But sensuous lensing of dazzling architecture, handsome interior design and inspiring views cannot overcome the unrelentingly grim chronicle of Lector's debasement of his many victims. Perceived as grand opera by director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Alien) and abetted by Hopkins' regal bearing and courtly language, Hannibal 's conceit is that it's high art to the low art of the slasher flicks it most resembles emotionally. This picture more than earns its R rating for "strong, gruesome violence" 4 nobody under 17 is the rule, and it should be enforced.
The opening sequence is a montage shot in black-and-white. Look closely and you may see the pigeons in the plaza very, very briefly form the ominous face of Lector. It is the absolutely correct image to introduce the film. Much more than Silence, this film is obsessionally devoted to the cannibal, while Clarice, the moral center of the film, is relegated to a considerably less influential position.
The first half-hour of the film shows what's become of Clarice, who works with jealous misogynists in the bureau and law enforcement, such as Justice's Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta), who's determined to break her. In charge of a stakeout in a crowded market, Clarice's authority is challenged by renegade agents who take over the operation. In a kill or be-killed shoot-out, she is forced to take out a vicious woman suspect whose baby is strapped to her body. Her career in shambles, Clarice receives an unwelcome communication from Lector that he's ready to enter public life again.
Now the race is on to find him before he kills again, but Clarice is not alone in her quest. Disfigured by his own hand while guided by psychologist Lector many years earlier, Mason Verger (played by a famous, uncredited actor) lives an opulent but twisted existence based on the desire to avenge his grotesque appearance by killing Lector. And he has some really nasty ideas about how to do it. With money no problem, Verger connects with the former hospital orderly in charge of Lector, Barney (Frankie R. Faison), and with a policeman in Florence who's recognized the cannibal, Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini). Pazzi is frankly ambitious and needs the hefty reward to better please his trophy wife, Allegra (Francesca Neri).
Meanwhile, we get our first look at Lector. He still has that familiar, wispy smile half-playing on his lips and an icy gaze that eclipses the Italian sun. But now a respected academic, Dr. Fell is curator of a small, prestigious museum. Surrounding this monster with the art and history of civilization insults, as it reduces the pinnacle of human expression to mere furbelows and geegaws that hide a fiend's soullessness.
Lector is hungry for diversions, and Thomas Harris, author of the book on which the screenplay is based, is ready to supply them. Skewed toward the flamboyant and creepy and away from the suspenseful and mysterious, Harris's sensationalistic sequel results in an escalation of weirdness in Scott's movie. Some twists in this sorry enterprise not only defy logic and credulity but also add nothing new to the now mythic stature of this aberrant, perverse killer.
Trust me: You can skip this movie and miss nothing of value. A wildy successful commercial venture, Hannibal drew gullible fans who spent $58 million its first weekend, making it the third-biggest three-day film opening ever (after Jurassic Park and the Star Wars prequel) and the largest-ever for an R-rated film. Hollywood, which worships money, gets the message: Barbarity sells. Look for more horror shows masquerading as art, a freakish reversal of the glory of great cinema.
Hannibal is now showing at Cinema World and Cinemark. Caveat emptor.
Divine Trash: Steve Yeager's Sundance-prize-winning documentary on filmmaker John Waters includes interviews with Waters' parents, cast members from his early movies, and other filmmakers including Jim Jarmusch and Paul Morrissey. "A passionate contagion for the practice of independent filmmaking" (Austin Chronicle). At 8 pm Feb. 17 at 180 PLC. UO Queer Film Festival. $8 student, $10 general.
Down to Earth: Chris Rock gets sent to Heaven by mistake. A heavenly agent tries to fix things by lending him the body of a recently murdered Manhattan mogul. Also stars Regina King, Mark Addy, Frankie Faison and Chazz Palminteri. PG-13. Cinema World. Cinemark.
400 Blows, The: Francois Truffaut's 1959 groundbreaking, semi-autobiographical film about a rebellious 12-year old boy jump-started his career. A classic of world cinema. At 7 pm Feb 21 in 180 PLC. Free.
Lonely Are the Brave: David Miller's 1962 film based on Edward Abbey's novel, Brave Cowboy, stars Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau and George Kennedy. Videohound calls it "a compelling, sorrowful essay on civilized progress and exploitation of nature." Not rated. At 7 pm Feb 17, Lorane Grange Hall #54, Lorane, Oregon. $7
102 Dalmatians: Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close) is back, and this time she's got a partner in crime Jean Pierre Le Pelt (Gerard Depardieu). Live action comedy from Disney. G. Movies 12.
Recess: School's Out: Animated Disney film's about a plot to create permanent winter, thus doing away with summer vacation! G. Cinemark. Cinema World.
