Directed by Garry Marshall, Beaches is a story about two 11-year-old girls who meet on the beach in Atlantic City and continue to keep in touch and weather the challenges of adult life throughout the years. The film is best remembered for its ability to turn on your waterworks, but the best thing about it is that it doesn't sugarcoat what really happens in a friendship, like the one between CC Bloom (Bette Midler) and her best friend, Hillary Whitney, (Barbara Hershey). Beaches is a moving story, filled with camaraderie, jealousy, glory, pain, and forgiveness.
In Mira Nair's (Monsoon Wedding) adaptation 19th-century Europe meets the cultural vibrancy of India. Reese Witherspoon stars as the ambitious heroine, Becky Sharp, one of literature's most intriguing and complex female characters. With nothing but wit, beauty, and sensuality at her disposal, Sharp travels on her scheme-filled journey to the height of society, only to find that the destination is as morally low as the gutter from which she came. Gabriel Bryne joins the cast as the devious Marquess of Steyne, along with James Purefoy as Rawdon Crawley. Witherspoon's performance is short of convincing, lacking a smooth transition from coyish girl to brazen coquette.
Sometimes the most memorable thing about a movie is its music. The Bodyguard is a prime example, and Warner Bros. celebrates its 13-year anniversary with a new two-disc Special Edition. Whitney Houston stars as Rachel Marron, a singing superstar whose life is threatened by a mysterious stalker. Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner), a former secret service agent, is hired as Rachel's reluctant bodyguard. The story starts off slow and in some ways is predictable, but the momentum eventually picks up and becomes an interesting whodunit to the very end. The romantic connection between Rachel and Frank isn't always convincing. Essentially, you are left with a moving story about a woman and the man who protects her.
Barret Oliver, Michael McKean, Mary Beth Hurt, Colleen Camp, Josef Sommer, Kathryn Walker, Danny Corkill. Directed by Simon Wincer. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital Mono. 100 minutes. 1985. Paramount 01810. PG. $14.99.
Voices of Miyoko Shoji, Shozo Iizuka, Hisako Kyoda. Directed by Satoshi Kon. Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese, with English and French subtitles). 87 minutes. 2003. DreamWorks Home Entertainment 90393. PG. $19.95.