These movies arrive on video store shelves this week.
LOST & FOUND
(PG-13, 1999, 100 minutes, Warner Brothers)
If the standards for feature films starring former "Saturday Night Live" cast members weren't already so low, you could be forgiven for thinking "Lost & Found" was dragging them down. In this witlessly tasteless film, "SNL" alum David Spade plays Dylan, a hapless restaurateur who's smitten with his lovely French neighbor, Lila (Sophie Marceau). In a craven bid for attention, Dylan kidnaps Lila's terrier so he can "find" the dog for her later. But, as anyone who's watched the NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me" knows, Spade is no actor. He's a quipper. So uncompromising is Spade's stand-up delivery that he seems to be wandering through the narrative under the mistaken impression that he's onstage at the Improv. But his xenophobic jibes and poop jokes probably wouldn't fare any better there than they do on the big screen. Contains adult situations and crude language.
-- Nicole Arthur
(R, 1999, 124 minutes, Twentieth Century Fox)
Mike Newell's movie about air traffic controllers turns New York's Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) center into a frat house full of wacked out geeks and cowboys who keep jumbo jets from crashing by day, then cheat on their wives or contemplate suicide by night. There's a crazy, entertaining middle section in which morally vulnerable controller Nick (likable John Cusack) faces off with Russell (Billy Bob Thornton), a new, half-Native American controller who likes to take things to the edge. Nick's wife (an assured Cate Blanchett), and Russell's (Angelina Jolie) also get caught up in the alpha male contest. But the film fairly explodes with character over-development, heavy-handed symmetry, absurd coincidences and a compulsive need to make sure even a low-IQ amoeba will get the point of every scene. Contains profanity, nudity and sexual situations.
-- Desson Howe
THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR
(R, 1999, 100 minutes, Columbia Tri-Star)
In this fascinating, ultimately flawed science fiction drama, computer researcher Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko) finds himself accused of murdering his boss (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a visionary who has created a virtual reality replica of Los Angeles in 1937. Douglas has to enter that virtual world to get to the bottom of the mystery. He must also figure out the agenda of Jane Fuller (Gretchen Mol), a beautiful woman who claims to be the late boss's daughter and heir. "The Thirteenth Floor," based on Daniel F. Galouye's "Simulacron 3," is full of provocative ideas and atmosphere. But the story's dramatic effectiveness starts to seriously malfunction. Eventually, the movie gets so caught up in its tortured stratagem, you'll feel as if you're stuck in some futuristic elevator between floors. Contains profanity, sexual situations and violence. -- Michael O'Sullivan
*THIS IS MY FATHER
(R, 1999, 120 minutes, Columbia Tri-Star)
After straying dangerously close to the cloying mannerisms of countless films set on the Emerald Isle, this tale of an Irish American schoolteacher (James Caan) and his trek to Ireland to find out who his father was quickly rights itself. After a short, modern-day prologue, the story jumps to 1939, where it becomes a moving story of doomed love between a 17-year-old colleen (Moya Farrelly) and a man old enough to be her father (Aidan Quinn). The real villain in the film -- written and directed by Quinn brother Paul and photographed by brother Declan -- is a morally rigid caricature of Irish Catholicism, but its grander message is not one of religious bashing but of the importance of our ancestors' legacies in our contemporary lives. Contains profanity, brawling and sexual situations.
-- Michael O'Sullivan