Originally created 05/30/97

Video watch: 'The Mirror Has Two Faces' released



Here is a list of what's new in video stores this weekend and a partial schedule of what's coming on video. Release dates are subject to change.

JUST OUT: Jerry Maguire, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Unhook the Stars, Caught, Paradise Lost.

TUESDAY: Tiger Woods: Son, Hero & Champion, Calm at Sunset, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Trigger Happy, Breaking the Waves, Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival, Flirt.

JUNE 10: I'm Not Rappaport, Michael, Marvin's Room, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.

JUNE 17: Mars Attacks!, Whiskers, My Fellow Americans, When Night is Falling, Citizen Ruth.

Video reviews

Here are reviews from Roger Ebert and other critics of some recent video releases:

JERRY MAGUIRE (***, R) Tom Cruise is a sports agent who loses his job, his fiancee and all but one of his clients (Cuba Gooding Jr.). But a lowly accountant (Renee Zellweger) believes in him, and she steals the show as a lovable young woman who helps inspire the weary road warrior to trust in his ethics. Good work by all of the actors, many heartwarming scenes, inside dope about pro sports - maybe too much material for one movie, although it works anyway.

THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES (***, PG-13) Barbra Streisand directs and stars as a college professor who meets another prof (Jeff Bridges) on a blind date, and likes him enough to go along with his no-sex conditions for marriage (he believes he can't function well when he's in love). Uneven in parts (both of their big lecture scenes play badly), but with a lot of wit and verbal intelligence in the dialogue scenes, and very touching as Ms. Streisand and her mother (Lauren Bacall) get honest about the subject of physical beauty.

UNHOOK THE STARS (***, R) Gena Rowlands stars as a widow, comfortably off, who is drawn into the disorganized life of her neighbor (Marisa Tomei) when she's asked to care for the younger woman's little boy. Soon Rowlands and the boy are fast friends, and Ms. Tomei is getting some tactful guidance. But what is Ms. Rowlands to do with her own life? A truck driver from Quebec (Gerard Depardieu) has some ideas, which she's none too certain about. A human and touching comedy.

STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT (*** 1/2, PG-13) The best of the eight Star Trek films in its technical credits, and among the best in the ingenuity of its plot. The evil Borg travel back through time to prevent mankind's first contact with the Vulcans, and the Enterprise follows them through a temporal vortex to save man's future. Meanwhile, the Borg capture the android Data and try to "assimilate" his artificial intelligence into their hive mind. Intriguing chemistry between Patrick Stewart as Picard and Alfre Woodard as the assistant to inventor James Cromwell, whose warp drive initiates man's contact with others.

ONE FINE DAY (**, PG) Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney are divorced parents, unexpectedly saddled with child care for the day, who drag their kids along to their jobs and whose paths keep crossing - as they fall in love in the process, of course. A tired formula story, but the stars are appealing and have nice chemistry.

SWINGERS (***, R) A few days in the lives of a group of friends who hang around Hollywood coffee shops, bars, clubs and apartments, talking of their plans to make it big in showbiz. Jon Favreau stars as a would-be comic who mopes about the girl he left behind, and Vince Vaughn is the friend who advises him on Hollywood lore. Low-key, sweet, funny, another entry in the genre of the Great American Coffee Shop Movie.

DAYLIGHT (**, PG-13) An explosion in the Holland Tunnel seals off both ends and traps the usual mixed bag of disaster movie survivors in the middle, where Sylvester Stallone tries to rescue them from fire, flood, ceiling collapse and rats. A few nice performances - Mr. Stallone is skillful at this kind of role, and Stan Shaw and Viggo Mortensen do good supporting work - but this is the kind of movie you've seen a dozen times before.

RANSOM (** 1/2, R) Mel Gibson stars in this strange thriller about a kidnapped boy and his father's dangerous plan to get him back - and get back at the abductors. With Rene Russo, Gary Sinise and a miscast Delroy Lindo.

THE FUNERAL (***, R) Abel Ferrara offers a taut and involving crime drama set in the 1930s in his most subdued and accessible mode. After the murder of his brother, Christopher Walken's racketeer must decide if vengeance is worth the cost, moral and otherwise.

GET ON THE BUS (*** 1/2, R) Spike Lee returns to the freshness of his earliest movies with this moving and often very funny tale of a busload of guys on their way to the 1995 Million Man March. Their spiritual renewal takes place long before they arrive in Washington.

THE EVENING STAR (**, PG-13) Pointless and endless sequel to Terms of Endearment, which tries to fill the vacuum left by Debra Winger with tragicomic soap opera. Shirley MacLaine, as the domineering Aurora, and the film's game cast eventually succumb.

THE PREACHER'S WIFE (*** 1/2, PG) A delightful fantasy about an angel (Denzel Washington) who restores the shaken faith of a pastor (Courtney B. Vance) and tries not to be smitten by the preacher's gospel-singing wife (Whitney Houston). Penny Marshall's upbeat rethink of the 1947 classic is sweet without being sugary.

LARGER THAN LIFE (**, PG) Bill Murray takes an elephant walk, but there's no new direction to this amiable road movie. He inherits an elephant and has to get it across the country in a forgettable comedy that doesn't fully exploit his deadpan talents.

SET IT OFF (** 1/2, R) Girls from the hood take up bank robbery in a socially conscious action movie that spends the right amount of time on the women's world and motives. Stars include Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett.

BIG NIGHT (*** 1/2, R) A little gem about two immigrant brothers (Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub) struggling to make a go of their Italian restaurant. The promised arrival of a special guest prompts the duo to prepare an elaborate feast.

