New on DVD this week

Love in the Time of CholeraLove in the Time of Cholera (Alliance)

It took 22 years to transfer the Oprah-endorsed and much-loved literary romance to the big screen; however, even at 138 minutes, their still seems to be holes in the story.

Florentino Ariza (Javier Bardem) fell in love with Fermina Urbino (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) the moment he laid eyes on her in 1879. But when the pair is kept apart, he vows to wait as long as necessary to be with her. Florentino clings to this love for 51 years, nine months and four days until circumstances once again give the couple the opportunity to live out their romance.

The plot jumps several years at a time with no indication of how much time has passed. The characters age through the use of makeup and prosthetics, but the South American heat is not kind to this classic movie effect which makes it look sloppy at times.

Although the story is charming, the translation moves too quickly through their lives causing the narrative to appear incomplete. The deleted scenes/alternate opening fill in some of the gaps but is still unable to redeem the picture. On the other hand, the recreation of turn of the century Columbia is beautiful and “The Making of” feature sheds light on the reception they received in the precarious country.

The SickhouseThe Sickhouse (Alliance)

Halfway through watching this movie, I gave up asking my couch-mate "What's going on?"

The gist is fairly simple: An archeologist's (Gina Philips) excavation of a 17th century plague hospital is about to be shut down so she sneaks in the night before to try and gather evidence proving the existence of the Cult of the Black Priest. They are legendary plague doctors said to have done horrific things. Meanwhile, a group of teenagers take refuge in the old building after one is injured in an accident. But when midnight strikes, the hospital becomes no place for the sick or well.

However, as the movie progresses, the audience is never given enough information to assemble the pieces themselves; instead, they are left in constant confusion, unsure of how one event connects to another. The veil is only lifted when the archeologist explains an item she has uncovered in a hidden room. Then the overall picture becomes clearer but individual onscreen events still make little sense.

The atmosphere is generally creepy and particular scenes are disturbing but anyone knows good horror movies have more than just ambiance. The filmmakers developed a lucrative idea but the director's attempts at stylization results in overkill and perplexity. Furthermore, there are no extra features to provide any clarification.

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