"Ocean's Eleven" -- In Steven Soderbergh's updated and improved version of the 1960 Frank Sinatra caper, George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, just out of prison with what appears to be a fantastic plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. He recruits his former partner Rusty (Brad Pitt) and together they set out lining up the other nine needed to carry it off. The idea is to break into the vault of the Bellagio in Las Vegas, home to the receipts from three casinos owned by smart, ruthless Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). A risky venture with an alarm system worthy of Fort Knox but with a $150 million payoff and, even split 11 ways, that's a lot of loot. But there's more: Benedict's current girlfriend Tess (Julia Roberts) is Danny's ex-wife and he wants her back. High-wattage cast also includes Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould. Cool, clever and entertaining enough to steer around several plot holes in the storyline. 2001. 116 minutes. Warner Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 (some language, sexual content).
"Waking Life" -- A remarkable, imaginative animated film that takes us through the dreams and philosophical musings of the main character who's trying to understand his life. The hero, played by Wiley Wiggins, is seeking an answer to the question of "Are we sleepwalking through our waking state or wake-walking through our dreams?" as he wanders through a world that may or may not be real. Wiley encounters all sorts of characters who try out their theories and beliefs on him, some that make sense, some that don't. Often off-kilter, alternately finely detailed and crude, wavy, dreamlike, this is not your usual animated feature. Writer-director Richard Linklater filmed the entire movie in live action, then digitally transferred the images to computers where his animators went to work with fascinating results. 2001. 100 minutes. Fox Home Entertainment. Rated R (language, some violent images).
"Earth vs. the Spider" -- Taking its title from one of those mutant monster movies of the 1950s and updating it as a take on "Spiderman," this made-for-cable sci-fi adventure involves a shy comic book enthusiast named Quentin (Devon Gummersall) who's injected with an experimental serum and begins exhibiting traits of a spider. Now he gets a shot at being heroic, just like his comic book favorites, but soon he's showing other signs of the spider and that really starts to bug him. 2001. 90 minutes. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Rated R (language, violence).
"The Last Waltz Special Edition" -- The Band wanted more than just a farewell concert. "We wanted a celebration," said Robbie Robertson, the group's leader. What they got from that final show on Thanksgiving Day, 1976, was one of the best rock documentaries ever filmed, directed by Martin Scorsese. The music offers a grand nostalgic tour through another era, but the weary musicians obviously were ready to move on. "Sixteen years on the road is long enough," Robertson said. "Twenty years is unthinkable." Now, the film is back on DVD in a 25th anniversary restoration. Among those joining the boys in their finale were Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, for whom the Band performed as backup in its later years. Features digital transfer with original stereo mix as well as a new digital mix in 5.1 Surround supervised by Robertson with commentaries by Scorsese and others and the featurette "Revisiting The Last Waltz." Rated PG, it runs 117 minutes. From MGM.
Coming up: "The Others," "From Hell" and "Corky Romano"... "Spy Game" is still tops among the nation's video rentals...
George Carlin, the comedian best known for his skit on the seven dirty words that can't be broadcast, is fittingly the choice of the Software Dealers Association for its first Freedom of Expression award. The award, to be named for Carlin for future honorees, will be presented during the VSDA Las Vegas convention in July...
For kids: "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" is making its DVD debut and VHS return in a 25th anniversary edition. It's Pooh's first feature-length movie, digitally remastered and restored, and includes such moments as Pooh's first meeting with the rambunctious Tigger. Extras abound, among them a Carly Simon music video, the animated short "A Day for Eyore," behind the scenes glimpses and other features...
Columbia TriStar will release a special two-disc limited edition DVD of "Memento," designed by writer-director Christopher Nolan, on May 21. The set includes more mindbenders and challenges designed by Nolan. Advance word is that the DVD is constructed as an elaborate mental puzzle that the viewer must solve in order to watch the film...
New in stores this week: "Jerry Maguire Special Edition," a two-disc DVD set featuring Cameron Crowe's smart, romantic 1996 tale of a rebounding sports agent (Tom Cruise) and the woman who loves him (Renee Zellweger). With a host of extras: deleted scenes, rehearsal footage, a Bruce Springsteen music video and a running commentary on the film by Cruise, Zellweger and Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr.
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