Arrival/Arrival 2

Arrival/Arrival 2

Starring: Muldoon, Patrick Sibbett, Jane Sarrazin, Michael Blythe, Catherine Scherer, Michael Day, Larry Adams, Steve Michetti, Emidio Michetti, Emidio Nerman, David
Director: Tenney, Kevin

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 3.6/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes

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A computer hacker (Patrick Muldoon) learns of the plot of the backwards-kneed aliens to take over the Earth using their shape-shifting talents.

Contact

Contact

Starring: Foster, Jodie McConaughey, Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Morse, David Blake, Geoffrey Fichtner, William Chester, Sami McNeil, Timothy McNeil, Timothy Skerritt, Tom
Director: Zemeckis, Robert

Rating: PG
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 7.3/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 153 min

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Amazon.com essential video The opening and closing moments of Robert (Forrest Gump) Zemeckis's Contact astonish viewers with the sort of breathtaking conceptual imagery one hardly ever sees in movies these day--each is an expression of the heroine's lifelong quest (both spiritual and scientific) to explore the meaning of human existence through contact with extraterrestrial life. The movie begins by soaring far out into space, then returns dizzyingly to earth until all the stars in the heavens condense into the sparkle in one little girl's eye. It ends with that same girl as an adult (Jodie Foster)--her search having taken her to places beyond her imagination--turning her gaze inward and seeing the universe in a handful of sand. Contact traces the journey between those two visual epiphanies. Based on Carl Sagan's novel, Contact is exceptionally thoughtful and provocative for a big-budget Hollywood science fiction picture, with elements that recall everything from 2001 to The Right Stuff. Foster's solid performance (and some really incredible alien hardware) keep viewers interested, even when the story skips and meanders, or when the halo around the golden locks of rising-star-of-a-different-kind Matthew McConaughey (as the pure-Hollywood-hokum love interest) reaches Milky Way-level wattage. Ambitious, ambiguous, pretentious, unpredictable--Contact is all of these things and more. Much of it remains open to speculation and interpretation, but whatever conclusions one eventually draws, Contact deserves recognition as a rare piece of big-budget studio filmmaking on a personal scale. --Jim Emerson

Core, The (Full Screen Edition)

Core, The (Full Screen Edition)

Starring: Eckhart, Aaron Swank, Hilary Galletti, Ray Swank, Hilary Karyo, Tchéky Pedde, Eileen Sharma, Rekha Tucci, Stanley Tucci, Stanley Scholte, Tom
Director: Amiel, Jon

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 135 min

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Amazon.com Smarter than Armageddon and equally extreme, The Core is high-tech Hollywood hokum at its finest. It's scientifically ridiculous, but this variant of Fantastic Voyage at least tries to be credible as it plunges deep into the earth's inner core, where a formulaic team of experts pilot an earth-boring ship to jump-start the planet's spinning molten interior, now stalled by a military secret that could seal the fate of all humankind. It's a geophysicist's wet dream that only a fine ensemble cast could rescue from absurdity, and director Jon Amiel (Entrapment, Copycat) draws excellent work (and plenty of humorous interplay) from Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci, Delroy Lindo, and a host of memorable supporting players, especially The New Guy's D.J. Qualls as the world's greatest cyber-nerd. With enough digital F/X disasters to satisfy anyone's apocalyptic fantasies, this is a popcorn thriller with all the bells and whistles that its genre demands. Sit back, pump up the volume, and enjoy the dazzling ride. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Excalibur

Excalibur

Starring: Terry, Nigel Mirren, Helen Clay, Nicholas Lunghi, Cherie Clay, Nicholas Neeson, Liam Swift, Clive Byrne, Gabriel Byrne, Gabriel Boorman, Katrine
Director: Boorman, John

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 7.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

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Amazon.com essential video This lush retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is a dark and engrossing tale. Director John Boorman (Deliverance) masterfully handles the tale of the mythical sword Excalibur, and its passing from the wizard Merlin to the future king of England. Arthur pulls the famed sword from a stone and is destined to be crowned king. As the king embarks on a passionate love affair with Guenevere, an illegitimate son, and Merlin's designs on power, threaten Arthur's reign. The film is visually stunning and unflinching in its scenes of combat and black magic. Featuring an impressive supporting cast, including early work from the likes of Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne, Excalibur is an adaptation of the legend both faithful and bold. --Robert Lane --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Independence Day

Independence Day

Starring: Will Smith Tommy Lee Jones
Director:

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating:
Running Time:

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K-PAX

K-PAX

Starring: Spacey, Kevin Bridges, Jeff McCormack, Mary Kelly, David Patrick Woodard, Alfre Paul, Aaron Gerety, Peter Weston, Celia Weston, Celia Vilar, Tracy
Director: Softley, Iain

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 7.2/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 1 Minute

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Amazon.com Based on a novel by Gene Brewer, K-PAX works best as an adult drama of self-discovery, blessed by the talents of costars Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey. Bridges plays Manhattan psychiatrist Mark Powell, who thinks he's seen it all until he's assigned to analyze Prot (Spacey), a psychiatric patient who claims to be from a distant planet called K-PAX. Powell is convinced that Prot is "a convincing delusional," but his cynicism turns to open-minded fascination as Prot's case reveals a combination of otherworldly insight and all-too-human trauma, prompting an earthbound explanation for Prot's allegedly alien origins. As directed by Ian Softley (Wings of the Dove), this curiously engrossing drama allows Spacey to create a provocative and humorously eccentric enigma, while Bridges superbly conveys his character's compassionate empathy. Their finely shaded performances raise K-PAX above the forced ambiguity of its ending, which is both thought-provoking and vaguely anticlimactic. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Knight's Tale, A

Knight's Tale, A

Starring: Ledger, Heath Addy, Mark Sossamon, Shannyn Bettany, Paul Fraser, Laura Addy, Mark Tudyk, Alan Bejo, Bérénice Bejo, Bérénice Purefoy, James
Director: Helgeland, Brian

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 6.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 132 min

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Amazon.com There's no rule against rock anthems from the 1970s in the soundtrack for a movie about a medieval jousting champion, but if you're going to attempt such jarring anachronisms, you'd better establish acceptable ground rules. Writer-director Brian Helgeland does precisely that in A Knight's Tale and pulls off this trick with such giddy aplomb that you can't help but play along. (Upon witnessing a crowd of peasants at a jousting match, singing and clapping to the beat of Queen's "We Will Rock You," you're either going to love this movie or dismiss it altogether.) Other vintage rock hits will follow, but Helgeland--the Oscar®-winning cowriter of L.A. Confidential--handles this ploy with judicious goodwill, in what is an otherwise honest period piece about a peasant named William (Heath Ledger) who rises by grit and determination to the hallowed status of knighthood. As if the soundtrack weren't audacious enough, Helgeland (recovering from the sour experience of his directorial debut, Payback) casts none other than Geoffrey Chaucer (wonderfully played by Paul Bettany) as William's cohort and match announcer, along with William's pals Roland (Mark Addy) and Wat (Alan Tudyk), and feisty blacksmith Kate (Laura Fraser). Of course there must be a fair maiden, and she is Jocelyn (newcomer Shannyn Sossamon), with whom William falls in love while battling the nefarious Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell) on the European jousting circuit. Add to this an inspiring father-son reunion, Ledger's undeniable charisma, a perfect supporting cast, and enough joyful energy to rejuvenate the film's formulaic plot, and A Knight's Tale becomes that most pleasant of movie surprises--an unlikely winner that rises up, like its hero, to exceed all expectations. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition)

Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: McKellen, Ian Astin, Sean Baker, Sala Bean, Sean Blanchett, Cate Bloom, Orlando Boyd, Billy Csokas, Marton Csokas, Marton Elsworth, Michael
Director: Jackson, Peter

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 8.8/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 208 min (special extended editio

