DECEMBER 21, 1998:
Worker ant Z-4195 (Woody Allen) falls in love with the sexy princess Bala (Sharon Stone) but the odds of this drone winning the heart of royalty are as small as these DreamWorks/PDI computer-generated critters. Allen, I mean Z, learns a lesson or two about individuality and heroism. Does anyone else see the irony?
Apt Pupil (R)
Sixteen-year-old Tom, played by Knoxville's own Brad Renfro, becomes obsessed with the Holocaust. As luck would have it, Nazi war criminal Kurt Dussanderthe incomparable Ian McKellenlives just down the street. And you thought your neighbors were scary.
Babe, A Pig in the City (G)
The title pretty much says it all. The cute little porker travels to the concrete jungle in order to save the farm. Adventures ensue and our hero continually saves his own bacon.
Blade confirms the fact that there is a cabal of blood-suckers running the country, but, unfortunately, they're also a bunch of vampires. Blade (Wesley Snipes) is half-human, half-vampire and all business. He and bud Abraham (Kris Kristofferson) are crusading against these evil masters of the night, including the invincible Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff). Gosh. Sounds like it would make a good comic book...
Bride of Chucky (R)
Evil doll goes on the rampage. Yow.
A Bug's Life (G)
'Tis the season to be buggy, apparently. The second animated insect epic of the year is from Pixar, the talented folks who brought you Toy Story. Wild, imaginative fun.
Dr. Dolittle (PG-13)
Eddie Murphy is the man who can talk to the animals, much to his own chagrin, and his new-found ability begins to impinge on his thriving medical practice when all of the animals waddle, hop, and fly to him for help. Hey, it could happen. A menagerie of comic actors, like Chris Rock, Julie Kavner, John Leguizamo, Ellen DeGeneres, and Paul Reubens, lend their voices to this Betty Thomas (Private Parts, The Brady Bunch Movie) directed project.
People are talking Oscar nomination for Cate Blanchett in this costume drama about the Virgin Queen. The most acclaimed 16th century political thriller of the year. (Keep those cards and letters coming!)
Enemy of the State (R)
Everybody wants what Will Smith has gotthe ability to turn every script, no matter how inane, into box office gold. Jon Voight and Gene Hackman chase him about the country in order to figure out just how in the heck he does it in this big-budget, high-tech, shoot-'em-up from the Simpson (back from the dead?)/Bruckheimer team.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: This is not, repeat not, a film for everybody. Leave the kiddies at home. Don't set foot in the theater if pedophilia, human sadness, and various other obscenities bother you. I'm not kidding. This Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse) project is all about secrets kept behind closed doors and how those doors keep us from fulfillment. Happiness intertwines several storylineseach more depraved than the lastwith Solondz' unique geek auteur style to create a potent flick that really defies easy description.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back (R)
Angela Bassett is one fine actress. Yep. And she deserves to snare hot young men. Whether that's enough of a plot to actually make you go to the movie, well, that's up to you.
I'll Be Home for Christmas (PG)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas wakes from a bender and finds himself dressed in a Santa suit and stranded in the desert. The poor baby has until 6 p.m. to get home, otherwise he forfeits the vintage Porsche his daddy is giving him for Christmas. (Maybe they should've named this one, I'll Be Closed Before Christmas.)
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (R)
Jennifer Love Hewitt gets chased around by a crazed killer. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Jack Frost (PG)
Michael Keaton plays Jack Frost, a struggling musician and all-around great dad. Just when he decides to give up life on the road to stay home with his family, WHAMMO! He's mushed flat in a car wreck. Thank the good Lord his son plays his magic harmonica which brings Jack back from the deadAS A SNOWMAN!!! (If it'd been summer, he'd probably would've been a scarecrow, but that would've blown the whole terribly clever title tie-in...unless, of course, you had a scarecrow named "Jack Frost," but, naaaaah, never mind.)
Life is Beautiful (PG-13)
Springtime for Hitler this ain't. What it is is a Chaplinesque fable about the power of love and imagination over the horrors of WWII and Auschwitz. Guido (Roberto Benigni) settles into a Tuscan town, just as Mussolini decides to cave in to Germany. Guido and his son are deported and survive the concentration camp experience using humor, fantasy, and love.
