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The Spotlight

Blues brothers 2000
The Wedding Singer
U.S. Marshals
Wild things
The Replacement Killers
Fallen

Blues brothers 2000 - Eighteen years ago, The Blues Brothers introduced us to Elwood and Jake Blues, and showcased a bevy of rhythm 'n' blues legends and a huge pile of crashed police cruisers. If you missed the first Blue Brothers, the film will seem original, if not, look for another astonishing roster of blues and R&B performers, from James Brown to Wilson Pickett to B.B. King to Aretha Franklin, and lots of car crashes. The talent-loaded Blues Brothers Band also is back in force. Co-creator Dan Aykroyd is back as lead character Elwood Blues - and as co-writer of the film with director John Landis, who also made the original.


The Wedding Singer - Restraint isn't a word usually associated with American comedian Adam Sandler, but in in this film he plays a character one could confidently invite to dinner without fear. Indeed, Sandler and the movie try to ingratiate with such transparent calculation that it sometimes spoils the fun. Yet there's sporadic fun to be had in this 1985 period piece, which casts Sandler as a sad sack who provides wedding reception song and patter for a $50 fee. The movie serves up '80s pop tunes and (half-heartedly) real-life events for anyone already sick of entertainment's ongoing '70s nostalgia boom.


U.S. Marshals* - You don't get the sense that too many enthusiasts are hanging up wanted posters for this ho-hum-ish movie, a gratuitous 2 1/4-hour spinoff of The Fugitive in which the villain is (oh, not again) the big, bad US government. There's no Harrison Ford, but Tommy Lee Jones is back sporting a scowl that can be obliterated only by the triumph of justice or a warehouse of Ex-Lax. The movie is basically a clip reel of action production numbers, though admittedly some of these are staged with a ta-da sense of showmanship. The film challenges credulity, starting with the lives Wesley Snipes' poorly written character uses up surviving plane crashes, gunplay, skyscraper leaps and even the snake that lurks ominously in a swamp pursuit scene. The whole movie feels recycled, which is, of course, laudable when putting out the trash. But filmmakers who do it usually end up with the same byproduct.


Wild things* - There are two ways to look at this movie ... if you have to look at it at all: It's a steamy film noir gone to seed or it's a soft-core porno flick with delusions of grandeur. Wild Things stars Scream queen Neve Campbell and Starship Trooper Denise Richards as Suzie and Kelly, two teen-age sex kittens from opposite sides of the track, entangled in a menage a trois and a murder mystery. The third part of their kinky triangle is Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon), their high school guidance counselor. Between the sessions when he presumably advises the students on where to apply for college, Sam romps in the sack with one or the other or both - and also enjoys observing their lesbian encounters.Director John McNaughton tries to layer Wild Things with cliched swamp ambiance to suggest we're all victims of our animal instincts. Each time somebody does something naughty, McNaughton cuts to a shot of Everglades wildlife, like alligators crawling into the slime.


The Replacement Killers - Chow Yun-Fat, a superstar of Hong Kong cinema, grabs a major foothold in Hollywood with his charismatic English-language debut in action-packed bonanza. To be honest, Chow doesn't have to say very much; his character is the strong, silent type who does most of his talking with twin pistols a-blazing. Chow plays Chinese immigrant John Lee, forced to be an assassin for a powerful Los Angeles mobster. The gangster has threatened to harm Lee's family back home if he doesn't comply. Lee is willing to do two "jobs" for the gangster, because the victims are criminals. He balks, though, when ordered to kill a police officer, especially when he discovers the cop is a family man.


Fallen - Denzel Washington has Fallen and he can't get up. Neither can his otherworldly suspense thriller, an unholy union between Seven and The Exorcist. Given its crack cast and the pedigree of those behind the scenes (director Gregory Hoblit of Primal Fear, writer Nicholas Kazan of Reversal of Fortune), Fallen could have been much better had its makers managed to crank up the creepy quotient without slipping into silliness.


Film Legend: (*) - Original Version (D) - Dubbed (SC) - Slovak/Czech (ET) - English Titles

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