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Amazon.com essential video As the triumphant start of a trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring leaves you begging for more. By necessity, Peter Jackson's ambitious epic compresses J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings, but this robust adaptation maintains reverent allegiance to Tolkien's creation, instantly qualifying as one of the greatest fantasy films ever made. At 178 minutes, it's long enough to establish the myriad inhabitants of Middle-earth, the legendary Rings of Power, and the fellowship of hobbits, elves, dwarves, and humans--led by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the brave hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood)--who must battle terrifying forces of evil on their perilous journey to destroy the One Ring in the land of Mordor. Superbly paced, the film is both epic and intimate, offering astonishing special effects and production design while emphasizing the emotional intensity of Frodo's adventure. Ending on a perfect note of heroic loyalty and rich anticipation, this wondrous fantasy continues in The Two Towers (2002). --Jeff Shannon DVD features This initial DVD release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring presents the theatrical version of the film with a beautiful picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 EX sound that rattles the walls and gives rear speakers a good workout. Extras include almost two hours of making-of programs previously seen on TV or on the Web, but for many fans the most tantalizing feature will be the 10-minute preview of the next film in the series, The Two Towers. You'll see interviews, the realization of... read more Description Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is an epic adventure of good against evil, the power of friendship and individual courage. The saga centers around an unassuming Hobbit named Frodo Baggins who inherits a Ring that would give a dark and powerful lord the power to enslave the world. With a loyal fellowship of elves, dwarves, men and a wizard, Frodo embarks on a heroic quest to destroy the One Ring and pave the way for the emergence of mankind.

Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition)

Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: Wood, Elijah McKellen, Ian Tyler, Liv Mortensen, Viggo Astin, Sean Blanchett, Cate Rhys-Davies, John Hill, Bernard Hill, Bernard Boyd, Billy
Director: Jackson, Peter

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 8.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 223 min (special extended editio

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Amazon.com The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a seamless continuation of Peter Jackson's epic fantasy based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. After the breaking of the Fellowship, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring of Power with the creature Gollum as their guide. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) join in the defense of the people of Rohan, who are the first target in the eradication of the race of Men by the renegade wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) and the dark lord Sauron. Fantastic creatures, astounding visual effects, and a climactic battle at the fortress of Helm's Deep make The Two Towers a worthy successor to The Fellowship of the Ring, grander in scale but retaining the story's emotional intimacy. These two films are perhaps the greatest fantasy films ever made, but they're merely a prelude to the cataclysmic events of The Return of the King. --David Horiuchi DVD features The two-disc theatrical-release DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers closely follows the high standards set by the theatrical-release DVD of The Fellowship of the Ring. It has excellent picture and sound, 90 minutes of making-of programs previously seen on TV or on lordoftherings.net (including the 43-minute "Return to Middle-earth" program shown on the WB Network) that will seem redundant to some people and enlightening to others, a music video, the theatrical trailer, and a preview... read more Description Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship continue their quest to destroy the One Ring and stand against the evil of the dark lord Sauron. The Fellowship has divided and now find themselves taking different paths to defeating Sauron and his allies. Their destinies now lie at two towers - Orthanc Tower in Isengard, where the corrupted wizard Saruman waits and Sauron's fortress at Baraddur, deep within the dark lands of Mordor.

Matrix Reloaded (Widescreen Edition)

Matrix Reloaded (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: Wells, Stuart Fishburne, Laurence Foster, Gloria Gaye, Nona Reeves, Keanu Weaving, Hugo McColm, Matt Bernhardt, Daniel Bernhardt, Daniel Pinkett-Smith, Jada
Director: Wachowski, Andy

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 7.2/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 138 minutes

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Amazon.com Considering the lofty expectations that preceded it, The Matrix Reloaded triumphs where most sequels fail. It would be impossible to match the fresh audacity that made The Matrix a global phenomenon in 1999, but in continuing the exploits of rebellious Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) as they struggle to save the human sanctuary of Zion from invading machines, the codirecting Wachowski brothers have their priorities well in order. They offer the obligatory bigger and better highlights (including the impressive "Burly Brawl" and freeway chase sequences) while remaining focused on cleverly plotting the middle of a brain-teasing trilogy that ends with The Matrix Revolutions. The metaphysical underpinnings can be dismissed or scrutinized, and choosing the latter course (this is, after all, an epic about choice and free will) leads to astonishing repercussions that made Reloaded an explosive hit with critics and hardcore fans alike. As the centerpiece of a multimedia franchise, this dynamic sequel ends with a cliffhanger that virtually guarantees a mind-blowing conclusion. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition. DVD features Go right to the 30-minute feature on the incredible freeway chase. Here you get the inside scoop on how the titanic 12-minute sequence was put together. If you want more in-depth stuff on this physically impressive movie, amazingly it's not here; there's not even a commentary track. Perhaps the Wachowski brothers want to keep their enigmatic aura, or perhaps there's a better DVD coming after the trilogy ends. There is plenty of material on the second disc, but it's just filler, with the actors... read more Description In the second chapter of the Matrix trilogy, Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) continue to lead the revolt against the Machine Army. In their quest to save the human race from extinction, they gain greater insight into the construct of The Matrix and Neo's pivotal role in the fate of mankind.

Matrix

Matrix

Starring: Reeves, Keanu Fishburne, Laurence Moss, Carrie-Anne Weaving, Hugo Pantoliano, Joe Chong, Marcus Foster, Gloria Arahanga, Julian Arahanga, Julian McClory, Belinda
Director: Wachowski, Larry

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 8.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 136 min

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Amazon.com essential video By following up their debut thriller Bound with the 1999 box-office smash The Matrix, the codirecting Wachowski brothers--Andy and Larry--annihilated any suggestion of a sophomore jinx, crafting one of the most exhilarating sci-fi/action movies of the 1990s. Set in the not too distant future in an insipid, characterless city, we find a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves). A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone at home by his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal--from what or whom he doesn't know--until one night, a mysterious woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). A messiah of sorts, Morpheus presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long: "You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad." Ultimately, Morpheus illustrates to Neo what the Matrix is--a reality beyond reality that controls all of their lives, in a way that Neo can barely comprehend. Neo thus embarks on an adventure that is both terrifying and enthralling. Pitted against an enemy that transcends human concepts of evil, Morpheus and his team must train Neo to believe that he is the chosen champion of their fight. With mind-boggling, technically innovative special effects and a thought-provoking script that owes a debt of inspiration to the legacy of cyberpunk fiction, this is much more than an out-and-out action yarn; it's a thinking man's journey into the realm of futuristic fantasy, a dreamscape full of eye candy that will satisfy sci-fi, kung fu, action, and adventure fans alike. Although the film is headlined by Reeves and Fishburne--who both turn in fine performances--much of the fun and excitement should be attributed to Moss, who flawlessly mixes vulnerability with immense strength, making other contemporary female heroines look timid by comparison. And if we were going to cast a vote for most dastardly movie villain of 1999, it would have to go to Hugo Weaving, who plays the feckless, semipsychotic Agent Smith with panache and edginess. As the film's box-office profits soared, the Wachowski brothers announced that The Matrix is merely the first chapter in a cinematically dazzling franchise--a chapter that is arguably superior to the other sci-fi smash of 1999 (you know... the one starring Jar Jar Binks). --Jeremy Storey Editor's Note Some DVD players may experience technical difficulties while playing the Matrix DVD. The disc itself is not affected. For more information, go to the following URL: http://www.pcfriendly.com/support/title/matrix/

Men in Black (Deluxe Edition)

Men in Black (Deluxe Edition)

Starring: Jones, Tommy Lee Smith, Will Fiorentino, Linda D'Onofrio, Vincent Torn, Rip Shalhoub, Tony Fallon, Siobhan Nussbaum, Mike Nussbaum, Mike Calderón, Sergio
Director: Sonnenfeld, Barry

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 6.8/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 98 min

