dancing spawned two successful soundtracks, a short-lived TV series, and a stage musical. It may be predictable, but Grey and Swayze have chemistry, charisma, and all the right moves. It's a sometimes silly movie with occasionally mind-boggling dialogue--"No one puts Baby in a corner!"--that nonetheless carries an underlying message about tolerance and is filled with the kind of exuberant spirit that's hard for even the most cynical to resist. Not that they'd ever admit it. --Kathy Fennessy --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Domestic Disturbance

Domestic Disturbance

Starring: Travolta, John Vaughn, Vince Polo, Teri Polo, Teri Vaughn, Vince O'Leary, Matthew Jones, Leland L. O'Leary, Matthew O'Leary, Matthew Floyd, Susan
Director: Becker, Harold

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

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Amazon.com If you focus on the effective casting of John Travolta and Vince Vaughan, Domestic Disturbance may grab your attention as a thriller that hits too close to home. After playing a greasy villain in Swordfish, Travolta ably serves up the good-guy charm as a divorced father who must rescue his teenage son from a murderous new stepfather, played by Vaughan with bad-tempered relish. Director Harold Becker is worthy of better material (like his earlier hit Sea of Love), but he handles this B-movie potboiler with professional flair, particularly in the setup involving an accomplice (the ever-reliable Steve Buscemi) who threatens to destroy Vaughan's small-town respectability. The plot's about as plausible as Britney Spears in a remake of Sophie's Choice, relying heavily on lame-brained cops and vast chasms in logic, but by the time Travolta and Vaughan engage in their inevitable showdown, even childless viewers may feel a twinge of parental instinct. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Enough

Enough

Starring: Campbell, Billy Lewis, Juliette Wyle, Noah Ward, Fred Lopez, Jennifer Futterman, Dan Cobbs, Bill Maher, Chris Maher, Chris Maher, Christopher
Director: Apted, Michael

Rating: PG-13 (MPAA)
Category: Drama
User Rating: 4.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 111

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A diner waitress, Slim (Jennifer Lopez), meets Mitch (Bill Campbell), a handsome rich man who defends her in the diner. They marry and have a child, but Slim's happiness is soon lost when she discovers that her husband has a mistress. When confronted, Mitch becomes abusive and proceeds to lay down controlling laws for Slim. As the abuse grows worse, Slim realizes that fleeing is her only path to freedom. Mitch's determination becomes evident as he tracks Slim down, terrorizes her, and uses the legal system to his advantage, scheduling a custody hearing. Realizing that flight and the law are not her strongest allies, Slim takes intensive combat classes, preparing to meet Mitch one last time, intending to kill him in apparent self defense. ENOUGH wisely spins typical gender roles beyond the training of its protagonist. Slim is aided by a sensitive male admirer (Dan Futterman), who has stamina problems, and her daughter Grace (Tessa Allen), who has admirable basketball skills. When it comes time for the climactic last battle, ENOUGH doesn't get bogged down with politics, sexual or otherwise. Instead, it gleefully delivers an elaborate, bloody, final brawl. Theatrical Release: MAY 24, 2002

GI Jane

GI Jane

Starring: Moore, Demi Mortensen, Viggo David, Angel Bancroft, Anne Max, Arthur Dowd, Billy Moore, Bob Kestner, Boyd Kestner, Boyd Von Bargen, Daniel
Director: Scott, Ridley

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 124 min

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Amazon.com It seemed like a pretty good career move, and for the most part it was. Demi Moore will never top any rational list of great actresses, but as her career stalled in the mid-1990s she had enough internal fire and external physicality to be just right for her title role in G.I. Jane. Her character's name isn't Jane--it's Jordan O'Neil--but the fact that she lacks a penis makes her an immediate standout in her elite training squad of Navy SEALs. She's been recruited as the first female SEAL trainee through a series of backroom political maneuvers, and must prove her military staying power against formidable odds--not the least of which is the abuse of a tyrannical master chief (Viggo Mortensen) who puts her through hell to improve her chances of success. Within the limitations of a glossy star vehicle, director Ridley Scott manages to incorporate the women-in-military issue with considerable impact, and Moore--along with her conspicuous breast enhancements and that memorable head-shaving scene--jumps into the role with everything she's got. Not a great movie by any means, but definitely a rousing crowd pleaser, and it's worth watching just to hear Demi shout the words "Suck my ----!!" (rhymes with "chick"). --Jeff Shannon

Good Will Hunting - Collector's Edition

Good Will Hunting - Collector's Edition

Starring: Williams, Robin Damon, Matt Affleck, Ben Skarsgård, Stellan Driver, Minnie Affleck, Casey Hauser, Cole Mighton, John Mighton, John McCauley, Colleen
Director: Sant, Gus Van

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.8/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 126 min

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Amazon.com essential video Robin Williams won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck nabbed one for Best Original Screenplay, but the feel-good hit Good Will Hunting triumphs because of its gifted director, Gus Van Sant. The unconventional director (My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy) saves a script marred by vanity and clunky character development by yanking soulful, touching performances out of his entire cast (amazingly, even one by Williams that's relatively schtick-free). Van Sant pulls off the equivalent of what George Cukor accomplished for women's melodrama in the '30s and '40s: He's crafted an intelligent, unabashedly emotional male weepie about men trying to find inner-wisdom. Matt Damon stars as Will Hunting, a closet math genius who ignores his gift in favor of nightly boozing and fighting with South Boston buddies (co-writer Ben Affleck among them). While working as a university janitor, he solves an impossible calculus problem scribbled on a hallway blackboard and reluctantly becomes the prodigy of an arrogant MIT professor (Stellan Skarsgård). Damon only avoids prison by agreeing to see psychiatrists, all of whom he mocks or psychologically destroys until he meets his match in the professor's former childhood friend, played by Williams. Both doctor and patient are haunted by the past, and as mutual respect develops, the healing process begins. The film's beauty lies not with grand climaxes, but with small, quiet moments. Scenes such as Affleck's clumsy pep talk to Damon while they drink beer after work, or any number of therapy session between Williams and Damon offer poignant looks at the awkward ways men show affection and feeling for one another. --Dave McCoy

