brucekluger.com

    Us Weekly, 2001

    Home Video & DVD Reviews: 2001 (A through E)
    (See F-M, N-S, T-Z)

    By Bruce Kluger


    The 6th Day: An evil biotech corporation that illegally clones humans accidentally
    Xeroxes helicopter pilot Arnold Schwarzenegger, then sets out to kill the original.
    Those who don’t like one Arnie per film, let alone a twosome, may still find
    themselves willfully engaged this slick and clever sci-fi thriller. PG-13; 124 minutes
    (Columbia TriStar)

    15 Minutes: Media-darling detective Robert DeNiro and do-gooder Fire Marshall
    Edward Burns trail a pair of murderous thugs bent on claiming their obligatory
    quarter-hour of fame. Director John Herzfeld lends fresh paint to the otherwise
    done-to-death portrait of America as a violence-obsessed reality show. Kelsey
    Grammar co-stars as a Jerry Springer clone. R; 121 minutes (New Line)

    61*: This double-headed biopic tracks the 1961 race between New York Yankees
    Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris as they vie to top Babe Ruth’s season record of 60
    homeruns. Cramming his chronicle with period details (check out those buzz cuts)
    and plenty of diamond footage, director Billy Crystal knocks this one out of the
    park. Barry Pepper and Thomas Jane star. NR; 128 minutes (HBO)

    102 Dalmatians: After her release from prison (see 101), Cruella DeVil (Glenn
    Close) buddies up with eccentric fashion designer Gerard Depardieu in a plan to
    dupe a flagging animal shelter into feeding their spotted-fur fetish. More imaginative
    than the last installment, with Glenn giving extra bite to the demonic doggie diva. G;
    100 minutes (Disney)

    3000 Miles to Graceland: When their hair-brained Vegas heist goes awry, a
    posse of Elvis-impersonating casino bandits (led by Kevin Costner and Kurt
    Russell) turn on each other—with disastrous results. Shoot-‘em-up mayhem drowns
    out the cleverly plotted storyline, though Costner has never been so deliciously evil.
    Courtney Cox co-stars as Russell’s scheming moll. R; 125 minutes (Warner)

    About Adam: Irish coffee house singer-waitress Kate Hudson falls for the perfect
    man (Stuart Townsend), then embarks on a torrid affair with him. The only snag:
    he's also shagging her two sisters. As usual, Hudson brims with her signature blend
    of sex and effervescence, while Townsend toes the line between charming rake and
    smarmy cad. A delight. R; 97 minutes (Miramax)

    Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided: Abe needed Prozac? Mary was an
    obsessive shopper? This and more unfolds in David Grubin’s compelling six-hour
    documentary on the first couple of the American Civil War. The three-disk set packs
    in segments not previously aired, notably a batch of first-person narratives by
    abolitionists and soldiers. David McCullough narrates. NR; $59.98 (PBS)

    The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle: The famed moose-and-squirrel
    cartoon duo does battle with live-action bad guys Boris and Natasha (Jason
    Alexander and Rene Russo) over a plot to dominate the world. Smart and silly—just
    like the original Sixties series—it co-stars a wickedly self-lampooning Robert DeNiro
    as Fearless Leader. Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal appear in cameos. PG; 92
    minutes (Universal)

    Africa: Happy Kwanzaa: Exploring the continent through the eyes of Africans
    themselves, this nine-hour travelogue tours both the remote and renown, from a
    salon in Nairobi to the sands of the Sahara to a Congo rain forest. Spellbinding.
    DVD (National Geographic)

    Akira: This two-disk Special Edition of Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 animated epic about
    a gang-ridden, post-WWIII neo-Tokyo boasts a crisp digital restoration (price tag:
    $1 million) and new English dub, along with three making-of documentaries,
    character designs, storyboards and a glossary of Akira terms. It also comes in a
    cool metal case. R (Pioneer)

    All the Pretty Horses: Matt Damon and Henry Thomas ride tall in director Billy Bob
    Thornton’s picturesque horse opera about two Texas cowboys on the lam in
    Mexico. Critics derided Thornton for cranking up the scenery at the expense of a
    decent script. Not so—from spur to saddle, it’s a beaut. Penelope Cruz is Damon’s
    wealthy south-of-the-border honey. PG-13; 112 minutes (Columbia TriStar)

