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Movie Previews 1999
By TOM SOTER
from MOVIE TIMES, 1999
With: Al Pacino , Russell Crowe, Diane Venora, Rip Torn, Philip Baker Hall, Lindsay Crouse, and Christopher Plummer (Touchstone)
To Lowell Bergman (Oscar winner Al Pacino), the truth is always out there. And as an investigative reporter and producer for TV’s legendary 60 Minutes, Bergman thought he had nailed the story of the year, if not the decade: Jeffrey Wigand, a scientist for a major tobacco company, had agreed to blow the whistle on Big Tobacco. His taped testimony was devastating, his story vivid television. Only one problem: CBS wouldn’t air it. And then, Bergman’s and Wigand’s worlds come crashing down. Director Michael Mann offers a remarkable true story about two ordinary people fighting extraordinary circumstances.
With: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Peter Gallagher (DreamWorks)
Suburbanite Lester Burnham (The Usual Suspects’ Kevin Spacey) has problems. Oh yeah. His wife Carolyn (Annette Bening) hates him. His daughter despises him. And his boss is getting set to give him the boot. Well, as they say, when you’ve got nothing to lose, you might as well go for your dreams. Provoked by forbidden passions, Lester makes life changes that are less mid-life crisis and more reborn adolescence. But it’s not all fun and games, as Lester learns that the ultimate freedom may come with the ultimate price.
With Winona Ryder, Ben Chaplin, John Hurt, Elias Koteas, John Diehl (NLC: New Line Cinema?)
Supernatural Thriller – A young woman (Ryder) joins forces with a cynical New York crime journalist (Chaplin) to defeat a devil-worshiping conspiracy that has made the reporter their target. Co-produced by Meg Ryan, this thriller marks the directorial debut of Academy Award-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski.
With Sean Patrick Flanery, Amanda Peet (New Line Cinema? - NLC)
Drama – Follow eight 20-something men and women as they learn about life, love, and Los Angeles night life as they set off on a journey that takes them into the turbulent world of sex and dating in the ‘90s. The ensemble piece was co-written and directed by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Michael Cristofer.
With: Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Annabeth Gish, Bruce Greenwood. (Paramount)
Drama – Framed for the murder of her husband, Libby Preston (Judd) survives the long years in prison thanks to two burning desires: finding her son and locating the real killer. Standing between her and her goals is the cynical parole officer (Jones) who has plans of his own.
With: Molly Shannon, Will Ferrell, Elaine Hendrix, Glynis Johns.
Romantic Comedy – All teenager Mary Katherine Gallagher (Shannon) wants is a hold-your-breath-till-you-think-you’re-going-to-faint, Hollywood-style kiss. And then she realizes that the only way to get a Hollywood kiss is to go Hollywood. Big time. And when a national magazine sponsors a contest that could send her to Tinsel Town, Mary sees her chance.
BRINGING OUT THE DEAD
With: Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman. (Paramount)
Drama – A story with black comedy undertones, this drama depicts 48 hours in the life of a New York City paramedic (Academy Award-winner Cage) who finds himself falling prey to urban shell shock after too many years on the graveyard shift.
With: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien. (Paramount)
Fantasy – Director Tim Burton (Batman, Beetlejuice) and Johnny Depp reunite on their third film following their work on Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, this time putting their darkly comic stamp on Washington Irving’s classic story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman.
JAKOB THE LIAR
With: Robin Williams, Alan Arkin, Bob Balaban, Michael Jeter (Sony/Columbia)
Drama – In Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II, poor Jewish cafe owner Jakob (Academy Award-winner Williams) battles the Nazis by offering fictitious news bulletins about Allied advances. Spirits are lifted, but soon, the Nazis begin a search for the pirate radio station.
ELMO IN GROUCHLAND
With: Kevin Clash, Mandy Patinkin, Vanessa Williams. (Sony/Columbia/Jim Henson Pictures)
Family Comedy – When Elmo (Clash) loses his beloved blue blanket, he goes on an extraordinary quest to recover it. Plunging into Grouchland – a place full of grouchy creatures, stinky garbage, and the villainous Huxley (Patinkin) – he has many wild adventures and learns an important lesson about life.
With: Harrison Ford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Charles S. Dutton, Paul Guilfoyle. (Columbia/Sony)
Crime Drama – Tough internal affairs cop Dutch Van Den Broeck (Ford), involved in a major corruption case, develops an unusual bond with Kay Chandler (Thomas) a high-profile congressman embroiled in a bitter reelection campaign as the pair face a secret that threatens to destroy them.
CRAZY IN ALABAMA
With: Melanie Griffith, David Morse, Cathy Moriarty, Lucas Black, Rod Steiger.
Comedy-Drama – It’s the summer of 1965 and backwoods Alabama boy Peejo (Black) gets an education in freedom for his glamorous, eccentric Aunt Lucille (Griffith), who escapes from an abusive husband and takes the boy to Hollywood to pursue dreams of TV stardom.
JOAN OF ARC
With: Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Timothy West, Desmond Harrington, Faye Dunaway. (Sony/Columbia)
Historical Drama – In 1429, a 16-year-old girl from a remote village announced that she would defeat the world’s greatest army. From internationally acclaimed director Luc Besson comes the story of Joan of Arc (Jovovich), the woman who followed her own path and changed the course of history.
