Wild About Harry
of the missing magic.
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE:
Directed by Chris Columbus. Written by Steve Kloves; based on the
novel by J.K. Rowling. Produced by David Heyman. Executive producers,
Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, Michael Barnathan, Duncan Henderson.
Cinematography, John Seale. Production design, Stuart Craig. Editor,
Richard Francis-Bruce. Music, John Williams. Visual effects, Robert
Legato. Costumes, Judianna Makovsky. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert
Grint and Emma Watson, with John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith,
Richard Harris, John Hurt, Alan Rickman and Julie Walters. Also, Warwick
Davis, Richard Griffiths, Ian Hart, Fiona Shaw. Warner Bros., 2001.
146 minutes. PG.
Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), and Hermione
Granger (Emma Watson) solve the mystery..
The sheer entertainment value of this
very long film's first hour is enchanting, especially a magical trip
to London. On his 11th birthday, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is whisked
away from home and unpleasant relatives by Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane),
sent to fetch him to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They
travel through a contemporary London store that opens into a street
of shops Charles Dickens would have recognized. Charming period details
firmly anchor the tale in a literary, imaginative England, especially
the deliciously tart Goblin bank tellers in a particularly creaky
and dank vision of a repository for old money.
Class is the subtle subtext for what becomes a prep-school
adventure story, with magic as its primary feature. Harry has learned
his parents were murdered by an evil wizard and that he's a wizard
himself. When this consummate outsider is thrown into Hogwarts society,
he bonds with a crafty scholarship boy, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint),
and a smarty-pants girl, Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). He instinctively
knows what to do when he meets Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), a smarmy,
upper-caste snob with a pinch of real meanness in him.
The school is run by a number of juicy characters
amply fleshed out by some of Britain's finest actors. Professor Dumbledore
(Richard Harris) is the headmaster and chief wizard. Professor McGonagall
(Maggie Smith) is a strict but kindly disciplinarian. Professor Quirrell
(Ian Hart) seems much too timid to teach a class on Defense Against
the Dark Arts. Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) is the arrogant teacher
of potions whose every gaze drips with icy intelligence and venom.
The film's central weakness is Harry's abrupt transition
from being an unloved, picked-upon servant in his relatives' home
to a wealthy boy wizard who seeks revenge for his parents' deaths.
We do not see his anger, nor is there any scene that brings these
However, the heart of the film is revealed briefly
when Dumbledore warns the boy about spending too much time with the
Mirror of Erised. The magic mirror has become Harry's solace, because
there he sees loving, lifelike images of his parents, the three of
them together as a family. Dumbledore helps Harry see that his longing
for family will prevent him from living out his own heroic fate. We've
most famously seen this scene before between Luke Skywalker (Mark
Hamill) and Obie Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) in Star Wars, but
it is movingly done here.
Nevertheless, the film is way too long. Bland Harry's
inner life remains a blank. The film's final 80 minutes or so contains
increasingly predictable heroics goosed up by special effects. Emotional
truth makes film work on all levels, but as Hogwarts' moving staircases
show, you can't always get there from here. Now playing at Cinemark
and Cinema World.
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MONSTERS, INC.: Directed
by Pete Docter. Co-Directed by Lee Unkrich, David Silverman. Written
by Andrew Stanton, Daniel Gerson; based on an original story by Pete
Docter, Jill Culton, Jeff Pidgeon, Ralph Eggleston. Produced by Darla
K. Anderson. Executive Producers, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton. Music,
Randy Newman. Story supervision, Bob Peterson. Editor, Jim Stewart.
Technical director, Thomas Porter. Production design, Harley Jessup,
Bob Pauley. Animators, Glenn McQueen, Rich Quade. Lighting, Jean-Claude
J. Kalache. Sound design, Gary Rydstrom. Voices: John Goodman, Billy
Crystal, Mary Gibbs, with Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly.
Disney/Pixar, 2001. G. 88 minutes.
(Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) on the floor of Monsters,
This is the first Pixar (A Bug's Life, Toy Storys)
animated film I've actively disliked. It's also the first not directed
by the great John Lasseter, so I don't know if my beef with Monsters,
Inc. has to do with Pete Docter's debut direction or with Pixar's
business arrangement with Disney. It feels more like a conformity-inducing
cookie-cutter Disney film for kids than a heartfelt Pixar film for
adults that kids will love too.