    Almost Famous: This semi-autobiographical coming-of-ager from writer-director
    Cameron Crowe follows a boy-wonder journalist who hits the road with a rock band,
    gains insights, loses his virginity and lands the cover of Rolling Stone. A letter-
    perfect ode to the Seventies, it co-stars Oscar nominees Frances McDormand and
    Kate Hudson. Brilliant. R; 122 minutes (DreamWorks)

    Almost Famous/Untitled: The Bootleg Cut: The new DVD edition of Cameron
    Crowe’s (self-)portrait of a whiz-kid Rolling Stone journalist includes an extended
    version of the film, deleted scenes, new audio commentary, rehearsal footage
    (featuring the fictional band Stillwater), the complete Oscar-winning script and
    Crowe’s personal Top Ten album picks, circa 1973. Rock on. R (DreamWorks)

    Along Came a Spider: A whacko rogue with visions of villainous grandeur kidnaps
    a Senator’s daughter in hopes of luring ace detective-turned-author Morgan
    Freeman out of retirement. Once again, Freeman’s dexterous handiwork juices up
    an otherwise sputtering script, while Monica Potter (Patch Adams) lends nice quirk
    to her role as a Special Agent with a secret. R; 103 minutes (Paramount)

    America’s Sweethearts: Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Cusack ignite as a Liz-
    and-Dick-type Hollywood couple, whose recent breakup threatens to play havoc
    with the p.r. for their new flick. Julia Roberts and Billy Crystal crack wise as the
    duo's desperate handlers, frantically trying to get the prickly pair to play nice. A riot.
    PG-13; 103 minutes (Columbia TriStar)

    American Pie Ultimate Edition: Just in time for the big-screen sequel, here
    comes a deluxe, two-disk homage to the 1999 pastry-molesting classic, complete
    with director commentary, deleted scenes, script-to-scene capability and “Movie
    Cash” (redeemable for a free ticket to Part 2). Jason Biggs stars as the horny teen
    who finds true love in Mom’s pantry. R (Universal)

    American Tragedy: It’s billed as “the motion picture O.J. Simpson doesn’t want you
    to see”—and for once he may be right. This backstage reenactment of the trial of
    the century is just like the real thing: overacted, overcrowded and way too long.
    Ron Silver and Ving Rhames chew scenery as Bob Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran.
    PG-13; 170 minutes (Trimark)

    An Affair of Love: When a self-assured single (French screen star Nathalie Baye)
    places a personal ad seeking a recreational (but anonymous) sex partner, the
    respondent (Sergi Lopez) clearly fits the bill. But then love walks in. Think Last
    Tango with less kink and more feelings. A stand-out at the 1999 Venice Film Fest,
    it's also great date vid. (In French with subtitles.) R; 78 minutes (New Line)

    An Everlasting Piece: Tin Men goes to Belfast in Barry Levinson’s came-and-
    went comedy about a pair of door-to-door toupee salesman in Eighties Ireland,
    hawking their hairy wares to Catholics and Protestants alike. Screenwriter-star
    Barry McEvoy’s script lends humanity and humor to the tale of a war-torn nation
    clinging to its roots. Billy Connolly plays a psycho. R; 103 minutes (DreamWorks)

    Angel Eyes: Jennifer Lopez is a street-tough, fist-swinging, potty-mouthed
    policewoman who falls for the mystery man (Jim Caviezel) who saved her life, only
    to discover that their paths may have crossed before. Naturally, J Lo looks great—
    whether in sweats or snug dress-blues—but too bad no one busted her for
    overacting. Luis Mandoki directed. R; 110 minutes (Warner)

    The Animal: Bumbling police clerk Rob Schneider awakes from a car crash to learn
    that a mad doc has patched him back together using spare animal organs.
    Predictable crotch-sniffing, goat-mating sight gags ensue, but Schneider’s beastly
    capering prevails in this goofy zoo story. Adorable Survivor also-ran Colleen
    Haskell co-stars. PG-13; 83 minutes (Columbia TriStar)

