VideoView -- UPI Arts & Entertainment

By JACK E. WILKINSON, United Press International  |  May 1, 2003 at 11:58 AM
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What's new in the world of home video...


"Catch Me If You Can" -- Leonardo DiCaprio plays the ultimate con man and Tom Hanks the FBI agent obsessed with nabbing him in Steven Spielberg's humorous and entertaining fact-based chase movie. DiCaprio's Frank Abagnale Jr. learns early just how much he can get away with when he puts his mind to it, and although still a teenager begins successful masquerades as a doctor, lawyer, airline pilot and teacher. He also learns how to make money, literally, banking millions before the authorities get wise. When they do, he merely moves on, as slippery as a watermelon seed. Hanks' harried Carl Hanratty refuses to be put off by his quarry's uncanny knack of eluding capture, determined to put him behind bars no matter what it takes, all the while developing an unusual bond in the midst of their long-running cat-and-mouse caper. DiCaprio and Hanks are able to switch from drama to comedy and back again without missing a beat and there's a moving performance by Christopher Walken as Frank's father. 2002. 140 minutes. DreamWorks Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 (some sexual content, brief language).

"The Emperor's Club" -- This is about a teacher who inspires his students, a familiar scenario but different, Mr. Chips with a twist. William Hundert (Kevin Kline) is widely known as a dedicated, ethically unimpeachable molder of young minds at St. Benedict's School for Boys in studies about the Greeks and the Romans and how they relate to today. But in reality the perfect tutor is imperfect, flawed, because of that one incident 25 years ago. Told mostly in flashback, the film focuses on those earlier days when classes were humming along well, the students, in togas, throwing themselves into their learning, and that day when the spell was suddenly broken. Sedgewick Bell (Emile Hirsch), a spoiled-brat son of a U.S. senator, transfers in and in no time has disrupted practically everything. Hundert, however, sees something special in the boy and takes radical steps to bring it out, steps he would never have imagined or allowed in his classroom -- and lives to regret it though in the end it all seems worthwhile. A rewarding experience with another strong performance by Kline, who understands his character and makes sure we do, too. 2002. 100 minutes. Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Rated PG (some sexual content).

"Murder on a Sunday Morning" -- This riveting true-life courthouse thriller and 2001 Oscar winner for best documentary tells the plight of an African-American teenager caught up in the wheels of a questionable justice system. Filmed up close and personal by a French team headed by Jean-Xavier Lestrade, the movie recounts the slaying of Mary Ann Stephens during a mugging on a Sunday morning in May of 2000 in Jacksonville,Fla., and the subsequent arrest of 15-year-old Brenton Butler on a murder charge. Stephens' husband identifies Butler and the youth signs a confession, pretty much clearing the way for a conviction -- until his court-appointed attorney begins finding some troubling elements about the case. 2001. 111 minutes. Docurama. Not rated.

"The Way Home" -- Jeong-Hyang Lee's simple, acclaimed South Korean import tells of a spoiled 7-year-old city boy forced to live with his aged, deaf-mute grandmother in a small rural village where he has to learn to adjust without electricity or indoor plumbing and certainly without fast-food restaurants. It's a difficult adjustment, to say the least, for Sang-woo, who feels abandoned and at every opportunity takes out his anger and resentment against his kind, caring grandmother, who goes to any length to please until she finally she gets through to him. A touching drama with a bit of humor, well done with Seung-Ho Yoo as the irascible kid and 78-year-old newcomer Eul-Bon Kim, who had never even seen a movie before, as the grandmother. 2002. 88 minutes. In Korean with English subtitles. Paramount Home Entertainment. Rated PG (mild thematic elements, language).

"Extreme Ops" -- Daredevil skiers and snowboarders in Austria to shoot a TV commercial in which they outrace an avalanche run into a gang of hiding terrorists and soon there's a lot more than snow and ice rumbling down on them. Rupert Graves, Rufus Sewell, Devon Sawa and Bridgette Wilson-Sampras star. 2002. 93 minutes. Paramount Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 (violence/peril, language and some nudity).


Coming up: "Analyze That," "Talk to Her," "Equilibrium" and "Hot Chick"... Coming later this month, "Adaptation" and "Antwone Fisher" on May 20 and "The Pianist" and "The Recruit" on the 27th... "Drumline" is the leading movie rental across the land this week...

New on DVD:

"Love is a Many Splendored Thing" (Fox,1957) is a fetching romantic tale of an American reporter (William Holden) and a Eurasian doctor (Jennifer Jones) who meet in Hong Kong at the outset of the Korean war and fall in love despite racial problems and the fact that he's already married. Handsome production aided by Oscar-winning score and title song...

John Woo's "Windtalkers" (MGM) returns in a three-disc edition that expands on the brutal but well done World War II film starring Nicolas Cage with a lot of new material about the intriguing story of Navajo "code-talkers" baffling Japanese eavesdroppers in battle-directing radio transmissions...

"Little Big Man," Arthur Penn's sprawling, superior 1970 Paramount Western, stars Dustin Hoffman as 121-year-old Jack Crabbe who reminisces about his colorful days in the Old West when he lived with both the Indians and the settlers, swapped yarns with Wild Bill Hickock and survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn...

Rowan Atkinson, the wildly expressionistic British comedian who fashions his humor along the lines of the late French master Jacques Tati, shows off to good advantage his most popular character, the irrepressible Mr. Bean, in this wacky 14-episode TV collection called "The Whole Bean" (from A&E). There's an informative 40-minute documentary stressing the world of Mr. Bean with a host of people discussing the character and the comic, among them Atkinson's wife who says that "Rowan and Bean really aren't that far apart."

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