One of the reasons is that Monsters is like
a techno-savvy but heartless commercial. Monsters, Inc. is a huge
factory-like workplace, with large mechanical devices that deliver
doors to the work stations of pastel colored creatures. These critters
open the doors, which turn out to be closet doors, go inside the rooms
of sleeping kids and scare them awake. The factory records the kids'
screams, which provide lights and power for the city of Monstropolis.
It's a metaphor for how big corporations such as Disney
exploit kids in a movie market that's lucrative but needs to be juiced
up over time. Delivered right into their homes, sophisticated television
commercial messages encourage kids to coerce their parents into taking
them to see a particular movie and into buying specific brand-name
products marketed by the studios. That income stream provides the
energy to run the studio for awhile.
Now there's an energy shortage in Monstropolis, thus
a contest between MI's scare master, Sulley (voice John Goodman),
and his chief competitor, Randall (Steve Buscemi), to see who can
collect the greatest number of kids' screams. The competitiveness
shows Randall resorting to dirty tricks to win, while Sulley just
wants to get rid of a 3-year old girl, Boo (Mary Gibbs), who has invaded
the factory by stealth. Maybe when the money isn't coming in to the
studio as fast as it should, kiddie exploitation takes on a competitive
edge where anything goes.
Sulley's side-kick is a round green monster with one
eye and a smart mouth named Mike (Billy Crystal). I don't like how
Mike relates to Sulley. Despite appearances, this is the same loud-mouthed,
shallow, movie producer or agent-type character -- a real tantrum
thrower -- who appears in nearly every recent Disney movie. It's
boring, an idea that was always bankrupt. Kids don't need egoistic
verbal bullies glorified.
Likewise, the star treatment given Sulley in the factory
mirrors the ego-boosting that sports, movies, television and music
icons receive from fans all the time. It's as dated and irrelevant
as bullying, and just as inappropriate in helping growing kids find
a way to be in the real world.
Boo, however, is pure joy. Like actual toddlers, Boo
stays busy, busy, busy -- entertaining herself, laughing with
delight and enjoying the world she has entered. She outsmarts Mike
and Sulley, easily eluding the nets they set to catch her. Boo is
winsome, not cute. When Sulley actually sees the anger he projects
when he "scares" kids, he is ashamed and sincerely tries to make things
right with Boo, who's become afraid of him. That's the best moment
in the movie. Hope parents catch it.
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Films open the Friday following date of EW
publication unless otherwise noted.
2001: A Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick's classic
futuristic film from 1968 is about astronauts on a space voyage to
Jupiter that's been taken over by a computer, HAL 9000, which they
must stop. Beautiful special effects and Kubrick's choice of music
add to film's mystical appeal. Not rated. At 7 pm on 11/28 in 180
Apocalypse Now Redux: Last chance to see Francis
Ford Coppola's 1979 hallucinogenic Vietnam War epic on the big screen.
Remastered and recut from original dailies by Coppola and film's editor,
Walter Murch, it's brilliant. Entirely new sequences help humanize
the minor characters. Stars. Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando,
Frederic Forrest, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, Sam Bottoms and
Albert Hall. Runs 196 minutes. Highest recommendations. R. Bijou.
Black Knight: Martin Lawrence stars in Gil
Junger's comedy about a theme park called Medieval World with a portal
that opens into England of the 1300s. You know who crawls through
and has to live by his wits. PG-13. Cinema World. Cinemark.
Glitter: Mariah Carey stars in this somewhat
autobiographical movie about a young singer who has to overcome her
awful childhood to grow up and find herself. Also stars Max Beesley.
PG-13. Movies 12.
Night of the Shooting Stars, The: 1982 Italian
film directed by Paola and Vittorio Taviani is a beautiful, poignant
WWII story about the split in a village between supporters of the
Fascists and those whose loyalties lie with the Allies. Won Cannes
'82 Grand Jury Prize. R. At 7 pm on 11/27 in 122 Pacific Hall. Free.
Out Cold: Guys on snowboards. Comedy adventure
flick stars Jason London and a lot of other people you won't know.
Snowboard champions perform daring stunts. PG-13. Cinema World. Cinemark.