Grease (Widescreen Edition)

Grease (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: Travolta, John Newton-John, Olivia Channing, Stockard Conaway, Jeff Pearl, Barry Tucci, Michael Ward, Kelly Conn, Didi Conn, Didi Manoff, Dinah
Director: Kleiser, Randal

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.8/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 110 min

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Amazon.com essential video Riding the strange '50s nostalgia wave that swept through America during the late 1970s (caused by TV shows like Happy Days and films like American Graffiti), Grease became not only the word in 1978, but also a box-office smash and a cultural phenomenon. Twenty years later, this entertaining film adaptation of the Broadway musical received another successful theatrical release, which included visual remastering and a shiny new Dolby soundtrack. In this 2002 DVD release, Grease lovers can also now see it in the correct 2:35 to 1 Panavision aspect ratio, and see retrospective interviews with cast members and director Randal Kleiser. All these stylistic touches are essential to the film's success. Without the vibrant colors, unforgettably campy and catchy tunes (like "Greased Lightning," "Summer Nights," and "You're the One That I Want"), and fabulously choreographed, widescreen musical numbers, the film would have to rely on a silly, cliché-filled plot that we've seen hundreds of times. As it is, the episodic story about the romantic dilemmas experienced by a group of graduating high school seniors remains fresh, fun, and incredibly imaginative. The young, animated cast also deserves a lot of credit, bringing chemistry and energy to otherwise bland material. John Travolta, straight from his success in Saturday Night Fever, knows his sexual star power and struts, swaggers, sings, and dances appropriately, while Olivia Newton-John's portrayal of virgin innocence is the only decent acting she's ever done. And then there's Stockard Channing, spouting sexual double-entendres as Rizzo, the bitchy, raunchy leader of the Pink Ladies, who steals the film from both of its stars. Ignore the sequel at all costs. --Dave McCoy

Grease 2

Grease 2

Starring: Caulfield, Maxwell Pfeiffer, Michelle Luft, Lorna Teefy, Maureen Price, Alison Segall, Pamela Zmed, Adrian Frechette, Peter Frechette, Peter Green, Leif
Director: Birch, Patricia

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 3.3/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 115 min

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Amazon.com Too often, sequels to popular films simply rehash the original film; call it the carbon-copy syndrome. Grease 2 suffers from no such malady, having almost nothing to do with the original film. Sure, it focuses on teens at Rydell High, the imaginary school from the first film, which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. But other than a few of the teachers, all of the characters are new and so are the songs--and more's the pity. By the time Grease hit the big screen, it already had had almost a decade as a theatrical musical, more than enough time to hone its mock-rock & roll score. But this sequel, which stars among others a then-unknown Michelle Pfeiffer, Maxwell Caulfield, and Lorna Luft (Judy Garland's daughter), has music that's neither fish nor fowl, neither rock nor Broadway. Meanwhile, the plot is a reversal of the first film, in which a cool guy fell for a square girl. In this one, the square is newcomer Caulfield, who catches the eye of tough girl Pfeiffer and her Pink Lady gang. The appearance of such pseudo-stars of the '50s, like Tab Hunter, is supposed to lend a nostalgic kick, but let's just say that Grease 2 slides almost instantly into obscurity. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition. Description The sequel to the 1978 hit movie, GREASE 2 is set in the early 1960’s when a new British student, Michael Carrington (Caulfield), rides into town and joins the ranks at Rydell High. A book nerd who immediately falls for the blonde bombshell leader of the Pink Ladies, Stephanie Zinone (Pfeiffer), Michael finds himself smitten, but out of his element. Knowing that the Pink Ladies are the hippest clique of chicks at Rydell, who only date their equals in coolness - the T-Birds, Michael sets out to turn from a geek to a greaser to see if he can win the gorgeous Stephanie’s heart.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Starring: Sobieski, Leelee Bisset, Jacqueline Boothe, Powers Harris, Neil Patrick Chaykin, Maury Dukakis, Olympia Hyde, Jonathan Loggia, Robert Loggia, Robert O'Toole, Peter
Director: Duguay, Christian

Rating: Unrated
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.7/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 180 min / 60 min (3 episodes)

Color Stereo

Amazon.com essential video A strong cast, impressive production values, and astute direction distinguish this generally successful dramatization of the tumultuous life of the 15th-century French heroine whose military victories were eclipsed by her martyrdom. At the heart of the story is the conflict between the teenager's simple but fierce faith and the more complex political and theological issues that influence her downfall, a theme fleshed out through the portrayals of the young warrior's liege, the Dauphin (later King) Charles, and the Bishop Cauchon. The 140-minute feature follows Joan D'Arc's odyssey from peasant obscurity to notoriety as the "Maid of Orleans," spiritual fulcrum for the beleaguered French forces struggling to halt English invaders. As played by Leelee Sobieski (Eyes Wide Shut), her evolution from naive farm girl to seasoned soldier is convincing, as is her gradual awakening to the underlying agendas of church and state. Most critically, Sobieski radiates the young girl's fervent spiritual devotion. Framing Sobieski's focal performance are two equally fine turns from Neil Patrick Harris, who erases his legacy as TV's Doogie Howser, M.D. with a neatly shaded, steely Charles, and Peter O'Toole, who balances his signature reserve and present physical frailty to make Cauchon a moral compass for the story. Having opposed Joan as a threat to orthodoxy, the Bishop recognizes her purity too late; O'Toole turns this moment into a dreadful epiphany that resonates through the story's inevitable, fiery denouement. Fine supporting performances from Peter Strauss, Shirley MacLaine, and Maximillian Schell, plus evocative medieval locations in the Czech Republic, further buttress the story. French-Canadian director Christian Duguay handles the large-scale battle sequences with fluid blocking and smart camera work. --Sam Sutherland --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

