Reviews > Culture

Video Rentals

Culture | The top 5 videos in popularity as measured by rental receipts for the week ended Aug. 13

Issue: "Star makers, heartbreakers," Sept. 2, 2000
1
REINDEER GAMES $5.87 million 1 week in release $5.87 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise / John Frankenheimer and Alan Caso / Dimension Films

PLOT
An ex-con is dragged into a casino heist.

MESSAGE
Turning straight isn't as easy as it looks.

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CAUTION
Rated R for strong violence, language, and sexual situations.

2
ROMEO MUST DIE $4.74 million 2 weeks in release $12.18 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Jet Li, Aaliyah / Andrzej Bartkowiak / Warner Bros.

PLOT
Martial-arts movie about a Chinese immigrant caught in the middle of an American gang war.

MESSAGE
Gang members are evil, rotten thugs who should be beaten to a pulp.

CAUTION
Rated R for violence, bad language, and nudity.

3
THE WHOLE NINE YARDS $4.51 million 4 weeks in release $27.37 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry / Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) / Warner Bros.

PLOT
A suburban dentist discovers his neighbor is a hit man hiding from the Mob.

MESSAGE
Messing with the Mafia will make you sorry.

CAUTION
Rated R for bad language, violence, and nudity.

4
THE BEACH $3.66 million 3 weeks in release $15.58 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton / Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) / Twentieth Century Fox

PLOT
American heads to Thailand looking for utopia and discovers horrible secrets.

MESSAGE
There's no such thing as paradise.

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

5
THE GREEN MILE $3.43 million 9 weeks in release $73.93 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke / Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) / Warner Bros.

PLOT
A prison guard on death row has his life changed by a prisoner he must execute.

MESSAGE
Pop supernaturalism: Unexpected miracles happen.

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

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Turn The Omen upside down and you get Bless the Child (Paramount Pictures; rated R for violence, drug content and brief language), a supernatural thriller about a modern-day girl Messiah born autistic to a drug addict in New York. She's adopted by her aunt (Kim Basinger), who must protect her from her Satanist stepfather (Rufus Sewell). Instead of bashing Christianity, this movie takes up a sensational caricature of Roman Catholicism. Little Cody (Holliston Coleman) clutches a rosary, makes church candles light up, and is regularly rescued by angels. Her nemesis is a Swiss Army knife of evil: a self-help guru, cult leader, drug pusher, money launderer, serial killer, and former child star. The villain leads a Scientology-like cult whose minions murder children in a spree they call "the slaughter of the innocents" (hint, hint). Meanwhile, Jimmy Smits gets a feature role as an ex-seminarian turned FBI agent who can rattle off occult trivia at the drop of a hat. Some have tried to read Christian allegory in this, but Bless the Child is simply a bad movie. To his credit, Chuck Russell's direction keeps the movie paced well enough to make it watchable. It piles up melodrama next to its obligatory stream of dead bodies. Its theistic message is sensational mysticism, not real Christianity.

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