Originally created 05/17/02

Video watch

JUST OUT: The Others, From Hell and Corky Romano

TUESDAY: Vanilla Sky, Lantana, Snow Dogs, Sidewalks of New York, Out Cold and How High

MAY 28: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Dark Blue World and Slackers

JUNE 4: Shallow Hal and Mothman Prophecies

JUNE 11: Black Hawk Down, Monster's Ball, Kate & Leopold and Behind the Sun


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

THE OTHERS (** 1/2 , PG-13, 104 MINUTES) In an isolated house on the isle of Jersey, a mother (Nicole Kidman) leads a strange existence with her two children, who are so allergic to sunlight that the windows can never be opened. Three new servants arrive, who know more than they should. The house has a secret, and so do all of its inhabitants, in a spooky, atmospheric, supernatural story by Alejandro Amenabar.

CORKY ROMANO ( 1/2 *, PG-13, 86 MINUTES) A desperately unfunny gangster spoof, starring Chris Kattan as the kid brother in a Mafia family, so naive he believes his father is in landscaping. Peter Falk is the father, who orders him to infiltrate the FBI to destroy evidence. Peter Berg and Chris Penn are his tough brothers.

FROM HELL (***, R, 137 MINUTES) Johnny Depp stars as an opium-smoking, quasi-psychic Scotland Yard detective assigned to the Jack the Ripper murders. Heather Graham is the prostitute he befriends, Robbie Coltrane is his Watson-like assistant, and Ian Holm is the queen's surgeon, all too keen on lobotomy. Dark, clammy and exhilarating, with dramatic visuals keying off the graphic novel that inspired it.

OCEAN'S 11 (***, PG-13, 116 MINUTES) Steven Soderbergh's remake of the 1960 Sinatra caper is slick and superficial - and, on that level, amusing. George Clooney is the ex-con who wants to knock over three casinos, Andy Garcia owns them, and Julia Roberts is Mr. Clooney's ex-wife and Mr. Garcia's current squeeze. This is not a movie about suspense but about suavity.

WAKING LIFE (****, R, 99 MINUTES) Like a cold shower of bracing, clarifying ideas. Richard Linklater and his collaborators have filmed a series of conversations, debates, rants, monologues and speculations, and then animated their film using a new process that creates a shimmering, pulsating life on the screen: This movie seems alive, appears to be vibrating with urgency and excitement. The R rating is completely inappropriate; recommended for all, including smart teen-agers.

ALI (**, R, 157 MINUTES) A long, flat, curiously muted film about the heavyweight champion. It lacks enough of the flash, fire and humor of Muhammad Ali and is shot more in the tone of a eulogy than a celebration. Will Smith is convincing in the title role, and Jon Voight and Jamie Foxx do well as Howard Cosell and Bundini Brown, but the screenplay is shapeless, meandering from one inconclusive scene to another.

NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE (**, R, 82 MINUTES) Satire that assembles the cliches, obligatory scenes and standard characters from three recent sub-genres of the teen movie (prom, cheerleader and tasteless sex) and cross-fertilizes them, if that is the word, with the John Hughes teen-ager movies of the 1980s.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES (* 1/2 , PG-13, 93 MINUTES) A U.S. Navy pilot (Owen Wilson) tries to elude Serbian capture in a showdown between a man begging to be shot and an enemy that can't hit the side of a Bosnian barn.

MY FIRST MISTER (***, R, 105 MINUTES) Leelee Sobieski plays Jennifer, a pierced, tattooed 17-year-old Goth who is a loner, and finds another one - Randall (Albert Brooks), a 49-year-old clothing salesman. She wants a job. He hides her in the stockroom, but eventually she softens her stance against society and they become each other's only friend.

NOVOCAINE (***, R, 95 MINUTES) Steve Martin plays a dentist engaged to his hygienist (Laura Dern) when trouble walks in: Helena Bonham Carter, who wants Demerol, and later adds lust to her menu. The dentist finds himself involved in a web of criminal complicity.

BLACK KNIGHT (PG-13, 95 MINUTES) Comedy catapults Martin Lawrence back in time six centuries or so to the age of knights in a story drawn from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE (* 1/2 , PG-13, 88 MINUTES) Nice guy John Travolta beams benignly while his ex-wife (Teri Polo) marries the new rich guy in town (Vince Vaughn). Only Mr. Travolta's son, Danny (Matthew O'Leary), knows how evil the new husband is - and no one will believe him.

TEXAS RANGERS (PG-13, 90 MINUTES) Dylan McDermott and his unlikely band set out to clean up the lawless Lone Star state. With James Van Der Beek, Vincent Spano, Usher Raymond and Alfred Molina. Directed by Steve Miner.

THE DEEP END (*** 1/2 , R, 99 MINUTES) Tilda Swinton plays a mother of three who lives on the shore of Lake Tahoe. Her husband is away. She's worried about her 17-year-old son (Jonathan Tucker), who has fallen into a dangerous relationship with a sleazy 30-year-old gay gambler (Josh Lucas). A death takes place, she misunderstands how it happened and tries to cover it up.

THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE (***, R, 116 MINUTES) The Coen brothers' new film, shot in black-and-white and burnished to a contented glow, stars Billy Bob Thornton as a sad-eyed, mournful chain-smoker, a man so trapped by life he wants to scream. The plot is one of those film noir twisters made of gin and adultery. The pace is deliberate but so assured and perceptive in its style, it's like a voluptuous feast. With Frances McDormand, Tony Shalhoub, James Galdolfini.

MULHOLLAND DRIVE (****, R, 146 MINUTES) At last, a David Lynch nightmare movie that works. Laura Elena Harring and Naomi Watts play archetypal Hollywood types, a sexy brunette and a bubbly blonde, who meet by chance and team up to search for a missing identity. Their story is intercut with backstage murder threats, auditions, Nancy Drew-style bravery, rotting corpses, dwarfish masterminds and smoldering sex scenes.

SPY GAME (** 1/2 , R, 115 MINUTES) Robert Redford is a retiring spy master who has 24 hours to lie and deceive in order to save his protege (Brad Pitt) from death in a Chinese prison.


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