Rating: NNNNNNew releases croupier (2000, Alliance Atlantis), dir. Mike Hodges w/ Clive Owen, Gina McKee. A novelist with writer's block (Owen).
croupier (2000, Alliance Atlantis), dir. Mike Hodges w/ Clive Owen, Gina McKee. A novelist with writer’s block (Owen) takes a job as a casino croupier to research a new novel and is cornered into helping plan a robbery. Screenwriter Paul Mayersberg penned an excellent script — the twists and turns are subtle but effective — and Hodges smartly cast the debonaire Owen, whose disdainful performance gives the film a cool, insouciant tone. NNNN
Big-screen rating: A meditation on the creative process. NNNN (JH)
finding forrester(2000, Columbia Tri-Star), dir. Gus Van Sant w/ Rob Brown, Sean Connery. Van Sant rips himself off by remaking Good Will Hunting, but this time a brilliant 16-year-old black kid from the Bronx (Brown) is befriended by a reclusive writer (Connery). The performances are strong, and Van Sant knows how to mould the male mentor material, but we can honestly say we’ve seen this all before. NN
Big-screen rating: Extremely well-crafted and acted, but a whore’s movie nonetheless. NN (JH)
little nicky (2000, Alliance Atlantis), dir. Steven Brill w/ Adam Sandler, Harvey Keitel. Devil’s spawn Sandler is sent to Earth to stop his brothers from wreaking havoc. Sandler’s luck has finally run out with this obnoxious comedy that delivers very few laughs. Maybe he’ll take a break and come up with a new movie persona, something other than the lost geek boy. N
Big-screen rating: Sandler gives a one-note performance that negates a fitfully funny movie. NN (KL)
urbania (2000, Blackwatch), dir. Jon Shear w/ Dan Futterman, Matt Keeslar. Futterman (The Birdcage) stars as a grieving gay man looking for a mysterious guy with a tattoo in New York’s Greenwich Village. It’s both a suspense drama and gay love story, but director Shear can’t get a handle on either, leaving audiences feeling unmoored. It’s an ambitious and original gay film — no coming-out confessions, thank you — that just doesn’t gel. NN
Big-screen rating: NN (IR)
Also this week
The Girl On The Bridge
The Serpent’s Kissrocky (1976, MGM), dir. John Avildsen w/ Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire. Strip this movie from the global empire it spawned and it stands up as a strong, simple story that gives all its characters room to come alive. The movie Stallone wrote and starred in is an unabashed hero’s tale, but it had enough grit to match the downbeat mid-70s movies it squashed at the box office. Compared to Gladiator, it’s Chekhov. MGM’s bells-and-whistles DVD includes a Stallone video commentary, an audio commentary and footage cut from the original release. MGM is also releasing a brick-sized “gift set” featuring all five Rocky movies — even the one with Mr. T. It’s your money. 119 minutes. NNNN – CAMERON BAILEY
Upcoming: All The Pretty Horses, The Emperor’s New Groove, Love, Honour And Obey, Miss Congeniality Duets, Sunshine, What Women Want.