    Antitrust: Whip-smart software designer Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions) is wooed
    to the Pacific Northwest by computer company potentate Tim Robbins, only to learn
    that the new job’s marketing strategy may include murder. Director Peter Howitt
    randomly surfs between the clever and predictable, though Robbins’ spin as a Bill
    Gatesean villain is eerily spot-on. PG-13; 108 minutes (MGM)

    Apocalypse Now Redux: At long last, Francis Ford Coppola gets the cut he
    wanted, adding 49 minutes to his 1979 chronicle of an Army Captain (Martin
    Sheen) sent to Vietnam to assassinate a Commander gone mad (Marlon Brando).
    New footage includes a dreamy plantation sequence, and a jungle encounter
    between Sheen’s crew and a trio of touring Playboy Playmates. Spectacular. R; 203
    minutes (Paramount)

    Arbuckle & Keaton: This formidable collection of ten silent shorts from Joseph
    Schenck’s Comique/Paramount studios, circa 1917 to 1920, stars then-superstar
    Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle—soon to be blacklisted by scandal—and newcomer
    Buster Keaton, fresh from the vaudeville circuit. All of the films have been color-
    tinted and digitally mastered, with new scores and sound effects, and restored
    intertitles. NR; two disks (Kino)

    The Art of Buster Keaton: Get a big stocking. Eleven features and 19 shorts are
    crammed into this daunting 10-volume celebration of the rubber-faced silent screen
    star. Also included: a bonus disk of rare Buster gems, such as the 1937
    Educational Films quickie, Jail Bait. (Kino)

    Baby Boy: Writer-director John Singleton’s unapologetic portrait of urban black
    youth stars Tyrese Gibson as a jobless serial dad and gang-dabbling mama’s boy
    from South Central, who’s sharp enough to grasp his predicament, but reluctant to
    change his ways. Potent stuff, with nice supporting turns by Ving Rhames and
    Snoop Dogg. R; 130 minutes (Columbia TriStar)

    Bait: Sneaky federal agents implant an electronic tracking device in the jaw of
    former petty thief Jamie Foxx in hopes that he’ll lead them to $42 million worth of
    stolen gold bouillon. But will he? Foxx recently lent needed focus to Oliver Stone’s
    engaging but chaotic gridiron epic, Any Given Sunday. Ditto his performance here.
    Antoine Fuqua (The Replacement Killers) directed. R; 119 minutes (Warner)

    Battlefield Earth: Ishtar, anyone? Roundly despised by the critics (Time called it
    “a planetary disaster”) and starring John Travolta beneath great gobs of alien
    makeup, this sci-fi mess about vicious ETs fighting to inhabit our home orb was
    based on a novel by Scientology guru L. Ron Hubbard. To be sure, it’s predictable,
    dumb and downright sloppy—so why rent? Because it’s that bad. PG-13; 117
    minutes (Warner)

    Beautiful: In Sally Fields’ directorial debut, Minnie Driver plays an ugly duckling-
    turned-beauty pageant regular will do anything to wear the crown, no matter how
    sleazy. A decent enough premise; too bad it’s lost in a jumble of cardboard
    characters and far-fetched plot contrivances. Sorry, Sal—next time keep it simpler.
    Joey Lauren Adams co-stars. PG-13; 112 minutes (Columbia TriStar)

    Bedazzled: in this untethered remake of the 1967 comedy of the same name
    (starring Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Raquel welch), computer technician and
    big-time loser Brendan Fraser selling his pathetic soul to the she-Devil (a barely
    dressed, perpetually horny Elizabeth Hurley) in return for a guarantee of true love.
    Hellishly scripted and practically aflame in done-to-death gags, it’s miraculously
    redeemed by the impressive comic caperings of Fraser, Hurley and co-star Frances
    O’Connor (Fanny Price). Harold Ramis directs. PG-13; 108 minutes (Fox)

    Before Night Falls: Best Actor Oscar-nominee Javier Bardeem electrifies in this
    elegiac portrait of Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas, whose dissident prose
    and openly gay lifestyle led to his victimization by the Castro regime, exile to
    America and ultimate suicide. Directed by Julian Schnabel (Basquiat), the movie
    won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Venice Film Fest. R; 125 minutes (New Line)