John Q. (Infinifilm Edition)

John Q. (Infinifilm Edition)

Starring: Washington, Denzel Duvall, Robert Washington, Denzel Griffin, Eddie Beyer, Troy Duvall, Robert Liotta, Ray Heche, Anne Heche, Anne Suplee, Ethan
Director: Cassavetes, Nick

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 112 minutes

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Amazon.com It's impossible to walk away from John Q. without thinking about the film that could have been. The pathetic state of health care in the U.S. and the desperate behavior it engenders is not only worthy but edgy material; no doubt director Nick Cassavetes (She's So Lovely) and Denzel Washington (as well as Robert Duvall, Ray Liotta, James Woods, and Anne Heche) were drawn to the provocative pitch. The only snag is that John Q. has about as much edge as an after-school special. Washington plays John Quincy Archibald, a hard-working factory worker whose house stands to be repossessed and whose lovely wife (Kimberly Elise) is at her wits' end. When his extremely cute son collapses while rounding the bases in a Little League game, things go from bad to worse. John Q. takes a downtown Chicago emergency room hostage when he learns that the heart transplant his son needs won't be performed because his health care doesn't cover it. The action-drama that ensues--replete with one-liners, stilted debate, inept snipers, and multiple references to O.J. Simpson's white Bronco--is so littered with clichés that the issues, timely ones, get lost in a crescendo of melodrama. --Fionn Meade --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition. DVD features The DVD extras include "Fighting for Care," a documentary featurette, as well as audio commentary from the director, screenwriter, producer, and director of photography. One can also select optional Infinifilm pop-ups that trigger one- to two-minute expansions on the movie. The pop-ups can be simple cast bios, commentary from the actors and directors, screen-test footage, and how-did-they-do-that? setup shots, but many of them are further illustrations of the trials a patient in need of an organ... read more Description Academy Award winner Denzel Washington stars in this powerful drama about a father who takes extreme measures to save his son's life when his insurance company refuses to cover his heart transplant surgery.

Last of the Dogmen

Last of the Dogmen

Starring: Berenger, Tom Hershey, Barbara Seagull, Barbara Herzstein, Barbara Reevis, Steve Cummins, Gregory Scott Junior, Mark Boone Calahasen, Helen Calahasen, Helen Lavand, Dawn
Director: Murphy, Tab

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.3/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 118 minutes

Color Dolby

Amazon.com Despite an irritating, tacked-on voice-over narration that somebody must have thought was necessary to make sense of the story (it wasn't), Last of the Dogmen is actually a very moving and magical film. Tom Berenger plays a Montana bounty hunter who helps an anthropologist (Barbara Hershey) search for the descendants of a Cheyenne tribe who disappeared in the 1870s. What the two find in a remote mountain stretch is an entire community of Cheyenne who have kept themselves cut off from the modern world. A Dances with Wolves parallel emerges as the white outsiders gradually fit in, but Last of the Dogmen stands up just fine without comparison to any other films. As in Kevin Costner's Oscar-winning movie, however, there are ways in which this film captures a similar sense of yearning, mystery, and loss. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Little Princess, The

Little Princess, The

Starring: Temple, Shirley Greene, Richard Louise, Anita Hunter, Ian Romero, Cesar Treacher, Arthur Nash, Mary Jason, Sybil Jason, Sybil Jones, Marcia Mae
Director: Lang, Walter

Rating: G
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.8/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 91 min

Color Stereo

Amazon.com essential video Shirley Temple stars in this 1939 version of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel about a little, motherless girl left in the care of a girls boarding school by her soldier father, and then made into a servant there when he's missing in action during World War I. The fine tear-jerking film is a good vehicle for the famous moppet, and director Walter Lang (The King and I) makes a memorably lavish production of the Victorian milieu. The final scene, in which our Shirley is helped by one of the most famous women in history, brings down the house. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Maid in Manhattan

Maid in Manhattan

Starring:
Director:

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating:
Running Time: 105 minutes

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In the breezy Maid in Manhattan, a maid in a top-flight hotel (Jennifer Lopez, Out of Sight, The Wedding Planner) chances to dress in a guest's clothes just when a handsome political candidate (Ralph Fiennes, Schindler's List, Red Dragon) walks in. Naturally, he's bowled over and pursues her; he's initially drawn to her gorgeous good looks but soon comes to appreciate her honesty and common sense. Of course, she can't let him know that she's only a maid, and various high jinks ensue--it's all pretty formulaic, but lurking in the edges of this glossy, brainless romance are a wealth of sly turns by Natasha Richardson and Amy Sedaris (as callow socialites), Bob Hoskins (as a dignified butler), Stanley Tucci (as Fiennes' exasperated campaign manager), and many less familiar faces. All help to give Maid in Manhattan the life and texture that has been processed out of the main characters.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Starring: Vardalos, Nia Corbett, John Constantine, Michael Kazan, Lainie Carides, Gia Constantine, Michael Mandylor, Louis Fatone, Joey Fatone, Joey Gomez, Ian
Director: Zwick, Joel

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.1/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

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Amazon.com It's not surprising that My Big Fat Greek Wedding grew more popular over the course of its theatrical release (whereas most blockbusters open big and then drop precipitously)--not only does it have believable situations and engaging characters, but these characters (particularly our romantic heroine, Toula, played by writer and performer Nia Vardalos) look like actual human beings instead of plastic movie stars. The result is the very accessible tale of Greek-American Toula (whose family sees her as over the hill at 30), who falls for a WASPy guy named Ian (John Corbett) and then has to endure the outrage, doubt, and ultimate acceptance of her deeply ethnically centered family. The actors invest their wildly stereotypical portrayals with sincerity and compassion, giving the movie an honest warmth instead of Hollywood schmaltz. But My Big Fat Greek Wedding ultimately succeeds because of Vardalos; her intelligent, down-to-earth presence and charm carry the film. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition. Description Toula Portokalos is a quiet, devoted daughter in a big, hectic, crazy Greek family. Working at her father's restaurant, "Dancing Zorba's," she hides behind a mop of mousy brown hair and thick, impenetrable glasses, keeping her family close and the world at a distance. But one day at the restaurant, she finds herself pouring coffee for a man so strikingly good-looking, that he inspires her to change her life - and the way she sees the world - forever. With a new hairdo, wardrobe, contact lenses, and most important of all, a whole new attitude, Toula steps out into the world a new woman, all ready to meet her man. Ian Miller is tall, handsome, but definitely not Greek. And whether he can handle Toula, her parents, her aunts, uncles, cousins and several centuries of Greek culture remains to be seen. But when you see the world through Toula's eyes, anything is possible!

