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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 68 - November, 2000

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"Frequency", New Line Cinema, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.32:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 59 min, Rated PG-13; Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel, Andre Braugher, Elizabeth Mitchell, Noah Emmerich; In 1969, Fireman Frank Sullivan (Quaid) is killed in a warehouse blaze, leaving his young son John (Caviezel) and wife Julia (Mitchell). Thirty years later, during a solar flare, John discovers that he can communicate with his father on an old ham radio. John tells his father about the fire in which he died, and Frank then avoids the accident. Now that the past is altered, John finds that his mother Julia is in danger of being murdered by a serial killer from long ago, so he and his father try to further interrupt the past and stop the killer. "Frequency" is a movie I had never even heard of until I saw the DVD on the shelf, and it turned out to be mesmerizing. If it hadn't been for just a little too much cropping (it was shot spherically, and should have been given more room in the home version), it would have received five stars. - JEJ -

Entertainment: *****
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ****
Photography: ***
Violence: yes
Sex: no
Language: the "S" word

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The Complete James Bond Collection reviews can be accessed by clicking on the links shown below.

Introduction

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Extras

 

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"Mission Impossible 2", Paramount Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.38:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 3 min, Rated PG-13; Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames, Anthony Hopkins; Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is assigned the mission of destroying a dangerous virus called Chimera, which nemesis Sean Ambrose (Scott) is getting ready to use for holding the world hostage. Ethan enlists the help of a thief, Nyah Hall (Newton), who was previously having an affair with Ambrose. The chase is on, with human survival at stake. MI-2 is one of the worst films Cruise has ever made. His acting is simply terrible. Having Cruise and Hopkins speaking their lines in the same room is a joke. The whole movie comes off almost as a fantasy of Cruise as to being a combination of James Bond, an MI soldier, and Cary Grant in "Notorious". Well, the whole thing is mediocre even with John Woo's directing. - JEJ -

Entertainment: **
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ***
Photography: *****
Violence: yes
Sex: mild
Language: the "S" word

 

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"The Perfect Storm" (HD DVD), Warner Brothers, 2000, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.28:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 10 min, Rated PG-13; George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio; The film recounts a true story of a huge storm in 1991 that resulted from hurricane Grace and two other low pressure areas that converged in the Atlantic. Swordfishermen Billy Tyne (Clooney), Bobby Shatford (Wahlberg) and their crew, on the Andrea Gail, set out from Gloucester, Massachusetts, to catch swordfish in the Grand Banks. They catch a boat full of fish and head home, right into the middle of the storm. Waves are 100 feet high, and the boat has to make some incredible maneuvers to keep from going down. The movie is really just a vehicle for some terrific special effects, but that is enough to make it very entertaining. - JEJ -

HD DVD Version (9/06 - Kris Deering): The Perfect Storm is one of the more disappointing HD DVD transfers so far. Despite early reports, it was properly de-interlaced from 1080i to 1080p, but the noise reduction used created an overly soft transfer in comparison to the other HD DVDs we’ve seen thus far. Not to say that this film looks bad, just not up to par with the other Warner releases so far. Colors look slightly muted, and fine object detail isn’t as satisfying. This presentation does have a really film-like look though, as a result of the softness.

Warner has provided a TrueHD lossless 5.1 soundtrack with this presentation, and I hope to have the opportunity to hear it soon. The Dolby Digital + soundtrack is quite satisfying with plenty of low end and dynamics. Production value for this film is high, so they really did a better than average job with the sound design, and you get to hear every penny of it with this release. - Kris Deering

 

 

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: **** 1080p
Audio: ***** English Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1 EX,
English Dolby True-HD 5.1

 
Photography: *****
Extras  ***
Violence: yes
Sex: no
Language: the "F" and "S" words

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"Anna and the King", Fox 2000 Pictures, 1999, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.32:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 27 min, Rated PG-13; Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-Fat, Bai Ling; In the 1860s, Anna Leonowens (Foster), recently widowed, travels from England to Siam (Thailand) with her young son Louis, to serve as a teacher to the 58 children of King Mongkut (Yun-Fat). The two cultures clash, but Anna and the King soon learn not only to respect each other, but to care on a personal level as well. Based on a true story, the film shows how Anna's gentle urgings partially result in the eventual abolishment of slavery in that country. There have been several movies about this relationship, the most famous being "The King and I", with Yul Brynner in the title role. This particular version is the most adventurous, and obviously the most expensive, with location shooting in Malaysia. It didn't do very well at the theater, but is well worth seeing at home. Apparently, the movie is banned in Thailand, because it does not portray the King in a respectful manner, and the government claims that the influence of Anna over King Mongkut is greatly exaggerated. Thailand refused to allow location shooting there. However, the Thailand Royal Family found it entertaining, even though it is highly fictionalized. - JEJ -

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: *****
Audio: *****
Photography: *****
Violence: yes
Sex: no
Language: no

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"The Skulls", Universal Studios, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 47 min, Rated PG-13;  Joshua Jackson, Paul Walker, Leslie Bibb, Hill Harper, Christopher McDonald, Craig T. Nelson;  There is an old saying that you are only as good as the company you keep.  For those seeking the best that underground societies have to offer, they need look no further than the Skulls.  Luke McNamara is an ivy league college senior who has been anticipating the Skulls to come knocking on his door.  That knock has finally been heard in a series of trials and tests designed to weed out the weak, then champion the strong.  This new level of acceptance that Luke quickly gains as a member of the Skulls provides him with friends in all the right places and a virtually limitless future for him to grasp.  Of course, all of this power goes straight to Luke's head, immediately driving a wedge between him and his two best friends Will (Harper) and Chloe (Bibb).  In fact, Will decides he's not going to sit back any longer wondering just what the Skulls can do for him and takes investigative matters into his own hands.  When a snooping Will meets up with Caleb Mandrake (Walker), whose father heads up the Skulls, there is only one likely outcome.  Luke is about to find out what power really is, and just how "permanent" his oath to the Skulls could be.  The movie begins at a fast pace but hardly gives you any time to know the characters' first names.  Although the premise of the film is good (it has been done before) the telling of the story doesn't really grab your attention. - JB -

Entertainment: **
Video Quality: ****
Audio: ****
Photography: ****
Violence: yes
Sex: suggestive
Language: the "S" word

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"Gladiator", Dreamworks Pictures, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.30:1 (DVD), DD, DTS-ES, 2 Hr 35 min, Rated R; Russell Crowe, Joachin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Richard Harris; When Roman General Maximus Meridius (Crowe) conquers Germania, Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Harris) tells Maximus he will be the next Caesar. The Emperor's son Commodus (Phoenix) murders his father and becomes Caesar instead, sending Maximus off to be executed. Maximus escapes and becomes a gladiator in a traveling group of slaves owned by Proximo (Reed). Maximus vows revenge on Commodus, maintaining secrecy about his identity until just the right moment as he fights in the newly constructed Coliseum of Rome. The film is spectacular in its display of Rome's decadence and brutality, and is definitely Oscar® material. - JEJ -

Entertainment: *****
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ****
Photography: ****
Violence: graphically brutal
Sex: no
Language: the "S" word

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