Originally created 01/30/98

Video releases

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.


Event Horizon, Star Maps, Brassed Off, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca, City of Industry, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Kull the Conqueror, Hollow Reed.

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Hercules, G.I. Jane, Gang Related and Excess Baggage.

EB. 10:

Air Force One, Intimate Relations and Love Serenade.

FEB. 17:

ood Burger, The Matchmaker, Most Wanted and Critical Care.

FEB. 24:

The Edge and Myth of Fingerprints.

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Peter Pan.

Video reviews

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


A rescue ship enters the orbit of Neptune to find a missing research vessel, which had on board a gravity drive allowing it to generate black holes and take shortcuts through space and time. The ship has reappeared after seven years. Where was it, and what happened to it? Laurence Fishburne plays the captain of the search vessel, and Sam Neill is the scientist who may or may not have the answers. Nice atmosphere, good special effects, but the screenplay is thin.


Too much for one movie: a steamy sexual melodrama about a brutal father who controls a string of male prostitutes who pose as street-corner vendors of maps to the stars' homes. After his son (Douglas Spain) returns from Mexico, the father puts him to work. The family also includes a dying wife (who has conversations with Cantinflas), a weirdo brother, a sister who only wants to get out, and a maltreated mistress. When the hero meets a TV actress who wants him written into her show, the plot takes one twist too many and becomes a parody of itself.


Joe Pesci plays a gangster whose life depends on delivering eight heads to San Diego as proof that their owners are dead. His bag is switched at an airport, and he tracks down a college student (Andy Comeau) to a Mexican resort where the kid is meeting his fiancee (Kristy Swanson) and her parents (George Hamilton and Dyan Cannon). Mr. Pesci has many funny scenes, but the other characters lack his crazed intensity.


Tim Robbins is a corporate executive who grows desperate after becoming convinced his wife is cheating. Martin Lawrence is a car hijacker who discovers he has picked on a madman. Their destinies become mingled during desperate days on the road, in a comedy that succumbs to serious distractions. Some nice isolated laughs, but it's shapeless and meandering.


A gentle, good-hearted movie about the American icon Beaver Cleaver, played here by Cameron Finley, who joins the school football team in order to persuade his dad to buy him a bike. Then the bike is stolen, setting off a series of deceptions and misunderstandings. Not a satire on the original TV sitcom, but a celebration of it.


Wide-ranging farce starring Judy Davis as a dedicated Australian communist who writes weekly letters to Stalin, is rewarded with an invitation to the 1952 party congress in Moscow and after a wild night with Stalin gives birth to what is possibly his child -- who grows into an Australian agitator. With F. Murray Abraham, Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush and Sam Neill as a double agent. Many different styles and kinds of material confuse the focus.


A visually lush but confusing epic by Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), starring Gong Li as the acting head of an opium-addled family and Leslie Chueng as her childhood playmate, now a Shanghai gigolo who returns to the country estate to seduce her and help steal the family fortune. A needlessly convoluted plot makes it difficult to care about the characters, and the opium haze reduces any sense of urgency.

SOUL FOOD (*** 1/2 , R)

A warm-hearted, funny movie about a big family in Chicago and its crisis when the matriarch (Irma P. Hall) grows ill. There are three sisters (Vanessa L. Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long), all married, some with problems, and the extended family includes cousins, the minister, the eccentric uncle, and young Ahmad (Brandon Hammond), who tells the story.

MASTERMINDS ( 1/2 -star, PG-13)

The unflappable Patrick Stewart faces the challenge of one of the year's worst films. He plays the evil security chief of a private school, whose ransom demands are battled by the kid computer genius (Vincent Kartheiser) who was expelled by the school but now creeps through its air shafts, sabotaging Mr. Stewart's plans. A dreadful film; its only interest involves Mr. Stewart's attempt to retain his dignity in the midst of idiocy.

HOODLUM (***, R)

Laurence Fishburne stars as Bumpy Johnson, the inventive gangster who was the right-hand man for Harlem's Queen of Numbers (Cicely Tyson) during a 1930s battle between the black-run policy racket and the Mafia. Tim Roth is Dutch Schultz, who tries to muscle in, and Andy Garcia plays his boss, Lucky Luciano. Director Bill Duke finds an effective balance between the inevitable action scenes and good character development, as the film explores deeper economic and racial issues beneath the surface.


The makings of a smart and funny conspiracy comedy are buried in an unconvincing romance and the distraction of superfluous action scenes. Mel Gibson is quite good as a paranoid New York cabby whose nutty theories are mostly -- but not always -- insane. Julia Roberts is the Justice Department official who humors him. Then one day it appears he may be onto something.

OUT TO SEA (***, PG-13)

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau play clones of their grumpy old men, but this movie's funnier than either of the Grumpy pictures. They get a free cruise but have to pay their way as professional dance partners. Mr. Matthau can't dance, but he can play poker, and he also gets into a high-stakes game for the heart of a brassy blonde on board (Dyan Cannon) while Mr. Lemmon falls for a sweet and dazzling widow (Gloria De Haven). Charming lightweight entertainment.

AIR BUD (***, PG)

Surprisingly entertaining, sometimes magical movie about a junior high school student (Kevin Zegers) who makes friends with a lost dog that can shoot baskets. Sounds like a dumb formula film, but director Charles Martin Smith makes it fresh and new, and sometimes very funny.


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