Natural, The

Natural, The

Starring: Redford, Robert Duvall, Robert Hershey, Barbara Close, Glenn Basinger, Kim Seagull, Barbara Bodge Farnsworth, Richard Farnsworth, Richard Finnegan, John
Director: Levinson, Barry

Rating: PG (MPAA)
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 132

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Farm boy Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is the best baseball player anyone has ever seen. His bat, handmade from the wood of a tree felled by lightning following the death of his father, is magic in his hands. But before his career can start, the mysterious Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey) inexplicably shoots him, sidelining him for more than a decade. Fifteen years later, Hobbs returns to play for the New York Knights, whose coach, Pop Fisher (Wilfred Brimley), begrudgingly accepts the aging rookie as a member of the team. Pop is as surprised as the rest of the team when Hobbs knocks the ball out of the park time and again and can still play a mean outfield as well. However, when the politics of the business side of the game get in the way, Hobbs has to make some life-changing decisions. Meanwhile, he becomes involved with Memo Paris (Kim Basinger), a sultry siren with her own agenda. Glenn Close plays Iris, the hometown girl whom Hobbs left behind but never forgot. Director Barry Levinson (DINER, RAIN MAN) manages to re-create the excitement of old-time baseball while telling an all-American tale of success and failure, based on the novel by Bernard Malamud. This allegorical tale of success and failure in America tells the story of a natural born baseball player who should have been a star but gets a last chance to shine. Randy Newman's memorable score complements an excellent directorial effort by Barry Levinson. "'There goes Roy Hobbs...the best there ever was....'"--Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) "Some mistakes you never stop paying for."--Hobbs Theatrical release: May 11, 1984. Filmed in Buffalo and New York City. The film version has a vastly different ending than Bernard Malamud's novel.

October Sky

October Sky

Starring: Gyllenhaal, Jake Cooper, Chris Dern, Laura Owen, Chris Scott, William Lee Lindberg, Chad Canerday, Natalie Miles, Scott Miles, Scott Ellis, Chris
Director: Johnston, Joe

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.7/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 108 min

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Amazon.com Based on the memoir Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam Jr., October Sky emerged as one of the most delightful sleepers of 1999--a small miracle of good ol' fashioned movie-making in the cynical, often numbingly trendy Hollywood of the late 20th century. Hickam's true story begins in 1957 with Russia's historic launch of the Sputnik satellite, and while Homer (played with smart idealism by Jake Gyllenhaal) sees Sputnik as his cue to pursue a fascination with rocketry, his father (Chris Cooper) epitomizes the admirable yet sternly stubborn working-man's ethic of the West Virginia coal miner, casting fear and disdain on Homer's pursuit of science while urging his "errant" son to carry on the family business--a spirit-killing profession that Homer has no intention of joining. As directed by Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer), this wonderful movie is occasionally guilty of overstating its case and sacrificing subtlety for predictable melodrama. But more often the film's tone is just right, and the spirit of adventure and invention is infectiously conveyed through Gyllenhaal and his well-cast fellow rocketeers, whose many failures gradually lead to triumph on their makeshift backwoods launching pad. Capturing time and place with impeccable detail and superbly developed characters (including Laura Dern as an inspiring schoolteacher), October Sky is a family film for the ages, encouraging the highest potential of the human spirit while giving viewers a clear view of a bygone era when "the final frontier" beckoned to the explorer in all of us. --Jeff Shannon

Outsiders, The

Outsiders, The

Starring: Howell, C. Thomas Dillon, Matt Macchio, Ralph Lowe, Rob Lane, Diane Estevez, Emilio Cruise, Tom Mapother IV, Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, Thomas Cruise Garrett, Leif
Director: Coppola, Francis Ford

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.8/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

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Amazon.com essential video Director Francis Coppola's adaptation of the popular S.E. Hinton novel about the price of rebellious youth is notable chiefly for the stunning cast of young actors who went on to rich and varied careers. In supporting roles, the film features the likes of Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, and Tom Waits, among others. The story centers on two rival gangs in the early 1960s Midwest, and the violent turf wars that escalate and tragically claim young lives. C. Thomas Howell plays the central character who yearns to prove himself and be accepted by his older brothers' gang, while at the same time finding his first love and dreaming of a life beyond his dead end existence. Geared toward the teenage crowd, the film nonetheless features some fine direction from Coppola in a story that evokes memories of the classic coming-of-age films of the 1950s. --Robert Lane --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Pelican Brief, The

Pelican Brief, The

Starring: Roberts, Julia Washington, Denzel Shepard, Sam Shepard, Sam Rogers, Samuel Shepard Heard, John Goldwyn, Tony Sikking, James B. Sikking, James B. Cronyn, Hume
Director: Pakula, Alan J.

