VideoView -- UPI Arts & Entertainment

By JACK E. WILKINSON, United Press International  |  Oct. 11, 2001 at 11:21 AM
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What's new on the home video scene...


"Angel Eyes" -- Jennifer Lopez is Sharon, a tough, no-nonsense police officer, a pretty woman who can be as ugly as needed to collar a crook. A good cop patrolling a violent world, she's brave, stubborn and inaccessible, estranged from her family, having little life away from work. Then she meets Catch (James Caviezel), who has walled out the rest of the world more than she has, who walks around town in a long coat saying little and doing good deeds. Then he spots Sharon in a restaurant and a short time later he's saving her life when she stumbles into an ambush. Soon they begin a romantic but fragile relationship; she's bothered because she knows virtually nothing about him, her mind running the gamut from stalker to guardian angel. A police background check finds no trace of him, prompting her partner to suggest, "He's a ghost." It's a well-done, unusual love story, intense and complex. 2001. 102 minutes. Warner Home Entertainment. Rated R (language, violence, a scene of sexuality).

"The Crimson Rivers" -- A serial killer who would have made Hannibal Lecter proud is stalking victims in a forlorn valley in the French Alps in this grim and gruesome thriller from France. Jean Reno, adept as ever in another world-weary role, plays Pierre Niemans, a legendary investigator sent from Paris to look into the discovery of a mutilated corpse hanging in the gloomy, icy mountains near the University of Gueron. His inquiry turns up unsettling suspicions that the school, through bizarre experiments, is trying to create a master race. Vincent Cassel plays a younger but equally quirky local cop who joins Niemans when their parallel cases collide and together they venture back to the slippery slopes to catch the culprit. Far-fetched but intriguing and Reno is always worth watching. 2001. 105 minutes (English-dubbed). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Rated R (violence and grisly images, language).

"Cats and Dogs" -- This feisty live-action romp of talking animals and acres of special effects was designed for kids but has some chuckles for their animal-loving elders. The simplistic plot, one that 5-year-olds can follow, deals with a gang of felonious felines out to take over the world. Their only obstacles are dogs, specifically a couple of canine secret agents Butch (voiced by Alec Baldwin) and Lou (Tobey Maguire) who work with an elaborate electronic war room that looks like something out of the latest 007 caper. Jeff Goldblum plays the human scientist around whom the action revolves while others doing voices behind the whiskers include Susan Sarandon, Jon Lovitz and Charlton Heston. 2001. 87 minutes. Warner HomeVideo. Rated PG.

"The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" -- Before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in major league baseball, there was Hank Greenberg who had a social barrier of his own to face. He was Jewish, the first to make it big in the big leagues but he had to weather a storm of verbal attacks at every park. It was the early '30s, a time when anti-semitism was prominent in the U,S, and Greenberg, proud of his heritage, dealt with the bigotry by becoming a baseball legend. This remarkable documentary follows Greenberg's splendid career, mostly at first base with the Detroit Tigers, from 1933 to 1946, when his awesome power hitting earned him comparison to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, carried the Tigers to the World Series and earned him a niche in the Hall of Fame. Through archival films of game highlights and private moments and interviews with Greenberg himself before his death in 1986 and with friends and family, it's a touching, uplifting tribute to the guy many called "baseball's Moses." 1998. 95 minutes. Fox Home Entertainment. Not rated.


Coming up: "Dr. Dolittle 2," "The Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within," "Town & Country" and "Freddy Gets Fingered...

A lot of people thought Walt Disney was nuts, that the moviegoing public simply would not sit through a 90-minute cartoon. As the history of American cinema shows indelibly, he proved them way off base. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the first animated feature, released in 1937, was a smash hit, delighting an audience that had never seen its like before, was the year's No. 1 moneymaker and won for Disney an Oscar (and seven little Oscars, too). Over the years, its impact on the movie industry has been huge. Now, the grande dame of animation and her magnificent seven are on DVD and lost no time in showing conclusively they're just as popular as ever, if not more so. Variety says the two-disc set sold a record 1 million copies the first day of release. Beautifully restored, it all looks and sounds new again with a ton of extras to boot, including a great deal of background detail tracing the movie from idea to image in what the Disney folks call "an immersive experience." There's even a rendition of "Someday My Prince Will Come" by Barbra Streisand. The movie's the thing, of course, and after all these years "Snow White" is still "the fairest of them all"...

Meanwhile, Universal's supercharged sequel "The Mummy Returns" raked in more than $90 million in its first week on video, both VHS and DVD, which Variety says is 33 per cent more than the film made in theaters. Universal said the 2 million DVD copies sold were the most ever in that burgeoning format. VidTrac reports overall rentals reached an additional $15.4 million. The other major recent release, Paramount's "The Godfather" trilogy, also was selling well early. Add Fox's "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace" coming next Tuesday and you've got land office business. Universal should be doing particularly well this holiday season with "Jurassic Park III," "Dr. Suess' How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Shrek," which it's releasing for DreamWorks, yet to come...

Blockbuster plans to put a "terrorist theme" warning label on Warner's "Swordfish," due Oct. 30, and says it will do so on future films of that genre... Kino, whose specialties include classic films made before the movies learned to talk, is out with a new four-pack entitled "The Strong Silent Type" featuring four of the top actors of the 1920s: Douglas Fairbanks in "The Gaucho," Lon Chaney in "The Penalty," Rudolph Valentino in "Blood and Sand" and John Barrymore in his movie debut as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

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