Here's the 'Pitch': Good choices
On an excellent week for new home videos, our pick is a no-frills sci-fi sleeper. But you'll find new releases for every taste this week. And every new release has a DVD version out this week as well.
THIS WEEK'S RENT
"Pitch Black" is a minimalist science-fiction picture from writer-director David Twohy (who also did "The Arrival," another small but smart sci-fi flick). Here, a spaceship carrying a vicious killer crash-lands on a planet where nasty creatures come out at night - and an eclipse is coming up soon. The cast includes Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser and Keith David. 109 minutes. R, for violence.
"Shanghai Noon" stars Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson in a flick about a Chinese imperial guard who travels to the Old West in search of a kidnapped princess (Lucy Liu). 105 minutes. PG-13, for sexual themes and Chan's slapstick-style martial-arts violence.
"Committed" features Heather Graham as a wife determined to keep her marriage to Luke Wilson on track - despite the fact that her husband has gone AWOL. 98 minutes. R, for adult themes, sexual themes and profanity.
"Love and Basketball" stars Omar Epps, Sanaa Lathan, Alfre Woodard and Debbi Morgan in a film that follows the romance between a pair of budding college-basketball stars. 124 minutes. R, for profanity, sexual themes.
"Time Code" is director Mike Figgis' digitally shot experiment in telling four real-time stories (the screen is split into quarters and each quarter follows one of the stories, so it'll be perfect for those 12-inch screens), all about Los Angeles residents going about their business and how their lives intersect. The big cast includes Stellan Skarsgard, Saffron Burrows, Salma Hayek, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Holly Hunter. 97 minutes. R, for adult themes, sexual situations, profanity and drug use.
"Rules of Engagement," a sturdy and old-fashioned military drama with Samuel Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones, is about a retired military lawyer who returns to court when an old friend is charged with the massacre of Arab civilians. William Friedkin directed. 123 minutes. R, for profanity, war violence.
"The Filth and the Fury," directed by Julien Temple, follows the seminal punk band the Sex Pistols through its two-year life in the late 1970s. Temple has unearthed concert footage, vintage video clips and has shot some new interviews. 108 minutes. R, for profanity and nudity.
"Franklin and the Green Knight," from the popular Nickelodeon show, follows the animated adventures of a turtle as he discovers that he's going to become a big brother in the spring and sets off, in knight garb, to end a relentless winter. 75 minutes. G.
"Hellraiser: Inferno," the fifth installment of the "Hellraiser" series, finds Pinhead back doing nasty things to nasty people. Craig Sheffer - a long way removed from the days when he co-starred in "A River Runs Through It" - stars, along with Nicholas Turturro. 90 minutes. R, for violence, profanity, nasty people with long needles stuck in their heads.
"Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World" make their debuts this week on DVD; each disc is loaded with additional features. Also out on DVD this week are "The Brothers McMullen" and "She's the One," the first two movies from director Edward Burns, who talks about how he made the flicks. "McMullen," of course, was made by Burns for some $25,000 using a cast that agreed to work without pay and his parents' house as the main set. The actors often had to share clothes on the shoot, and Burns' commentary apparently tracks a particular flannel shirt as it flows from character to character. Two wonderful efforts from director Henry Selick, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "James and the Giant Peach" also have made their DVD debuts.