NEW FILMS FRIDAY
BATMAN & ROBIN - It's George Clooney's turn to don the bat suit as the caped crusader fights two baddies, Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), with the help of sidekicks Robin (Chris O'Donnell) and Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone). Reviewed on Page W12. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity). (Carmike 12, Century, Cottonwood, Gateway, Midvalley; Redwood, with "A Time to Kill"; Reel, Sandy 9, Trolley Corners.)MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING - An independent food critic (Julia Roberts) who can't commit to love is invited to the wedding of her best friend, a sportswriter (Dermot Mulroney), and his bride-to-be, a rich college student (Cameron Diaz). Thinking she may be in love with him herself, Roberts plots to foil the wedding. Reviewed on Page W8. PG-13 (two extremely vulgar gags, profanity, comic violence). (Carmike 12, Century, Cottonwood, Gateway, Midvalley; Redwood, with "Fools Rush In"; Sandy 9, Trolley Square.)
BABE - * * * - This family comedy was 1995's biggest surprise, a whimsical yarn about a piglet who trains as a sheep dog. Low-key and very funny, with a "Muppet" sensibility, this Australian effort is based on the children's book "The Sheep-Pig" by Dick King-Smith - and it received seven Oscar nominations! G. (Valley Fair, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.) (Aug. 4, 1995) - C.H.
ZEUS & ROXANNE - * * - The title characters are, respectively, a dog and a dolphin, who engage in "interspecies communication" and ensure a grant for marine biologist Kathleen Quinlan. But the dominant story is a silly romance between Quinlan and Steve Guttenberg, as contrived by their respective children. "Benji" crossed with "Flipper," with nods to "The Parent Trap" and "Homeward Bound." PG (violence, profanity). (Sandcastle, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.) (Jan. 29, 1997) - C.H.
FOOTLOOSE - * * * - Shot in Utah County, mostly Payson, this musical has to do with a displaced Chicago youngster (Kevin Bacon) who finds himself in a small town where dancing and rock music have been banned. Naturally, he falls for the daughter of the local fire-and-brimstone minister (John Lithgow). Not particularly original, but some excellent dancing and fine performances (particularly from Bacon, Lithgow and Dianne Wiest). The Utah scenery is beautifully photographed. PG (profanity, nudity, violence). (Sugar House.) (Feb. 19, 1984) - C.H.
THE 39 STEPS - * * * 1/2 - One of Alfred Hitchcock's earliest big hits, still a marvelously entertaining thriller despite its being rather technically primitive. Hitch establishes his innocent-man-on-the-run motif with this s* * 1/2 - This Alfred Hitchcock classic is less a suspense thriller than a lightweight romance with mystery trappings, as retired cat burglar Cary Grant is suspected in a series of crimes along the French Riviera. The only thing more gorgeous than the backdrop is Grace Kelly, at her most luminous. Witty and captivating. Robert Burks' color cinematography won an Oscar. Made before ratings (1955), probable PG (violence). (Avalon, with "The 39 Steps.") - C.H.
THE 18TH ANNUAL UTAH SHORT FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL - A compilation of short film and video works (all under 30 minutes in length) in a variety of formats and categories. The programs are unrated, but may contain material in the R-rated range. (Salt Lake Arts Center: Friday, 7:15 and 9 p.m.; Saturday, 7:15 p.m. only.)
ADDICTED TO LOVE - * * * - Dark romantic comedy about a stay-at-home midwesterner (Matthew Broderick) who teams up with a hardened New Yorker (Meg Ryan) to bring misery to the former lovers who dumped them (Kete Postlethwaite, Ewan McGregor and Tara Fitzgerald), but it gets too serious and quite preachy as it goes along. A knowledge of English politics will help. R (profanity, vulgarity, brief nudity). (Exclusive, Broadway.) (June 13, 1997) - C.H.
BREAKDOWN - * * * - A genuine white-knuckle thriller that plays out as more intelligent and believable than most, with Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan's car breaking down in the Southwest desert. And then Quinlan disappears! Builds gradually and cleverly, with J.T. Walsh great as the nasty villain of the piece. Filmed partly in Moab. R (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Broadway, Carmike 12, Murray, Olympus, Plaza 5400.) (May 2, 1997) - C.H.
