baby boy (2001, Columbia TriStar) dir. John Singleton w/ Tyrese Gibson, Ving Rhames. Twenty-year-old Jody (Gibson) lives at home with his mom in South Central L.A. although he has two kids by two separate women. Ten years ago, Singleton gave us his best film, the seminal Boyz N The Hood. Baby Boy is his worst film yet, a misogynist, scattershot look at the plight of African-American men, who, according to this film, can only reach maturity through acts of violence. NN
Big-screen rating: Worthwhile for the performances of rappers Gibson and Snoop Dogg. NNN (JH)
legally blonde (2001, MGM/UA) dir. Robert Luketic w/ Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson. Witherspoon stars as ultra-perky, super-popular sorority gal Elle Woods, who gets into Harvard Law School to try to win back her boyfriend (Wilson). Elle is not a dumb blond, which is why this smart comedy (written by the female team who gave us the clever 10 Things I Hate About You) works so well. She's sweet, charming and very funny, and it's the hidebound law-school milieu that's the object of our derision. Witherspoon nails the part, the antithesis of the role she played in Election. NNN
Big-screen rating: NNN (IR)
Also this weekAlso this week
The Golden Bowl
Tales Of The Kama Sutra: Monsoon
America's Sweethearts, crazy/beautiful, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Apocalypse Now: Redux, The Matrix Revisted, Planet Of The Apes
DVD picks of the weekDVD picks of the week
star trek the motion picture: the director's cut (1979, Paramount) dir. Robert Wise w/ William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy. Paramount rushed the first Star Trek movie into theatres, which meant some of the then cutting-edge special effects were never included in the final cut. Wise has recut the film to incorporate those effects -- which include more shots of the Enterprise in dry dock -- and digitally remastered the sound mix. This fully loaded two-disc package is designed for hardcore Trekkies.
Three documentaries on the making of the film, trailers, eight TV commercials, five additional scenes, 11 deleted scenes, storyboards, commentary by Wise, special effects whizzes Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra, composer Jerry Goldsmith and actor Stephen Collins. 136 minutes. NNNN
zelig (1983, MGM/UA) dir. Woody Allen w/ Allen, Mia Farrow. Pitched somewhere between Henry James and Forrest Gump, Allen's Leonard Zelig is a nebbish chameleon who insinuates himself into the lives of everyone from Babe Ruth to Adolf Hitler, sparking a pop-culture craze in his wake. He's a man badly in need of interpretation, so this film is part mock-doc, part madcap comedy. Allen puts his devotion to 1930s movie vocabulary to best use here, corralling dazzling and persuasive visual effects -- all done without computers!
Typically, Allen's discs are curmudgeonly when it comes to goodies, including only subtitles in English, French and Spanish. But Zelig is part of a six-disc collection of his excellent mid-80s work, including Hannah And Her Sisters and Broadway Danny Rose. 79 minutes. NNNN