VideoView -- UPI Arts & Entertainment

By JACK E. WILKINSON, United Press International  |  April 3, 2003 at 9:39 AM
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What's new in the world of home video...


"Paid in Full" -- This is a stylish, thoughtful tale of urban crime and three young men caught up in its seductive, demeaning cycle of cash and consequences. The film is set in 1980s Harlem and focuses on Ace (Wood Harris), a quiet, reflective teenager with obvious business sense who reluctantly takes over the neighborhood cocaine business from buddy Mitch (Mekhi Phifer), who gets busted. Ace tries to keep things calm but must contend with his other close friend, Rico (Cam'ron), a volatile, unsettling type, and when Mitch comes back each has his own idea how to slice the pie. As it usually does, violence settles the issue. Familiar territory but authentic-looking and well-done. 2002. 93 minutes. Dimension Home Video. Rated R (violence, language, some strong sexuality and drug content).

"Friday After Next" -- The third stanza of the "Friday" theme is as raunchy and outrageous as its predecessors as it follows more misadventures of Craig (Ice Cube) and his cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps). Theirs is a world in which Santa Claus shows up on the night before Christmas Eve and steals their presents. The bogus St. Nick also steals their rent money, forcing the boys to get a job or face a cruel Yule without a home. While looking for the thief they become security guards at a strip mall that features their family's barbecue restaurant, a "Toys N The Hood" and a clothing store for pimps where they trigger one disaster after another. Loud and vulgar but funny. 2002. 85 minutes. New Line Home Entertainment. Rated R (language, sexual content and drug use).


"Waking up in Reno" -- In what Billy Bob Thornton calls a "redneck romantic comedy," two couples from Arkansas hit the road to Reno for a monster truck show and, along the way, discover things about their friendship they would rather not know. Thornton plays Lonnie Earl, a flashy Little Rock car dealer, Natasha Richardson is his wife Darlene and Charlize Theron and Patrick Swayze are Candy and Roy. It's obvious early on that this foursome has a major problem but everything seems to get worked out through sitcom dialogue and humor. A so-so diversion with a high grade cast dealing with funny but cliché-riddled, rather heavy handed satire. 2002. 91 minutes. Miramax Home Entertainment. Rated R (language and some sexual content).

"The Other Side of Heaven" -- This is the epic, true-life story of a young Idaho Mormon missionary who carried The Word halfway across the world to a South Pacific archipelago called Tonga. John Groberg (Christopher Gorham), who was 19 when he left his Idaho Falls home and his girl (Anne Hathaway) for his three-year mission, was one of the first white men the natives had ever seen and while he was greeted, generally, with open arms he encountered one challenge after another in getting his message across. Based on Groberg's memoirs. 2002. 113 minutes. Walt Disney Home Entertainment. Rated PG (thematic elements, brief disturbing images).


"The Wild Thornberrys Movie" -- The unusual Thornberry clan of Nickelodeon cable channel fame makes a surprisingly good transition in its first movie, a fine, energetic animated African adventure and a treat for the whole family. Some important issues, such as the evils of animal poaching and endangered wildlife, are addressed but always tinged with humor and hope for the movie's young audience. Nigel and Marianne Thornberry are making a TV documentary in the African wilds, traveling about the continent with their entourage that includes two daughters, Debby, a bratty, bored teenager, and Eliza, the sweet-natured 12-year-old who secretly can talk to the animals. One day while Eliza is playing with cheetah cubs, poachers in a helicopter swoop down and grab one. Feeling responsible, she vows to rescue the cub, no matter what. Furthermore, there are some elephants to save, too. 2002. 85 minutes. Animated. Paramount Home Entertainment. Rated PG (some adventure peril).


Coming up: "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," the Oscar-winning animated feature "Spirited Away," "Evelyn," "Rabbit-Proof Fence" and "Drumline"... Eminem's "8 Mile" and the horror yarn "The Ring" top the video rental list across the country this week...

For your futures book: "Chicago," the effervescent Oscar winner for best picture, is coming to video Aug. 19. Among the other top movies in the Academy Award derby, "The Pianist" is due May 27, "About Schmidt" on June 3, "The Hours" June 24, "Gangs of New York" July 1 and "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" Aug. 26...

"CSI," the slick, entertaining and top-rated TV whodunit, has its place in the video sun with a DVD collection of all 23 episodes from the first season of the CBS drama in a six-disc presentation. It looks great but could have used more commentary material...

New on DVD: "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" (1947), latest entry In Fox Home Entertainment's Oscar salute, restored and remastered. Gene Tierney stars as the independent-minded young widow who discovers her new seaside home is haunted by its late, former occupant, a hot-tempered sea captain (Rex Harrison) who's determined to scare her away. She's just as determined that he won't...

The Smothers Brothers, who mixed humor, music and social satire in their hit '60s TV show before being canceled over a censorship flap fanned by their opposition to the Vietnam War, will receive the George Carlin Freedom of Expression Award from the Video Software Dealers Association July 29 at the VSDA convention in Las Vegas...

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