JUST OUT: The Dancer Upstairs, A Mighty Wind, Daddy Day Care and Holes
SEPT. 30: 2 Fast, 2 Furious, Bend It Like Beckham, Boat Trip and Better Luck Tomorrow
OCT. 7: Down With Love, Hollywood Homicide, Willard and The Italian Job
OCT. 14: The Matrix Reloaded
Here are reviews from Roger Ebert and other critics of some recent video releases:
A MIGHTY WIND (** 1/2 , PG-13, 92 MINUTES A new mockumentary by Christopher Guest, whose Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show define the genre. This time his subject is a reunion concert by three less-than-great acts from the 1960s folk revival. Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara steal the show as Mitch and Mickey, long estranged, whose comeback is fraught with emotional pitfalls. A lot of laughs, but the movie curiously turns into a concert film toward the end, betraying more affection for its characters and their music than is wise for this kind of comedy.
DADDY DAY CARE , PG, 113 MINUTES A woeful miscalculation - a film so wrongheaded audiences will be more appalled than amused. Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin star as the operators of a cut-rate day-care center that could only terrify parents in the audience, although it may look like fun for their children. Anjelica Huston is the villainess, running a competing facility that actually looks like a much better school.
HOLES (*** 1/2 , PG, 111 MINUTES In the middle of a desert, the teens at a juvenile detention center spend all day digging holes in the ground. Their strange imprisonment was first told in an award-winning novel for young adults by Louis Sachar, and now he writes the screenplay for an original, intriguing film directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive). Talented young actors, led by Shia LaBeouf and Khleo Thomas, are joined by Jon Voight, Sigourney Weaver, Tim Blake Nelson and Patricia Arquette. Weird, challenging and darkly humorous.
ANGER MANAGEMENT (**, PG-13, 101 MINUTES Adam Sandler plays a mild-mannered guy named Dave Buznik, who just got a promotion and is in love with Marisa Tomei. Through bizarre misunderstandings, he is misdiagnosed as a person filled with rage and assigned to therapy with the specialist Dr. Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson). A wonderful premise, but the movie dumbs it down, and has a climax with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani that was old before any one of them was born.
MALIBU'S MOST WANTED (** 1/2 , PG-13, 86 MINUTES Feature-length outing for "B-Rad," the character created by Jamie Kennedy on his Fox comedy show. The kid, whose real name is Brad, is the son of a millionaire gubernatorial candidate and lives in Malibu, but poses as a gangsta rapper. His father (Ryan O'Neal) hires black actors (Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson) to kidnap him for a tour of the real hood, but the plan backfires when a real gangster (Damien Dante Wayans) gets involved. A good satirical idea and some big laughs, but too much down time and not enough risk-taking.
BULLETPROOF MONK (**, PG-13, 113 MINUTES Chow Yun-Fat plays the Monk With No Name, entrusted with the Scroll of the Ultimate - which, if read aloud, grants the power to control the entire world. As the 60 years of his term draws to a close, he finds himself in New York, where a pickpocket (Seann William Scott) seems to fulfill the Three Prophecies predicting who would be the next to guard the scroll. Meanwhile, neo-Nazis have been in pursuit of it for three generations, and so we get a lot of martial arts crossed with the Monk's attempts to train the pickpocket in the wisdom of Tibet.
VIEW FROM THE TOP (***, PG-13, 87 MINUTES Gwyneth Paltrow stars in the sweet and innocent story of a small-town girl who becomes a flight attendant to see the world. She meets friends who help her and friends who double-cross her, a guy who dumps her, and a guy she dumps. And she finds love. What more do you want from a movie? Not sexy and sophisticated, but surprisingly sincere, with Mark Ruffalo as the guy who loves her, Candice Bergen as her mentor, and Christina Applegate as a two-timing friend. Younger teenage girls will be fascinated.
THE CORE (** 1/2 , PG-13, 135 MINUTES Earth's core stops spinning, and to save mankind an emergency probe is sent to penetrate the planet's mantle and set off nuclear explosions to get it spinning again. Much sillier than it sounds, but a guilty pleasure. With Aaron Eckhart and Stanley Tucci as rival scientists, Hilary Swank as a terranaut, Delroy Lindo as an eccentric inventor, and D.J. Qualls as the nutty hacker.
CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND (*** 1/2 , R, 113 MINUTES) Sam Rockwell stars as Chuck Barris, the creator of The Dating Game and The Gong Show, who claims to have moonlighted as a CIA assassin. Uh, huh. George Clooney directs and co-stars as Mr. Barris' CIA handler, Julia Roberts is a CIA op, and Drew Barrymore is the hippie chick who remains loyal as Mr. Barris descends into lonely self-loathing. An ingenious story whether true or not, with a Charlie Kaufman screenplay that moves between the pop cheerfulness of game shows to episodes that seem ported in from the nightmares of John le Carre.