AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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HT Staff Posted: Jul 05, 2004 0 comments
DVD: National Lampoon's Senior Trip—New Line
Video: 2
Audio: 2
Extras: 1
The longest road trip you've ever taken won't feel so bad after sitting through this 90-minute "high schoolers-hit-the-road" piece of dreck. The jokes aren't funny, every character is an overdrawn cliché, and there's absolutely no one to hold our interest, let alone root for.
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HT Staff Posted: Apr 11, 2005 0 comments
DVD: The Forgotten—Columbia/TriStar
A twisting, turning, supernatural story, The Forgotten stars Julianne Moore as Telly, a woman grieving the loss of her 8-year-old son. The only problem is, everyone around her insists that the boy she misses so desperately never actually existed. As she continues to cling to her memories, she finds herself sinking further into a nightmare. Although the heart of the film is about the unbreakable bond between parent and child, the story offers enough government conspiracy and X-Files-type intrigue to give it wider appeal.
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HT Staff Posted: Feb 28, 2005 0 comments
DVD: Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary Edition—Buena Vista
Everyone wanted Mary Poppins to be their nanny when they were kids. Rosy cheeks, cheery disposition, and never cross? That's just ideal. However, lucky Jane and Michael Banks were the two children who got to enjoy her company, and this fine presentation of the classic musical will make you jealous of those two kids all over again.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: May 07, 2004 0 comments
More Marilyn . . . Well, sort of. It's been over 50 years since this quartet of modestly sophisticated comedy/dramas hit the silver screen to entertain post-WWII America. In those early years of the soon-to-be-booming 1950s, audiences might have had inklings that a certain young, blonde starlet might have a big decade ahead of her. More likely, ticket buyers were eager to see Claudette Colbert (Let's Make It Legal), Ginger Rogers and Fred Allen (We're Not Married), Monty Woolley and Thelma Ritter (As Young as You Feel), or June Haver and William Lundigan (Love Nest). You'd have no way of knowing that, however, from 20th Century Fox's packaging of these cinematic time capsules that capture an intriguing era of Hollywood movie-making that's forever gone. Marilyn Monroe's second-tier presence in this foursome of flicks is clearly the marketing angle that 20th Century Fox feels will mint new cash from old celluloid.
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HT Staff Posted: Mar 09, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Schindler's List—Universal
Video: 4
Audio: 3
Extras: 4
The excitement I felt when I heard that Schindler's List was finally coming to DVD was quickly replaced by a sense of dread when I realized that, in order to review the disc, I'd have to watch the film. Don't misunderstand. I have nothing but the highest regard for this cinematic masterpiece, but it's not exactly a casual, fun evening in front of the tele. Schindler's List is meant to devastate you, to break your heart by putting a human face on so many of the faceless victims of the Holocaust. Devastate you it will, but you're better off for having witnessed it.
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HT Staff Posted: Oct 11, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Raising Helen—Buena Vista
Video: 3
Audio: 3
Extras: 2
In the breezy comedy Raising Helen, Kate Hudson's fast track to agenting in the modeling business gets sidetracked when her sister's three kids move in with her after a fatal accident kills their mom. With the exception of a couple of surprisingly touching moments and the mega-talents of Joan Cusack, no feathers are ruffled too much, leading to the predictable conclusion with lots of smiles and hugs.
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HT Staff Posted: Mar 04, 2005 0 comments
Get Shorty Collector's Edition—MGM/UA
Fresh off his success in Pulp Fiction, John Travolta cemented his mid-'90s comeback with Get Shorty, a fun, clever adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel about a loan shark who decides to get out of the business and into The Business, aka movie-making. Travolta so thoroughly inhabits the character of Chili Palmer that it's hard to believe he initially turned down the role. It was Quentin Tarantino who ultimately convinced Travolta to take the part. (Where was he when Travolta decided to take Battlefield Earth?)
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HT Staff Posted: Oct 04, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Saved!—MGM/UA
Video: 3
Audio: 2
Extras: 3
Saved! is the heartwarming story of love, redemption, religion, high school, hypocrisy, and teenage pregnancy. Movies have gone after far less heady subjects and done far worse. Remarkably, this film doesn't make fun of religion per se, but the hypocrisy found in far too many people who claim to be religious. It's a funny movie, but its need to tiptoe around heavy religion waters it down to some extent. Jena Malone plays Mary, one of the cool kids in her Christian high school. She sleeps with her boyfriend because Jesus told her that would "cure" him of being gay. She, of course, gets pregnant and disillusioned. I swear, it's a comedy.
