Michelle Pfeiffer Plays a Marine Turned Teacher

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Tuckman

New on home video this week:

"Dangerous Minds" . . . 1/2 (1995, Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 99 minutes, Rated R-language; no suggested retail):

Michelle Pfeiffer stars in this smash box office hit as LouAnne Johnson, a former Marine who becomes a high-school teacher for a class of streetwise students.

Seeking innovative and unique ways to reach her undisciplined students, LouAnne breaks the rules and creates her own curriculum that includes cajoling and bribing her class into learning.

As her students slowly come around to appreciate and understand her unconventional methods, LouAnne teaches them the most important lesson of all - self-respect.

Thriller

"Virtuosity" . . 1/2 (1995, Paramount, 105 minutes, Rated R-language, violence; no suggested retail):

This film adds a new dimension to the cyber thriller with awesome special effects and SID 6.7, a villain (Russell Crowe) ingeniously conceived for virtual reality, but who gets a real rush when after he first kills in the real world.

SID stands for Sadistic, Intelligent and Dangerous, a composite of the world's most vicious murderers used in the training of law enforcement personnel in 1999 Los Angeles.

Denzel Washington stars as Parker Barnes, an ex-cop languishing in prison. He has a personal stake in Sid's capture.

The terrifying chase that ensues breaks the barriers between cyberspace and the streets of Los Angeles. The high-tech wizardry portrayed in the film comes from new advances in both virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Family

"The Amazing Panda Adventure" . . 1/2 (1995, Warner, 85 minutes, Rated PG; $19.98):

The whole family will enjoy this heart-warming and thrilling story about one of the world's most elusive animals, the panda, and the two young people who overcome hardship to save the critter.

Ten-year-old Ryan Tyler (Ryan Slater) arrives in China to visit his father, a naturalist specializing in the Great Panda. In a remote panda reserve, poachers trap a mother panda and her new baby.

In the ensuing melee, Ryan becomes separated from his father and must make his way home with his newfound Chinese friends and their precious cargo, the baby panda.

Drama

"Beyond Rangoon" . . . (1995, Columbia TriStar, 100 minutes, Rated R-language, violence; no suggested retail):

Patricia Arquette stars in this intense and riveting fact-based drama. She plays Laura Bowman, a young American doctor traveling through Burma to forget the pain of the recent murder of her husband and son.

After witnessing a pro-democracy demonstration, she befriends an elderly former professor who promises to take her beyond the capital city of Rangoon to see a true portrait of the people. …