Films Review September

CELEBRATION, THE (R)

Director Thomas Vinterberg’s deliciously dark drama about a birthday celebration that is marred by the revelation of a family secret. Vinterberg uses natural lighting and sound to good effect to tell his story about how a 60th birthday celebration of a family patriarch turns into game of show and tell.


vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)Ulrich Thomsen is outstanding as Christian, who returns with his brother Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen) and sister Helene (the engaging Paprika Steen) to their father’s home in Denmark. Haunted by a tragedy in his past, Christian decides to use the occasion to clear his conscience. The fall out takes it toll on everyone at “The Celebration.” In Danish, German and English with English subtitles. (USA)

CROW, THE: STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN (NR)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)Mark Dacascos inherits the role originally played by Brandon Lee and Vincent Perez on the big screen in the continuing saga of Eric Draven, resurrected one year after his murder to avenge his death. This tape includes the 2 one hour pilot episodes that set up the rest of the syndicated television series. (Polygram)

GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, THE (G)vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)Walt Disney Home Video re-releases John Musker and Ron Clements’ delightful animated tale based on Eve Titus’ popular book “Basil of Baker Street.” Musker and Clements, who later directed “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid,” show real talent in this mouse-sized take on Sherlock Holmes. Basil, one of the world’s most brilliant investigators, is called upon by Olivia, a little girl whose father has been kidnapped. Basil is up to the challenge, and must match wits with the evil Professor Ratigan (Vincent Price having a ball as the villain) in order to save the day. “The Great Mouse Detective” features numerous set-pieces that are both exciting and thrilling, including a trip inside the gear works of Big Ben that features computer animation. More action and less music (although the film features three songs, including one performed by Melissa Manchester, and a score by Henry Mancini), the video would be a valuable edition in any library. Available at sell-through for $26.99. (Walt Disney)

MADELINE: LOST IN PARIS (G)vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)Ludwig Bemelman’s beloved book series has seen many incarnations, and arrives here as a direct-to-video animated feature from Walt Disney Home Video. Madeline’s hope of being part of a family almost comes true when her Uncle Horst visits and offers to take her new home in Vienna. Unfortunately, Uncle Horst is actually the flunky of evil sweatshop owner Miss LaCroque, who uses orphans to make lace. They plan to steal Madeline’s inheritance, but not before Madeline rallies the other orphans and exposes the plot. The voice talent includes Jason Alexander, Lauren Bacall, and Christopher Plummer. Available for sell-through at $22.99. (Walt Disney Home Video)

OTHER SISTER, THE (PG-13)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)I really liked “The Other Sister”…the first four or five times I saw the exact same film on Lifetime Cable. I can’t even remember the titles of those efforts. I think one starred Melissa Gilbert, or maybe they all did. Who knows, and who really cares? Hollywood’s obsession with taking made-for-television fodder and dressing it up like a show pony has got to stop. I mean, doesn’t Hollywood have better things to tackle than another one of those alcoholic mom married to a satanic pedophile movies, where the kid has AIDS, but has been abducted in a mall by a vindictive boyfriend just out of prison to donate a kidney to his mentally challenged brother? Like that bald-headed exercise chick that screams a lot says, “Stop the Insanity.” (Touchstone)

REVENGE OF THE MUSKETEERS (R)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)The Alexander Dumas characters ride again in this French import starring the luminous Sophie Marceau as the daughter of D’Artagnan (the charming Philippe Noiret). Originally titled “D’Artagnan’s Daughter,” the action-adventure features an older and wiser three Musketeers, played by Sami Frey, Jean-Luc Bideau and Raoul Billerey. Marceau shines as she gets in one the action, joining her father and friends as they ride in defense of France. Directed with style and flair by Bertrand Tavernier, “Revenge of the Musketeers” is presented in its original French language with English subtitles. (Miramax)

SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK…FOR MORE (R)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)If they come back anymore, its like they were never gone in the first place. In this direct to video effort that strays from the original premise of the Stephen King story, Clayton Rohner and Chase Masterson play to military officers who arrive at a remote (is there any other kind) Antarctica base only to find the crew either dead or gone. The two are reluctantly forced to team up with the camp’s only two survivors in order to survive. Even though the snow bleached location lends itself to chilling visuals, the film is rather pedestrian thanks to Daniel Berk’s ho-hum direction and Adam Grossman and Darryl Sollerh’s run-of-the-mill script. (Trimark)

SOUTHIE (R)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)Actor John Shea steps behind the camera to direct this functional yet familiar tale of a South Boston native who returns home and finds himself involved with the Irish mob. Donnie Wahlberg (almost unrecognizable in “The Sixth Sense”) is okay as Danny, who returns home to the streets of Boston after a three years absence. In an effort to help his sick mother (the durable Anne Meara) and alcoholic sister (Rose McGowan), Danny tags up with the local mob and quickly learns that old habits die hard. More traditional than tantalizing, “Southie” goes in for the kill but stumbles along the way. (Sterling)

TWIN DRAGONS (PG-13)

vidcass1.gif (2845 bytes)Jackie Chan’s action-comedy arrives on video in an official, dubbed version. A subtitled version of the 1992 film has been floating around on video for over a year. Regardless, this is the version that recently played in theaters, a very lean 88 minute exercise in mistaken identities and brotherly love. Chan plays John and Boomer, twins separated at birth. John grew up to become a concert pianist, while Boomer toils as an auto mechanic. Their paths cross when a gangsters comes after Boomer and mistakes John for him. Chan fans will appreciate double the usual dose of hi-jinks and mayhem. Directed with flair by Tsu Hark and Ringo Lam. (Dimension)

ALSO NEW THIS WEEK:HOME IMPROVEMENT: THE SERIES FINALE (NR/Touchstone Home Video)

MARY KATE & ASHLEY’S FASHION PARTY (NR/Dualstar)

TELETUBBIES: FUNNY DAY (NR/Warner)

WORD OF MOUTH (Unrated/Playboy)



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