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Amazon.com essential video This imaginative summer comedy from director Barry Sonnenfeld (Get Shorty) is a lot of fun, largely on the strength of Will Smith's engaging performance as the rookie partner of a secret agent (Tommy Lee Jones) assigned to keep tabs on Earth-dwelling extraterrestrials. There's lots of comedy to spare in this bright film, some of the funniest stuff found in the margins of the major action. (A scene with Smith's character being trounced in the distance by a huge alien while Jones questions a witness is a riot.) The inventiveness never lets up, and the cast--including Vincent D'Onofrio doing frighteningly convincing work as an alien occupying a decaying human--hold up their end splendidly. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Men in Black II (Widescreen Special Edition)

Men in Black II (Widescreen Special Edition)

Starring: Jones, Tommy Lee Smith, Will Cross, David Smith, Will Boyle, Lara Flynn Jones, Tommy Lee Shalhoub, Tony Warburton, Patrick Warburton, Patrick Cross, David
Director: Sonnenfeld, Barry

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.6/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 88 minutes

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Amazon.com More remake than sequel, Men in Black II safely repeats everything that made Men in Black the blockbuster hit of 1997. That's fine if you loved the original's fresh humor, weird aliens, and loopy ingenuity, but as sequels go, it's pure déjà vu. Makeup wizard Rick Baker is the only MIB alumnus who's trying anything new, while director Barry Sonnenfeld and costars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (as alien-fighting agents Jay and Kay, respectively) are on autopilot with an uninspired screenplay. The quest of a multitentacled alien--on Earth in the form of Lara Flynn Boyle--for the light of Zartha requires Jay to deneuralize Kay, whose restored memory contains the key to saving the planet. The tissue-thin premise allows all varieties of special effects--mostly familiar, with some oddly hilarious new stuff tossed in for good measure. Certainly enjoyable as a popcorn distraction, but the MIB magic has worn a bit thin. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition. DVD features The hands-down highlight of MIIB's bonus features is "The Chubb Chubbs," a delightful computer-animated cartoon (briefly shown in theaters with MIIB) that has the awkward distinction of being funnier and more inventive than MIIB. The other features offer an extensive dossier of production details, paying worthy tribute to the ingenuity of MIIB's creative team. Fifteen featurettes cover virtually every stage of production, from conceptual designs (in the DVD-ROM section, along with the complete... read more

Millennium

Millennium

Starring: Kristofferson, Kris Ladd, Cheryl Travanti, Daniel J. Joy, Robert Bochner, Lloyd Carver, Brent McIlwraith, David Chaykin, Maury Chaykin, Maury Dane, Lawrence
Director: Anderson, Michael

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 4.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 108 min

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Amazon.com Time-hoppers from the future, led by Cheryl Ladd, are abducting airline passengers about to crash, and transporting them a millennium hence in order to reseed a future blighted by environmental disaster. This is a dangerous business, plagued by the specter of accidentally creating time paradoxes, which could throw the future out of whack. Unfortunately, they've lost a couple of the stunners they use to subdue troublesome passengers, and these fall into the hands of a curious physicist (Daniel J. Travanti) and an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (Kris Kristofferson). Cheryl Ladd must retrieve these devices before a time paradox wipes out her world, but manages to complicate things by developing a romance with Kristofferson. All of which is very intriguing, having come from the short story, "Air Raid," by science fiction luminary John Varley, who also is credited with the screenplay. The part about airline abductions to save the disastrous future is straight from the original story, and the rest is expanded (you wouldn't say extrapolated) from it. The results are not very happy. About a third of the film is maddeningly wasted by repeating action from a different point of view. Seems natural when there are disparate timelines to deal with, but here nothing is added by the conceit. Only Travanti turns in a creditable performance as the physicist, bent on proving his theories about the future. He seems hungry for discovery, which is one of the things you want from a science fiction story, that sense of awe. But here it's just, "Aw, shucks!" --Jim Gay --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Mission To Mars

Mission To Mars

Starring: Sinise, Gary Robbins, Tim Cheadle, Don Nielsen, Connie O'Connell, Jerry Outerbridge, Peter Smith, Kavan Teed, Jill Teed, Jill Delaney, Kim
Director: Palma, Brian De

Rating: PG
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 4.8/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 113 min

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Amazon.com If Brian De Palma directed Mission to Mars for 10-year-olds who've never seen a science fiction film, he can be credited for crafting a marginally successful adventure. Isolated moments in this film serve the highest purpose of its genre, inspiring a sense of wonder and awe in the context of a fascinating future (specifically, the year 2020). But because most of us have seen a lot of science fiction films, it's impossible to ignore this one's derivative plot, cardboard characters, and drearily dumb dialogue. Despite an awesome and painstakingly authentic display of cool technology and dazzling special effects, Mission to Mars is light years away from 2001: A Space Odyssey on the scale of human intelligence. After dispensing with a few space-jockey clichés, the movie focuses on a Mars-bound rescue mission commanded by Jim McConnell (Gary Sinise), whose team (Tim Robbins, Connie Nielsen, Jerry O'Connell) has been sent to retrieve the sole survivor (Don Cheadle) of a tragic Mars landing. During the sequence en route to Mars, De Palma's in his element with two suspenseful scenes (including a dramatic--albeit somewhat silly--space walk) that are technically impressive. But when this Mission gets to Mars, the movie grows increasingly unconvincing, finally arriving at an alien encounter that more closely resembles an astronomical CGI video game. But this is a $75 million Hollywood movie, and no amount of technical wizardry can lift the burden of a juvenile screenplay. Kudos to Sinise, his costars, and the special effects wizards for making the most of hoary material; shame on just about everyone else involved. --Jeff Shannon

Mummy Returns, The (Full Screen Collector's Edition)

Mummy Returns, The (Full Screen Collector's Edition)

Starring: Fraser, Brendan Weisz, Rachel Hannah, John Fehr, Oded Vosloo, Arnold Velazquez, Patricia Rock, The Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Dwayne Velasquez, Patricia
Director: Sommers, Stephen

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 6.1/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

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Amazon.com Proving that bigger is rarely better, The Mummy Returns serves up so much action and so many computer-generated effects that it quickly grows exhausting. In his zeal to establish a lucrative franchise, writer-director Stephen Sommers dispenses with such trivial matters as character development and plot logic, and charges headlong into an almost random buffet of minimum story and maximum mayhem, beginning with a prologue establishing the ominous fate of the Scorpion King (played by World Wrestling Federation star the Rock, in a cameo teaser for his later starring role in--you guessed it--The Scorpion King). Dormant for 5,000 years, under control of the Egyptian god Anubis, the Scorpion King will rise again in 1933, which is where we find The Mummy's returning heroes Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, now married and scouring Egyptian ruins with their 8-year-old son, Alex (Freddie Boath). John Hannah (as Weisz's brother) and Oded Fehr (as mystical warrior Ardeth Bay) also return from The Mummy, and trouble begins when Alex dons the Scorpion King's ancient bracelet, coveted by the evil mummy Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), who's been revived by... oh, but does any of this matter? With a plot so disposable that it's impossible to care about anything that happens, The Mummy Returns is best enjoyed as an intermittently amusing and physically impressive monument of Hollywood machinery, with gorgeous sets that scream for a better showcase, and digital trickery that tops its predecessor in ambition, if not in payoff. By the time our heroes encounter a hoard of ravenous pygmy mummies, you'll probably enjoy this movie in spite of itself. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition. Additional features Fans of the special edition of the original Mummy will find just as satisfying a treasure room in this sequel DVD. Director Stephen Sommers and executive producer-editor Bob Ducsay are back with an animated play-by-play commentary, complementing the movie with technical tidbits and entertaining production stories. The "Spotlight on Location" featurette is the usual promotional puff piece, but the Visual and Special Effects Formation galleries dig deep into four key effects scenes (including the... read more

Mummy, The (Widescreen Collector's Edition)

Mummy, The (Widescreen Collector's Edition)

Starring: Fraser, Brendan Weisz, Rachel Hannah, John Vosloo, Arnold O'Connor, Kevin J. Fehr, Oded Hyde, Jonathan Avari, Erick Avari, Erick Dunham, Stephen
Director: Sommers, Stephen

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 6.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 124 min