Rat Race: Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr.
and other desperate folks make fools of themselves looking for a $2
million jackpot hidden somewhere in New Mexico. Directed by Jerry
Zucker of Airplane! fame. PG-13. Movies 12.
Spy Game: Robert Redford is a CIA officer who
mentors Brad Pitt in this spy thriller directed by Tony Scott (Enemy
of the State). Also stars Catherine McCormack. R. Cinemark. Cinema
Taxi Blues: (Russia, 1990) Pavel Lounguine
won best director at Cannes '90 for this portrait of a Moscow taxi
driver and a Jewish musician who can't pay his fare. Videohound says:
"Good look at the street life of Moscow populated by drunks, punks,
and black marketeers." Not rated. At 6:30 pm on 11/28 in 115 Pacific
Pie 2: Same cast -- Chris Klein, Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari,
Seann William Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas -- now directed by J.
B. Rogers. R. Movies 12.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Disney animated
tale directed by Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale. Voices include Michael
J. Fox, James Garner and Leonard Nimoy. PG. Movies 12.
Bandits: Bank robbers Billy Bob Thornton and
Bruce Willis visit bank officers, stay overnight, and get them to
open the safe the next morning. They both fall for kidnap victim,
housewife Cate Blanchett. Barry Levinson directed. PG-13. Movies 12.
Domestic Disturbance: In Harold Becker's drama,
John Travolta discovers that his ex-wife's new husband is a con man,
and Travolta's 11-year old son has seen him murder someone. Also stars
Vince Vaughn, Teri Polo and Matthew O'Leary. PG-13. Cinemark.
Don't Say a Word: Based on Andrew Klaven's
novel, film is about a child psychiatrist (Michael Douglas) who tries
to save his daughter from a kidnapper by getting critical information
from a disturbed patient. Gary Fleder directs. R. Movies 12.
Ghost World: Terry Zwigoff's highly acclaimed
film, loosely adapted by Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes from Clowes' comic
book, stars Thora Birch (American Beauty) and Scarlett Johannson
as disaffected teens, Steve Buscemi as the bitter adult who befriends
them. With Brad Renfro, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban and Illeana Douglas.
R. Bijou. Online archives.
Glass House, The: Psychological nightmare stars
Leelee Sobieski as an orphaned girl (and her brother) taken in by
her parents' best friends(Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgard). PG-13.
Grateful Dawg: David Grisman and Jerry Garcia
pick and sing bluegrass and other American music in this intimate,
endearing documentary by Gillian Grisman. Highly recommended. PG-13.
Bijou. Online archives.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Early
reviews say it is utterly faithful to J.K. Rowling's book, which can
either be a good thing or not. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson,
John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane and more. Directed by Chris Columbus.
PG. Cinema World. Cinemark. See review this issue.
Hearts in Atlantis: Anthony Hopkins and Hope
Davis star in Scott Hicks' late-1950s adventure drama. Written by
William Goldman, based on Stephen King's novel. PG-13. Movies 12.
Heist: David Mamet's too-clever caper film
stars Gene Hackman, Rebecca Pidgeon, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Ricky
Jay and Sam Rockwell. Hackman, Lindo and Jay are top-notch; plot is
pedestrian. R. Cinema World. Cinemark. Online archives.
Joy Ride: Scary road trip about a practical
joke turned lethal stars Paul Walker and Steve Zahn, who play brothers,
and Leelee Sobiesky. John Dahl directs. R. Movies 12.
K-PAX: Ian Softley (Wings of the Dove)
directs Jeff Bridges, who plays a psychiatrist, and Kevin Spacey's
the patient who says he's from another planet. The good doctor notices
changes for the better in the other mental ward patients. PG-13. Cinema
Life as a House: Irwin Winkler's tearjerker
about an architect (Kevin Kline) who learns he's dying. He asks his
rebellious teenage son (Hayden Christensen) and his estranged wife
(Kristin Scott Thomas) to help him build a new house. R. Cinemark.
Monsters Inc.: From Pixar, the creators of
Toy Story, comes a new computer-animated feature about a scare
factory, Monsters Inc., and its top monster, Sulley (voice of John
Goodman). Also voices of Billy Crystal, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly,
Steve Buscemi and Mary Gibbs. G. Cinema World. Cinemark. See review
Musketeer, The: Action adventure based on Alexandre
Dumas classic is directed by Peter Hyams stars Catherine Deneuve,
Mena Suvari, Stephen Rhea, Tim Roth and Justin Chambers. Xin Xin Xiong,
choreographer of Once Upon a Time in China, orchestrates fight
sequences. PG-13. Movies 12.
