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New on Video for the weekend of August 27 - 29, 1999



Much like Pulp Fiction, Go is broken into vignettes that portray the antics of four groups of people one evening before Christmas. In the first segment, Sarah Polley stars as a young grocery store cashier who is facing eviction from her apartment. She gets an opportunity to deal drugs, but has to leave her friend with the supplier until she gets the money. When her customers turn out to be cops, she has to find another way to get her friend back and satisfy the supplier. The second segment follows four friends and their wild misadventures with gambling, fast cars, and dangerous women in Las Vegas. The third and best vignette follows the three cops from the opening segment. The final act wraps everything up. There are lots of familiar TV stars (SNL's Jay Mohr, Party of Five's Scott Wolf, Dawson's Creek's Katie Holmes, and All McBeal's Jane Krakowski) but the stars of this film are the unknown, but talented Sarah Polley and Taye Diggs. Directed by Doug Liman, who also directed Swingers, this movie swings between dark comedy and drama. Copies too much from Pulp Fiction, but a good movie if you're in the mood for something off beat. Grade: B+

Mod Squad

Remake of the classic 60's television series. Julie Barnes (Claire Danes), Peter Cochran (Giovanni Ribisi) and Linc Hayes (Omar Epps) are three young criminals given the chance to stay out of jail by working as undercover cops. When their mentor (Dennis Farina) is killed and they are blamed, the Mod Squad tries to find out who's behind the murder. Many reviewers panned it because they tried to compare it to the classic program they remembered and loved. On its own, Mod Squad is a decent movie with a great performance by Omar Epps. Grade: B-

New on Video for the weekend of August 20 - 22, 1999


Analyze This

Paul Vitti (Robert DeNiro) is a mob boss with problems. His closest confidant has been whacked in a gangland hit, his powerful rival wants him dead, and he is suffering from anxiety attacks. When psychiatrist Dr. Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) accidentally runs into one of the boss' henchmen, Vitti takes the opportunity to seek professional help, interrupting Sobel's life in the process. DeNiro performs a satire of his stereotypical tough mob guy roles, and Crystal is hilarious as the frightened psychiatrist. Also watch for a wonderful performance by Lisa Kudrow, who is quickly emerging as the most talented member of Friends. Most comedies tend to give away all the funniest lines in the trailer, but this one saved the best for the audience. If you want a good laugh, rent this amazing comedy. Grade: A.


Matthew McConaughey plays Ed, a 31-year old video clerk thrust into the spotlight when his life is broadcast live 24-hours a day on True TV. When relationships with his family and friends become strained, Ed finds that fame has its downside. Can he salvage his relationship with his brother and girlfriend? Will anybody want to watch the program? Many people avoided this movie when they mistakenly believed it was like the Truman Show. However, it is very different because Ed and everyone around him know they are on TV and react accordingly. McConaughey is very charismatic as the zero turned hero, and Woody Harrelson shines as his jealous older brother. Grade: B+

New on Video for the weekend of August 13 - 15, 1999


Shakespeare in Love

In 16th century London, Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) wants to be an actress even though such a career is unheard of for a woman. She also seeks true love instead of the marriage that has been arranged for her. When she poses as a man to win a role in the new play by William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes), will she be able to fool the crowd and win the heart of her favorite writer? I was ready to hate this movie. I thought Ben Affleck couldn't act (he can), and worried that it would be a sappy love story (it's actually very witty). If you didn't catch this Oscar winner in the theaters, don't miss your chance to rent one of the best movies of 1998. Grade A-

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

A brilliant, but inexperienced card shark convinces his friends to lend him money to join a high stakes poker game. When the game is rigged and he ends up owing 500,000 British pounds, how will they pay back the debt before the local crime boss sets his goons on them? This British film is all the rage among reviewers and indie film buffs, but I didn't like it. The movie is long on hip attitude, but short on script and character development. Director Guy Ritchie shows off some amazing camera work, and the movie benefits from a great soundtrack, but there are too many characters that confuse and muddle the main plot. Grade: D

