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NOVEMBER 15, 1999: 

THE BACHELOR. The Bachelor is a remake of the 1925 Buster Keaton movie Seven Chances, wherein Keaton plays young Jimmy Shannon, who must marry before day's end in order to inherit a fortune. So of course, women, who are all obsessed with getting married to a rich guy, form great predacious packs in order to stalk the poor bachelor and trap him into matrimony. I imagine this idea seemed somewhat sexist even in Keaton's day, so remaking it in 1999 with cute, characterless boy-wonder Chris O'Donnell as Jimmy Shannon is kinda like casting Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead in a slapstick comedy remake of Triumph of the Will. OK, maybe not, but wouldn't that be a hoot? -- James DiGiovanna


BEING JOHN MALKOVICH. John Cusak stars as Craig Schwartz, a marionettist manqué who takes a job as a file clerk on the seventh-and-a-half floor of a very strange office building. There, he meets Maxine, the girl of his dreams (über-actress Catherine Keener) and also finds a tunnel that leads to John Malkovich's consciousness. For Schwartz, this raises all sorts of questions about identity and reality; for Maxine, it seems like a perfect profit-making venture. Thus, they start charging poor schmucks $200 a pop for 15 minutes of being John Malkovich. Alternately funny, weird and really creepy, Being John Malkovich is not only an original and well-executed film, it also includes the strangest three-way sex scene in motion picture history. Also starring John Malkovich as John Malkovich. -- James DiGiovanna


THE BONE COLLECTOR. Denzel Washington's debut as a quadriplegic forensic detective isn't the worst police work we've ever seen, but suspense junkies will ferret out this plot in the first 20 minutes. When Det. Lincoln Rhymes (Washington) is called away from his suicide plans to track down a serial killer from his crime-lab bedside, he recruits beat cop Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) to be his eyes and ears. More brutal than bone-chilling, this trip through damp, underground New York goes through all the motions of a suspense film -- grisly murders, vulnerable heroes, corrupt cops -- without delivering any real surprises. The biggest mystery is the bizarre love interest implied, but never developed, between Rhymes and Donaghy. A necrophilic affair between a white woman and black man paralyzed from the shoulders down? As with much of The Bone Collector, it's more trite than twisted. -- Mari Wadsworth


DOGMA. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon star as angels exiled to Wisconsin in this campy jab at the End Days by writer/director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats). It's like the Christian Coalition-backed Omega Code collided in a high-speed accident with South Park, leaving in its wake a twisted retelling of the Book of Revelations which ranges from comically irreverent to downright obscene. Linda Fiorentino stars as a doubting Catholic, celestially recruited into service (by Alan Rickman). Her mission is to stop the two renegade angels, who've discovered a loophole in Catholic dogma that would allow them to re-enter heaven if they can only make it to New Jersey by the weekend. Fiorentino is aided in her quest by a bitter 13th apostle (Chris Rock) and two unlikely prophets -- none other than Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith himself). Dogma's appeal relies heavily on the element of surprise, so the less you know, the more you may enjoy it. Dogma may be something of an endurance test for those with scant interest in scatology, but there are plenty of other scenes -- like the unveiling of Cardinal Glick's (George Carlin) "Catholicism Wow!" campaign -- that entertain without inciting nausea. -- Mari Wadsworth


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