One, The: A dual role for Jet Lin who straddles
parallel universes - one where he's good, the other where he's evil.
A rogue agent is loose in multiple universes and must be stopped.
Also stars Delroy Lindo. PG-13. Cinemark.
Princess Diaries, The: Directed by Garry Marshall,
this comedy about a S.F. teen who finds out she's a princess stars
Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo, Julie Andrews, Robert Schwartzman
and Heather Matarazzo. G. Movies 12.
Rush Hour 2: Brett Ratner returns to direct
Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker as detectives who travel to Hong Kong,
LA and Vegas looking for a master criminal. Also stars Zhang Ziyi
(Crouching Tiger, The Road Home). PG-13. Movies 12.
Shallow Hal: In the Farrelly brothers new film,
Jack Black plays a neurotic womanizer who gets hypnotized into seeing
women's inner beauty. He sees right through Gwyneth Paltrow's fat
suit. Early reviews say the Farrellys are uncharacteristically good
humored. Hmmm. PG-13. Cinemark. Cinema World.
Shrek: Computer-animated fairy tale (by DreamWorks'
Pacific Data Images, makers of Antz) stars Mike Myers, Eddie
Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow. Entertaining and funny for
kids and grown-ups. PG. Movies 12. Online archives.
Wash: Not a remake of Michael Schultz' hilarious
1976 Car Wash with George Carlin and Richard Pryor, this is
about two broke roomies who go to work at a mob-owned carwash. Stars
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg; directed by D.J. Pooh ("3 Strikes"). R. Cinemark.
Use the links provided below for specific show times.
Bijou Theater 686-2458 | 492 E. 13th
Cinema World 342-6536 | Valley River
Springfield Quad 726-9073 |
Movies 12 741-1231 | Gateway
Movies before 12:30 are Sat. Sun. only. $1.50 all shows all days.
Cinemark 17 741-1231 | Gateway Mall
RELEASES ON VIDEO:
Releases subject to change. Available the Tuesday following
date of EW publication, sometimes sooner:
Bread and Roses: Ken Loach drama about immigrant workers who stand
up to a big corporation that treats them badly. Stars Adrien Brody,
Pilar Padilla, Elpida Carrillo and Jack McGee. R.
Divided We Fall: Set in a Nazi-occupied Czech
village during WWII, film tracks the fortunes of an ordinary couple
who give refuge to a local Jewish man who's escaped from Theresienstadt
concentration camp. Understated and gently hopeful, comic portrayal
of wartime stress and how some souls respond to it. Highly recommended.
PG-13. Online archives.
Made: The Swingers team is at it again.
Jon Favreau directs, writes and co-produces with Vince Vaughn in this
tale of two goofy guys trying to break into the mob. Also stars Peter
Falk and Sean Combs. R. Online archives.
Pootie Tang: Stars Lance Crouther as Pootie
and JB Smoove as the film's narrator, this "joke action film ...revels
in more cheese per square inch than a soul food diner," The New
York Times notes, but is "incredibly sweet spirited." Written
and directed by Louis C. K. Chris Rock appears as Pootie's father
and JB. PG-13.
Road Home, The: Zhang Yimou's (Not One Less.)
beautiful film starring Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
evokes a world that has been swept away by change. Set in a remote
Chinese village today and in the 1950s, it's a touching love story
set in a more fully lived time. Highly recommended. G. Online archives.
Time Lapse: Secret agent of 20 years is injected
with a drug that causes amnesia. Directed by David Worth, this spy
thriller stars Roy Scheider, Dina Meyers and Henry Rollins. NR.
Wind River: Set on the Utah frontier in 1855,
it's based on a true story about a settler child kidnapped and lovingly
raised by Shoshones. When he is located by the settlers, he has to
chose. Tom Shell directs. Karen Black, Wes Studi and Russell Means
star. 1998. NR.
Next week: American Outlaws, Cora Unashamed,
Execution of Justice, Ghosts of Mars, Pearl Harbor and Summer
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