Sun, 13 Jul 2003


The Hulk (Sci-Fi/Drama/Action/Fantasy, 137 minutes) Starring Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliot, Josh Lucas. Directed by Ang Lee.

Lee gives his trademark treatment to a Marvel comics' character by putting it in the middle of a more serious father- and-son story. The result has caused sharp divisions of opinion among critics and viewers alike.

But whoever is seeking the fun of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man will have to fight dozing off during the first half.

Nolte gives a great performance as usual, with Connelly lending her luminous presence, but unfortunately the movie gives us nothing to cheer about.

Some footage featuring computer-generated images of the big green man leaked to the public before the filmmakers finished working on them, but the CGI turns out to be pretty good in the finished film.

Lee performed the Hulk himself in a motion-capture suit.**1/2 (out of ****)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Drama/Crime, 113 minutes) Starring Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts. Directed by George Clooney.

Clooney's directorial debut is stylish but certainly not to everyone's taste. It is based on an unauthorized biography of Chuck Barris, creator and host of several degrading but popular TV shows in the U.S. in the 1970s, such as The Dating Game and The Gong Show.

The movie supports Barris' outlandish claim saying that he was recruited by the CIA as a contract assassin, a side job which he fulfilled while taking winners of his shows to foreign countries.

Not always believable but the movie, which was scripted by highly regarded Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) offers plenty of pizzazz for fans of Steven Soderbergh, back when he was still fun.

Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and a score of famous faces appear in cameos.***

What a Girl Wants (Comedy/Drama, 100 minutes) Starring Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, Kelly Preston, Oliver James. Directed by Dennie Gordon.

Daphne Reynolds (Bynes, onetime star of Nickelodeon kids' TV) is a 19-year-old girl raised in a low-rent apartment in New York's Chinatown by her single mother (Preston).

Upon learning that her biological father (Firth) is a big-name British politician, she sets out to England to introduce herself.

With her free-spirited attitude, she changes the life of many people there, for the better and for the worse.

This harmless fairy-tale is aimed at young girls, but adults may also enjoy it due to a good cast, including Jonathan Pryce as the politician's aide with a hidden agenda.**1/2

-- Joko Anwar