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Amazon.com If you're expecting bandaged-wrapped corpses and a lurching Boris Karloff-type villain, then you've come to the wrong movie. But if outrageous effects, a hunky hero, and some hearty laughs are what you're looking for, the 1999 version of The Mummy is spectacularly good fun. Yes, the critics called it "hokey," "cheesy," and "pallid." Well, the critics are unjust. Granted, the plot tends to stray, the acting is a bit of a stretch, and the characters occasionally slip into cliché, but who cares? When that action gets going, hold tight--those two hours just fly by. The premise of the movie isn't that far off from the original. Egyptologist and general mess Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) discovers a map to the lost city of Hamunaptra, and so she hires rogue Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) to lead her there. Once there, Evelyn accidentally unlocks the tomb of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), a man who had been buried alive a couple of millennia ago with flesh-eating bugs as punishment for sleeping with the pharaoh's girlfriend. The ancient mummy is revived, and he is determined to bring his old love back to life, which of course means much mayhem (including the unleashing of the 10 plagues) and human sacrifice. Despite the rather gory premise, this movie is fairly tame in terms of violence; most of the magic and surprise come from the special effects, which are glorious to watch, although Imhotep, before being fully reconstituted, is, as one explorer puts it, rather "juicy." Keep in mind this film is as much comedy as it is adventure--those looking for a straightforward horror pic will be disappointed. But for those who want good old-fashioned eye-candy kind of fun, The Mummy ranks as one of choicest flicks of 1999. --Jenny Brown

Nightmare On Elm Street

Nightmare On Elm Street

Starring: Saxon, John Blakley, Ronee Englund, Robert Langenkamp, Heather Depp, Johnny Depp, Johnny Fleischer, Charles Whipp, Joseph Whipp, Joseph Shaye, Lin
Director: Craven, Wes

Rating: R (MPAA)
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 7.0/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 92

Color Digitally Re-Mastered

A hellish, razor-fingered monster enters the dreams of the teenage residents of a bucolic town and systematically slaughters them in their sleep--until one courageous young woman does battle with the predatory fiend. An excellent, surprisingly surrealistic genre entry from the master, Wes Craven. A replusive, decaying figure with razor-sharp appendages (and an even sharper sense of humor!) suddenly appears in the dreams of four Los Angeles teenagers. It is the ghost of Freddy Krueger, a suspected child murderer killed long ago by the neighborhood parents. Now he's able to exact his bloody vengeance by killing the teens off, one by one, as they sleep. Finally just one girl remains. Desperately, she tries to stay awake by every means possible, but even pills and massive amounts of coffee wear off sometime -- and when they do, she'll have to battle Freddy for her very life. It's her worst nightmare ... and it's coming true. Both Elite Laserdiscs (EE3734 & EE3733) are limited to editions of 5,000 units. Color by DeLuxe. Budget estimate $1.8 million. Released in USA October 31, 1984. The film's original running time was listed at 150 minutes, it is now listed at 91 minutes. Feature film debut for actor Johnny Depp. Although he directed only the first film, director/writer Wes Craven's "Nightmare on Elm Street" continued to fascinate horror movie buffs. Subsequently, four more films were made, all of them featuring Robert Englund as the infamous Freddy Krueger. The movie also led to a television series called "Freddy's Nightmares." Rated BBFC 18 by the British Board of Film Censors.

Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes

Starring: Wahlberg, Mark Carter, Helena Bonham Carter, Helena Bonham Kristofferson, Kris Carter, Helena Bonham Roth, Tim Avari, Erick Tagawa, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Cary-Hiroyuki Marie, Lisa
Director: Burton, Tim

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.7/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Color DTS Surround Sound

Amazon.com Billed as a "reimagining" of the original 1968 film, Tim Burton's extraordinary Planet of the Apes constantly borders on greatness, adhering to the spirit of Pierre Boulle's original novel while exploring fresh and inventive ideas and paying honorable tribute to the '68 sci-fi classic. Burton's gifts for eccentric inspiration and visual ingenuity make this a movie that's as entertaining as it is provocative, beginning with Rick Baker's best-ever ape makeup (hand that man an Oscar®!), and continuing through the surprisingly nuanced performances and breathtaking production design. Add to all this an intelligent screenplay that turns Boulle's speculative reversal--the dominance of apes over humans--into a provocative study of civil rights and civil war. The film finally goes too far with a woefully misguided ending that pays weak homage to the original, but everything preceding that misfire is astonishingly right. While attempting the space-pod retrieval of a chimpanzee test pilot, Major Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) enters a magnetic storm that propels him into the distant future, where he crash-lands on the ape-ruled planet. Among the primitively civilized apes, treatment of enslaved humans is a divisive issue: senator's daughter Ari (Helena Bonham Carter) advocates equality while the ruthless General Thade (Tim Roth) promotes extermination. While Davidson ignites a human rebellion, this conflict is explored with admirable depth and emotion, and sharp dialogue allows Burton's exceptional cast to bring remarkable expressiveness to their embattled ape characters, most notably in the comic relief of orangutan slave trader Limbo (played to perfection by Paul Giamatti). Classic lines from the original film are cleverly reversed (including an unbilled cameo for Charlton Heston, in ape regalia as Thade's dying father), and while this tale of interspecies warfare leads to an ironic conclusion that's not altogether satisfying, it still bears the ripe fruit of a timeless what-if idea. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition. DVD features The DVD release of Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes is so loaded that the second disc needs six screens to list all of the features--or maybe it's just an excuse to show off the great-looking animated menus. The most interesting features are six substantial documentaries about aspects of the filming, including examinations of how the apes run and a spotlight on Lake Powell, where both this film and the 1968 original were shot. The "enhanced viewing mode" on disc 1 is fun: picture-in-picture... read more

Reign of Fire

Reign of Fire

Starring: Bale, Christian McConaughey, Matthew Scorupco, Izabella Butler, Gerard Moutter, Scott Kennedy, David Siddig, Alexander Dennehy, Ned Dennehy, Ned Maynard, Terence
Director: Bowman, Rob

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.8/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 101 min

Color Dolby

Amazon.com The Road Warrior meets Dragonslayer in the briskly entertaining post-apocalyptic action thriller Reign of Fire. Reign of Fire exists primarily to give us a bigger and better dragon than the Vermithrax Pejorative of 1981's classic Dragonslayer, and in that regard, the special effects are mightily impressive; the reptilian fire-breathers are stupendously convincing. While the earlier film offers a richer, more whimsical medieval adventure, Reign of Fire is a fast-moving tale of man versus dragon that takes place in the charred England of 2020, after Earth has been scorched by rapidly multiplying dragons and the aftermath of a futile nuclear counterstrike. Mixing high-tech gadgetry with primitive survivalism, X-Files alumnus Rob Bowman makes the most of his midlevel budget, establishing a lavish castle base for the rugged, adversarial teaming of Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey as dragonslayers on the brink of extinction. With a steady supply of crowd-pleasing highlights, Reign of Fire is a pyrotechnical treat. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Replicant

Replicant

Starring: Damme, Jean-Claude Van Rooker, Michael Dent, Catherine Olson, Brandon James Hyatt, Pam Robison, Ian Gray, Allan Hutson, James Hutson, James McGillion, Paul
Director: Lam, Ringo

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.0/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 101 min / Norway:95 min

Color Dolby

Amazon.com Jean-Claude Van Damme (star of Timecop and Universal Soldier) plays two roles in this surprisingly good action thriller. Replicant also stars Michael Rooker (of Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer, The Replacement Killers) as Jake Riley, a cop who's been tracking a serial killer called "The Torch" (Van Damme). Frustrated, Riley decides to retire--and the National Security Department makes him an offer: they've cloned "The Torch" as part of a program to track down terrorists; they'll turn this replicant (Van Damme again, of course) over to Riley as a sort of test run for the program. The idea is that the replicant will slowly recall the original person's memories and lead the cops to the original. It's ridiculous, but no more ridiculous than the setup for the highly successful Face/Off, and it works just as well as the engine for an effective action flick. What makes Replicant more unusual is that the writers actually put some thought into the relationship between Riley and the replicant, which starts to mirror parent-child relationships in emotionally complex ways. Furthermore, while it's no surprise that Rooker gives a solid performance, it is surprising that Van Damme does just as good a job in both of his roles--he's perfectly creepy as the serial killer and genuinely affecting as the quickly developing replicant, projecting a mixture of innocence and turmoil. Replicant was directed by Hong Kong director Ringo Lam, the man behind Full Contact and City on Fire. He was clearly working on a limited budget, but the movie looks good, moves with lean efficiency, and has some riveting action sequences and good quality effects--the scenes where Van Damme (inevitably!) fights himself are completely convincing. A satisfying movie. --Bret Fetzer

