Reviews > Culture

Video Rentals

Culture | The top 5 videos in popularity as measured by rental receipts for the week ended Aug. 26

Issue: "Hail to the Fox," Sept. 15, 2001
1
Hannibal $14.6 million
1 week in release
$14.6 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore / Ridley Scott (Gladiator) / MGM

PLOT
Grotesque sequel to Silence of the Lambs, with Hannibal Lecter emerging from "retirement" to revisit FBI agent Clarice Starling.

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

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BOTTOM LINE
Horrific violence undermines an already weak plot, wasting talent in front of and behind the camera.

2
The Mexican $4.5 million
3 weeks in release
$20.9 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts / Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt) / DreamWorks

PLOT
The search for an elusive Mexican pistol creates the backdrop for this bloody romantic comedy/drama.

CAUTION
Rated R for violence, bad language, and implied homosexual intercourse.

BOTTOM LINE
Despite a strong cast, the movie is a mishmash of genres with an unsettling amount of Tarantino-esque violence.

3
15 Minutes $4.4 million
2 weeks in release
$9.9 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Robert DeNiro, Edward Burns / John Herzfeld (2 Days in the Valley) / New Line

PLOT
A New York cop and an arson investigator track two killers who are filming their crimes and manipulating the media.

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

BOTTOM LINE
Effective as a thriller, less so as an indictment of blood- and scandal-obsessed media; it's just as violent as that which it condemns.

4
Enemy at the Gates $3.9 million
2 weeks in release
$9.9 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes / Jean-Jacques Annaud (Seven Years in Tibet) / Paramount Pictures

PLOT
Two snipers, one Russian, one German, play cat and mouse among the ruins of WWII Stalingrad.

CAUTION
Rated R for strong graphic war violence and a lengthy sex scene.

BOTTOM LINE
A visually striking film that loses credibility each time the characters open their mouths.

5
The Family Man $3.5 million
6 weeks in release
$43.6 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni / Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) / Universal Pictures

PLOT
A Wall Street bachelor gets the chance to experience life with a wife and family.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for sensuality and some bad language.

BOTTOM LINE
Pro-family, pro-children, without being smarmy; a moving variation of It's a Wonderful Life (but note the cautions).

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
In a year of failed blockbusters and dim-witted teen comedies, a new Woody Allen film is an attempt at something different. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (DreamWorks; rated PG-13 for some sexual innuendo and bad language) is a throwback to old screwball comedies and detective stories-but with far too much modern attitude toward sexual mores. Mr. Allen plays a boorish insurance investigator in 1940 whose "luck" is better than his ability. His nemesis at the office is a new manager (Helen Hunt) who hates him and is also having an affair with their boss (Dan Ackroyd). The pair is hypnotized by a jewel thief (David Ogden Stiers of M*A*S*H fame) into robbing their employer's rich clients. The Allen character winds up chasing himself. Unlike some 1990s Woody Allen films like Celebrity and Husbands and Wives, at least the audience isn't dragged into the depths of the auteur's nihilism. But can audiences get past Mr. Allen's tawdry off-screen life? Playing the role of an aging jerk who lusts after younger women at the office can't possibly help. His character is supposed to be funny, but given his personal conduct, it just comes off creepy.

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