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The Spotlight

THE RAINMAKER
THE GAME
PALMETTO
IN & OUT
AS GOOD AS IT GETS
BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI

THE RAINMAKER*

Like author John Grisham's page turners in any form, this often-broad comic view of the legal profession takes a fast train out of the brain once the end credits begin to roll. Yet it's probably the most enjoyable adaptation of a middling six-movie bunch, thanks in part to an apt choice of villains being pilloried here by a rookie Memphis attorney (Matt Damon). . In one of his best roles, Danny DeVito plays a frequent bar-exam failure helping Damon "work" hospitals for clients. A fair to middling flick for a rainy Sunday afternoon.


THE GAME*

This fantastic psychological thriller centers around Nicholas Van Orton, played by Michael Douglas, who is a wealthy San Francisco banker whose social life has all but disappeared. He is a loner doomed to spend another birthday by himself until his brother Conrad, played by Sean Penn, shows up to give him his birthday present. The present is a gift certificate from Consumer Recreation Services, which specializes in making boring lives interesting again.


PALMETTO*

Another film noir chump meets blond poison in the Florida-set Palmetto, and the casting of wry-witted Woody Harrelson as this bum-luck magnet is good for some mordant humor. It's crucial compensation, because director Volker Schlondorff brings scant dramatic urgency to a potentially nifty dissection of a badly botched felony. The big surprise here is the once reserved Elisabeth Shue. Liberated by Leaving Las Vegas, she now, from the looks of it, has the temperament to be jumping out of cakes at fraternity mixers. Certainly, her character is one rowdy Mrs. With the exception of a wild twist in the middle, the movie fizzles down the stretch, holding viewer's interest by Harrelson's pure charisma.


IN & OUT*

No To Wong Foo drag. No Birdcage fustiness. No AIDS-heavy theatrics. Full of topical belly laughs, homosexual-hip humor (Streisand gags galore) and comical cavorting, In is one coming-out party that aims to please nearly everyone. Directed by the hit-and-miss Frank Oz (What About Bob?), the story is inspired by Tom Hanks' Oscar speech for Philadelphia in 1994, when he thanked a gay teacher. A beloved drama coach (the divine Kevin Kline) at a small Midwestern high school is globally "outed" during the Academy Awards telecast by a former student (a blond Matt Dillon in a sly Brad Pitt-ish turn). Considering Kline is about to wed his slimmed-down fiancee (classy cutup Joan Cusack), who has withstood countless viewings of Funny Lady during their three-year engagement, the timing couldn't be worse.


AS GOOD AS IT GETS*

It's amazing the power women have over men - do you think they'll ever figure it out? Jack is well...pure Nicholson in this one. He plays a man with an annoyingly modern-sounding problem - "OCD," or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The always beautiful Helen Hunt is a waitress at a local coffee shop that Jack frequents, and she is basically the only person in his life who is willing to put up with his lunacy, which given Nicholson's nature, is played to the hilt. Greg Kinnear plays Jack's gay artist neighbour with a sly panache . All three of their lives are in disorder, and for most of the film, they struggle to put the pieces back together, together. A great flick, for which Nicholson and Hunt won Academy Awards on March 23 for Best Actor and Best Actress. But there's nothing here for the kids, so leave them at home.


BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI*

Playing at the Mladosť Theater for only five nights, this 1957 British war classic is the perfect antidote to too much saccharine Hollywood fare. Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn show why Leonard Di Caprio and Keanu Reeves should be forbidden ever to act again.


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

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