    Ben-Hur: Step aside, Gladiator. In this 1959 Oscar-hog (it won a record eleven,
    including Best Picture), Charlton Heston is a Jewish nobleman who becomes a
    slave to the Romans, seeks vengeance and drives a mean chariot. Included: a
    making-of documentary, along with recently uncovered screen tests and the rarely
    heard Overture and Entr’acte music. G; $24.98 (Warner)

    Benji (1974): Move over Cats and Dogs. Twenty-seven years after romping onto
    the big screen, the icon of American poochdom returns in a digitally remastered
    edition of the original, in which the endearingly mangy mutt saves two abducted
    children. Your kids will love the story; you’ll get a serious déjà-vu. Sequels to follow.
    G; 87 minutes (Ventura/Mulberry Square)

    Best in Show: Mockumentarist Christopher Guest goes to the dogs in an achingly
    funny send-up of coiffed canine competitions and the poodle-primpers who
    frequent them. The usual suspects—Parker Posey, Eugene Levy and Fred Willard
    (in a pee-in-your-pants turn as a color commentator)—lend just the right bite to this
    peerless pooch parody. A howl. PG-13; 90 minutes (Castle Rock)

    Billy Elliot: In last year’s big sleeper, the 11-year-old son of a Brit coal miner blows
    off his weekly boxing lessons for the daintier doings of ballet class, where he
    discovers his true calling. A sweet reflection on classism and the true meaning of
    masculinity, it stars Jamie Bell, whose Oscar snub (he wasn't even nominated!)
    remains mind-boggling. R; 110 minutes (Universal)

    Blow: Johnny Depp rants and snorts through this true tale of George Jung, the
    reckless cocaine trafficker who opened the U.S. floodgates to the 1970s Columbian
    drug trade. Despite Depp’s spot-on hyperkinetics, the storyline arcs like a bad coke
    high—spiking intermittently, then plummeting to an unsatisfying crash. Penelope
    Cruz and Paul Reubens co-star. R; 123 minutes (New Line)

    The Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2: The bad news: it ain’t the original. The
    good? It doesn’t suck. Five Blair Witch enthusiasts camp out in the Black Hills,
    awakening to find their cameras smashed and souls tinkered with. The mystery
    unravels with the occasional jolt, but the real joy is the film’s ability to laugh at its
    own cultishness. Give it a shot. R; 91 minutes (Artisan)

    Bounce: After an overbooked jet crashes, almost-passenger Ben Affleck seeks out
    the widow of the man to whom he’d given his seat (Gwyneth Paltrow), then promptly
    falls in love with her. As romance-dramas go, it’s by-the-numbers. But Ben and
    Gwyneth—former real-life paramours—provide enough skin-tingling chemistry to
    keep the story airborne. Natasha Henstridge co-stars. PG-13; 106 minutes
    (Miramax)

    Bridget Jones’s Diary: In this bouncy adaptation of Helen Fielding’s bestseller, a
    puffy Renée Zellweger shines as a wise-cracking, chain-smoking, booze-swilling
    lonely heart looking for love any place she can find it. RZ’s clipped Brit accent is as
    spot-on as her comic delivery, while Hugh Grant oozes smarm as Mr. Wrong.
    Sharon Maguire directed. R; 116 minutes (Miramax)

    Bring It On: Kirsten Dunst is the perky captain of a sultry cheerleading team that’s
    scheduled to compete with a local hip-hop squad, whose routines they’ve secretly
    stolen. Can a movie about duplicity and pom-poms keep you in your La-Z-Boy? In
    this case, you bet—especially when the girls start busting a move. Jessica
    Bendinger provided the sassy screenplay. PG-13; 99 minutes (Universal)

    The Brothers: Sex & the City meets the African-American yuppie in this frank and
    bawdy tale of four basketball buddies searching for love beyond the bedroom.
    Morris Chestnut (The Best Man) leads the able ensemble as a commitment-phobic
    pediatrician whose shrink implores him to make the big leap. Gabrielle Union co-
    stars. R; 106 minutes (Columbia TriStar)

    Cast Away: Bearded, bedraggled and rail-thin, Tom Hanks is a clock-watching Fed
    Ex exec stranded on a Pacific isle after his delivery plane goes down. Bookended
    by ho-hum back-home sequences (featuring Helen Hunt as the suffering fiancée),
    the long middle stretch is a compelling study of solitude, survival and Hanks’
    peerless craftsmanship. A volleyball co-stars. PG; 143 minutes (Fox)

