These movies arrive on video store shelves this week.
(R, 1999, 125 minutes, Universal)
When rival groups of bounty hunters and ancient historians uncover the tomb of cursed, undead high priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) in Egypt, all hell breaks loose. The special effects in Stephen Sommers's movie may be exciting and the denizens of the dead pretty scary. But this overblown parody of desert epics and mummy horror films, starring Brendan Fraser, stumbles and screeches on for an interminable two hours. Worst of all is the pathetic romance between Fraser (a legionnaire manque who is seeking Imhotep's tomb) and Rachel Weisz as a meek, yet determined scholar called Evelyn. The story also introduces us to the most innocuous, stereotypical collection of conniving locals, eccentric oddballs and greedy bounty hunters ever assembled. Contains violence and comedy that should be considered armed and dangerous.
-- Michael O'Sullivan
(PG-13, 1999, 113 minutes, October Films)
In this masterful, lyrical drama, director Tony Bui uses the new Vietnam as atmospheric setting for four superbly interwoven stories. The film deals with the American experience through James Hager (Harvey Keitel), a Marine who returns to Saigon to trace the daughter he fathered. But most of the characters are Vietnamese, including Hai (Don Duong), a cyclo driver whose devotion (and free rides) to a working girl called Lan (Zoe Bui) is almost religious. We also meet the young Kien An (Nguyen Ngoc Hiep), a sweet-souled woman who joins a group of lotus sellers and whose song charms the heart of Dao (Tran Manh Cuong), the hermetic, leprous poet and teacher who is her boss. It's a privilege to be witness to such quietly fascinating and delicate chronicles and people. Contains sexual situations.
-- Desson Howe