New on Video for the weekend of August 6 - 8, 1999


Cruel Intentions

This movie is just plain cruel to the audience. Catherine (Sarah Michelle Gellar) bets her step-brother (Ryan Phillippe) that he cannot deflower the school headmaster's virginal daughter in this modern day telling of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. This movie has no redeeming qualities. The acting is bad. The dialogue is dreadful. Every character is detestable. This was a poor choice by Gellar. Normally fantastic in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the best show on television, I'm not kidding), she is the only good actor in a movie you should avoid at all costs. Grade: F

Message in a Bottle

Robin Wright Penn plays a lonely divorced mother who finds a heart-wrenching message in a bottle washed up on shore. She is instantly drawn to the author's (Kevin Costner) feelings and emotions. After her boss prints the letter in the Chicago Tribune, Penn receives many clues as to the identity of the unknown man. When she finds him, has she found the man of her dreams or more than she bargained for? This is a moving tale about two people trying to deal with loss and love. Costner is great as the charming, shy mystery man, but Penn steals the show. Worth renting just to see the legendary Paul Newman in action. Grade B+

New on Video for the weekend of July 30 - August 1, 1999



Mel Gibson plays Porter, a professional hood seeking $70,000 stolen from him in this film based on the Richard Stark novel, "The Hunter". Much to his dismay, Porter soon finds himself in the middle of two crime syndicates and some crooked cops. If you're looking for Shakespeare, move on. However, Gibson makes a calculated departure from his normal hero role, and the risk pays off as Mel proves he's just as cool as Travolta or any Tarantino character. You also will appreciate good performances from two TV veterans, Maria Bello of E.R. and William Devane. Guys will love this movie.
Grade: B+

October Sky

It's 1957 and America is falling behind the Soviets in the space race. In a small West Virginia coal mining town, young Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) dreams of becoming a rocket scientist and escaping a dreary life of hard labor in the mines. Homer and his friends soon become local heroes as they attempt to successfully launch a rocket and win college scholarships in a national science fair. While some parts of the plot are predictable and over-dramatic, the script does have some great surprises, such as the role of Homer's father, John (Chris Cooper). Screenwriter Lewis Colick creates a complex role for Cooper, which has him alternating between hero and villain. Based on the true story of a NASA engineer, October Sky is a satisfying rental and a nice movie for families with older children. Grade: B

New on video for the weekend of July 23 - 25, 1999


Down in the Delta

This is an inspirational tale about the unconditional love we give to our families and how far we will go to help them. While movies about redemption are not original, this one stands out for its terrific cast and exceptional storytelling. Alfre Woodard stars as Loretta, a young unemployed Mother suffering from a drinking problem. When her life starts to hit bottom, her Mother (Mary Alice) sends her to the family home in Mississippi to kick her problem and regain confidence in herself. Mphoe Koaho stars as Thomas, the young son who wants to see her get better. Also, watch for great performances by three veteran actors; Al Freeman, Jr. as Uncle Earl, the man who takes them in; Esther Rolle as Earl's wife Annie, who suffers from alzheimers disease; and Wesley Snipes who fills the role of Earl's son. Legendary writer Maya Angelou makes a strong directoral debut. Grade: A-


Nicolas Cage stars as Tom Welles, a private investigator hired by the widow of a prominent steel magnate. The widow has found a "snuff" film among the personal belongings of her husband, so she hires Cage to find out if it is real or fake. The investigation takes Cage into Los Angeles' sleazy underworld as he becomes obsessed with finding the truth. If you're a Cage fan, you will want to see it, but beware. The movie has some very graphic and disturbing scenes. Grade: C+

New on Video for the weekend of July 16 - 18, 1999


A Civil Action

John Travolta stars in this true story of a slick, high profile                   personal injury lawyer who thinks he has found the cash cow case of a lifetime suing two major corporations accused of poisoning the drinking water of a small Massachusetts town. Robert Duvall plays the crazy like a fox attorney for one of the corporations and William Macy shines as Travolta's partner desperately trying to keep the firm alive in the face of massive debt. Grade: A

Central Station

Fernanda Montenegro stars as a retired school teacher trying to aid a young boy who wants to meet the father that he never knew. Montenegro was nominated for an Oscar and voiced her disapproval after being passed over for Gwyneth Paltrow. After seeing this, you may agree. Grade: A

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