Scorpion King, The (Widescreen Collector's Edition)

Scorpion King, The (Widescreen Collector's Edition)

Starring: Rock, The Brand, Steven Duncan, Michael Clarke Hu, Kelly Hill, Bernard Heslov, Grant Facinelli, Peter Moeller, Ralf Moeller, Ralf Rees, Roger
Director: Russell, Chuck

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.3/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 89 min / Australia:91 min / Co

Color Stereo

Amazon.com There's nothing original in The Scorpion King, but this derivative action franchise gets off to a rousing start by cleverly stealing from a lot of better movies. Capitalizing on his brief cameo in The Mummy Returns, Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. World Wrestling Federation star the Rock) stars as Mathayus, an Akkadian assassin in the age preceding Egyptian pharaohs, who vows to avenge his brother's murder by an undefeated warlord (Steven Brand) prophesied to become the desert-ruling Scorpion King. Their battle for supremacy comprises most of the film's brisk 95-minute running time, punctuated by comic relief from Mathayus's obligatory sidekick (Grant Heslov), romance with a beautiful sorceress (Kelly Hu), and alliance with a massive Nubian (Michael Clarke Duncan) on the eve of their climactic showdown. There's no rhyme or reason to the film's depiction of ancient civilization (the costuming is particularly ludicrous), but the Rock demonstrates adequate action-star potential, and director Chuck Russell (The Mask) wraps it all in a slick, professional package. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Solaris

Solaris

Starring: Clooney, George McElhone, Natascha Carrillo, Elpidia Clooney, George Banionis, Donatas Dvorzhetsky, Vladislav McElhone, Natascha Faulcon, Kent Faulcon, Kent Davis, Viola
Director: Soderbergh, Steven

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 6.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 99 minutes

Color Stereo

Amazon.com A curious mix of science fiction and metaphysical love story, Solaris centers around Chris Kelvin (George Clooney), a psychologist sent to investigate why a space station orbiting an alien planet has stopped communications. The planet has the power to delve into human psyches and re-create lost loved ones--in Kelvin's case, his dead wife (Natascha McElhone), whom he then wants to bring back to Earth. Director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brockovich) fills almost every shot with faces and bodies, as if to emphasize the human soul rather than outer space as the movie's true subject. Unfortunately, the vagueness of the environment--combined with a script that implies more than it shows--serves to dislocate our ability to engage with the characters, rendering Solaris emotionally inert. Jeremy Davies, as a lingering crew member, brings a hint of humor to the otherwise serious-minded proceedings. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition.

Soldier

Soldier

Starring: Russell, Kurt Lee, Jason Scott Isaacs, Jason Nielsen, Connie Pertwee, Sean Thorne, Jared Thorne, Taylor Bringleson, Mark Bringleson, Mark Dodds, K.K.
Director: Anderson, Paul W.S.

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.1/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 98 min

Color Dolby

Amazon.com Kurt Russell hits new heights in laconic action heroes with his portrayal of Sergeant Todd, born and bred to be a soldier in a futuristic army. Raised to kill mercilessly, living only for battle, he finds himself at the twilight of his career (and so-called life) when a regiment of genetically enhanced warriors threatens to make his brand of soldiering obsolete. Despite his extensive skills, he is no match for the best of breed of the new order, and he's left for dead on a planet that serves only as a junk heap. There he encounters a ragtag group of castaways, and in his own strange and silent way slowly begins to learn how to be less a killer and more a human. All is disrupted, though, when the genetic regiment arrives on the trash planet and decides to eradicate the local human "trespassers." Though Todd had been overmatched before, this time he has more than ever to fight for--a home, and friends. Soldier is one of those rare sci fi movies that relies more on plot and action than special effects (though the trash planet is effectively wrought). The pace of action in the last half of the film is relentless and exciting, and Russell's portrayal of the old warrior as he warms to human emotions relies more on expression than words--in fact, he barely utters more than a half-dozen lines. --Tod Nelson Description An itinerant warrior in outer space is forced to become a hero when he must defend a band of settlers on a remote planet.

Species II

Species II

Starring: Madsen, Michael Henstridge, Natasha Helgenberger, Marg Williamson, Mykelti Dzundza, George Cromwell, James Lazard, Justin Cyr, Myriam Cyr, Myriam Harris, Baxter
Director: Medak, Peter

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 3.6/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Color Dolby

Amazon.com "They could f**k the human race out of existence!" warns Michael Madsen in this inevitable--and inevitably contrived--sequel to 1995's surprise sci-fi hit. He's referring to a celebrated astronaut (Justin Lazard) infected with alien DNA from his history-making Mars landing, and the half-alien Eve (Natasha Henstridge), who was created from alien-human embryo splicing by biochemist Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger) in an effort to discover the alien species's vulnerabilities on Earth. While the astronaut sows his gruesomely wild oats with doomed women (resulting in a bevy of creepy kids in alien cocoons), Eve goes into heat until she and the astronaut can consummate their procreative lust. Sex and death are served up like money-shots in a porno flick, with an emphasis on gory flesh-regeneration, explosive pregnancies, and slimy-tentacled intercourse. All of which makes this is the kind of derivative schlock that only a true fan could love, but it's boosted to a tolerable level of entertainment by the returning cast (Madsen, Henstridge, and Helgenberger) from the previous film. --Jeff Shannon

Species

Species

Starring: Kingsley, Ben Madsen, Michael Molina, Alfred Whitaker, Forest Madsen, Michael Helgenberger, Marg Molina, Alfred Lund, Jordan Lund, Jordan McKenna, Scott
Director: Donaldson, Roger

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.4/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Color Stereo

Amazon.com There's a kind of perverse marketing genius at work in this cheesy sci-fi hit from 1995 in which scientists create a half-human, half-alien woman named Sil (Natasha Henstridge) who's capable of morphing from a slimy, tentacled creature into a blonde babe with the body of a Playboy centerfold. This makes it easy for Sil to lure gullible guys who are only too willing to indulge her voracious mating urge, realizing too late that sex with Sil is anything but safe. As the body count rises, a handpicked team of specialists tracks the alien's killing spree, but their diverse expertise is barely a match for the ever-morphing Sil. Borrowing elements of the Alien movies (including bizarre alien designs by Swedish artist H.R. Giger) and spicing them up with some tantalizing nudity, Species is a wet dream for creature-feature fans--kind of like watching a sci-fi vampire fantasy while browsing through the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Star Trek - The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition)

Star Trek - The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition)

Starring: Shatner Nimoy Kelley, DeForest Takei, George Collins, Stephen Doohan, James Koenig, Walter Khambatta, Persis Khambatta, Persis Kelley, DeForest
Director: Wise, Robert

Rating: PG
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.7/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

