Sat, 11 Sep 1999

Lineup of movies worth seeing this week

JAKARTA (JP): A man-eating crocodile and a man-jilting bride join the movie lineup at the local theaters. Can't make up your mind? See if the following brief reviews, along with the grades, can be of any help. They are provided by screenwriter Rayya Makarim (RM) and film reviewer Tam Notosusanto (TN). This week's films, in alphabetical order, are:

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Comedy; starring Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Elizabeth Hurley, Rob Lowe and Robert Wagner. Directed by Jay Roach.

Sexually impotent in 1999, Austin Powers discovers that Dr. Evil has traveled back in time to 1969 to steal his "mojo" (Austin's source of power). With the help of his own time machine Austin pairs with CIA agent Felicity Shagwell to reclaim his lost libido and destroy his arch-nemesis once and for all. Hilarious in some parts, this film, however, is two notches below the original. A lot of the humor is recycled and as a result the film lacks the spontaneity and originality of its predecessor. (Graded B by RM)

Entrapment. Action; starring Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta- Jones, Ving Rhames and Will Patton. Directed by Jon Amiel.

Aging master thief Connery goes on a series of heists accompanied by beautiful insurance investigator Zeta-Jones, who goes undercover to entrap him. From New York to London to Kuala Lumpur, this movie is a spectacle of breathtaking stunts, exotic locations and the May-December romance between the two leads. It's glamorous and sometimes thrilling, but not much else. (Graded B- by TN)

Lake Placid. Comedy-thriller; starring Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson and Betty White. Directed by Steve Miner.

See review above. (Graded B by TN)

The Mummy. Adventure; starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah and Arnold Vosloo. Written and directed by Stephen Sommers.

Don't expect to be frightened by the state-of-the-art computer-generated mummy, because this glossier, noisier redoing of the 1932 horror classic never has the intention to go there. This movie is more a Raiders of the Lost Ark wannabe, but without the wit, the thrill and the classy style that have engaged Indiana Jones fans around the world. (Graded C by TN)

Runaway Bride. Romantic comedy; starring Julia Roberts, Richard Gere and Hector Elizondo. Directed by Garry Marshall.

USA Today columnist Ike Graham (Gere) does a last minute story on Maggie Carpenter (Roberts), a small-town babe who has the habit of dumping men at the altar. Ike gets fired and seeks vindication by getting up-close-and-personal with the "man devourer" herself. It's always great to see beautiful and well- liked people on the screen. A fun film with "quirky, weird and mysterious" characters. (Graded B+ by RM)

The Thirteenth Floor. Sci-fi thriller; starring Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Vincent D'Onofrio, Dennis Haysbert and Armin Mueller-Stahl. Directed by Joseph Rusnak.

No, it's not about claustrophobics stuck in an elevator. It's an intriguing yarn about a group of scientists who invent a parallel universe set in 1937 Los Angeles which they can leap into and out of. Then one of them is brutally murdered and the film becomes a noir-ish mix of time-travel fantasy and a detective story. Independence Day creator Roland Emmerich co-produced this subtler, quieter Matrix lookalike. (Graded B by TN)

Warlock: The End of Innocence. Horror; starring Bruce Payne, Ashley Laurence, Boti Ann Bliss and Angel Boris. Directed by Eric Freiser.

When did we ever get Warlock I and II anyway? In this third installment of the bewitched franchise, a 17th century sorcerer (Payne) comes to the present and terrorizes a group of college students camping out in an old New England mansion. It takes forever to get to the fun stuff, and it's not even coherent and satisfying. The Blair Witch Project this isn't. Rent the funnier, scarier original instead. (Graded D by TN)

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Comedy; starring Rupert Everett, Calista Flockhart, Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, Christian Bale and Sophie Marceau. Written and directed by Michael Hoffman.

The worlds of fairies and human beings meet in a comical circumstance of confusion and romantic attraction. Shakespeare's words and plot are well-preserved in this engaging adaptation that despite some miscasting and misinterpretation in the part of the actors, still comes out as an entertaining, enjoyable motion picture. (Graded B by TN)