"Insomnia" -- Al Pacino plays a Los Angeles detective sent to the remote Alaska town of Nightmute, halibut fishing capital of the world where the sun never sets this time of the year, to help solve a disturbing homicide in this taut, intelligent thriller from Christopher ("Memento") Nolan. Pacino is Will Dormer, looking drained and weary even before he's swamped by the endless daylight, who with his partner (Martin Donovan) are sent north partly to escape a heated internal investigation Dormer fears will end his career. The case at hand deals with the beating death of a teenage girl and when the suspected killer breaks through a trap Dormer has set and races off into a fogbank with the cops right behind a crisis develops that could wreck the case. Dormer tries to cover it up, a deed privately disputed by the suspect (an effective Robin Williams) who uses it to his advantage in a series of elaborate mind games. A young local cop, played by Hilary Swank, guesses the truth but collecting proof is not easy, especially when there is a bit of hero worship involved. While Pacino's movie, it's a good job by all concerned, based on a 1997 Norwegian film of the same name. 2002. 118 minutes. Warner Home Video. Rated R (language, some violence, brief nudity).
"Scooby-Doo" -- The long-running cartoon featuring a talking Great Dane and four mystery-solving teens makes its transition to live-action movie adventure with the same storyline -- except now there are four young actors and a computer-generated dog. As the film begins, the gang has broken up but is lured back together by separate pleas from the owner of a spooky amusement park where supernatural beings are wrecking things. So Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Velma (Linda Cardellini) and, of course, Scooby (voiced by Scott Innes) show up to ferret out the bad guys. Has some yuks but likely will appeal mostly to fans and those who wish for a bit of nostalgia. But that should be enough to make it a video hit. 2002. 81 minutes. Warner Home Video. Rated PG.
"Big Trouble" -- This frisky, screwball crime comedy, based on a novel by humorist Dave Barry, wavers between the wacky and the weird with a big, diverse cast kept busy at a brisk pace by director Barry Sonnenfeld. The central characters include a dejected ad man (Tim Allen), an ill-tempered exec (Stanley Tucci), a frustrated hitman (Dennis Farina) hired to knock him off, an unhappy wife (Rene Russo) and a grubby, violent thug (Tom Sizemore) who steals a nuclear bomb and waltzes through airport security with it. But this is no terrorist tale, rather a generally clever satire played for laughs. 2002. 85 minutes. Touchstone Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 (language, crude humor, sex-related material).
"Life Or Something Like It" -- Angelina Jolie stars in this glossy romantic comedy, with a dash of a meaning-of-life scenario thrown in, as a beautiful, rising TV personality who has just been told she's going to die in a few days. Her Lannie Kerrigan thinks her life is perfect, from her famous jock boyfriend to her platinum hair (patterned after Marilyn Monroe) to her on-air job that's leading her right to a long coveted network show. Then, one day her cameraman, Pete (Edward Burns), suggests she interview a homeless man/prophet who makes two far-out predictions and a third -- that she will die in a few days. When the first two come true, a stunned Lannie starts taking a good, hard look at her life, now with the help of her one-time nemesis Pete. For the most part, likable with some good moments but predictable and not always in focus as to life or something like it. 2002. 103 minutes. Fox Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 (sexual content, brief voiolence, language).
"Brother's Keeper" -- An interesting though formulaic thriller in which a police detective (Jeanne Tripplehorn) must bring in a serial killer -- even if it is her younger brother (Corin Nemec). 2002. 86 minutes. New Line Home Entertainment, Rated R (violence).
Coming up, "Windtalkers," "Mr. Deeds" and "Y Tu Mama Tambien"... "Panic Room" with Jodie Foster as a harried mom is the nation's No. 1 video rental movie...
New on DVD: "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" (MGM, 1966), a popular Cold War comedy that has lost some of its zest over the years but is still rich in humor and satire. A Soviet sub with a sightseeing captain runs aground on Cape Cod, spreading panic among residents of a small town that the Russians are invading America. Memorable moments from Alan Arkin and Jonathan Winters.
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