Color Dolby

Amazon.com Back when the first Star Trek feature was released in December 1979, the Trek franchise was still relatively modest, consisting of the original TV series, an animated cartoon series from 1973-74, and a burgeoning fan network around the world. Series creator Gene Roddenberry had conceived a second TV series, but after the success of Star Wars the project was upgraded into this lavish feature film, which reunited the original series cast aboard a beautifully redesigned starship U.S.S. Enterprise. Under the direction of Robert Wise (best known for West Side Story), the film proved to be a mixed blessing for Trek fans, who heatedly debated its merits; but it was, of course, a phenomenal hit. Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) leads his crew into the vast structures surrounding V'Ger, an all-powerful being that is cutting a destructive course through Starfleet space. With his new First Officer (Stephen Collins), the bald and beautiful Lieutenant Ilia (played by the late Persis Khambatta) and his returning veteran crew, Kirk must decipher the secret of V'Ger's true purpose and restore the safety of the galaxy. The story is rather overblown and derivative of plots from the original series, and avid Trekkies greeted the film's bland costumes with derisive laughter. But as a feast for the eyes, this is an adventure worthy of big-screen trekkin'. Douglas Trumbull's visual effects are astonishing, and Jerry Goldmith's score is regarded as one of the prolific composer's very best (with its main theme later used for Star Trek: The Next Generation). And, fortunately for Star Trek fans, the expanded 143-minute version (originally shown for the film's network TV premiere) is generally considered an improvement over the original theatrical release. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition. DVD features More than simply a "director's cut," this new edition features enhanced, and in some cases completely redone, special effects as well as (for a change of pace) cuts to tighten the dawdling story. It may not fly with purists, but director Robert Wise makes his case in the documentary featurette "Redirecting the Future," which details the changes with scene-by-scene comparisons, and on the commentary track, which he shares with special-effects legends Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra... read more

Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home

Starring: Nimoy, Leonard Shatner, William Kelley, DeForest Doohan, James Takei, George Koenig, Walter Nichols, Nichelle Wyatt, Jane Wyatt, Jane Lenard, Mark
Director: Nimoy, Leonard

Rating: PG
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 7.1/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 136 min (director's cut)

Color Dolby

Amazon.com Widely considered the best movie in the "classic Trek" series of feature films, Star Trek IV returns to one of the favorite themes of the original TV series--time travel--to bring Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov from the 23rd century to present-day San Francisco. In their own time, the Starfleet heroes encounter an alien probe emitting a mysterious message--a message delivered in the song of the now-extinct Earth species of humpback whales. Failure to respond to the probe will result in Earth's destruction, so Kirk and company time-travel to 20th-century Earth--in their captured Klingon starship--to transport a humpback whale to the future in an effort to peacefully communicate with the alien probe. The plot sounds somewhat absurd in description, but as executed by returning director Leonard Nimoy, this turned out to be a crowd-pleasing adventure, filled with humor and lively interaction among the favorite Star Trek characters. Catherine Hicks (from TV's 7th Heaven) plays the 20th-century whale expert who is finally convinced of Kirk's and Spock's benevolent intentions. With ample comedy taken from the clash of future heroes with 20th-century urban realities, Star Trek IV was a box-office smash, satisfying mainstream audiences and hardcore Trek fans alike. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition)

Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: Neeson, Liam McGregor, Ewan Carson, Silas Daniels, Anthony Blessed, Brian Baker, Kenny Davis, Warwick Stamp, Terence Stamp, Terence Jackson, Samuel L.
Director: Lucas, George

Rating: PG
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 6.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 133 Minutes

Color Dolby

Amazon.com "I have a bad feeling about this," says the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) in Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace as he steps off a spaceship and into the most anticipated cinematic event... well, ever. He might as well be speaking for the legions of fans of the original episodes in the Star Wars saga who can't help but secretly ask themselves: Sure, this is Star Wars, but is it my Star Wars? The original elevated moviegoers' expectations so high that it would have been impossible for any subsequent film to meet them. And as with all the Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace features inexplicable plot twists, a fistful of loose threads, and some cheek-chewing dialogue. Han Solo's swagger is sorely missed, as is the pervading menace of heavy-breather Darth Vader. There is still way too much quasi-mystical mumbo jumbo, and some of what was fresh about Star Wars 22 years earlier feels formulaic. Yet there's much to admire. The special effects are stupendous; three worlds are populated with a mélange of creatures, flora, and horizons rendered in absolute detail. The action and battle scenes are breathtaking in their complexity. And one particular sequence of the film--the adrenaline-infused pod race through the Tatooine desert--makes the chariot race in Ben-Hur look like a Sunday stroll through the park. Among the host of new characters, there are a few familiar walk-ons. We witness the first meeting between R2-D2 and C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt looks younger and slimmer (but not young and slim), and Yoda is as crabby as ever. Natalie Portman's stately Queen Amidala sports hairdos that make Princess Leia look dowdy and wields a mean laser. We never bond with Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), and Obi-Wan's day is yet to come. Jar Jar Binks, a cross between a Muppet, a frog, and a hippie, provides many of the movie's lighter moments, while Sith Lord Darth Maul is a formidable force. Baby-faced Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) looks too young and innocent to command the powers of the Force or wield a lightsaber (much less transmute into the future Darth Vader), but his boyish exuberance wins over skeptics. Near the end of the movie, Palpatine, the new leader of the Republic, may be speaking for fans eagerly awaiting Episode II when he pats young Anakin on the head and says, "We will watch your career with great interest." Indeed! --Tod Nelson --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition. DVD features The spectacular DVD release of Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace--arguably one of the best DVDs ever--will go a long way toward making it up to Star Wars fans who were disappointed by the theatrical release. (But, in case you're wondering, there's no option to delete Jar Jar.) The picture and sound are outstanding, it's loaded with bonuses, and even the menus are action-packed fun. Disc One includes the film with a commentary track by George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, editor Ben... read more Description Feature-Length Audio Commentary The creators of Episode I give you insight into the film like no one else can. Hear from: writer/director George Lucas, Producer Rick McCallum, sound designer and film co-editor Ben Burtt, ILM animation director Rob Coleman and ILM visual effects supervisors John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires. "The Beginning" Making Episode I Documentary Film Culled from over 600 hours of behind-the-scenes footage, this all-new hour-long documentary film takes you inside Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic during the making of The Phantom Menace. Sit in on the film's production process including: pre-production, casting, principal photography, editing, rough-cut reviews, visual effects meetings and other events that few people have had access to before. Exclusive Deleted Scenes and Documentary All-new documentary featuring George Lucas, Rick McCallum and guests discussing the painstaking process every director must go through in determining what scenes make the final cut. View seven exclusive deleted sequences that were created specifically for this DVD and le

Star Wars - Episode II, Attack of the Clones (Widescreen Edition)

Star Wars - Episode II, Attack of the Clones (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: McGregor, Ewan Portman, Natalie Christensen, Hayden Baker, Kenny Smits, Jimmy Neeson, Liam Oz, Frank Portman, Natalie Portman, Natalie McDiarmid, Ian
Director: Lucas, George

Rating: PG
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 7.1/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 2 Hours 22 Minutes

Color Dolby

Amazon.com If The Phantom Menace was the setup, then Attack of the Clones is the plot-progressing payoff, and devoted Star Wars fans are sure to be enthralled. Ten years after Episode I, Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), now a senator, resists the creation of a Republic Army to combat an evil separatist movement. The brooding Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is resentful of his stern Jedi mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), tormented by personal loss, and showing his emerging "dark side" while protecting his new love, Amidala, from would-be assassins. Youthful romance and solemn portent foreshadow the events of the original Star Wars as Count Dooku (a.k.a. Darth Tyranus, played by Christopher Lee) forges an alliance with the Dark Lord of the Sith, while lavish set pieces showcase George Lucas's supreme command of all-digital filmmaking. All of this makes Episode II a technological milestone, savaged by some critics as a bloated, storyless spectacle, but still qualifying as a fan-approved precursor to the pivotal events of Episode III. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition. DVD features Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones is a superior DVD, repeating many of the elements that made its predecessor, Episode I, The Phantom Menace, so good. The picture and sound are spectacular, helped immensely by the fact that the film was shot entirely in digital, making this the first live-action direct digital-to-digital DVD transfer. This version of the film was the one shown in digital-projection theaters; there are subtle differences from the standard theatrical version, such as... read more

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers

Starring: Dien, Casper Van Richards, Denise Richards, Denise Busey, Jake Harris, Neil Patrick Brown, Clancy Gilliam, Seth Muldoon, Patrick Muldoon, Patrick McClanahan, Rue
Director: Verhoeven, Paul