Meet Joe Black (PG-13)
Brad Pitt is Death. Anthony Hopkins is a media tycoon. Claire Forlani is his beautiful daughter. And the plot is a thin excuse to have three stunning people in one movie.
A Night at the Roxbury (PG-13)
In the tradition of Coneheads and It's Pat!, it's another zany film extrapolated from a Saturday Night Live skit. Is it any good? Okay, go back and read the first sentence again...
Without pain, there can be no pleasureespecially if you live in Pleasantville, a black and white '50s sitcom world. Nineties teens Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon, however, inject some technicolor in the drab lives of the Pleasantvillians and we all get to celebrate the rainbow of colors that brighten our lives (sniff).
Practical Magic (PG-13)
Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) are two witches, doomed by a family curse, through which the men they fall in love with die an untimely death. Of course, one of them flips for Aidan Quinn, the other for Goran Visnjic and must figure out how to get the relationships to last, kind of like Maggie on Northern Exposure.
Have you seen the Hitchcock classic? Well, this is pretty much that, but in color and with Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, and Robert Forster.
Jerry Springer plays a guy who exploits people's utter lack of decency and shame for his own good. No, it's not the Ken Starr story.
The Rugrats Movie (G)
Stu and Didi Pickles have a new baby. Big brother Tommy hates him more than a dirty diaper. Tommy and the other animated Rugrats take it upon themselves to return the tyke to the hospital and get themselves a bit lost along the way. Sheesh. Infants have no sense of direction anymore.
Rush Hour (PG-13)
Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker bust stuff up. Who needs a plot?
The Siege (R)
Bruce Willis is saving the world again, this time with help from Denzel Washington and Annette Bening after terrorists attack New York City. Edward Zwick (Glory, Legends of the Fall) directs this message movie cloaked in action-adventure garb.
Star Trek: Insurrection (PG)
The crew of the Enterprise must stop an alien with a really bad facelift (F. Murray Abraham) from destroying an entire world in his quest for the fountain of youth...or something like that.
There's Something About Mary (R)
It's Dumb and Dumber with a dame. Ted (Ben Stiller) goes to the prom with "perfect girl" Mary (Cameron Diaz). He falls in love with her 'cos she's, um, perfect, but he makes a total fool of himself in a bizarre accident that involves his, as the directing/writing Farrelly brothers put it, "frank and beans." Fast forward a few years and he's still obsessed, to the point of hiring a private dick (Matt Dillon), who finds Mary and also falls in love with her. Let the raunch and poor taste commence!
The one, the only KING OF THE WORLD BOX OFFICE! Hey, there might be some Titanic backlash going around, but James Cameron's exercise in excess still has all the qualities that made it a success: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and lots of old fashioned schmaltz. Let's go down with the ship one more time!
Very Bad Things (R)
Christian Slater tries hard to stay out of jail by making a movie about a bunch of guys led by Christian Slater who try hard to stay out of jail after accidentally killing a hooker. Woo-hoo. Bet Christian's parole officer loves this one.
Adam Sandler is The Waterboybrought to you by the same team that wrote, directed, and produced Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison. Need we say more?
What Dreams May Come (PG)
Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams) dies and wakes up in the afterlife. Albert (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) takes him on the nickel tour and explains how the whole death thing works, including the bit about Chris' wife not being allowed up for conjugal visits. Will Chris be able to exist without his soul mate?
The Wizard of Oz
You might be asking yourself: "Why should I pay to see this again?" Well, beyond the obvious advantages of seeing Oz on the big screen, this 60th Anniversary Special Edition rerelease is noteworthy because it's as good a version as we'll ever be able to see. With a digital "cleaning" of the B&W scenes (the original negatives were destroyed in a fire) and a return to their original sepia tone, this was how Oz was first seen on its 1939 release. Add to that a new print of the color scenes struck from the three-strip Technicolor negative and a new Dolby Digital soundtrack, and you've got the makings for a fabulous experience. Click those heels...