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.2/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

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Amazon.com Another John Grisham legal thriller comes to the screen, pairing Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts in a film directed by Alan J. Pakula, who is known for dark-hued suspense pictures such as Klute, The Parallax View, All the President's Men, and Presumed Innocent. The Pelican Brief isn't up to the level of those films, but it is a perfectly entertaining movie about a law student (Roberts) whose life is endangered when she discovers evidence of a conspiracy behind the killings of two Supreme Court justices. She enlists the help of an investigative reporter (Washington) and the two become fugitives. The charisma and chemistry of the leads goes a long way toward compensating for the story's shortcomings, as does a truly impressive supporting cast that includes Sam Shepard, John Heard, James B. Sikking, Tony Goldwyn, Stanley Tucci, Hume Cronyn, John Lithgow, William Atherton, and Robert Culp. --Jim Emerson

Pretty Woman (10th Anniversary Edition)

Pretty Woman (10th Anniversary Edition)

Starring: Gere, Richard Roberts, Julia Bellamy, Ralph Alexander, Jason San Giacomo, Laura Hyde-White, Alex Yasbeck, Amy Gere, Richard Gere, Richard Baldwin, Judith
Director: Marshall, Garry

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.6/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

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Amazon.com essential video Like a pumpkin that transforms into a carriage, some very shrewd casting (and the charisma of Julia Roberts, in particular) morphed this story of a Hollywood whore into a Disneyfied Cinderella story--and a mainstream megahit. This is the movie that made Roberts a star; the charm of her personality helping tremendously to carry viewers over the rough spots in the script (which was originally a cynical tale about prostitution called 3000--after the amount of money Richard Gere's character pays the prostitute to stay with him for the week). Gere is the silver-haired Wall Street knight who sweeps streetwalker Roberts into a fantasy world of room service at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel and fashion boutique shopping on Rodeo Drive. The supporting cast is also appealing, including Laura San Giacomo as Roberts's hooker pal, Hector Elizondo as the hotel manager, Jason Alexander, Ralph Bellamy, and Hank Azaria. Now, is this something you want your sons and daughters to see? That's entirely up to you. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Program

Program

Starring: Caan, James Berry, Halle Epps, Omar Sheffer, Craig Epps, Omar
Director: Ward, David S.

Rating: R (MPAA)
Category: Drama
User Rating:
Running Time: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

Color Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

From All Movie Guide Eastern State University isn't particularly notable for anything except its football program. Lately, even that hasn't been doing too well, and the athletic staff led by Coach Winters (James Caan) are under considerable pressure by the administration and alumni to bring in a winning season. To do that, he has to recruit some able, promising young players out of high school. It's not too surprising to learn that he will do almost anything to get these kids, and its even less surprising that, as long as they keep producing on the field, he and the college will overlook almost any obnoxious behavior the boys can perpetrate to the limit of their ability. Clarke Fountain

Pure Country

Pure Country

Starring: Strait, George Warren, Lesley Ann Glasser, Isabel Glasser, Isabel Doe, John Calhoun, Rory McClure, Molly McIlvain, James Terry McIlvain, James Terry Walters, Mark
Director: Cain, Christopher

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.8/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

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Description After 25 chart-topping hits, the singing star becomes a movie star! George Strait makes his film debut in an entertaining look into the heart and soul of country music from Young Guns director Christopher Cain. Superstar Dusty Chandler (Strait) is tired of the smoke, the strobe lights and the overmiked sound of his arena spectaculars. One night, something snaps. "I'm just going to take a little walk," Dusty says as he walks out of the empty hall, ditching his beard, ponytail - and temporarily, his career - to reclaim his down-home country roots. But his manager (Leslie Ann Warren) retaliates: a stand-in (Kyle Chandler) lip-synchs his songs in concert. And a romance with a lovely rancher (Isabel Glasser) is on again, off again like a rodeo cowboy. The simple life can be complex, but it's nothing a revitalized country boy can't handle!

Radio

Radio

Starring: Gooding, Cuba Harris, Ed Merkerson, S. Epatha Smith, Riley Winger, Debra Woodard, Alfre Mulkey, Chris Drew, Sarah Drew, Sarah Barrett, Joseph E.G.
Director: Tollin, Michael

Rating: PG (MPAA)
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 109

Color Mono

Set in South Carolina and spanning almost 40 years time beginning in the 1960s, RADIO is the moving story of the friendship between a mentally disabled man (played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in adulthood) and the high school football coach (Ed Harris) who gives him guidance, hope, and confidence. Growing up in the all-American small town of Anderson, South Carolina "Radio" is a social outcast who lives a lonely, childish existence. He's obsessed with his transistor radio and wanders the streets with a shopping cart full of collected junk. Because of his mental disability, Radio is misunderstood by the local townspeople and is often the victim of mean-spirited pranks. After the local high school football team plays a particularly cruel prank on the naive young man, the team coach decides to mentor Radio. Coach Jones staunchly supports Radio and their bond becomes unbreakable. A devoted football fan, Radio blossoms under the unwavering encouragement of the Coach and becomes the team's unofficial mascot and cheerleader. Ultimately the town is united by Radio's innocence and basic human goodness in this warmhearted drama inspired by a true story. Theatrical Release: OCTOBER 24, 2003

Remember the Titans (Widescreen Edition)

Remember the Titans (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: Washington, Denzel Patton, Will Harris, Wood Hurst, Ryan Faison, Donald Kirkwood, Craig Suplee, Ethan Pardue, Kip Pardue, Kip Parker, Nicole Ari
Director: Yakin, Boaz

