Originally created 12/19/97

Movie reviews



Movies are listed with theater location for today through Thursday. Call theaters for times.

Just out

MOUSE HUNT(**, PG) - Amazing special effects create a mouse that can do anything - except, alas, make us laugh. Nathan Lane and Lee Evans play brothers who inherit an architechural masterpiece, but before they can sell it they need to get rid of the resident mouse, with the help of exterminator Christopher Walken. The movie never establishes sympathy with one side or the other, so we simply watch as the special effects upstage the characters.

Regency, Masters, Evans, Augusta Village and Aiken Mall

TITANIC (****, PG-13) - James Cameron's 194-minute, $200 milliion film of the tragic voyage is in the tradition of great Hollywood epics. It is flawlessly crafted, intelligently constructed, strongly acted and spellbinding. Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet make a touching couple, he from steerage, she fleeing marriage from a rich snob. They find love in the days before the great ship sinks. The special effects are flawless, seamless, and do their job without upstaging the story. The last hour, as the unsinkable ship sinks, is awesome.

Regency, Masters, Evans and Augusta Village

TOMORROW NEVER DIES (***, PG-13) - In its 35th year, the Bond series gets a lift form a slyly contemporary villain; Jonathan Pryce plays a media baron who wants to start a world war in order to dramatize the launch of his new channel. Pierce Brosnan, sleek and convincing, plays 007; Asian martial arts star Michelle Yeoh has great presence and chemistry as one of the most memorable Bond girls. Elaborate chases, incredible stunts, obligatory cliches and inevitable product placement: It's all here, in good repair, as the second longest-running series in cinema (after Tarzan) heads for the 21st century.

Regency, Masters, Evans, Augusta Village and Aiken Mall.

Ongoing

ALIEN RESURRECTION ( *1/2 , R) After 18 years and four movies, these aliens have just about exhausted their possibilities. The movie resurrects poor Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) 200 years after her death in Alien 3 and turns her into a broodmare for a baby alien, part of a project to breed new creatures that is, needless to say, ill-advised.

Augusta Village.

ANASTASIA ( ***1/2 , G) Entertaining and exciting, an animated musical based on the legend of Anastasia, said to be the lost child of Russia's murdered ruling family. Two servants from the palace cook up a scheme to train a likely candidate and pass her off as the real Anastasia -- but neither they nor she knows she really is Anastasia. The mad monk Rasputin makes a terrific villain, and there are the usual comic sidekicks. With voices by Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd, Bernadette Peters and Angela Lansbury.

Regency, Evans, Aiken Mall and Augusta Village.

EVE'S BAYOU (****, R) The most astonishing and confident debut of the year. Writer-director Kasi Lemmons tells the story of the Batiste family of the Louisiana bayou country, circa 1962, as seen through the eyes of 10-year-old Eve (Jurnee Smollett). Her father (Samuel L. Jackson) is a handsome doctor but a ladies' man. Her mother is played by Lynn Whitfield. In memories fragmented by time and emotion, Eve tries to piece together what happened that crucial summer, and the result, in style and mood, is like one of Ingmar Bergman's great family dramas.

Regency.

FLUBBER (*, PG-13) Robin Williams stars in a retread of the 1961 comedy about an absent-minded professor who invents flying rubber and saves his bankrupt college while marrying its president (Marcia Gay Harden). He has a cute electronic sidekick named Weebo who all but steals the show and is pursued by a couple of goons who seem recycled directly from Home Alone. Slow, dumb and flat.

Evans, Masters, Aiken Mall and Augusta Village.

FOR RICHER OR POORER (**, PG-13) Kirstie Alley and Tim Allen have undeniable personal charm and do a lot to brighten up the grim formula outlines of the "fish out of water" plot, which has them as Donald and Marla clones hiding from the IRS on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. Some funny zingers, some good one-liners, and not a whole lot else.

Augusta Village, Evans and Masters.

HOME ALONE 3 (***, PG) The most entertaining of the Home Alone movies -- maybe because newcomer Alex D. Linz is a real charmer, or maybe because at the end, when he sets the usual booby traps for the usual burglars, they come across as more pure slapstick, and less painful special effects. Fun for kids in the lower grades, and maybe for adults who are having a very silly day.

Evans, Masters, Regency, Aiken Mall and Augusta Village.

THE JACKAL ( *1/2 , R) Glum, flat, unconvincing thriller based on the much better 1973 film Day of the Jackal. Bruce Willis plays a professional assassin, hired by the Russian Mafia to kill the FBI chief; Sidney Poitier is a deputy FBI director; and Richard Gere is the IRA terrorist he uses to try to track down the Jackal.

Regency and Aiken Mall.

THE LITTLE MERMAID (G) Disney favorite in a second release for the holidays.

Evans.

MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL ( 1/2 , R) Glum, flat, unconvincing thriller based on the much better 1973 film Day of the Jackal. Bruce Willis plays a professional assassin, hired by the Russian Mafia to kill the FBI chief; Sidney Poitier is a deputy FBI director; and Richard Gere is the IRA terrorist he uses to try to track down the Jackal.

Regency and Aiken Mall.

THE LITTLE MERMAID (G) Disney favorite in a second release for the holidays.

Evans.

MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL (** 1/2 , R) John Berendt's book is so vividly drawn that a movie can hardly improve on our imagination. One miscalculation by director Clint Eastwood is to filter all the material through the eyes of a deadpan outsider (John Cusack), a character who never comes alive and gets in the way of those who do. Kevin Spacey is wickedly charming, but underused, as the problematic antiques dealer; the Lady Chablis, a local drag queen, does a better job of playing herself than the filmmakers do of figuring out how to use her.

Evans, Aiken Mall and Augusta Village.

THE RAINMAKER (***, R) One of the richest of the John Grisham stories, with Matt Damon as a young lawyer who opens a storefront office with a hustling paralegal (Danny DeVito) and finds himself juggling tricky cases -- one involving wife-beating, another a dishonest insurance company. Francis Ford Coppola, who wrote and directed, makes it a colorful gallery of supporting performances, with good work by Teresa Wright, Claire Danes, Virginia Madsen, John Voight and Mickey Rourke. The movie has an undercurrent of disenchantment with the law, which is expressed both seriously and with a surprising amount of humor.

Evans and Augusta Village.

SCREAM 2 (***, R) A sequel to the horror film in which all of the characters had seen other horror films and knew the cliches and all the deadly mistakes to avoid. Bloodier than the first film, but witty, with a self-mocking screenplay that has the characters debating the success of movie sequels, while once again a slasher in a ghost mask stalks victims.

Aiken Mall, Augusta Village, Evans, Masters and Regency Exchange.

Theaters

Aiken Mall, 300 Eastgate Drive, 641-0000.

Augusta Village, Bobby Jones Expressway at Wrightsboro Road, 860-4990.

Columbia Square Cinemas, 4020 Washington Road, 863-3366.

Evans 12 Cinemas, Belair Road at Washington Road, 869-1269.

Masters 7 Cinemas, 2824 Washington Road, 736-4444.

Regency Exchange 8, 2870 Regency Blvd., 790-7460.

Mark Twin Cinemas, 124 Newberry St. S.W., Aiken, (803) 641-4758.