JUST OUT: I Spy, Moonlight Mile, Swim Fan, White Oleander and Below
TUESDAY: 8 Mile, Abandon, Roger Dodger, Empire, Personal Velocity, Just a Kiss, The Grey Zone and Pokemon 4Ever
MARCH 25: Femme Fatale, Friday After Next and [filtered word]: The Movie
MARCH 28: Ghost Ship
APRIL 1: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Red Dragon
Here are reviews from Roger Ebert and other critics of some recent video releases:
BELOW (** 1/2 , R, 103 MINUTES) In mid-Atlantic, a World War II submarine runs into trouble in this world and perhaps in the next. Its skipper lost overboard, it picks up lifeboat survivors including a woman (Olivia Williams), which the sailors think is bad luck, and then runs into worse luck from German depth bombs. Is the ship haunted?
I SPY (**, PG-13, 96 MINUTES) Retread of the 1960s TV series with Eddie Murphy as a boxer and Owen Wilson as a spy who recruits him in order to get next to a villain (Malcolm McDowell) who has stolen an invisible spy plane.
MOONLIGHT MILE (****, PG-13, 112 MINUTES) A young woman has been murdered, and as the story begins we meet her boyfriend (Jake Gyllenhaal) and her parents (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon). Each is in mourning in a personal way, and the movie, written and directed by Brad Silberling, doesn't retail weepy cliches but is observant about the way each mourns and heals.
WHITE OLEANDER (** 1/2 , PG-13, 113 MINUTES) Alison Lohman stars as Astrid, the teenage daughter of a beautiful artist mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is sent to prison after murdering a faithless boyfriend. Astrid then moves from one foster home to the next; we meet Robin Wright Penn as a born-again stripper, Renee Zellweger as a former horror movie star, and Svetlana Efremova as a Russian emigre who sends her kids Dumpster-diving to get merchandise for her resale stall. These households are all colorful, but in a way Dickens might have contrived, rather than with the conviction of life. The movie needs more depth and darkness.
HALF PAST DEAD (1/2 *, PG-13, 99 MINUTES) Steven Seagal stars in a preposterous plot involving lame excuses for nonstop action sequences, many of them so carelessly composed we're not sure how they turned out.
THE RING (**, PG-13, 115 MINUTES) Newspaper reporter and single mom Naomi Watts learns of a video that kills those who watch it within seven days. Her investigation, also involving her young son (David Dorfman) and his father (Martin Henderson), leads to gruesome and dread discoveries, followed by tedious explanations and flashbacks just when we think the movie must finally be over.