Rugrats in Paris: Stu Pickles, his brood and the Finsters go to Paris while he works on EuroReptarland, a new amusement park. Tommy Pickles leads the Rugrats on adventures to solve the mysteries of life and to help Chuckie Finster find the right mom now that his dad is dating again. G. Movies 12.
Sweet November: Pat O'Connor directs this romantic drama about workaholic exec (Keanu Reeves) who falls in love with a unique woman (Charlize Theron). They begin a one-month trial relationship 4 no expectations, no strings attached. PG-13. Cinema World. Cinemark.
Twenty-six Days in the Life of Dostoevsky: Russian-language film shows
at 6:30 pm Feb. 20 in 115 Pacific Hall. Not rated. Free.
Cast Away: Fed Ex manager Tom Hanks (Academy Award nominee best actor) learns to survive when he washes up on a remote tropical island after his plane crashes. Helen Hunt is the girlfriend he left behind. Intimate direction by Robert Zemeckis, a lean script by William Broyles Jr., and an edgy performance by Hanks. Highly recommended. Nominee for best sound. PG-13. Cinemark.
Charlie's Angels: Elite private investigators Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore), and Alex (Lucy Liu) can handle anything on land, sea or air with up-to-the-minute martial arts skills, futuristic vehicles, high-tech tools and toys, and a raft of crafty disguises. Also stars Bill Murray. PG-13. Movies 12.
Chocolat: Best picture nominee directed by Lasse Hallström (Cider House Rules) stars Juliette Binoche (best actress nom), Johnny Depp and Judi Dench (supporting actress nom). It's about the scandal a sexy, free spirited woman causes in a small town when she opens a chocolate shop. Robert Nelson Jacobs nominated for best adapted screenplay, Rachel Portman for original song, Sinful! PG-13. Cinemark.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Ang Lee's cinematic masterpiece, this romantic fantasy set in ancient China involves intrigue, poison darts, a pirate of the dunes, a witch, a magic sword, fabulous women fighters and beautiful, ballet-like martial arts that transcend gravity. Ten Academy Award nominations: best picture, best director, best foreign film, best adapted screenplay, art direction, cinematography, original song, costumes and film editing. Stars Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun Fat, Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen. Superlative! PG-13. Bijou. Cinemark.
Dude, Where Is my Car?: Danny Leiner's one-joke comedy is about a couple of dudes who get too drunk to remember where they parked the car. PG-13. Movies 12.
Dungeons and Dragons: Fantasy adventure stars Jeremy Irons and Thora Birch (American Beauty), based on the popular game. Courtney Solomon directs. PG-13. Movies 12.
Emperor's New Groove, The: Disney animation, Sting's music (Academy Award nominee best original song), and the voices of David Spade, Eartha Kitt and John Goodman enliven this tale of a young emperor who is turned into a llama and learns to be nicer to others. G. Cinemark.
Family Man: Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) directs Nic Cage, Téa Leoni and Don Cheadle in this fantasy of an unmarried investment banker who sees what his life could have been had he married his only love. PG-13. Movies 12.
Finding Forester: Gus Van Sant's latest film is badly written by Portlander Mike Rich. Sean Connery plays a reclusive novelist and 16-year old newcomer Robert Brown plays the super-bright teen who brings him back to the world. With Anna Paquin and Busta Rhymes. Film reprises themes of Good Will Hunting without adding anything new, but audience loved it. PG-13. Cinemark.
Hannibal: Ridley Scott (Gladiator) chronicles Hannibal Lector's inevitable return in this gruesome sequel to Silence of the Lambs. Stars Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins reprising his role as the infamous cannibal. Script by David Mamet, Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List). Bloodsoaked, creepy movie earns its R-rating. R. Cinemark. Cinema World. See review this issue.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Madcap Jim Carrey brings to life Dr. Seuss's green grinch who wants to keep Christine Baranski, Molly Shannon and Bill Irwin and others from celebrating Christmas. Directed by Ron Howard. Academy Award nom for makeup. PG. Movies 12.
Jungle Cat: Local filmmaker Jason Crum's independent feature tells the story of a bouncer (Crum), a dancer (Mindy Nirenstein), a club owner (Jerry McGill), and a bad tempered used car dealer (Lewis Dreyfuss). They're all looking for lost gold. Not rated. Last show 2 pm Feb. 17. Bijou.
Little Nicky: Adam Sandler plays the shy, awkward son of the Devil who loves heavy metal but has two older brothers who are bullies. When they make trouble in New York, Nicky and a foul-mouthed talking dog go to the city to restore the balance between Good and Evil. PG-13. Movies 12.