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 6.6/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 129

Color Stereo

Amazon.com In the first and finest RoboCop movie, director Paul Verhoeven combined near-future science fiction with a keen sense of social satire--not to mention enough high-velocity violence to satisfy even the most voracious bloodlust. In Starship Troopers, Verhoeven and RoboCop cowriter Ed Neumeier take inspired cues from Robert Heinlein's classic sci-fi novel to create a special-effects extravaganza that functions on multiple levels of entertainment. The film might be called "Melrose Place in Space," with its youthful cast of handsome guys and gorgeous women who look like they've been recruited (and in some cases they were) from the cast of Beverly Hills 90210. Viewers might focus on the incredible, graphically intense action sequences (definitely not for children) in which heavily armed forces from Earth go to off-world battle against vast hordes of alien "bugs" bent on planetary conquest. The attacking bugs are marvels of state-of-the-art special-effects technology, and the space battles are nothing short of spectacular. But Starship Troopers is more than a showcase for high-tech hardware and gigantic, flesh-ripping insects. Recalling his childhood in Holland during the Nazi occupation, Verhoeven turns this epic adventure into a scathingly funny satire of fascist propaganda, emphasizing Heinlein's underlying warning against the hazards of military conformity and the sickening realities of war. It's an action-packed joy ride if that's all you're looking for, but Verhoeven has a provocative agenda that makes Starship Troopers as smart as it is exciting. The DVD includes an above-average commentary by the director and Neumeier, several deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes documentary and promotional featurette, cast bios, production notes, and more. --Jeff Shannon DVD features You'll feel really spoiled by the DVD extras here. Five deleted scenes (approximately six minutes) pad out Carmen's love triangle problems, there are impressive screen tests for Denise Richards and Casper Van Dien (three and a half minutes), an eight-minute featurette zips by with key interviews and fact flinging, and a real treat is three scene developments with layers of FX work explained by Verhoeven. But what makes this essential is the director's enthusiastic commentary alongside... read more

Stranded

Stranded

Starring: Gallo, Vincent Gallo, Vincent Almeida, Joaquim de Sancho, Jose Lidon, Maria Aser, Danel Sancho, Jose
Director: Luna,

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating:
Running Time: 99

Color Stereo

When the first manned mission to Mars experiences a spacecraft malfunction. Marooned on the surfaced of the red planet, the crew is forced to make difficult decisions as they begin to run out of both air and time. This Spanish production stars Vincent Gallo (BUFFALO '66) and Maria de Madeiros (PULP FICTION).

T2 - Extreme DVD

T2 - Extreme DVD

Starring: Schwarzenegger, Arnold Hamilton, Linda Furlong, Edward Patrick, Robert Morton, Joe Boen, Earl Merkerson, S. Epatha Guerra, Castulo Guerra, Castulo Goldstein, Jenette
Director: Cameron, James

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 8.1/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 152 min (director's cut) / USA:1

Color Dolby

Amazon.com essential video After he pushed the envelope of computer-generated special effects in The Abyss, director James Cameron turned this hotly anticipated sequel to Terminator into a well-written, action-packed showcase for advanced special effects and for one of the most invincible villains ever imagined. Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a legitimate sequel: there's more story to tell about a hulking, leather-clad android (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who arrives from the future to protect a rebellious teenager and future leader (Edward Furlong) from being killed by the tenacious T-1000 robot (Robert Patrick), whose liquid-metal construction makes him seemingly unstoppable. The fate of the future lies in the balance, with Linda Hamilton (who would later marry her director) reprising her role as the rugged woman whose son will change the course of history. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition. DVD features Because the Terminator 2 Ultimate Edition set the standard for feature-packed DVDs when it was released back in 2000, is there a need for an Extreme Edition? The simple answer is yes. The 2003 Extreme Edition features a brand-new, better-looking transfer and an extremely powerful and involving Dolby 5.1 EX soundtrack. (The Ultimate's DTS track might have had a bit more detail, but it had to be sacrificed due to disc space.) The Extreme Edition focuses on the extended version of the film, but... read more Description He said he'd be back. This time experience T2 like never before! Go EXTREME with the best picture and sound ever! ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER returns as the Terminator in this explosive action-adventure spectacle. Now he's one of the good guys, sent back in time to protect John Connor, the boy destined to lead the freedom fighters of the future. LINDA HAMILTON reprises her role as Sarah Connor, John's mother, a quintessential survivor who has been institutionalized for her warning of the nuclear holocaust she knows is inevitable. Together, the threesome must find a way to stop the ultimate enemy - the T-1000, the most lethal Terminator ever created. Co-written, produced and directed by James Cameron ("The Terminator," "Aliens," "Titanic), this visual tour de force is also a touching story of survival.

Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines (Widescreen Edition)

Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines (Widescreen Edition)

Starring: Schwarzenegger, Arnold Stahl, Nick Danes, Claire Stahl, Nick Danes, Claire Loken, Kristanna Famiglietti, Mark Harris, Moira Harris, Moira Lawford, Christopher
Director: Mostow, Jonathan

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 7.0/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

Color Dolby

Amazon.com With a reported budget of $172 million, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines starts in high gear and never slows down. The apocalyptic "Judgment Day" of T2 was never prevented, only postponed: John Connor (Nick Stahl, replacing T2's Edward Furlong), now 22 and disconnected from society, is being pursued yet again, this time by the advanced T-X, a sleek "Terminatrix" (coldly expressionless Kristanna Loken) programmed to stop Connor from becoming the savior of humankind. Originally programmed as an assassin, a disadvantaged T-101 cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger, bidding fond farewell to his signature role) arrives from the future to join Connor and his old acquaintance Kate (Claire Danes) in thwarting the T-X's relentless pursuit. The plot presents a logical fulfillment of T2 prophesy, disposing of Connor's mother (Linda Hamilton is sorely missed) while computer-driven machines assume control, launching a nuclear nightmare that Connor must survive. With Breakdown and U-571 serving as worthy rehearsals for this cautionary epic of mass destruction, director Jonathan Mostow wisely avoids any stylistic connection to James Cameron's Terminator classics; instead he's crafted a fun, exciting popcorn thriller, humorous and yet still effectively nihilistic, and comparable to Jurassic Park III in returning the Terminator franchise to its potent B-movie roots. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the Theatrical Release edition. DVD features There's only one deleted scene in this two-disc DVD set, but it's a doozy. The "Sgt. Candy Scene" is a must-see and, unfortunately, the best thing on the second disc. The rushed HBO documentary shows us far more flash than substance. Better is the Visual Effects Lab that goes more in-depth with four sequences, although you need to wade through a hokey interface for each segment. Making your "own" effects isn't that much fun; you can only choose a few effects that change in two scenes. Anyone... read more Description A decade has passed since John Connor (NICK STAHL) helped prevent Judgment Day and save mankind from mass destruction. Now 25, Connor lives "off the grid" - no home, no credit cards, no cell phone and no job. No record of his existence. No way he can be traced by Skynet - the highly developed network of machines that once tried to kill him and wage war on humanity. Until?out of the shadows of the future steps the T-X (KRISTANNA LOKEN), Skynet's most sophisticated cyborg killing machine yet. Sent back through time to complete the job left unfinished by her predecessor, the T-1000, this machine is as relentless as her human guise is beautiful. Now Connor's only hope for survival is the Terminator (ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER), his mysterious former assassin. Together, they must triumph over the technologically superior T-X and forestall the looming threat of Judgment Day?or face the apocalypse and the fall of civilization as we know it.