I DREAMED OF AFRICA
With: Kim Basinger, Vincent Perez, Eva Marie Saint, Liam Aiken, Robert Loggia (Sony/Columbia)
Epic Drama – Director Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire) offers a story based on the saga of Kuki Gallman (Basinger), who sought a new life in Africa with her husband (Perez) and son (Aiken). What she found was pain, passion, joy, and hardship, as her love for her adopted homeland enabled her to overcome overwhelming personal tragedy.
NEXT TO YOU
With: Melissa Joan Hart, Adrian Grenier (Fox)
Comedy – Sunny Nicole and moody Chase live next door to each other– and that’s about all they have in common. Then circumstances force them to team up in the least likely partnership of the year. But sparks – and romance – fly in this lively comedy based on the popular novel, Girl Gives Birth to Own Prom Date.
ANYWHERE BUT HERE
With: Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, Bonnie Bedelia. (Fox)
Drama – Fleeing small-town boredom, a restless mother (Sarandon) drags her reluctant teenage daughter (Portman) to Beverly Hills and a new, sometimes difficult life. Directed by Wayne Wang.
With: Anna Friel, Simon-Baker Denny, Nick Stahl, Rory Cochrane, Adam Goldberg. (Fox)
Drama – It is August 1972. And the lives of a group of young people are changed forever during a momentous 24 hours on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. Directed by Adam Collis.
LIGHT IT UP
With: Usher, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa L. Williams, Forest Whitaker (Fox).
Drama – Following an accidental shooting in a battered inner-city high school, a disparate group of students hold a wounded police officer hostage. With media and public interest intensifying, the drama comes to an unexpected climax.
With: Leonardo DiCaprio. (Fox)
Drama – Teen heartthrob DiCapiro (Titanic) returns to the big screen as an American traveler who embarks on an exotic adventure in Thailand, searching for a legendary tropical paradise known only as The Beach. But when he discovers the modern-day Eden, he also uncovers its disturbing secrets.
FOR LOVE OF THE GAME
With: Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston (Universal)
Romantic Drama – Oscar-winner Kevin Costner stars as Billy Chapel, a legendary baseball pitcher nearing the end of his career who must reexamine his priorities when he faces a double dilemma: he is about to be traded after 20 years with the same team and his long-time lover (Preston) has decided to leave him. Directed by Sam Raimi (A Simple Plan).
THE BONE COLLECTOR
With: Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah, Ed O’Neill, Michael Rooker (Universal)
Suspense Thriller – When a gruesomely mutilated corpse is found buried near the railroad tracks in Spanish Harlem, a street-smart cop (Jolie) teams up with brilliant but bed-bound forensic experts Lincoln Rhymes (Academy Award-winner Washington) in a race-against the clock to find the murderer before he strikes again.
THE STORY OF US
With: Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer (Universal)
Comedy: Director Rob Reiner returns to romantic comedy with a film that asks the question: can a marriage survive 15 years of marriage? While their kids are away at summer camp, Ben (Willis) and Katie (Pfeiffer) Jordon decide to separate because the qualities which made them fall in love are pulling them apart.
THE BEST MAN
With: Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau Jr., Monica Calhoun (Universal)
Comedy Drama – This tale of commitment, love, and marriage finds a group of successful college friends reunited at the wedding of one of their buddies. But more than marriage is on everyone’s mind, as the groom’s best man (Diggs) worries that his friend (Chestnut) will soon find out he once had an affair with the bride-to-be (Calhoun).
By TOM SOTER
THE CHILL FACTOR
With: Cuba Gooding Jr., Skeet Ulrich, Peter Firth (Warner)
Thriller – Two men (Gooding, Ulrich) accidentally obtain a highly explosive substance that will ignite if its temperature goes above 50 degrees. Pursued by several different groups, the duo rush through increasingly warmer terrain in a desperate struggle to survive.
MAN ON THE MOON
With: Jim Carrey, Danny DeVito, Courtney Love, Paul Giamatti (Universal)
Comedy-Drama – Funnyman Carrey stars as another wild comedian, the late Andy Kaufman, who puzzled and delighted audiences of TV’s Saturday Night Live and has often been considered one of the most innovative, eccentric, and enigmatic comics of his time. Directed by Academy Award-winning director Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest).
THE BIG TEASE
With: Craig Ferguson, Frances Fisher, Mary McCormack, Donal Logue (Warner)
Comedy – A Rocky-with-curlers, this comedy finds Scottish hairdresser Crawford McKenzie (Ferguson, a co-star of TV’s Drew Carey Show) competing for the Platinum Scissor Award at The World Freestyle Hairdressing Championship. He vows to succeed, or go down moussing!
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
With: Geoffrey Rush, Taye Diggs, Ali Larter, Peter Gallagher (Warner)
Horror – To win one million dollars each, five strangers agree to spend a night in a house with a hideous past. Soon, they find death is their companion, as a mysterious murderer begins stalking them. Based on the 1958 cult classic from director William Castle.
With: Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Faye Dunaway, Ellen Burstyn, James Caan (Miramax?)
Thriller – When Leo Handler wanted to get his life back on track, he returned to the New York City subway yards. But instead of peace of mind, he finds a world of sabotage, high-stakes payoffs, and murder. And what the secret he discovers makes him the target of the most ruthless family in the city: his own.
DREAMING OF JOSEPH LEES
With: Samanatha Morton, Rupert Graves, Lee Ross, Miriam Margoyles, Frank Finlay (Fox Searchlight)
Drama – Eva (Morton) lusts after the adventurous geologist Joseph Lees (Graves). But she is also involved with the volatile, unpredictable, and very jealous Harry (Ross). When the two men connect, the love triangle careens out of control.