New on Video 4/1/03

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Registered: 03-19-2003
New on Video 4/1/03
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 6:49am
"Far From Heaven" (2002)

Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid star in this powerful film, which is done somewhat in the style of a 1950s melodrama. In 1957, Cathy Whitaker (Moore), her husband Frank (Quaid), and their two children seem to be the ideal American family. Frank has a good job, and they live in a nice house in a pleasant neighborhood. But Cathy discovers her husband is homosexual, and she struggles to come to terms with the situation within the confines of repressive Eisenhower-era middle-class society. Then Cathy befriends a kindly black gardener (Dennis Haysbert), but the segregated society they live in makes interracial friendship difficult. As Cathy's relationship with her husband deteriorates and her friendship with the black man increasingly causes problems, she tries to decide what she should do.

"The Other Side of Heaven" (2002)

Mormon elder John Groberg wrote a memoir titled "In the Eye of the Storm" about his experiences doing missionary work in 1950s Tonga, and this film is inspired by his book. In the movie, young John Groberg (Christopher Gorham) travels to the South Pacific, although it means deferring his studies at Brigham Young University and leaving behind his sweetheart (Anne Hathaway). After experiencing some difficulties, John finally reaches Tonga, where he encounters beautiful tropical island scenery and exotic Polynesian people. While serving his church mission, John must deal with a series of challenges, including a typhoon, and he doesn't get much help, except from a local named Feki (Joe Folau). Meanwhile, John writes letters to his sweetheart back home and hopes she will wait for him.

"Red Dragon" (2002) Director's Edition

Hannibal Lecter is again portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, who previously played the cannibalistic serial killer in "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal." Other stars in "Red Dragon" include Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, and Emily Watson. "Red Dragon" is adapted from the Thomas Harris novel, as was the 1986 movie "Manhunter." In "Red Dragon," Norton plays Will Graham, an FBI agent who comes out of retirement to work on the case of a killer dubbed the Tooth Fairy (Fiennes) because he leaves bite marks on his victims. It's Graham's old boss (Keitel) who calls him out of retirement and teams him with Lecter, who is serving time in prison. The Tooth Fairy turns out to be a man named Francis Dolarhyde, who is in a strange relationship with a blind woman (Watson).

"Secretary" (2002)

James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal star in this offbeat movie about sadism and masochism. Spader portrays E. Edward Grey, a domineering attorney who has trouble keeping a secretary. Gyllenhaal plays Lee Holloway, a young woman with a history of self-mutilation. After Lee is treated at a mental institution, Grey hires her as his secretary. She also has a romantic relationship with an emotionally fragile young man named Peter (Jeremy Davies). But soon Grey and Lee are enjoying some rather mild on-the-job S&M, consisting of role-playing, spanking, and the like. Lee's self-esteem begins to improve (!), and when she and Grey start to fall for each other, she must make some major decisions. The film is mostly upbeat and has a happy ending, so it could be classified as a romantic comedy.

"The Truth About Charlie" (2002)

Directed by Jonathan Demme, this is a remake of "Charade" (1963) with Thandie Newton and Mark Wahlberg in the roles played by Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Regina (Newton) is a Paris newlywed whose husband Charlie goes missing. She then finds out her husband used several different identities and is reported to have had $6 million, which is also missing. As Regina goes through a trying time, she is helped by a man named Joshua (Wahlberg), who keeps popping up at opportune moments after she happens to meet him on a trip. Soon Regina finds herself encountering various unsavory characters looking for the $6 million, and she gets different versions of the truth about Charlie. In a world where nothing is as it seems, Regina tries to figure out what's going on.

"The Wild Thornberrys Movie" (2002)

This children's animated feature film is based on the Nickleodeon TV series. The Thornberry family consists of Nigel and Marianne and their three kids: teenager Debbie, 12-year-old Eliza, and the adopted boy Donnie. The Thornberrys make nature documentaries for television, and "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" finds them in Africa. The key character is Eliza, who has the magical ability to speak with animals, enabling her to talk with her pet chimpanzee Darwin. When Eliza is playing with some cheetah cubs, one of them is snatched by poachers. Then Eliza is sent away to a boarding school in England, and she takes Darwin with her. After Eliza escapes from the boarding school, she and Darwin make their way back to Africa and set off on a quest to rescue the cheetah cub.

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