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 113 min

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Amazon.com With only one major star (Denzel Washington), an appealing cast of fresh unknowns, and a winning emphasis of substance over self-indulgent style, Boaz Yakin's Remember the Titans is, like Rudy before it, a football movie that will be fondly remembered by anyone who sees it. Set in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971, the fact-based story begins with the integration of black and white students at T. C. Williams High School. This effort to improve race relations is most keenly felt on the school's football team, the Titans, and bigoted tempers flare when a black head coach (Washington) is appointed and his victorious predecessor (Will Patton) reluctantly stays on as his assistant. It's affirmative action at its most potentially volatile, complicated by the mandate that the coach will be fired if he loses a single game in the Titans' 13-game season. The players represent a hotbed of racial tension, but as the team struggles toward unity and gridiron glory, Remember the Titans builds on several subplots and character dynamics to become an inspirational drama of Rocky-like proportions. Yakin--whose debut, Fresh, was one of the best independent films of the 1990s--understands the value of connecting small scenes to form a rich climactic payoff. Likewise, Washington provides a solid dramatic foundation (his coach is obsessively harsh, but for all the right reasons) while giving his younger co-stars ample time in the spotlight. The result is a film that achieves what it celebrates: an enriching sense of unity that's unquestionably genuine. (Ages 9 and older) --Jeff Shannon

Rookie, The (Widescreen Edition)

Rookie, The (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: Quaid, Dennis Griffiths, Rachel Hernandez, Jay Grant, Beth Jones, Angus T. Hernandez, Jay Gonzalez, Rick Lindberg, Chad Lindberg, Chad Applegate, Royce D.
Director: Hancock, John Lee

Rating: G
Category: Drama
User Rating: 7.3/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

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Amazon.com Jim Morris, the real-life hero of The Rookie, has an inspirational story all but guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face. Happily, this G-rated Disney drama, based on Morris's published memoir of the same title, is suitable for an all-ages audience. Blessed with an awesome fastball, Morris nursed dreams of pitching for Major League Baseball during his 20s; injuries and bad luck, however, forced him to give up hope and become a teacher and coach. Years later, pressed by students and colleagues to try out for "the Show" one more time, Morris discovered he still had a powerful arm, and he was signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Rookie is at its best throughout this first chapter in Morris's midlife adventure, though the rest of the film finds fresh angles on more familiar baseball-movie conventions. Dennis Quaid is soulful and charismatic as Morris, perfect in his depiction of a man both thankful and startled that destiny has given one of the good guys his due. Appropriate for ages 4 and up. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Selena

Selena

Starring: Lopez, Jennifer Seda, Jon Marie, Constance Meneses, Alex Seda, Jon Olmos, Edward James Vargas, Jacob Astudillo, Pete Astudillo, Pete Vela, Ricky
Director: Nava, Gregory

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.1/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 127 min

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Amazon.com Gregory Nava (Why Do Fools Fall In Love?) directs this more-or-less official film biography of the late Mexican-American singer, Selena Quintanilla Perez (the film is coproduced by her father), which emphasizes sentimentality over conflict and plays down the star's horrific death at the hands of a deranged fan. Jennifer Lopez is quite good as Selena, whose roots we come to know through the story of her father (Edward James Olmos), a Corpus Christi singer who was rejected by white audiences. The script focuses primarily on Selena's inspiring rise, and it tries to muster some sense of urgent conflict over not-particularly-contentious issues (such as her relationship with a guitarist). But Olmos does a fine job portraying the elder Perez as a possessive sort, and the music and general buoyancy of Lopez's performance are infectious. The unavoidable subject of Selena's killer--a woman who happened to be the president of her fan club--is considerably and oddly downplayed. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Simply Irresistible

Simply Irresistible

Starring: Gellar, Sarah Michelle Flanery, Sean Patrick Clarkson, Patricia Baker, Dylan Jr., Larry Gilliard Durang, Christopher Buckley, Betty Krupa, Olek Krupa, Olek Draper, Alex
Director: Tarlov, Mark

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 4.7/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 94 min

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Amazon.com Call it Buffy the Culinary Slayer. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who usually runs around staking vampires and fighting demons, turns cute and cuddly as an aspiring chef in this magical-realist comedy that borrows a page--heck, whole chapters--from Like Water for Chocolate. Out at the market one day, Gellar stumbles on both a magical crab and the babelicious Sean Patrick Flanery who, wouldn't you know it, is opening up a posh restaurant at Bendel's department store (actually, the two have been brought together by fairy godfather Christopher Durang). Odd and implausible circumstances give these two cuties more opportunities to moon at each other, and suddenly Gellar's cooking takes off--turns out all her nicey-nice feelings towards Flanery are going into her cooking, with the help of that quiet but powerful little crab. Gellar's almost-closed restaurant starts to thrive, and her desserts begin making everyone horny. A cute premise that never really takes off, Simply Irresistible glides along on Gellar's charisma alone; in her off hours, Buffy certainly can be the lighthearted girl next door, and Gellar works to give some depth to her one-dimensional character. Flanery, though, while appealing at times, plays up his character's commitment-phobia to irritating degrees. Chock full of fairy-tale elements that never really come together (is that crab really necessary?), Irresistible does boast charming performances by Patricia Clarkson and Dylan Baker as Flanery's secretary and boss, respectively. However, it's a little odd to see these two, who scored raves for two serious and harrowing art-house flicks (Clarkson in High Art, Baker in Happiness) doing the light-and-fluffy romantic comedy thing. They're two of the very few ingredients that occasionally make this soufflé of a movie rise; at the end, however, it's flat as a pancake. --Mark Englehart --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Summer Catch

Summer Catch

Starring: Jr., Freddie Prinze Biel, Jessica Biel, Jessica Mann, Gabriel Prinze, Freddie , Jr Valderrama, Wilmer Murphy, Brittany Davison, Bruce Davison, Bruce Valderrama, Wilmer
Director: Tollin, Michael

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 4.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 104 minutes

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Amazon.com Fans of Freddie Prinze Jr. will no doubt enjoy Summer Catch, which features Freddie running through sprinklers on a baseball diamond wearing nothing but an orange thong. Freddie plays Ryan, an aspiring pitcher at baseball camp. Ryan grew up in the New England town that hosts the camp, mowing lawns with his landscaping father, so he's torn between his local friends and his new baseball buddies. Meanwhile, he's being pursued by a rich and beautiful local girl with the odd name of Tenley (Jessica Biel), whose father doesn't approve of her cavorting with the lawn boy. Ryan's an incredibly talented pitcher--everyone agrees, especially his bartending brother who also wanted to play ball but lacked the gift--but he's haunted by fear of failure and the recent loss of his mother. The strong supporting actors (including Matthew Lillard, Brittany Murphy, Brian Dennehy, Fred Ward, and Bruce Davison) do their best, but the script doesn't help. --Bret Fetzer Description A rich girl whose family summers on Cape Cod has a romance with a local boy who hopes to become a major league baseball player.

Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams

Starring: Lange, Jessica Harris, Ed Wedgeworth, Ann Clennon, David Staley, James Basaraba, Gary Goodman, John Soles, P.J. Soles, P.J. Kelch, Caitlin
Director: Reisz, Karel

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.7/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

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Amazon.com essential video She wasn't a beauty queen, but country-music star Patsy Cline's voice was a thing of wonder: full-bodied, aching and dreamy at the same time. She came by the torchy emotions in her songs honestly, as shown in this biopic directed by Karel Reisz, rising from poor surroundings, literally forcing her talent on the Nashville establishment, all the while trying to survive an abusive marriage to a drinker. Though the script by Robert Getchell is standard Hollywood biography, the movie is more than watchable, thanks to a bone-deep performance by the always astonishing Jessica Lange and the counterpoint by Ed Harris as her loving but unreliable husband. The soundtrack features a basketful of Cline's hits, which Lange convincingly lip-synchs. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Titanic

Titanic

Starring: DiCaprio, Leonardo Winslet, Kate Zane, Billy Bates, Kathy Paxton, Bill Stuart, Gloria Fisher, Frances Hill, Bernard Hill, Bernard Warner, David
Director: Cameron, James

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 194 min

Color Stereo

Amazon.com essential video When the theatrical release of James Cameron's Titanic was delayed from July to December of 1997, media pundits speculated that Cameron's $200 million disaster epic would cause the director's downfall, signal the end of the blockbuster era, and sink Paramount Studios as quickly as the ill-fated luxury liner had sunk on that fateful night of April 14, 1912. Some studio executives were confident, others horrified, but the clarity of hindsight turned Cameron into an Oscar-winning genius, a shrewd businessman, and one of the most successful directors in the history of motion pictures. Titanic would surpass the $1 billion mark in global box-office receipts (largely due to multiple viewings, the majority by teenage girls), win 11 Academy Awards including best picture and director, produce the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time, and make a global superstar of Leonardo DiCaprio. A bona fide pop-cultural phenomenon, the film has all the ingredients of a blockbuster (romance, passion, luxury, grand scale, a snidely villain, and an epic, life-threatening crisis), but Cameron's alchemy of these ingredients proved more popular than anyone could have predicted. His stroke of genius was to combine absolute authenticity with a pair of fictional lovers whose tragic fate would draw viewers into the heart-wrenching reality of the Titanic disaster. As starving artist Jack Dawson and soon-to-be-married socialite Rose DeWitt Bukater, DiCaprio and Kate Winslet won the hearts of viewers around the world, and their brief but never-forgotten love affair provides the humanity that Cameron needed to turn Titanic into an emotional experience. Present-day framing scenes (featuring Gloria Stuart as the 101-year-old Rose) add additional resonance to the story, and although some viewers proved vehemently immune to Cameron's manipulations, few can deny the production's impressive achievements. Although some of the computer-generated visual effects look artificial, others--such as the sunset silhouette of Titanic during its first evening at sea, or the climactic splitting of the ship's sinking hull--are state-of-the-art marvels. In terms of sets and costumes alone, the film is never less than astounding. More than anything else, however, the film's overwhelming popularity speaks for itself. Titanic is an event film and a monument to Cameron's risk-taking audacity, blending the tragic irony of the Titanic disaster with just enough narrative invention to give the historical event its fullest and most timeless dramatic impact. Titanic is an epic love story on par with Gone with the Wind, and like that earlier box-office phenomenon, it's a film for the ages. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Varsity Blues

Varsity Blues

Starring: Beek, James Van Der Voight, Jon Voight, Jon Walker, Paul Lester, Ron Caan, Scott Lineback, Richard Larter, Ali Larter, Ali Swinton, Eliel
Director: Robbins, Brian

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 100 min

Color Stereo

Amazon.com This MTV-produced drama only looks like an adaptation of H.G. Bissinger's expert dissertation of the church of high school football, Friday Night Lights. The energetic, breezy movie has none of the seriousness of Bissinger's book except on its basic level: in West Texas, high school football is life. Into this world comes Jonathan "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek), a brainy, uncharacteristic jock who sits on the sideline reading Slaughterhouse Five until the West Caanan High School Coyotes All-Texas QB goes down with an injury. Suddenly the spotlight and the tyrannical ways of coach Bud Kilmer (another ace evil turn by Jon Voight) are on Mox and the light is white-hot. There have been several films that show tough, honest kids doing their best against the worst of small-town coaches (Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves, for one) but Varsity Blues, in its glossy style, takes a more curious turn: studying what happens when celebrity comes to the well-adjusted high schooler. Mox starts seeing the rewards of stardom: a six-pack under the counter, acceptance in school, even easy sex from the girl who goes after the starting quarterback (Ali Larter). Will Mox win the big game? Will he bend to the wills of his coach? Will he stay with his old girlfriend? The questions are easy enough to answer, but the film has an ace up its sleeve: Van Der Beek has the stuff to carry the movie. Fans of TV's Dawson's Creek will see a slightly grittier dreamboat here, and Van Der Beek's care with the role makes the most ludicrous parts--including a trip to a strip club--manage a certain aura. --Doug Thomas

Whale Rider

Whale Rider

Starring: Castle-Hughes, Keisha Paratene, Rawiri Haughton, Vicky Curtis, Cliff Roa, Grant Taumaunu, Mana Clarke, Rawinia Emile, Taungaroa Emile, Taungaroa Wharekawa, Mabel
Director: Caro, Niki