Terminator, The (Special Edition)

Terminator, The (Special Edition)

Starring: Schwarzenegger, Arnold Biehn, Michael Hamilton, Linda Winfield, Paul Henriksen, Lance Motta, Bess Boen, Earl Rossovich, Rick Rossovich, Rick Schepps, Shawn
Director: Cameron, James

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 7.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 108 min

Color Dolby

Amazon.com essential video This is the film that cemented Schwarzenegger's spot in the action-brawn firmament, and it was well deserved. He's chilling as the futuristic cyborg who kills without fear, without love, without mercy. James Cameron's story and direction are pared to the bone and all the more creepy. But don't overlook the contributions of Linda Hamilton, who more than holds her own as the Terminator's would-be victim, Sarah Connor--thus creating, along with Sigourney Weaver in Alien, a new generation of rugged, clear-thinking female action stars. It's surprising how well this film holds up, and how its minimalist, malevolent violence is actually way scarier than that of its far more expensive, more effects-laden sequel. --Anne Hurley --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Timecop

Timecop

Starring: Damme, Jean-Claude Van Sara, Mia Silver, Ron Sara, Mia McGill, Bruce Reuben, Gloria Schombing, Jason Lawrence, Scott Lawrence, Scott Woolsey, Brent
Director: Hyams, Peter

Rating: R
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.5/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Color Dolby

Amazon.com Pay no attention to the fact that Timecop is an insult to intelligent science fiction, and that it gradually succumbs to an acute case of the sillies. It is a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, after all, so check your brain at the door and enjoy this action flick set in the year 2004. Van Damme plays an officer in the Time Enforcement Police, assigned to prevent criminals from traveling to the past with the intent of altering the future. Ron Silver plays the evil politician who plots to retrieve a stockpile of gold from the Civil War to finance his latest campaign. The film is clever to a point, and entertaining if you can ignore the dumb jokes and inconsistencies. Best of all, it's an above-average vehicle for Van Damme (relatively speaking), who gets to kick some villainous butt and share a few scenes with Mia Sara, who plays the Timecop's wife. As Van Damme fans can tell you, this is one of the action star's better movies. --Jeff Shannon

Tremors 2: Aftershocks

Tremors 2: Aftershocks

Starring: Ward, Fred Gross, Michael Gartin, Christopher Shaver, Helen Tubert, Marcelo Hernandez, Marco Rosario, José Ramón Jr., Thomas Rosales Jr., Thomas Rosales
Director: Wilson, S.S.

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.2/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Color Dolby

Amazon.com When a remote Mexican oilfield comes down with a nasty case of Graboids (for the uninitiated: giant carnivorous worms with tunneling abilities that put Bugs Bunny to shame), it's up to those veteran monster exterminators Burt and Earl (Michael Gross and the wonderful Fred Ward, reprising their roles from the first film) to save the day--and accumulate some much-needed payola in the process. But this time, the slimy critters may have a few new tricks up their...um, sleeves. Although denied a chance to appear in theaters, this unjustly neglected sequel delivers the same winning mixture of cornpone and gore that made the original Tremors a cult classic. A hoot-and-a-half for horror and SF fans, with some genuine scares and a welcome sense of humor. --Andrew Wright --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Tremors 3 - Back to Perfection

Tremors 3 - Back to Perfection

Starring: Gross, Michael Richards, Ariana Stewart, Charlotte Jacoby, Bobby Livingston, Barry Christian, Shawn Chuang, Susan Genaro, Tony Genaro, Tony Rieck, Billy
Director: Maddock, Brent

Rating: PG
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.6/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 104 Minutes

Color Dolby

Description: Burt Gummer has been away from home too long. Upon returning to Perfection, Nevada, he realizes that the town of terror has been turned into a tourist trap exploiting the town's reputation as the home of giant killer sand worms. When a simulated attack becomes the real thing, Gummer dons combat gear, loads of ammo and weaponry, and his Atlanta Hawks cap to go back into battle against the very creatures that originally drove him away. Not only does he have to deal with Graboids mutating into the frightening Shrieker monsters, but this time a new, possibly indestructible worm mutation is threatening. Michael Gross reprises his role as the gruff Gummer. Description: Burt Gummer returns home to Perfection, Nevada, to find the Graboids have returned! This time, they're mutating - and not just into the nightmarish Shriekers - but into something FAR more lethal and virtually indestructable!

Tremors

Tremors

Starring: Bacon, Kevin Ward, Fred Carter, Finn Gross, Michael McEntire, Reba Jayne, Robert Stewart, Charlotte Genaro, Tony Genaro, Tony Marcus, Richard
Director: Underwood, Ron

Rating: PG-13
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 6.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Color Stereo

Amazon.com Who would have guessed that this clever, fast-paced creature feature from 1990 would become a beloved miniclassic worthy of its own Collector's Edition DVD? Tremors didn't actually break any new ground (even though its tunneling worm monsters certainly did), but it revved up the classic monster-movie formulas of the 1950s with such energetic enthusiasm and humor that it made everything old seem new again. It's also got a cast full of enjoyable actors who clearly had a lot of fun making the film, and director Ron Underwood strikes just the right balance of comedy and terror as a band of small-town rednecks battles a lot of really nasty-looking giant worms. The special effects are great, the one-liners fly fast and furious between heroes Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward (and yes, that's country star Reba McEntire packin' awesome firepower), and it's all done with the kind of flair one rarely associates with goofy monster flicks like this. Followed by a direct-to-video sequel (Tremors: Aftershocks), this horror thriller was given the deluxe treatment for its DVD release. Bonus features include an original "making-of" documentary, previously unseen video showing the creation of the worm-creatures, outtakes from the film, the original ending not shown in theaters, theatrical trailers, and a gallery of production photographs. If you're a fan, consider this a must-have disc! --Jeff Shannon

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea / Fantastic Voyage

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea / Fantastic Voyage

Starring: Pidgeon, Walter Welch, Raquel Pleasence, Donald Fontaine, Joan Burfield, Joan Eden, Barbara Lorre, Peter Avalon, Frankie Avalon, Frankie O'Brien, Edmond
Director: Allen, Irwin

Rating: PG
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
User Rating: 5.9/10 (IMDB)
Running Time: 3 Hours 27 Minutes

Color Stereo

Amazon.com Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea gets a dose of On the Beach in Irwin Allen's visually impressive but scientifically silly Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. While the Seaview, the world's most advanced experimental submarine, maneuvers under the North Pole, the Van Allen radiation belt catches fire, giving the concept "global warming" an entirely new dimension. As the Earth broils in temperatures approaching 170 degrees F, Walter Pidgeon's maniacally driven Admiral Nelson hijacks the Seaview and plays tag with the world's combined naval forces on a race to the South Pacific, where he plans to extinguish the interstellar fire with a well-placed nuclear missile. But first he has to fight a mutinous crew, an alarmingly effective saboteur, not one but two giant squid attacks, and a host of design flaws that nearly cripple the mission (note to Nelson: think backup generators). Barbara Eden shimmies to Frankie Avalon's trumpet solos in the most formfitting naval uniform you've ever seen, fish-loving Peter Lorre plays in the shark tank, gloomy religious fanatic Michael Ansara preaches Armageddon, and Joan Fontaine looks very uncomfortable playing an armchair psychoanalyst. It's all pretty absurd, but Allen pumps it up with larger-than-life spectacle and lovely miniature work. --Sean Axmaker Fantastic Voyage 2001: A Space Odyssey took the world on a mind-bending trip to outer space, but Fantastic Voyage is the original psychedelic inner-space adventure. When a brilliant scientist falls into a coma with an inoperable blood clot in the brain, a surgical team embarks on a top-secret journey to the center of the mind in a high-tech military submarine shrunk to microbial dimensions. Stephen Boyd stars as a colorless commander sent to keep an eye on things (though his eyes stay mostly on shapely medical assistant Raquel Welch), while Donald Pleasance is suitably twitchy as the claustrophobic medical consultant. The science is shaky at best, but the imaginative spectacle is marvelous: scuba-diving surgeons battle white blood cells, tap the lungs to replenish the oxygen supply, and shoot the aorta like daredevil surfers. The film took home a well-deserved Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Director Richard Fleischer, who turned Disney's 1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea into one of the most riveting submarine adventures of all time, creates a picture so taut with cold-war tensions and cloak-and-dagger secrecy that niggling scientific contradictions (such as, how do miniaturized humans breathe full-sized air molecules?) seem moot. --Sean Axmaker