Meet the Parents: Ben Stiller plays the unfortunate prospective son-in-law to Robert Di Niro's overly protective father. Directed by Jay Roach, the film also stars Teri Polo and Blythe Danner as the engaged daughter and her mother. Academy Award nominee for best original song. PG-13. Movies 12.
Miss Congeniality: Dubious comedy stars Sandra Bullock as an FBI agent posing as a beauty contestant, Miss New Jersey. Directed by Donald Petrie, flick also stars Benjamin Bratt, Michael Caine and William Shatner. PG-13. Cinemark.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Ethan and Joel Coen's feel-good Depression-era comedy is their best ever. This Odyssey stars George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson as chain-gang escapees in Mississippi, and the whole wild show is an homage to old timey music and the folk traditions from which it springs. Also with John Goodman. One of the very best films of the year, it gets the highest recommendation. Academy Award nominations for best adapted screenplay and cinematography. PG-13. Cinema World.
Proof of Life: Russell Crowe is a special agent for kidnap and ransom who gets involved with the wife (Meg Ryan) of a hostage (David Morse) in this romantic drama set in South America. Directed by Taylor Hackford (Dolores Claiborne, The Devil's Advocate). R. Movies 12.
Remember the Titans: Football movie based on the true story of a 1971 Virginia high school falling apart from racial conflict until a black coach (Denzel Washington) from out of town pulls them together. Directed by Boaz Yakin, it also stars Will Patton and Kip Pardue. PG. Movies 12.
Save the Last Dance for Me: Talented white girl from small town (Julia Stiles) enrolls in an inner city high school in New York where she falls for a popularAfrican American boy (Sean Patrick Thomas) who also loves to dance. She has a chance to dance ballet, but he prefers hip-hop. PG-13. Cinemark.
Saving Silverman: Buddies Steve Zahn and Jack Black try to prevent their best friend (Jason Biggs) from marrying a woman he doesn't love (Amanda Peet) when he should be marrying his high school sweetie (Amanda Detmer). PG-13. Cinema World. Cinemark.
Snatch: Writer, director Guy Ritchie's (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) comedy features an ensemble cast in the wild tale of a diamond heist gone sideways. It's a rollicking ride through London's gangster world starring Benicio Del Toro (Traffic), Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Jason Statham and Stephen Graham. R. Cinema World. Cinemark.
Traffic: Steven Soderbergh's acclaimed new film takes a hard look at the complexities of drug interdiction programs. With an all-star, ensemble cast that includes Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Erica Christensen. Brilliant directing, excellent script and dynamite performances make this the best film of 2000 (so far). Five Academy Award nominations: Best picture, best director for Soderbergh, best supporting actor for Golden Globe winner Del Toro, best adapted screenplay and film editing. R. Cinemark. Cinema World.
Vertical Limit: Action adventure tale of a former mountain climber who has to save a sibling trapped at 26,000 feet. Chris O'Donnell is the traumatized ex-climber, Robin Tunney is his sis. Directed by Martin Campbell. PG-13. Movies 12.
Wedding Planner, The: Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey star in this romance about a San Francisco wedding planner (Lopez) who meets the man of her dreams when a handsome pediatrician (McConaughey) saves her from a near-fatal collision with a runaway dumpster. PG-13. Cinema World. Cinemark.
What Women Want: Mel Gibson stars as an accident victim who can suddenly
hear the private thoughts of women. The women in question include Helen Hunt, Marisa
Tomei and Lauren Holly. PG-13. Cinemark.
Humanite: Bruno Dumont's surreal, two-and-a-half hour long film was the sensation at Cannes '99. Without cinematic tricks, he creates and sustains a deliberate, accusative gaze that makes all humanity complicit in the brutal rape and murder of a child. Film opens with an unblinking gaze at girl's corpse. A plodding detective (Emmanuel Schotte) investigates the murder and desires sex with his beautiful neighbor (Severine Caneele). NR.
Nurse Betty: Neil LaBute's comic crime story concerns a small-town waitress played by Renée Zellweger. She witnesses the murder of her abusive husband (Aaron Eckhart) but post-traumatic stress blots out her memory, and she amiably heads for Los Angeles, where her favorite soap-opera doctor (Greg Kinnear) lives. On the road, she's followed by hit men Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock. Great performances by all. Too acerbic for sentimentality. Terrific. R.
Wonderland: Michael Winterbottom's uncynical slice-of-life drama tracks three London sisters, their parents and other family through a few days in their ordinary lives. Stars Shirley Henderson, Gina McKee, Molly Parker, Kika Markham and Jack Shepherd. Director gets beautiful, natural performances from his actors, and film's bittersweet charm is full of hope. Winner of the 1999 British Independent Film Award. Highly recommended. R.
Next week: Broken Hearts Club, The Contender, The Little Vampire, Meet