Films Review June

DEAD HUSBANDS (PG-13)

Better-than-average made-for-cable comedy stars John Ritter as a husband who suspects that his wife is trying to kill him. Well, that’s not exactly the truth. True, Dr. Carter Elston’s (Ritter) wife Alex (Nicollette Sheridan) wants out of the marriage, but she never figured that murder would be an option.


vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)That is until she joined an exclusive wives club that deals in husband disposal. Each new member must kill the husband’s name at the top of the list, and can then add her own husband’s name to the line-up. Everything goes according to plan until Carter’s name rises to the top. Even worse, he learns of his fate and does everything within his power not to become the next victim. Director Paul Shapiro keeps things light (as light as can be expected considering), while the cast does what it takes to make the material work. (Paramount)

FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON (NR)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)The Emmy Award-winning miniseries from HBO and Tom Hanks finally arrives on video, coincided to mark the 30th Anniversary of Man’s first walk on the Moon. Previously only available through direct response, “From the Earth to the Moon” is now available for all video fans to own and enjoy in their own home. The mini-series is available on six video cassettes, each one containing two episodes from the series. The two-hour first episode takes up one tape. The collector’s edition set is available for $89.92. The production follows the voyages of America’s Apollo astronauts and the 12 manned Apollo missions, from the early U.S. space efforts in 1961, to the final Apollo lunar mission in 1972. (HBO)

GODS & MONSTERS (R)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)Ian McKellen is absolutely mesmerizing in this fictional account of director James Whales’ last few days. Even though it’s fiction, “Gods and Monsters” is so perfect in every way that it feels real. McKellen actually gets under the skin of the director who brought the “Frankenstein” legend to life, but who also fought against Hollywood’s depiction of homosexuals. The film catches Whales after he has been forced into retirement, enjoying his days painting and tormenting young men who happen to enter his life. First there’s a gushing reporter who is willing to strip down in order to get an interview. Then there’s the strapping hunk of a gardener named named Clayton (Brendan Fraser, also excellent), who is so straight you could use him as a ruler. Clayton is at first taken aback by Whales’ candidness, but fins himself drawn to the enigmatic director of such films as “The Invisible Man,” “The Bride of Frankenstein” and “Showboat.” It’s not long before they are trading thoughts and ideas, much to the bemusement of Whales’ old-fashioned housekeeper Hannah (Lynn Redgrave in an Oscar-worthy performance). Filled with emotional insights and tragic consequences, “Gods and and Monsters” is foremost a virtuoso character study courtesy of writer-director Bill Condon, who gets outstanding performances from every. The film is a testament to independent filmmaking which allows Condon to explore themes and characters that would never find a place on the big screen, and consequently, on video. Highest rating. (Universal)

LAST RITES (R)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)Chilling made-for-cable thriller stars Randy Quaid as a convicted killer sentenced to die. When the big day arrives, Jeremy Dillon (Quaid) refuses his last rites when he’s strapped into the electric chair. Dillon gets a double shock when an electrical storm causes a power surge inside the prison, sending two doses of electricity through the killer. To everyone’s surprise, Dillon survives, but has amnesia. Even stranger, he now has psychic abilities that he uses to help the FBI clear up their case load. The big question in everyone’s mind is whether or not the killer has actually been redeemed, or is he actually faking his new found powers in order to exact revenge? Embeth Davidtz (who faced similar forces in “Fallen”) plays the psychiatrist who sees Dillon’s resurrection as a sign from above. (Universal)

PSYCHO (R)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)The first question is why. Why do people pay $45 to see four guys imitate The Beatles? Why is one of the longest running shows in Las Vegas a revue of celebrity impersonators? Is it because people feel the need to connect with their nostalgic roots? Are people so desperate for just one more taste of something they can’t have that they’re willing to accept an imitation? So that brings us back to the big question. Why? Why would someone want to do a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”? Not just a remake, but a literal shot-by-shot recreation in color. Click here for complete review. (Universal)

ALSO NEW THIS WEEK:

COUNTER MEASURES (R/Avalanche)

TREEHOUSE HOSTAGE (PG/Trimark)



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