BUDDY - * * - True story of the relationship between a gorilla and the woman who raised it from infancy, Gertrude Lintz (based on her book "Animals Are My Hobby"). The story of this woman (played by Rene Russo), who adopted a menagerie of animals and kept them at her estate in the 1920s and '30s, would make a great movie, but this one settles for childish antics by a parade of anthropomorphic animals. PG (violence, mild vulgarity). (Carmike 12, Gateway, Holladay, Plaza 5400, Sandy 9, Trolley Square.) (June 6, 1997) - C.H.
CHASING AMY - * * 1/2 - Writer/direc who turns out to be a lesbian. To his surprise, she shares his feelings. R (profanity, vulgarity, violence, racist epithets, sex). (Holladay, South Towne, Trolley North.) (April 18, 1997) - J.V.
A CHEF IN LOVE - * * 1/2 - Amusing and quite charming for the first half, this French comedy-drama eventually loses its way as it tells the story of a bohemian chef in the 1920s republic of Georgia (Pierre Richard, of "The Tall Blond Man With One Red Shoe"), whose romance with a younger woman is interrupted by the Russian Revolution. Richard is especially good. In French and Russian, with English subtitles. PG-13 (violence, rape, sex, nudity, profanity). (Exclusive, Broadway). (June 13, 1997) - C.H.
CON AIR - * * 1/2 - This thriller about killers taking over a plane is as ridiculous as they come, but it gets a boost by an unlikely cast headed by Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and John Malkovich. Some good humor and wild stunts. R (violence, gore, attempted rape, profanity, vulgarity, racial epithets). (Carmike 12,. Then he turns into Indiana Jones to rescue Mayor Linda Hamilton and her children as they attempt to outrun flowing lava. PG-13 (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity). (Valley Vu, with "The Lost World: Jurassic Park.") (Feb. 7, 1997) - C.H.
THE DEVIL'S OWN - * * - Slow, underdeveloped "thriller" about a Belfast terrorist (Brad Pitt) who travels to New York to buy weapons for the IRA and ingratiates himself into the family of a big-hearted but naive street cop (Harrison Ford). At its best in scenes that explore day-to-day police work. R (violence, profanity). (Family Center, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (March 26, 1997) - C.H.
DOUBLE TEAM - * 1/2 - The plot for this dumb action-thriller is even more bizarre than the pairing of its stars (Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman). In it, Van Damme must escape from a colony for retired spies to capture an international terrorist, aided only by a flamboyant arms dealer (Rodman). R (violence, gore, profanity, partial nudity, vulgarity). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 4, 1997) - J.V.
FATHERS' DAY - * * - The long-awaited, big-screen pairing of Robin Williams and Billy Crystal yields some disappointingly low-brow "Dumb & Dumber" antics. This comedy, about two men searching for a teenager they both think is their son, has some funny moments, but also features many more crude or mean-spirited ones. PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, profanity). (South Towne.) (May 9, 1997) - J.V.
THE FIFTH ELEMENT - * * 1/2 - Visually dazzling sci-fi set in the 23rd century, with cab driver Bruce Willis becoming mixed up with a genetically engineered young woman (Milla Jovovich) and a nervous monk (Ian Holm) as they try to prevent an "evil" fireball from destroying the Earth. A wacky comedy with a story so convoluted that it makes no sense whatsoever - but there's lots of eye candy. PG-13 (violence, nudity, sex, profanity, vulgarity). (Broadway, Cinemas 5, Cottonwood, South Towne.) (May 9, 1997) - C.H.
FOOLS RUSH IN - * * - Dull, sitcom-style vehicle for Matthew Perry (of TV's "Friends"), littered with tired jokes about the culture clash between a white New York Presbyterian in Las Vegas who impulsively marries a Mexican Catholic (Salma Hayek) he impregnated during a one-night stand. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, sex). (Kaysville; Redwood, with "My Best Friend's Wedding"; Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Feb. 14, 1997) - C.H.
GONE FISHIN' - turkey - A troubled production that should have gone straight to video, this lame destruction comedy has two lifelong fishing buddies (Joe Pesci and Danny Glover) winning a trip to the Florida Everglades. PG (violence, vulgarity, profanity, bikini babes). (Gateway, Holladay, Plaza 5400, South Towne, Trolley Square.) (June 1, 1997) - C.H.
GROSSE POINTE BLANK - * * 1/2 - Some hilarious bits of business punctuate this one-joke, morally bankrupt satire about a hit man (John Cusack) who reluctantly attends his 10-year high school reunion, as he tries to rekindle an old romance (with Minnie Driver) and is stalked by rival assassin Dan Aykroyd. Killing people and cracking wise is wearing out its welcome, but this one is very funny in places. R (violence, sex, profanity, drugs). (Brewvies, Holladay.) (April 11, 1997) - C.H.
JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE - * * - Tim Allen stars in this silly culture-clash/"wild child" farce about a workaholic Manhattan stock broker saddled with a 13-year-old son who was raised in the Amazon. Some amusing moments but mostly the same old crass gags and pop-culture references. Martin Short, Lolita Davidovich and JoBeth Williams co-star. PG (comic violence, vulgarity). (Family Center, Kaysville, Sandcastle, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (March 7, 1997) - C.H.
LEO TOLSTOY'S ANNA KARENINA - * * 1/2 - Tolstoy's classic novel is reduced to sappy soap opera in this film version, but it was filmed on location in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and the locations and lush trappings give it a boost. If you don't mind the superficiality of this story of a scandalous affair between a married aristocratic woman and a military nobleman, you might have some fun. PG-13 (sex, brief nudity, drugs). (Exclusive, Broadway.) (June 13, 1997) - C.H.
LIAR, LIAR - * * * - Jim Carrey stars in this wacked-out fantasy-comedy as a lawyer whose son's birthday wish magically forces Dad to tell the truth for 24 hours. PG-13 (sex, vulgarity, profanity, partial nudity, violence). (Cinemas 5, Gateway, Olympus; Redwood, with "Romy & Michele's High School Reunion"; South Towne, Trolley Square.) (March 21, 1997) - C.H.
THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK - * * 1/2 - Cold, money-motivated sequel has no warmth, practically no story and is loaded with dumb contrivances. But it does have wall-to-wall action - director Steven Spielberg's specialty - and that may be enough for summer audiences. Jeff Goldblum returns to lead another expedition to another island loaded with more species of dinosaurs in this bigger-is-better special-effects extravaganza. PG-13 (violence, gore, profanity). (Carmike 12, Century, Crossroads, Holladay, Midvalley, Reel, Sandy 9, Trolley North, Valley Vu, with "Dante's Peak.") (May 23, 1997) - C.H.
METRO - * 1/2 - Eddie Murphy takes another career step backward, returning to the genre that made him a household name - violent "buddy" action-comedy pictures. In this particularly mean-spirited and unfunny one, he's paired with Michael Rapaport, as they play cops tracking a psychotic cop-killer. R (profanity, violence, nudity, racial epithets). (Redwood, with "Con Air.") (Jan. 17, 1997) - J.V.
MURDER AT 1600 - * 1/2 - Wesley Snipes tries hard but this contrived murder mystery gets more and more ludicrous as it goes along. Snipes is a D.C. cop investigating a murder that happened in the White House - but all the evidence has been classified. More comic relief from Dennis Miller as a wisecracking cop might have helped. Alan Alda and Diane Lane co-star. R (violence, gore, sex, nudity, profanity). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 18, 1997) - C.H.
PINK FLAMINGOS - John Waters' disgusting 1972 comedy, his self-described "exercise in bad taste," about two families (one led by Divine, the late 300-pound transvestite who was a Waters regular) trying to out-gross each other. A restored re-issue, in an expanded form for its 25th anniversary. Not rated, probable NC-17 (profanity, sex, nudity, vulgarity, violence). (Exclusive, Tower.)
PREFONTAINE - * * 1/2 - Despite some great performances (especially R. Lee Ermey as a curmudgeonly coach), this documentary-style melodrama (from "Hoop Dreams" director Steve James) about the late long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine stumbles in the blocks and takes too many shortcuts in getting to the finish line. PG-13 (profanity, violence). (Exclusive, Kaysville.) (May 30, 1997) - J.V.
ROMY & MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION - * 1/2 - At the heart of this screwball comedy, there's a funny premise - two aging valley girls (Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow) pretend to be successful to impress former classmates at their high school reunion. But that's only 30 minutes worth of material, not 90 minutes. R (profanity, vulgarity). (Flick; Redwood, with "Liar, Liar.") (April 25, 1997) - J.V.
THE SAINT - * 1/2 - Val Kilmer stars in this action-thriller about a high-rolling thief who adopts various disguises and funny accents. He is hired by a Russian billionaire to steal a formula for cold fusion from love-starved scientist Elisabeth Shue, but falls in love with her. Lots of explosions and chases, but underdeveloped characters and idiotic plotting do it in. PG-13 (violence, sex, profanity, nude statue). (Brewvies, Family Center, Kaysville, Murray, Sandcastle, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 4, 1997) - C.H.
