(2000, Columbia TriStar), dir. Stefan Ruzowitsky w/ Franka Potente, Benno Fürmann. This tightly wound German thriller casts Potente (Run Lola Run's breakout star) as a medical student who stumbles across a secret society that conducts scientific research on live bodies. Writer/director Ruzowitsky (The Inheritors) updates Coma and gives it a creepier horror edge. (Look out for the skinless bodies.) Potente is Germany's hottest actor, and after this solid turn, expect to see her turn up in Hollywood product very soon. NNN
Big-screen rating: Straight-to-video
(1963, Fox), dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz w/ Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton. Once considered Hollywood’s greatest flop, Cleopatra did, in fact, earn back its official $40-million (some say $65-million) investment. But it didn’t survive the cutting room, and its original six-hour running time was cut to four. This special-edition video offers a newly restored print, a featurette on the making of the film – edited from the longer documentary available on the DVD version – and footage from the film’s premiere. Now, whether you manage to get through this hefty package is another story. No screening copy available.
The Legend of Bagger Vance
(2000, DreamWorks), dir. Robert Redford w/ Matt Damon, Will Smith. Even the most ardent Redford fans have to admit that this Zen golf tale starring Damon as a golden-boy golfer who regains his touch with the help of drifter/caddy Smith is a snoozer. Golf isn’t exactly fast-paced sporting entertainment, so you’ll only keep our interest with a poignant script and stellar acting. Oops. Damon, Smith and Charlize Theron sleepwalk through the movie, although they look damn good doing it. NN
Big-screen rating: Redford should get on with the business of filming the Land's End catalogue. NN (JH)
(2000, Walt Disney), dir. Kevin Lima w/ Glenn Close, Gérard Depardieu. I’m thinking Glenn Close was looking to buy some expensive beachfront property or invest in art. Why else would she agree to reprise her role as cartoon-inspired baddie Cruella De Vil in this sequel? It’s the money, baby. Depardieu has been know to slum before – Bogus, anyone? – but it’s sad to see Close ham it up alongside a bunch of spotty puppies. N
Big-screen rating: 102 Dalmatians has no business being a live-action film. NN (JH)
Also this week:
Bounce, Men Of Honor, South Park:Timmy, The Yards
Bamboozled, Billy Elliot, Hamlet, Funny Felix, Space Cowboys, Tigerland
DVD pick of the week
(Warner Brothers, 1979), dir. Hal Ashby w/ Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Jack Warden, Melvyn Douglas. Before there was Forrest Gump, there was Chance the Gardener, or Chauncy Gardner, as he comes to be known during his drift to the top. Ashby’s sly satire casts Sellers as a slow-witted servant who’s achieved a pure, naive clarity through a constant diet of TV. Taken for a genius, he becomes the president’s most valued adviser. Being There is based on Jerzy Kosinski’s novel, but this movie owes everything to Sellers’ subtle, disciplined performance, the last of his great ones. Warner’s DVD includes bios and the trailer, and subtitles in French, Spanish and Portuguese. 130 minutes.
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