101 DALMATIANS (** 1/2, PG) A live-action version of the 1961 Disney animated classic, with Glenn Close as the fur-worshiping Cruella DeVil, and Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson as dog owners who fall in love and then see their pets' 15 puppies dognapped. Their relationship is sweet; Ms. Close does as much as she can with a caricature that resists being made into a person; and then the last act of the movie is dominated by two muchabused bad guys who seem ripped off from Home Alone. The cartoon is a lot better.

EMMA (***, PG) A delightful version of Jane Austen's novel, which also inspired the recent comedy Clueless. Gwyneth Paltrow sparkles as the village busybody who obsesses about everyone's matrimonial future except her own. Toni Collette is the unfortunate object of Emma's latest project; Jeremy Northam is her closest confidant; Juliet Stevenson is funny as a local woman with a superb opinion of herself; and Sophie Thompson and Phyllida Law (Emma Thompson's sister and mother) play Miss Bates, who talks constantly, and Mrs. Bates, who hears nothing.

MICHAEL COLLINS (***, R) Liam Neeson stars in a powerful performance as "The Big Fella," the IRA leader who developed modern techniques of urban warfare and led the Irish revolutionaries to a partial victory against England. Aidan Quinn is his best friend; Julia Roberts is the woman who loves them both (an unnecessary character); and Alan Rickman makes the IRA leader Eamon De Valera into a weak, vain man who is largely responsible for derailing the treaty Collins negotiates with Britain.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO AND JULIET (**, PG-13) This punk gang-war update of Shakespeare's tragedy sinks under a heavy weight of trendiness. Leonard DiCaprio and Claire Danes, in the title roles, lose their way in the dialogue, which tends to be shouted or mushy. Playing the balcony scene in a swimming pool was a big mistake. Only Pete Postlethwaite as the friar and Miriam Margolyes as the nurse seem at home with Shakespeare's lines, what few there are. Many scenes play like a reading from Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, except that they're not all that familiar to the cast.

LONE STAR (****, R) This is a great American movie, weaving the story of a murder and a romance into the old secrets of a small Texas border town. The bones of a dead sheriff (Kris Kristofferson) are found in the desert; Chris Cooper plays the current sheriff, whose own father is a suspect. Along the way, he encounters his high school sweetheart (Elizabeth Pena). Their parents forbade their romance, but now it begins again. Joe Morton is the commander of the local Army post, Ron Canada runs the local black bar, and as the story unfolds we discover it's about much more than a death and a love story. The best film yet by John Sayles.

SLEEPERS (***, R) Four 13year-olds from the streets of New York are sent to a reformatory, where a sadistic guard (Kevin Bacon) abuses them. Years later, two of the boys kill the guard, and the other two rig the court case against them. Effective on a superficial level, with good performances by Dustin Hoffman as an alcoholic lawyer and Robert De Niro as a neighborhood priest, but the movie's real subject is a homophobic revenge fantasy.

FLIRTING WITH DISASTER (R) A sexy, giddy mix of confusion, mischance and misadventure, this bright new romantic comedy combines the neurotic wit of Woody Allen with a wacky screwball pace. Written and directed by David O. Russell and starring Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni and a great crew of supporting players.

BASQUIAT (***, R) The '80s story of the New York artist's meteoric rise and fall, the dope he scored and the bridges - and friends - he burned. The film, written and directed by pal and painter Julian Schnabel, is never less than interesting, even when it wallows in Painter-as-Saint pretentiousness, which it often does.

SUPERCOP (R) This 1993 Jackie Chan release is back, dubbed in English and fitted out with a harddriving soundtrack. This good-humored high adventure, set in China and Malaysia as well as Hong Kong, is lots of fun. Mr. Chan plays a police detective who teams with a People's Republic of China agent (Michelle Khan) to go after a drug lord.

THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (**, PG) Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton star as distressed, rejected spouses to philandering and very rich ex-husbands in this shrill, depressing farce about sisterhood and revenge.

AMERICAN BUFFALO (****, R) A brilliant pairing of Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz with David Mamet's blistering dialogue make a first-rate screen translation of his early play about two losers planning to steal a coin collection.

HONEY WE SHRUNK OURSELVES (PG) Disney's first live-action movie to debut on home video is a super special-effects effort. This fun film stars Rick Moranis as the same shrink-happy scientist who lent his zany methods to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. This endeavor, however, allows adults more laughs: They are the ones who are diminished to less than 1 inch tall and forced to watch helplessly as the children, thinking the parents are away, stay up late, throw a party and pig out on junk food.

THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (** 1/2, R) Geena Davis is a single mother transformed into La Femme Fatale Nikita in a cheerful but ultimately forgettable amnesia exercise. Her forgotten past as a CIA assassin catches up with her, but here at least a woman gets the biggest piece of an action movie.

JUDE (*** 1/2, R) Christopher Eccleston, Kate Winslet, Liam Cunningham. Thomas Hardy's doom-ridden final novel, about an idealistic villager's Job-like rain of misery, has been adapted with extraordinary skill. Set in 1880s England, the film stars Mr. Eccleston in the title role and Ms. Winslet as the free-thinking beauty with whom he's smitten. It's a star-crossed love, to be sure, in this crushingly sad, beautiful film.

THE HORSEMAN ON THE ROOF (** 1/2, R) Breathtaking scenery, breathless actors in puffy 19thcentury threads, and squawking crows pecking at corpses are the key elements in this handsome but increasingly wearisome widescreen historical romance, set against a backdrop of upheaval and cholera. Juliette Binoche and Olivier Martinez star, passionlessly. In French with subtitles.