Originally created 08/15/97

Video watch

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: The Devil's Own, Mother, Crash, Everyone Says I Love You, Prisoner of the Mountains, The Shadow Conspiracy, Lost Highway.

TUESDAY: Dante's Peak, SubUrbia, La Ceremonie, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, Grave Indiscretion, Cats Don't Dance, The Beautician and the Beast.

AUG. 26: Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition, Mary Poppins, Rosewood, Head Above Water, Thieves, Inventing the Abbotts, Love Jones, Hard Eight, Margaret's Museum.

Video reviews

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

THE DEVIL'S OWN (***1/2 , R) - A smart, taut thriller about an IRA terrorist unwittingly befriended by an upright New York City cop, with Brad Pitt in the former role, Harrison Ford in the latter and some smart, effective direction from veteran filmmaker Alan J. Pakula.

CRASH (***1/2 , NC17) - David Cronenberg's strange and controversial film is about people who find a mesmerizing link between sex and automobile accidents. Their sex lives involve props such as braces, crutches, smashed cars, wounds, blood and risk. Few if any people in real life have such fetishes, and that's the point: Mr. Cronenberg has dissected the form of a porno movie, substituting turn-offs for turn-ons. The movie is a cold, detached and inspired study of sexual compulsion. Some will hate it; some will find it fascinating. With James Spader, Holly Hunter, Rosanna Arquette.

EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU (****, R) - There's not a wrong note in Woody Allen's enchanted musical comedy, which is featherweight and then sometimes profound. Mr. Allen romances Julia Roberts in Venice and Goldie Hawn (as an ex-wife) in Paris, while Edward Norton woos Drew Barrymore in New York. The large and luminous cast also includes Alan Alda, Tim Roth, Lucas Haas and Natalie Portman, who all (except Ms. Barrymore) sing great pop standards in their own voices. Gentle, audacious, smart, sentimental: a glowing experience.

BOOTY CALL (***, R) - An unabashedly raunchy sex comedy, filmed with infectious cheerfulness and slapstick vulgarity. Two couples go on a double date that leads to an evening that might easily be retitled "Animal House Grosses Out." Be warned: The MPAA describes the movie as containing "nonstop sexuality including sex-related dialogue and crude humor, and strong language." So it does. But it's funny. With Tommy Davidson, Vivica Fox, Jamie Foxx and Tamala Jones.

EVITA (***1/2 , PG) Madonna embodies the Argentine dictator's glamorous wife, in Alan Parker's visually dazzling film version of the long-running musical. Antonio Banderas plays Che, a mysterious onlooker who asks embarrassing questions about Evita's fame and power, and Jonathan Pryce is her husband, Juan Peron, who has her to thank for his election but is locked out of her bedroom.

THAT DARN CAT (PG) Augusta, Edgefield and environs serve as a backdrop for this remake of the 1965 Disney hit, with Christina Ricci and Doug E. Doug in the starring roles. And, of course, there's Elvis the cat, as the title character.

JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE (*, PG) Tim Allen stars as a broker who discovers he has a 13-year-old son, raised by his estranged wife (JoBeth Williams) in the Amazon. He brings the kid back to New York, where the "fish out of water" plot wheezes along without inspiration, interest or comedy.

SLING BLADE (***1/2 , R) An extraordinary performance of an extraordinary character: Billy Bob Thornton plays Karl, a retarded man who killed his mother when he was a child because he misinterpreted a situation. Now middleaged, he has been released from a state institution and is taken in by a woman (Natalie Canerday) and her young son. She has an abusive boyfriend (Dwight Yoakam) and an understanding gay boss (John Ritter). And then there is Karl, who watches and tries to understand. Mr. Thornton also wrote and directed; the result is a movie of great power and originality.

HAMLET (****, PG-13) Kenneth Branagh's rich, ambitious full-length version of Shakespeare's masterpiece glows with energy and passion. And by including many scenes that are usually cut, he creates more revealing portraits of the king-murderer Claudius (Derek Jacobi) and the process of court intrigue. Mr. Branagh plays Hamlet not as a mope but as a capable prince paralyzed by indecision; Kate Winslet is touching as Ophelia and Julie Christie lustful and loving as Gertrude. Charlton Heston makes a magnificent Player King, in a sequence that restores the "play within a play" to its role as the dramatic turning-point.


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