Reviews > Culture

The Movies

Culture | The top 5 videos in popularity as measured by rental receipts for the week ended May 21

Issue: "The Sudan crisis," June 10, 2000
The world is not enough $7.4 million
1 week in release
$7.45 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau / Michael Apted (Coal Miner's Daughter) / MGM

PLOT
James Bond races across the world trying to stop someone from blowing up an oil pipeline.

MESSAGE
The Playboy Philosophy translated to celluloid: The handsome man with no conscience can do anything.

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CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for bad language, violence, and sexual situations. The sex content is cranked up, so this is definitely not for children.

American Beauty $6.33 million
2 weeks in release
$13.15 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening / Sam Mendes / DreamWorks SKG

PLOT
A rootless, shallow suburban family heads down the road to destruction, then steps on the gas.

MESSAGE
Suburbia as existential nightmare. Seemingly normal people live lives of quiet desperation.

CAUTION
Rated R for bad language, nudity, sexual situations, drug use, and violence.

Bringing out the dead $4.03 million
2 weeks in release
$8.56 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette / Martin Scorsese (Last Temptation of Christ) / Paramount Pictures

PLOT
Two days and three nights in the life of a New York City paramedic.

MESSAGE
Post-Christian angst: Cage's EMS driver has a spiritual crisis because his patients are dying.

CAUTION
Rated R for bad language, violence, and drug use.

Galaxy Quest $3.85 million
3 weeks in release
$15.81 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver / Dean Parisot (Home Fries) / DreamWorks

PLOT
A bunch of actors from a Star Trek-like TV show are thrust into space by aliens who think the drama is real.

MESSAGE
Some people take television far too seriously-but non-heroic folks, even actors, can step up in a crisis.

CAUTION
Rated PG for violence.

the sixth sense $3.81 million
8 weeks in release
$89.12 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment / M. Night Shyamalan / Hollywood Pictures

PLOT
Exorcising the boy's demons with counseling doesn't work, showing that secularism doesn't have a clue about dealing with spiritual issues.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for bad language, violent images, gore, and typical ghost-story ghouliness.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Once upon a time there was a TV show called Mission Impossible. It was memorable enough to become a feature film-except the translation destroyed the whole thing and turned it all into a vehicle for Tom Cruise. Now there's a sequel, which brings back the star with a Hong Kong wunderkind director. M:I-2 (Paramount; rated PG-13 for violence, bad language, and sensuality) has Cruise and a couple of sidekicks chasing an evil virus across Australia. Around for the ride is a wannabe Bond Girl (Thandie Newton), the ex-girlfriend of a rogue spy who holds the keys to the whole caper. Director John Woo, the acknowledged master of the kung fu action film and a professing Christian, directs this whole mess in one-trick pony fashion, giving us endless slow-motion sequences, drawn-out chase scenes, and shiny guns. Devotees of his work won't see anything new here. He even beats his own dead horse by having characters put on masks pretending to be one another to show the good guy/bad guy role reversal, as he did in his other American movie, Face Off. In a few sequences, M:I-2 catches the spirit of the original TV series, but the rest is terribly generic. The trouble with this movie (and its predecessor) is that it is too busy trying to be cool to have any fun.

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