    Cats & Dogs: The fur flies as an army of brilliantly computer-manipulated mutts
    and kitties tangle in a battle-of-the-species thriller, complete with high-tech
    gadgetry, clever plot-twists and hilarious claw-versus-paw sight gags. The DVD
    edition includes storyboard-to-scene comparisons, as well as a featurette on the
    special effects, aptly titled “Teaching a Dog New Tricks.” PG; 87 minutes (Warner)

    The Caveman’s Valentine: Draped in matted dreads, Samuel L. Jackson is a
    Juilliard-trained pianist-turned-crazed city park denizen in search of the villain who
    deposited a frozen corpse outside his cave. As usual, Jackson’s high-voltage
    virtuosity saves an otherwise ho-hum effort. Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) directs.
    R; 106 minutes (Universal)

    CBS Salutes Lucy: The First 25 Years: 1976 anniversary tribute to Lucy. Digitally
    remastered; with John Wayne, Jack Benny, Bob Hope and Carol Burnett. NR
    (Image)

    Cecil B. Demented: Merry maverick of moviemaking John Waters provides grist
    from his own mill in this story of a rogue film auteur from Baltimore (sound familiar?)
    who, with his band of guerilla cineophiles, kidnaps a mainstream movie star
    (Melanie Griffith) and forces her to headline in his next masterpiece. No trenchant
    thesis on art here—just an odd story, odder cast and Melanie looking lost. R; 87
    minutes (Artisan)

    Charlie’s Angels: The Powerpuff Girls in tight pants. Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and
    Drew Barrymore resurrect the legendary babe detectives with (respectively) smarts,
    class and machismo as they search for a missing mogul. Limp action and a ho-hum
    script make for an empty-headed outing—but talk about your eye-candy. PG-13; 98
    minutes (Columbia TriStar)

    Cheaters: High school teacher Jeff Daniels enlists seven top students to face off
    against rival brainiacs in the local academic competition, even though he knows it’s
    a lost cause. That’s when someone suggests a little hanky-panky to level the
    playing field. Based on a true story, it’s refreshingly honest—especially for a movie
    about dishonesty. Jena Malone co-stars. R; 106 minutes (HBO)

    Chocolat: Academy Award-nominee Juliette Binoche is sumptuous in this
    bittersweet confection about a nomadic single mother who upends a quiet French
    village with magical concoctions from her chocolate shop. Director Lasse
    Hallstrom's valentine to passion is rich and intoxicating—with a divine aftertaste.
    Johnny Depp and Judi Dench co-star. PG-13; 105 minutes (Miramax)

    Cinderella: The long-awaited DVD edition of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s tuneful
    take on the rag-to-riches fairy tale (which aired on CBS-TV in 1965 and starred
    then up-and-comer Lesley Ann Warren) includes a retrospective featurette on the
    family favorite as well as a sing-along version of the showstopping ballad, “My Own
    Little Corner.” G (Columbia TriStar)

    Cirque Du Soliel: Two volumes: Quidan and Dralion. 54 artists from 8 different
    countries, including 37 Chinese acrobats. Making-of featurette, multi-angle
    performances (extras on “Dralion”). NR (Columbia TriStar)

    Citizen Kane: How do you improve upon a film already considered a masterwork?
    The two-disk 60th anniversary edition of Orson Welles’s thinly-veiled biopic of
    publisher William Randolph Hearst includes full-length commentary by Roger Ebert
    and Peter Bogdanovich, newsreel footage, memorabilia, and the captivating two-
    hour expose, The Battle Over Citizen Kane. An instant collectible. PG (Warner)

    Cleopatra (1964): In this three-disk gem, the original uncut version of Joseph L.
    Mankiewicz’ deliciously bloated Queen of the Nile biopic is accompanied by a trove
    of extras, including a making-of documentary that redishes the dirt on Elizabeth
    Taylorfrom her then jaw-dropping $1,000,000 salary to her fiery off-screen tryst
    with co-star and future serial husband Richard Burton. A keeper for collectors. NR
    (Fox)