SCREAM - turkey - Wes Craven attempts to parody the slasher film genre by milking its cliches. Ironically, in trying to spoof violent, crummy horror flicks, he's made one himself. And aside from Neve Campbell as the heroine in danger, the acting is atrocious (especially Courteney Cox's turn as a TV reporter). R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, sex). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Dec. 20, 1996) - J.V.
SELENA - * * - Jennifer Lopez delivers a starmaking performance in this story of the Tejano singer who was murdered by the president of her own fan club two years ago. And the other performances are also quite good (especially Edward James Olmos as her father). But too many Hollywood cliches and music videos make it rather dull and underdeveloped. PG (violence, mild language). (Valley Fair.) (March 21, 1997) - C.H.
THE SIXTH MAN - * 1/2 - This committee movie combines "Ghostbusters" with "Hoosiers," as Marlon Wayans' dead brother Kadeem Hardison returns as a ghost to help the college basketball team score in the NCAA championships. Mirthless comedy that relies heavily on mugging, sentiment and special effects. A few mild chuckles but not much more. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (March 28, 1997) - C.H.
SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL - * * - Ridiculous sequel to the first film has Sandra Bullock on a cruise ship instead of a bus, this time helping her new boyfriend (Jason Patric) battle a demented computer wizard (Willem Dafoe) who has taken over the ship. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Century, Creekside, Crossroads, Gateway, Midvalley; Redwood, with "Volcano"; Reel, South Towne.) (June 13, 1997) - C.H.
SPIKE & MIKE'S SICK AND TWISTED FESTIVAL OF ANIMATION '97 - The latest "Spike & Mike's" cartoon compilation features more shorts of questionable taste, including the newest work from Bill Plympton. Not rated, probable NC-17 (vulgarity, profanity, sex, violence, nudity, gore, drug use). (Tower: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Thursday; Brewvies: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.)
'TIL THERE WAS YOU - * 1/2 - Jeanne Tripplehorn ("The Firm," "Waterworld") falters in her first starring. A foolish, poorly executed slapstick romance. PG-13 (sex, profanity, vulgarity, comic violence). (Olympus, Plaza 5400.) (May 30, 1997) - C.H.
A TIME TO KILL - * * - Dense, star-studded adaptation of John Grisham's first book tries to do too much, simply skimming across the surface of its many plots and characters. A great cast - Samuel L. Jackson, in particular, is so strong you'll wish he had more screen time - but the film is manipulative as all get out, and in the end it just seems hollow. R (violence, profanity.) (Redwood, with "Batman & Robin.") (July 24, 1996) - C.H.
TRIAL AND ERROR - * * - Slight but occasionally amusing sitcom movie with a paper-thin plot - an actor (Michael Richards, of "Seinfeld") impersonates his best friend, a defense attorney (Jeff Daniels), in court. When the case unexpectedly goes to trial, he is forced to keep up the charade. Rip Torn, as the sleazy defendant, and Austin Pendleton, as the exasperated judge, get the biggest laughs. PG-13 (violence, profanity, sex, suggestive clothing). (Cinemas 5, Cottonwood; Redwood, with "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery"; South Towne.) (May 30, 1997) - C.H.
VOLCANO - * * - Routine disaster flick, bolstered by expert special effects, has an emergency services honcho (Tommy Lee Jones) trying to come up with a way of stopping a killer lava flow after a volcanic eruption beneath Los Angeles wreaks havoc. Anne Heche and young Gaby Hoffmann co-star. PG-13 (violence, gore, profanity). (Family Center, Kaysville; Redwood, with "Speed 2: Cruise Control"; Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 25, 1997) - C.H.
WACO: THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT - * * * - Disturbing, at times propagandizing, documentary about the fatal 1993 standoff between federal agents and members of the Branch Davidian sect, in which 76 cult members died. Interviews with survivors and independent investigators will probably leave audiences wanting answers. Not rated, probable R (profanity, violence, gore). (Exclusive, Tower.) (June 20, 1997) - J.V.
WARRIORS OF VIRTUE - * 1/2 - "Teenage Mutant Ninja Kangaroos." A troubled young boy finds himself in a fantasy world where he encounters five kickboxing kangaroos who must join forces to overthrow an evil wizard. Quite lame. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Family Center.) (May 2, 1997) - C.H.
Past movie reviews and capsules by Chris Hicks and Jeff Vice are available online. Search for MOVIES.