KISS THE GIRLS*
This turns out to be one high-profile serial killer movie too many after The Silence of the Lambs, Copycat and Seven - adding little to a genre, which, even at its best, can be queasy and exploitative. Even those engrossed by the build-up here are likely to kiss off the rest after suffering through Girls' groaner of a wrap-up. Morgan Freeman and Ashly Judd are well-cast, but this adequately assembled thriller is more clinical than emotional, limiting even its better actors to establishing their competence and little more.
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.
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.
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. Douglas and Penn turn in outstanding performances, and so does Deborah Unger as Christine. There are many clichés that might serve for this movie - nail-biter, edge-of-your-seat thriller. But only one really fits - a must-see film.
Though ship and ice don't meet until 100 minutes in, Titanic is the one long movie in recent memory that you can easily sail through with a minimum of wristwatch checks. Once all hell and not a few wood chunks break loose, the script shrewdly contrives a way for the lovers - actors Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio - to be both topside and below deck in the flooding, where Winslet's first-class traveler wouldn't otherwise be. Titanic won 11 Oscars, including "Best Picture," tying Ben Hur for the most ever.
ONE NIGHT STAND*
Mike Figgis, whose big career payoff came with the 1995 bittersweet serenade to self-destruction Leaving Las Vegas, is a regular one-man band when it comes to stylish, moody moviemaking. In One Night Stand, the British director/writer/co-producer/composer jazzily riffs on a familiar theme - the cheating spouse - with the hypnotic ease of a Miles Davis trumpet solo. The acting hits all the right notes, especially too-often-coasting Wesley Snipes as a married man drawn into a fling with a stranger (Nastassja Kinski).
Film Legend: (*) - Original Version (D) - Dubbed (SC) - Slovak/Czech (ET) - English Titles
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