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977): This collector’s edition of Steven
    Spielberg’s eye-popping paean to things that go whoosh in the night is
    accompanied by a stellar 101-minute making-of featurette that reveals the
    groundbreaking techno-wizardry behind all that movie magic. Also included:
    interviews with the cast and crew and eleven deleted scenes. Out of this world. PG
    (Columbia TriStar)

    Company!: This ground-breaking 1970 documentary by D.A. Pennebaker (The
    War Room) plays fly-on-the-wall inside the New York sound studios during the
    recording sessions for the original cast album of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway
    musical, Company. Tense and thrilling, the program also includes a photo gallery of
    production shots and a previously unreleased version of “Have I Got a Girl For
    You.” For fans and neophytes alike. NR; $24.95 (Docurama)

    The Contender: Oscar-nominee Joan Allen is a candidate for mid-term Veep
    replacement whose Senate confirmation is hobbled by questionable photos from
    her past. Though preachy and speechy, Allen still dazzles as the principled politico
    who knows how to hang tough. Fellow nominee Jeff Bridges swaggers as the Chief
    Exec. R; 127 minutes (DreamWorks)

    Coyote Ugly: Cocktail meets Footloose meets Showgirls in this slickly shot,
    terminally formulaic story of a Jersey girl (Piper Perabo) who moves to Manhattan in
    search of a songwriting career but ends up slinging shots with a pack of tight-
    jeaned, butt-shaking barmaids in a neighborhood hot spot. Perabo shines and the
    soundtrack pulses—but the story’s emptier than a beer keg the morning after. PG-
    13; 100 minutes (Buena Vista)

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: As a story, Ang Lee’s critically acclaimed
    Oscar-hog doesn’t go much beyond fortune-cookie cliché (goodness triumphs over
    evil—so what else is new?). But the spellbinding martial arts sequences—awash in
    acrobatic sword play and aerodynamic chop-socky—make this one an instant
    collectible. Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh star. PG-13; 120 minutes (Columbia
    TriStar)

    Dancer in the Dark: In her film debut, rock songstress Björk is an awkward single
    mom and factory worker doomed by fading eyesight and a circumstantial murder
    rap. Despite the peculiar pacing and herky-jerky camerawork, the film triumphs,
    thanks to its musical-fantasy sequences and immeasurably gifted star. R; 137
    minutes (Fine Line)

    Dancing at the Blue Iguana: Lap dance, anyone? Daryl Hannah, Sandra Oh and
    Jennifer Tilly bump, grind and grouse in Michael Radford’s down-and-dirty slice-of-
    lifer about a pack of Los Angeles strippers trying to get by. Flesh, flash and a red-
    hot Hannah turn this B-movie spin on the G-string world into A-1 entertainment. R;
    123 minutes (Trimark)

    The Dick Van Dyke Show: It was arguably the best sitcom of its era (sorry, Lucy
    lovers). Now D.V.D. meets DVD with a special compilation of six episodes, including:
    “Never Name a Duck” (the Petries mourn the passing of Richie’s pet quacker) and
    “Bank Book #6565696” (Rob discovers Laura’s secret nest egg). Volume two,
    anybody? NR (BFS)

    Die Hard: Subtitled the “Five Star Collection,” the impressively packaged two-disk
    replay of Bruce Willis’ 1988 skyscraper hair-raiser includes script-to-scene
    capability, deleted lines and outtakes, extended action sequences, a gag reel, and
    a special cutting-room feature that allows viewers to re-edit their favorite scenes. As
    if they could do better. R (Fox)

    Dinosaur: Adorable Cretaceous-era Iguanodon joins a pack of migrating dinos
    after a meteor shower pulverizes their paradise. Cutesy story notwithstanding, the
    eye-popping computer animation—from sweeping, live-action backdrops to the
    dripping fangs of a cranky T-Rex—are nothing short of miraculous. Be forewarned:
    it’s a bit too scary for wee ones. D.B. Sweeny and Julianna Margulies lend their
    voices. PG; 82 minutes (Disney)

    The Dish: Based on a true story, this Sundance audience favorite documents the
    travails and triumphs of a small Australian tracking station, assigned by NASA to
    broadcast TV images of the historic 1969 Apollo 11 moon walk. Hilarious scripting,
    inspired casting and the perfect golden-oldies score make for an out-of-this-world
    joy-ride. Sam Neill stars. PG-13; 100 minutes (Warner)