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HT Staff Posted: Sep 06, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Soul Plane Mile-High Edition—MGM/UA
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 3
If the Zucker brothers had made Airplane with bling, this comedy about the maiden voyage of a black-owned airline might have been the result. But don't confuse Soul Plane with that 1980 classic. While some of the visual jokes score, most of the humor is of the raunchy, make-you-wince variety. Nonetheless, the cast members, including Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Kevin Hart, and Tom Arnold as the token white guy, all got game; as a result, the film reaches a steady cruising altitude, even if it doesn't quite earn its wings.
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HT Staff Posted: Mar 29, 2004 0 comments
DVD: The Final Countdown—Blue Underground
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
This B-grade time-travel yarn about a modern aircraft carrier thrust back in time to the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor has earned a devoted following. However, aside from a rush job on DVD last year from Pacific Family Entertainment, it has never seen a disc worthy of fans' attention. Blue Underground has rectified this, affectionately producing a limited edition (100,000 copies), two-disc set after picking up the floundering rights.
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HT Staff Posted: Jul 20, 2005 0 comments
DVD: 12 Monkeys Special Edition—Universal
Based on the short French film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys follows poor, hapless convict and time traveler Cole. He is tasked with preventing a plague that wiped out most of humanity. Time travel not being an exact sport, he is tossed around a bit, and everybody thinks he's insane. Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam directs one of the best science fiction movies of the 1990s. Bruce Willis plays poor Cole, while Brad Pitt is truly incredible as nutcase Jeffrey Goines.
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HT Staff Posted: Dec 13, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Funny Ladies—Koch Vision
Video: 3
Audio: 2
Extras: 1
The premise behind Funny Ladies is a good one: a four-DVD set featuring uncensored standup routines from some of the best female comediennes in the business. Most of the material dates from the early nineties, and the outfits and hairstyles are often funnier than the stand-ups themselves. Unfortunately, the real joke is on anyone who purchases this travesty of a collection.
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HT Staff Posted: Feb 21, 2005 0 comments
DVD: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban—Warner Brothers
Audio: 5
Video: 3
Extras: 4
Directing this movie had to be tough. On the one hand, legions of Potter fans don't want a filmmaker to swing too wide of J.K. Rowling's beloved source material. Yet critics and audiences were becoming restless with Chris Columbus' literal interpretations of the first two books. It turns out that director Alfonso Cuaron was an excellent choice to take over the reins. His visual flair gave Hogwarts a much-needed fleshing out; he kept much of the original story intact while stepping up its pacing; and he got some of the best performances yet from Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson as Harry and Hermione. Younger viewers may find this film scarier than the first two, but it's all in keeping with Rowling's move toward darker themes.
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HT Staff Posted: Apr 05, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Good Boy!—MGM/UA
Video: 2
Audio: 3
Extras: 3
What if dogs really came from another world and were sent on a mission to Earth to domesticate humans and assert their superiority? That's the premise of this fetching family film, whose writers never met a canine joke they didn't like. The gimmick of talking dogs—especially when the voice talent includes Carl Reiner and Cheech Marin—carries the movie up to a point, but it runs out of steam about the time the Greater Dane arrives from the planet Sirius to inspect her minions. Still, the visual jokes and awwww-inspiring moments will engage most young viewers and their parents.
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HT Staff Posted: Jun 20, 2005 0 comments
DVD: Elektra—20th Century Fox
While some fans lament the seemingly imploding film career of the latest prettier half of "Bennifer," what's really sad is that Hollywood has managed to take Elektra, the dark, driven creation of the great Frank Miller, and reinvent her as just another melodramatic heroine. As portrayed by the lithe, earnest Jennifer Garner, "E" is a conflicted killer with quirky habits (obsessive-compulsive disorder for a few quick laughs!), who squares off against a slew of overdone computer-generated special effects. Oh, and did I mention the precocious young sidekick and the hunky single dad next door? Had the filmmakers gone for gritty action and an R rating instead of the flashy fantasy nonsense, this movie could have been great instead of just OK. Even at a mere 96 minutes, it's a tad sluggish.

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