What do you want? Maybe Mel?
Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt face off in a slickly made, audience-pleasing comedy that's new on video this week, but don't overlook a substantial foreign movie that's also making its video debut.
THIS WEEK'S RENT
"What Women Want," from director Nancy Myers, features a nimble performance from Gibson, playing an ad-agency hotshot and all-around male pig who accidentally gains the ability to read women's minds. Hunt plays a new antagonist at the ad agency. Alan Alda and Marisa Tomei also star. Myers, who also directed the remake of "The Parent Trap," brings her light and bubbly touch to the film. 126 minutes. DVD available. PG-13, parental guidance suggested for children 13 and under, for sexual situations, profanity and adult themes.
"Yi Yi," from Taiwan, won top honors at Cannes for director Edward Yang and was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar (losing, of course, to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). It follows three generations of an extended family in Taipei as they shake themselves out of various midlife and identity crises. In Cantonese, with English subtitles. 173 minutes, which is long but still only about 45 minutes longer than "What Women Want," so don't be put off by its length. A DVD version is available but may be hard to find in western Montana. No MPAA rating, but includes mature themes, sexual candor and profanity.
"Sunshine" stars Ralph Fiennes, tackling three roles in a saga that follows three generations of a Hungarian Jewish family as they make their way through the tumult of the 20th century. The cast also includes Rosemary Harris, Rachel Weisz and William Hurt. Oscar winner Istvan Szabo directed. 180 minutes, continuing this week's trend of long movies. DVD available. R, restricted, for violence, sexual situations, adult themes and profanity.
"The Interview," from Australia, stars Hugo Weaving of "The Matrix" in a tricky little drama about a seemingly innocent man who's carted off to an interrogation cell, where a surprising investigation unfolds. 103 minutes - hey, less than two hours! DVD available. No MPAA rating, but includes violence and profanity.
"Quills" features Geoffrey Rush, delivering a juicy performance as the Marquis de Sade, the notorious novelist and sexual deviant. The movie is set during the last years of his life, time he spent locked away in a French asylum. Director Philip Kaufman's cast includes Kate Winslet, Michael Caine and Joachin Phoenix. 123 minutes. DVD available. R, naturally, for sex, violence and nudity - Rush spends much of the movie naked.
"Duets," a dark comedy, stars Gwyneth Paltrow in a movie directed by her dad, Bruce. It's about some shady singers conning their way across the country in order to participate in a national karaoke championship. The cast also includes Andre Braugher, Maria Bello and Paul Giametti; former Bitterroot resident Huey Lewis also appears and sings with Gwyneth Paltrow. 113 minutes. DVD available. R, for drugs, violence, discreet nudity and sexual themes.
"Downward Angel" is about an assassin who must infiltrate a notorious syndicate to avenge the deaths of his parents. 97 minutes. DVD available. R, restricted, for violence, sexual themes and profanity.
"Incubus," an odd little cult item from 1965, retains its honor as the only movie ever made in the invented language of Esperanto. It features William Shatner, before "Star Trek," as a soldier who becomes the target of a beautiful female demon. Leslie Stevens, who created "The Outer Limits," wrote and directed, and the movie reportedly plays like a feature-length episode of that classic sci-fi series. 76 minutes. The DVD features commentary from Shatner. No MPAA rating.
"The Magnificent Seven," director John Sturges' 1960 remake of "The Seven Samurai," makes its debut on DVD this week. The disc includes a making-of documentary, and you can bet that Elmer Bernstein's great score sounds wonderful. James Coburn, who had 11 lines in the movie, is one of the folks who provides commentary. … The third season of "The X-Files" is now out on DVD in a seven-disc set that includes all 24 episodes, some deleted scenes (which can be reinserted into the episodes at the spots where they were cut; how cool is that?), a documentary about the show's background and short interviews with creator Chris Carter. The third season included "Apocrypha," "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" and "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space,' " the wonderful spoof episode with Charles Nelson Reilly that still ranks as the show's funniest hour.
Coming next week: "Antitrust," "Best in Show," "Pay It Forward" and "Carman the Champion."
Following is a partial schedule of upcoming movies on video and DVD. Release dates are subject to change:
15: Antitrust - MGM (also DVD)
15: The Beast - TriStar (DVD)
15: Best in Show - Warner (also DVD)
15: Bravo - Xenon (DVD)
15: Hangman - TriStar (DVD)
15: It's Raining on Santiago - Vanguard
15: Kept - TriStar (DVD)
15: Pay it Forward - Warner (also DVD)
22: Beautiful Joe - TriStar (DVD)
22: Brooklyn Babylon - Artisan (also DVD)
22: Forever Mine - MGM DVD)
22: Hullabaloo - MPI (DVD)
22: The Man Who Loved Woman - MGM
22: 3 Men and a Cradle - MGM
22: Music Scene - MPI (DVD)
22: QB VII - TriStar (also DVD)
22: Vertical Limit - TriStar
22: Requiem for a Dream - Artisan
22: The Wild Child and Pauline at the Beach - MGM
29: A Few Good Men - TriStar (DVD)
29: The Celluloid Closet - TriStar (DVD)
29: Close Encounters of the Third Kind - TriStar (DVD)