    Doctor Zhivago: The long-awaited two-disk edition of David Lean’s 1965 Russian
    Revolution love saga, based on Boris Pasternak’s epic novel, boasts six hours of
    additional content, including full-length commentary by stars Omar Sharif and Rod
    Steiger, nearly a dozen making-of feaurettes, and a music-only audio track devoted
    to Maurice Jarre’s exquisite score. PG-13 (Warner)

    Dogma (1999): Kevin Smith’s warped Biblical allegory about two banished angels
    (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck) plotting their return to heaven—via New Jersey—gets
    the two-disk treatment here, with 100 minutes of deleted footage, complete story
    boards for three scenes, funny cast and crew outtakes, web links and audio
    commentary from just about everyone. Linda Fiorentino and Chris Rock co-star. R
    (Columbia TriStar)

    Don’t Let Me Die on a Sunday: When a beautiful young woman (Elodie Bouchez)
    overdoses at a Paris rave club, she’s carted off to the morgue, where a perversely
    smitten attendant has sex with her. Then she wakes up and becomes his girlfriend.
    Provocative and original, it’s a compelling look at the darker side of sexual
    fulfillment. In French, with subtitles. NR; 86 minutes (First Run)

    Down to Earth: In this wanting remake of Warren Beatty’s Heaven Can Wait, Chris
    Rock is a standup comic-turned-hit-and-run cadaver whose restless soul takes
    refuge in the body of an elderly white tycoon. Despite Rock’s twinkling eye and
    trademark sassiness, the gag-choked screenplay keeps him off Cloud Nine. Chazz
    Palminterri co-stars. PG-13; 87 minutes (Paramount)

    Dr. Dolittle 2: In this no-surprises sequel, animal kingdom chatmeister Eddie
    Murphy saves an endangered Pacific forest from loggers, abetted by a mobster
    raccoon and a sexually repressed grizzly (the latter of whom answers the age-old
    question: Does a bear go number-two in the woods?). Lisa Kudrow provides the
    voice of the bear’s honey. PG; 87 minutes (Fox)

    Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: For die-hard Grinchophiles, the
    DVD edition of Ron Howard’s wickedly skewed spin on Seuss comes packaged in a
    pop-up book that features three colorful pull-tab-here scenes from the flick. Jim
    Carrey stars—on disk and on cardboard. (Universal)

    Dr. Strangelove (1964): 13 Days meets Fail Safe meets The Three Stooges in
    this slick re-issue of Stanley Kubrick’s razor-sharp satire of Cold War calamity,
    starring the incomparable Peter Sellers (in three roles), George C. Scott and
    Sterling Hayden. Digitally mastered, this special edition includes animated menus, a
    making-of documentary, a featurette on Kubrick’s career and split-screen interviews
    with Sellers and Scott. A keeper. PG (Columbia TriStar)

    Dr. T & the Women: In Robert Altman’s riotous romp, Richard Gere is the
    charming and sensitive Dallas GYN-OB whose ritzy clientele, whacked-out wife
    (Farrah Fawcett) and golf pro lover (Helen Hunt) keep him running on overtime.
    Chaotic, hilarious and so Texan it practically twangs, it’s—hands down—Altman’s
    best in years. Shelly Long, Laura Dern and Liv Tyler co-star. R; 132 minutes
    (Artisan)

    Dracula 2000: In this new-millennium spin on the age-old story, Hollywood’s
    favorite blood-sucker—here an incarnation of Judas Iscariot—raises hell in New
    Orleans. Top-heavy in pyrotechnics and second-rate flying combat sequences
    (Crouching Tiger it ain’t), the film was “presented”—not directed—by Wes Craven.
    Whatever that means. R; 99 minutes (Dimension)

    Driven: Critics may have bent the fender on this rubber-burning racecar actioner
    starring Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds, but that didn’t stop producers from
    going the extra mile on the DVD. Included: two behind-the-scenes featurettes—one
    on the making of the film, the other on the visual effects—plus 50 minutes of action
    that never made it out of the pit. Renny Harlin directs. PG-13; $24.98 (Warner)

