VideoView -- UPI Arts & Entertainment

By JACK E. WILKINSON, United Press International   |   June 13, 2002 at 12:05 PM

What's new in the world of video...


"The Shipping News" -- Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by E. Annie Poulx, this is the story of Quoyle (Kevin Spacey), a helpless, hopeless oaf, described as "dumb as a doughnut," who, after tragedy strikes, moves himself and his young daughter, at the urging of Aunt Agnis (Judi Dench), to his ancestral home in Newfoundland. There, in the rough-hewn, picturesque fishing village of Killick-Claw, Quoyle finds himself again on the outside -- he doesn't fish, hates the water -- but not for long. Landing a job as a reporter for the local paper, the Gummy Bird, though he had never written a lick, and after a laughable beginning, he gets the hang of it -- a colleague advises him to "think headlines, short, punchy, dramatic." (An early effort: "Deadly storm takes house, leaves excellent view.") Now in the swim of things, so to speak, he even buys a boat but that's a big mistake. His life finally turns around when he meets Wavey (Julianne Moore), the pretty lady who runs the day care center and you know where that's headed. Cast also features Cate Blanchett, Pete Postlewaite and Scott Glenn. For the most part, "The Shipping News" is good news. 2001. 111 minutes. Miramax Home Entertainment. Rated R (some language, sexuality, disturbing images).

"I Am Sam" -- Sean Penn portrays Sam Dawson, a 40-year-old mentally retarded man trying to raise a young daughter alone in this warm, earnest heart-tugger. Sam has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old and his daughter Lucy, (Dakota Fanning), who really is 7, is already smarter than he is. She's a bright, well-adjusted child who seems to understand her father's condition and believe in his belief that "all you need is love." The authorities don't go along with that and put Lucy in a foster home. Sam, not a stupid man, rather one struggling with his own limitations, talks a high-profile lawyer (Michelle Pfeifer) into helping him try to get his daughter back, sending much of the rest of the story into the courtroom. Penn deservedly earned an Oscar nomination for his performance. 2001. 132 minutes. New Line Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 (language).

"The Majestic" -- Jim Carrey drops his wild, wild ways to play a lost, lovable guy in Frank Darabont's Capraesque tale of small-town America and a bygone era, a light romantic comedy with strong patriotic overtones. Carrey plays Peter Appleton, a 1951 B-movie screenwriter whose career is virtually ruined when he's suddenly targeted by Washington as a suspected Communist. Before he can defend himself, though, a serious car crash on the coastal highway leaves him with amnesia. Taken to a nearby town to be treated, he's mistaken for one of its many World War II heroes who never came back and, not knowing better, goes along with it. Peter, now known as Luke, moves in with his "father" (Martin Landau) over the old, delapidated Majestic Theater, takes up with the real Luke's girlfriend (Laurie Holden) and rekindles nostalgia by restoring and reopening the movie house. Carrey's good in a toned-down role. 2001. 152 minutes. Warner Home Video. Rated PG.

"Rollerball" -- Chris Klein and LL Cool J play a couple of San Francisco daredevils on the run who venture to Asia for big bucks and a shot at an ultra-violent sport called rollerball in John McTiernan's flashy but fairly shallow remake of a so-so 1975 thriller. In the game, which is never fully explained, participants on skates whiz around a sloped, figure-eight track and attempt to toss small hard balls into a basketball-like hoop while dodging other players and a motorcyclist who's also whizzing around. Action sequences generally are well done and the always welcome Jean Reno is the greedy villain. 2002. 95 minutes. MGM Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 (for violence, extreme sports action, sensuality, language and some drug references). R-rated version contains violence, nudity and some language.

"Max Keeble's Big Move" -- Max (Alex D. Linz) is a feisty, imaginative 12-year-old entering the new world of junior high school where being cool is the rule. It's hard to do, though, even for Max, because he must deal with the lamebrain principal (Larry Miller), the "evil ice cream man" who tries to run him down with his truck and, of course, the school bully who loves to dunk Max in the toilet bowl. When his dad says they're moving, Max decides to get revenge on all who have been harassing him. But things don't go according to plan. Typical juvenile slapstick but the mischief often seems malicious. 2001. 101 minutes. Walt Disney Home Entertainment. Rated PG.

VIDBITS Coming up next: "A Beautiful Mind," the best picture Oscar-winner, the British comedy-mystery "Gosford Park" and "A Rumor Of Angels"... "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," as expected, has taken over as the nation's No. 1 video rental... "Pearl Harbor," the massive war epic returns to DVD July 2 in a special director's cut version that includes a mind-boggling 12 hours of new bonus material...

Who among us isn't at least a little moved when Humphrey Bogart gazes into the weepy eyes of rediscovered love Ingrid Bergman as he's sending her away again and says with quiet, soothing finality, "Here's looking at you, kid." Sixty years later, the magic is still there and the American Film Institute this week, after a far-flung survey, named "Casablanca" as the greatest movie love story of the past 100 years. "Gone With The Wind" was second, followed by "West Side Story" and "An Affair To Remember," all available on video...

New on DVD: "The Women," another of those gems from 1939, features an all-star, all-female cast topped by Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard and Joan Fontaine in a funny, fast-moving, slightly dated tale of a group of chatty, catty and competitive "friends" -- even the animals are female -- but, it's all about men...

Judy Garland would have been 80 on June 10. The latest video tribute to the little lady with the big voice is "The Judy Garland Show: Legends," digitally mastered and culled from her 1963-64 TV show. It features eight Garland solos, duets with Tony Bennett and Peggy Lee and solos by Barbra Streisand and Vic Damone...

Parents are opting for special edition family movies on DVD to get the extras, the head of Buena Vista Home Entertainment told Variety. Bob Chapek predicts 40 million American homes will have DVD players by the end of this year...

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