Get into the 'Groove' this week
A fast and breezy Disney cartoon is the week's best new-video bet.
THIS WEEK'S RENT
"The Emperor's New Groove" started life at Disney as a contemplative and deep drama - and then someone noticed that it was about a self-centered South American emperor who gets turned into a llama and thought it might work out better as a comedy. Good call. The final product is fast, hip and funny - slight, to be sure, but as pleasurable as any recent Disney work. The movie features the voices of David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton. DVD available. 78 minutes. G, suitable for general audiences.
"Miss Congeniality" is the congenial comedy with Sandra Bullock as an ugly-duckling FBI agent who is transformed into a beauty-pageant contestant when the bureau needs an undercover agent. Michael Caine is archly memorable as the pageant consultant hired to oversee the transformation. Benjamin Bratt, William Shatner and Candice Bergen also star. DVD available. 109 minutes. PG-13, for mild violence, profanity, some sexual candor.
"All the Pretty Horses" is Billy Bob Thornton's adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel. Matt Damon plays a young Texan who rides into Mexico looking for adventure. He finds trouble - and falls in love with the alluring daughter (Penelope Cruz) of a rancher. Henry Thomas and Lucas Black also star. DVD available. 112 minutes - although there are reports that Thornton's original cut lasted some four hours. PG-13, for violence, sexual situations and profanity.
"Wives and Daughters," a 1999 miniseries from the BBC, debuts on video. It's about sweet Molly Gibson and how her life is turned upside-down when her widowed father decides to remarry for the good of his daughter. Justine Wadell stars as Molly; the script, based on an unfinished novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, is by Andrew Davies, who also adapted "Pride and Prejudice" and "Bridget Jones's Diary." 300 minutes. No MPAA rating.
"In the Company of Spies," a Showtime movie directed by Tim Matheson, stars Elizabeth Arlen, Tom Berenger, Clancy Brown, Alice Krige and Ron Silver, in a tale of espionage and conspiracy involving the U.S. president. 104 minutes. PG-13.
Christopher Reeve's four "Superman" movies are finally out on DVD. They're also available in the mandatory box set, which gives you the 1978 original and "Superman II," the outstanding sequel from 1980, which some of us prefer to the original. But, unfortunately, you also end up with "III" and "IV."
Coming next week: "What Women Want."