    Dude, Where’s My Car?: This terse yet penetrating expose on the plight of
    American youth explores the sociological nuances of….wait, wrong film. How about:
    Two stoned morons wake up after a bender to discover they can’t find their wheels.
    Subsequent scenes involve killer ostriches, alien women and lots of pudding. It
    made $50 million at the box office. PG-13; 83 minutes (Fox)

    Duets: Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis headline this stylish but uneven road
    picture about six dreamers searching for fulfillment on the karaoke circuit. The
    choppy script and improbable plot turns make for an off-key outing, occasionally
    lifted by the soulful singing of Lewis and (surprise!) Paltrow. Andre Braugher plays
    the ex-con with the golden pipes. R; 112 minutes (Hollywood Pictures)

    Earth Wind and Fire: Shining Stars: Thirty years after exploding onto the disco-
    funk landscape, the seminal dance group (and 2000 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
    inductee) gets the full docu-bio treatment here, with tons of concert footage,
    interviews with band members and, on the DVD edition, a photo gallery and
    montage of album art. Boogie down. NR; 90 minutes (Eagle Vision)

    Elena and Her Men: Ingrid Bergman positively sizzles in Jean Renoir’s 1958
    confection (restored here to its original length) about a destitute Polish princess in
    1900’s Paris, betrothed to a wealthy boot maker but romantically entangled with two
    others—a dashing count (Mel Ferrer) and a French general (Jean Marais). Oddly,
    the whole affair wraps up in a brothel. In French, with subtitles. NR; 98 minutes
    (Kino)

    Elmo’s Musical Adventure: The Story of Peter and the Wolf: Features the
    Boston Pops, a “Meet the Muppets” section and games. NR (Sony Wonder/Sesame
    Workshop)

    Elvis: That’s the Way it Is—Special Edition: Culled from 50,000 feet of newly
    found footage, this remastered, remixed version of a 1970 documentary (in which
    cameramen tracked Presley during a star-studded Vegas concert) features tons of
    new scenes, along with ten songs and backstage glimpses of the King doing his
    thing. Also included: a bonus featurette that explains the film’s painstaking
    restoration process. PG; 109 minutes (Warner)

    Empire of the Sun: Arguably Steven Spielberg’s most underrated, overlooked film,
    this 1987 tale of a well-heeled British boy (Christian Bale) interned by the Japanese
    in WWII China enjoys top-notch DVD treatment, with an enhanced digital transfer,
    remixed Dolby sound and the compelling making-of documentary, A China
    Odyssey. John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson co-star. PG (Warner)

    The Emperor's New Groove: Disney's latest animated toe-tapper finds a snooty
    tyrant (voiced by David Spade) learning to mend his evil ways after being
    transformed into a beast of burden. The infectious score includes the irresistibly
    swinging "Walk the Llama Llama" and Sting's Oscar-nominated ditty, "My Funny
    Friend and Me." John Goodman and Eartha Kitt co-star. G; 78 minutes (Disney)

    Enemy at the Gates: WWII: Jude Law stars as real-life Russian sharpshooter
    Vassili Zaitsev, whose rise from obscure Urals wolf-hunter to the hero of Stalingrad
    is machinated by a Soviet propagandist (Joseph Feinnes). Though saddled with
    noisy battles and a convenient love triangle, it’s still gripping. Ed Harris plays
    Zaitsev’s German sniper nemesis. R; 131 minutes (Paramount)

    The Exorcist: The subtitle, "The Version You’ve Never Seen, isn’t just marketing
    hyperbole. This reissue of the 1974 girl-meets-devil classic—and possibly the most
    horrifying film ever made—boasts 11 minutes of footage excised from the original,
    including a rejiggered ending and Linda Blair’s deeply unsettling inverted “crab
    walk” down the stairs. Also: new feature-length commentary from director William
    Friedkin. View with caution. R (MGM)

    The Eyes of Tammy Faye: This cheeky documentary digs beneath the gooey
    layers of mascara to reveal the helplessly wacky, infectiously optimistic wife of
    philandering televangelist Jim Bakker, as she recounts her roller coaster career
    from queen of the TV ministry to weeping national joke. A Sundance favorite, it
    features great clips, biting interviews and narration by RuPaul Charles. PG-13; 79
    minutes (Universal)


    (See Bruce Kluger's 2001 Us Weekly video/DVD reviews, F-M, N-S, T-Z)



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