These movies arrive on video store shelves this week.
(R, 1999, 118 minutes, Columbia TriStar)
In this so-so thriller, Jeff Bridges plays Michael Faraday, a rumpled professor at George Washington University who teaches a course on global terrorism and thinks his new neighbors, Oliver and Cheryl Lang (Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack), might just be up to a little paramilitary mischief. Although screenwriter Ehren Kruger and director Mark Pellington make a perfunctory case for the Langs' innocence, there really isn't much doubt about the accuracy of Michael's suspicions. The film starts out with well-mounted menace, but it becomes increasingly overwrought and predictable. The middle and final sections of the movie have been written with less precision, perhaps because the filmmakers assumed the audience would be speeding along too quickly to require credibility. Contains strong language, a grotesque scene of flesh charring and a little punch-up violence. -- Desson Howe
MUPPETS FROM SPACE
(G, 1999, 82 minutes, Columbia TriStar)
In this passable, not particularly inspired Muppet movie, Gonzo becomes convinced his roots belong in outer space. And a series of signs convinces him it's time to phone home, or at least wait for his people to pick him up. With the usual suspects aboard -- including Kermit, Miss Piggy and Rizzo the Rat -- the story may be enough for the very young. But it whizzes by without much comic incident, not helped in the least by lackluster cameos from F. Murray Abraham, Andie McDowell and others. There's only one amusing character: a muppet called Pepe le Prawn who puts an "okay?" on the end of every sentence. Contains nothing particularly offensive. -- Desson Howe