Rating: PG-13 (MPAA)
Category: Drama
User Rating: 8.1/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 105

Color Mono

New Zealand's Maori culture is the focus of WHALE RIDER, the powerful coming-of-age tale of Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), a 13-year-old girl who feels destined to become leader and chief to her tribe although that role has always been reserved for males. In part, the role is her birthright, as her twin brother died in childbirth, and she survived. However, her grandfather, Koro (Rawiri Paratene), who is the current chief, stands firmly in the way of Pai's dream. He is extremely traditional and is superstitious that even Pai's curiosity in learning to be chief could upset the ancestors (who are the whales themselves). Pai's grandmother, Flowers (Vicky Haughton), defies Koro to support Pai, and her uncle, Rawiri (Grant Roa), trains her in the chants and battle techniques she needs. The rest is intuition, and Pai has loads of it--enough to communicate with the ancestors, and call them to her for help and guidance. Weaving family life, cultural tradition, and an ancient myth into a contemporary story, WHALE RIDER is a tender tale. As Pai, first-time actress Castle-Hughes is a small but impressive warrior, perfectly balancing kid naivety with adult bravery. The traditional costumes, language, chants, and personality of the Maori people come through well, while the tale is clearly a modern fiction, based on a novel by Witi Ihimaera. Beautiful and dramatic New Zealand landscapes and dreamy underwater whale photography cement the formula of the film and add to its magic. Theatrical Release: JUNE 6, 2003 (LA/NY)

What a Girl Wants (Widescreen Edition)

What a Girl Wants (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: Bynes, Amanda Firth, Colin Preston, Kelly Atkins, Eileen Pryce, Jonathan Firth, Colin Preston, Kelly Chancellor, Anna Chancellor, Anna Harper, Tom
Director: Gordon, Dennie

Rating: PG
Category: Drama
User Rating: 5.6/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Color Dolby

Amazon.com Fresh-faced Nickelodeon starlet Amanda Bynes stars in What a Girl Wants as Daphne, a 17-year-old girl in New York City who's spent her life pining for her absent father, a British lord named Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth) whom her mother (Kelly Preston) met during wilder days in Morocco. Tired of waiting for him to come to her, she decides to head to London where Dashwood is launching his political career--which could be derailed by her fun-loving, free-spirited attitude. Will her father choose the daughter he's never known or a position in Parliament? The plot of What a Girl Wants is ridiculously contrived, but the movie rides on the chemistry between Bynes and Firth. When, under Daphne's influence, Dashwood tries to break out of his stuffy shell and rediscover his inner rebel, the movie really starts to have fun. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition. Description Coming-of-Age Comedy. Daphne (Amanda Bynes), a spirited young American girl, travels to London in search of her long-lost father (Colin Firth), an influential aristocratic politician. As Daphne attempts to prove that love can conquer all, her impulsive behavior creates an uproar in high society, where her unique style threatens to undermine the relationship she has waited her whole life to experience.

White Squall

White Squall

Starring: Bridges, Jeff Goodall, Caroline Savage, John Goodall, Caroline Savage, John Sisto, Jeremy Phillippe, Ryan Lascher, David Lascher, David Marsden, Jason
Director: Scott, Ridley

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

Color Stereo

Amazon.com essential video It's a pity this oceangoing adventure wasn't fully appreciated during its theatrical release in 1996, if only because its climactic storm sequence (hence the movie's title) was awesome on the big screen and inevitably less impressive on video. Mixed reviews also curtailed its box-office potential, but as you might expect from Ridley Scott--the director of Blade Runner and Thelma & Louise--this is a beautifully photographed movie that will thrill anyone who is drawn to the romance and danger of the open sea. The story is a rite-of-passage adventure for a group of high school boys who spend their senior year as the crew-in-training on the Albatross, a sailing vessel skippered by an experienced sailor and schoolmaster (Jeff Bridges) who teaches hard lessons of teamwork and individual responsibility. As they sail to the tip of South America and back, the young men face many challenges that will shape their character, in addition to the carnal pleasures of shore leave in exotic ports of call. It's a traditional story, and Scott doesn't bring anything particularly new to this sailboat variation of Dead Poets Society and Scent of a Woman. But as a coming-of-age drama White Squall is professionally crafted and filled with vital energy, featuring a talented cast of newcomers (led by Scott Wolf of TV's Party of Five) who rise to the demands of this rousing and life-changing adventure. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Wild Things

Wild Things

Starring: Dillon, Matt Bacon, Kevin Campbell, Neve Richards, Denise Rubin-Vega, Daphne Murray, Bill Russell, Theresa Wagner, Robert Wagner, Robert Perry, Jeff
Director: McNaughton, John

Rating: R
Category: Drama
User Rating: 6.6/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 108 min

Color Dolby

Amazon.com Wild Things is the kind of lurid, trashy thriller that you'll either dive into with unabashed pleasure or turn away from in prudish disgust; it's entirely your choice, but we suggest the former option since it's obviously much more fun. The plot's so convoluted it's hardly worth describing, except to say that it's set in humid Florida and involves a respected high school teacher (Matt Dillon--yes, Matt Dillon as a teacher!) who is faced with accusations of rape by a student (Denise Richards, from Starship Troopers) who had been giving him the kind of attention most people would consider improper for such a "nice" young lady. Another student (Neve Campbell) raises a similar charge against the teacher, and that's when a police officer (Kevin Bacon) begins to investigate the allegations. Just when you think the movie's gone overboard with its shameless sex and absurdly twisted plot, in drops Bill Murray as an unscrupulous lawyer (of course) to spice things up with insurance scams and welcomed comic relief. As directed by John McNaughton (who has a way of making just the right moves with this kind of film noir melodrama), Wild Things is a bona fide guilty pleasure--the kind of movie you may be ashamed to enjoy, but what the heck, you'll enjoy it anyway. --Jeff Shannon