"The Mummy Returns" -- The fearsome mummy and most of the main characters of the 1999 original join new legions of ghostly villains in a rollicking, eye-boggling, all-out action adventure that may be short on logic and plot but long on unfettered escapist entertainment. With all the dash and flash of the legendary Saturday matinee cliffhanger, writer-director Stephen Sommers has concocted an old-fashioned thriller loaded with up-to-date computer generated special effects, conjuring up murderous soldier mummies, bad-tempered pygmy skeletons and an endless army of decaying, dog-faced warriors. Soldier-of-fortune Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) is back with the beautiful Egyptologist Evelyn (Rachel Weisz), only now they are married with a young son (Freddie Boath), it's 1933 and they're sifting through the sands when Evelyn finds an impressive gold bracelet that will be a key to their future. Meanwhile, the mummy Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), who caused so much trouble last time around, is brought back to life and starts anew his murderous drive for global domination but this time he's got a new rival, the sinister Scorpion King (played by pro wrestler The Rock). 2001. 129 minutes. Universal Studios Home Video. Rated PG-13 (adventure action, violence).
"Heartbreakers" -- A screwball comedy about a mother-daughter team of con artists who bilk rich men out of their fortunes. The mother, Maxine (Sigourney Weaver), lures the mark into marriage and the daughter, Page (Jennifer Love Hewitt), lures them into an extra-marital affair, resulting in a hefty divorce settlement. All goes according to plan until Maxine runs into trouble with her last scam, involving a wheezing tobacco tycoon (Gene Hackman), and Page breaks the cardinal rule of the con by falling in love. Mostly slapstick humor that has its moments but doesn't always hit its mark. 2001. 123 minutes. MGM Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 (for sex-related content).
"Beautiful Creatures" -- Petula (Rachel Weisz) and Dorothy (Sudan Lynch) are strangers with a common problem: They both have abusive boyfriends. They meet one night when Dorothy, battered from an earlier run-in with her junkie-lover, happens on Petula getting brutally beaten by her boyfriend. Dorothy responds by conking him on the head with a large pipe, accidentally killing him, a misfortune they decide to turn into a fortune. They hide the body in Petula's apartment and report he's been kidnapped and being held for ransom, a story not bought by either the dead man's brother, a rich bad guy, or the police inspector who wants in on the loot. Things go haywire as expected. A darkly humorous, violent British thriller with the women getting pretty well cuffed around. But then, the men don't fare very well either. 2001. 86 minutes. Universal Studios Home Video. Rated R (strong violence and sexuality, drug use and language).
"The Luzhin Defence" -- John Turturro, in a fine performance, plays eccentric chess genius Alexander Luzhin and Emily Watson is the woman he loves in this compelling drama based on a novella by Vladimir Nabokov and set in a splendidly recreated 1929 Italy. The setting is an Italian spa where chessmasters from all over the world are meeting for their tournament, and Luzhin has the ability to become world champion -- if his own personal demons don't drive him mad first. It's there that he meets the wealthy debutante Natalia (Watson) and announces right out he wants to marry her. He makes quite an impression and she's interested, but for Luzhin and his fellow competitors, nothing can compete with a chess game. 2001. 108 minutes. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 (some sensuality and thematic elements).
Coming up: "Bridget Jones' Diary," "I'm the One I Want" and "One Night at McCool's"... Also, coming on Oct. 9, two of the 20th century's most heralded films making a splash all over again on DVD: "The Godfather" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"... One week later, on Oct. 16, comes the DVD version of "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace." Then, on Oct. 23: "From Here to Eternity," "On the Waterfront," and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"...
Latest VidTrac survey has "Blow," the drug drama starring Johnny Depp, as the nation's favorite video rental movie, followed by "Exit Wounds" and "The Tailor of Panama"...
For the horror buff: Universal's "Boogeyman: The Killer Compilation" on DVD, chilling clips from "Psycho," "Nightmare on Elm Street," "Halloween," "Friday the 13th," "Child's Play" and others with Freddy Kruger, Chucky, Michael Myers, Jason, Pinhead, Leatherface and, of course, Norman Bates, all doing their thing...
More vintage TV is now on video. Segments of that dandy British '60s spy series "Secret Agent" starring Patrick McGoohan have been released by A&E Home Video. Each set of three videocassettes or three DVD discs contains six episodes... New on DVD: the 30th anniversary edition of "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Terminator Special Edition."
UPI Almanac for Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014