Originally created 05/15/98

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 RELEASED:

Tomorrow Never Dies, Washington Square, Playing God, Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Collector's Edition.

TUESDAY:

As Good as It Gets, Starship Troopers, Shall We Dance?, An American Werewolf in Paris.

MAY 26:

John Grishman's The Rainmaker, Deconstructing Harry, The Sweet Hereafter, Firestorm, The Night Flier, Desperate Measures.

Video reviews

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

TOMORROW NEVER DIES (***, PG-13)

In its 35th year, the Bond series gets a lift from a slyly contemporary villain; Jonathan Pryce plays a media baron who wants to start a world war in order to dramatize the launch of his news channel. Pierce Brosnan, sleek and convincing, plays 007; Asian martial arts star Michelle Yeoh has great presence and chemistry as one of the most memorable Bond girls.

PLAYING GOD (***, R)

David Duchovny, from The X-Files, plays a defrocked doctor who saves a guy's life in a bar and then is offered a job by a gangster (Tim Hutton) who could use a gunshot expert on staff. Angelina Jolie plays the gangster's girlfriend, attracted to the doctor, as they get mired in a complicated scam involving counterfeit fashions.

GATTACA (*** 1/2 , PG-13)

Ethan Hawke stars in a smart science fiction thriller about a future world in which genetic engineering has separated the population into perfect lab babies and natural children with human flaws. Mr. Hawke, an "in-valid," dreams of joining a space mission, and gets fake DNA from John Law, as a lab product paralyzed in an accident. Uma Thurman plays Mr. Hawke's romantic interest -- but can he trust her with the secret?

MOUSE HUNT (**, PG)

Amazing special effects create a mouse that can do anything -- except, alas, make us laugh. Nathan Lane and Lee Evans play brothers who inherit an architectural masterpiece, but before they can sell it they need to get rid of the resident mouse, with the help of exterminator Christopher Walken.

ALIEN RESURRECTION (* 1/2 , R)

After 18 years and four movies, these aliens have just about exhausted their possibilities.

ANASTASIA (*** 1/2 , PG)

Entertaining and exciting, an animated musical based on the legend of Anastasia, said to be the lost child of Russia's murdered ruling family. Two servants from the palace cook up a scheme to train a likely candidate and pass her off as the real Anastasia -- but little do they, or she, know she really is Anastasia. The mad monk Rasputin makes a terrific villain, and there are the usual comic sidekicks. With voices by Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd, Bernadette Peters and Angela Lansbury.

THE JACKAL (* 1/2 , R)

Glum, flat, unconvincing thriller based on the much better 1973 film Day of the Jackal. Bruce Willis plays a professional assassin, hired by the Russian Mafia to kill the FBI chief; Sidney Poitier is a deputy FBI director, and Richard Gere is the IRA terrorist he uses to try to track down the Jackal. In a movie structured to spotlight the killer's expertise, it's surprising how many implausible and inept things he does. Little suspense, less conviction.

FLUBBER (*, PG)

Robin Williams stars in a retread of the 1961 comedy about an absent-minded professor who invents flying rubber and saves his bankrupt college while marrying its president (Marcia Gay Harden). He has a cute electronic sidekick named Weebo who all but steals the show,

MRS. BROWN (*** 1/2 , PG)

A love story of sorts, hidden beneath layers of denial and ritual, between Queen Victoria and her servant John Brown -- who takes her out riding as a way to break her loose from the grip of mourning after the death of her beloved Prince Albert. The queen is strong-willed but morose; Brown is her match. He breaks the rules in addressing her firmly, and she finds that a little thrilling. Judi Dench, long a star of the London stage, triumphs in her first leading movie role, and tall, bearded Billy Connolly is serenely self-confident as the commoner who thinks he knows what she needs.

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (****, R)

This is Curtis Hanson's rich, textured, confident film noir, based on the best seller by James Ellroy. It's set in Los Angeles in 1953 and seen through the lives of three cops: one media-savvy (Kevin Spacey), one ready to compromise (Russell Crowe), one a straight arrow (Guy Pearce). Their captain (James Cromwell) calls them "lads" and counsels them on corruption (and the correct means of performing it). Other key characters include a hooker (Kim Basinger) who specializes in looking like a movie star, and a sleazy scandal sheet publisher (Danny DeVito).

THE HOUSE OF YES (** 1/2 , R)

Parker Posey plays a disturbed character who's obsessed with Jackie Kennedy. When her twin brother (Josh Hamilton) brings home his fiancee (Tori Spelling), her madness goes into overdrive, and soon her other brother (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and their peculiar mother (Genevieve Bujold) are playing into the family dementia.

THE ICE STORM (****, R)

An early winter storm descends on Connecticut, casting a shroud of impending doom over Thanksgiving. Suburban couples shift restlessly in their angst. Kevin Kline and Joan Allen play a loveless couple; Sigourney Weaver is Mr. Kline's lover; the children, including Christina Ricci and Elijah Wood, mimic their parents.