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On the screen


ANTZ - Computer-animated action-comedy about a nebbish insect (voiced by Woody Allen) who unwittingly becomes a hero, setting off a revolution in the anthill. Other voice talents include Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman. Reviewed in this section on Page W17. PG (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity, torture). (Century, Gateway, Holladay, Plaza 5400, Reel, South Towne, Trolley Square.)

A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY - Another "Saturday Night Live" skit comes to the big screen, as the Roxbury Guys (Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan) pursue their dream of owning a dance club and are romanced by women who mistakenly believe the duo is worth millions. Reviewed in this section on Page W15. PG-13 (vulgarity, sex, profanity, partial nudity, violence). (Carmike 12, Century; Gateway; Holladay; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Dead Man on Campus"; Reel; Sandy 9; Trolley Square.)

PERMANENT MIDNIGHT - Drama based on the best-selling autobiography of television writer Jerry Stahl (played by Ben Stiller), whose drug habit threatened both his career and his life during the late '80s. Elizabeth Hurley and Janeane Garofalo co-star. Reviewed in this section on Page W16. R (drug use, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Exclusive, Broadway.)

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK - Director's cut of this 1975 mystery by Peter Weir ("The Truman Show"), allegedly based on a real-life incident about an Australian private school thrown into turmoil when three of its students disappear during a field trip. Reviewed in this section on Page W16. Not rated, probable PG (profanity, violence, vulgarity, brief partial nudity). (Exclusive, Tower.)

A SOLDIER'S DAUGHTER NEVER CRIES - The latest Merchant-Ivory production, a drama based on Kaylie Jones' biographical novel, which included details of her relationship with her father, novelist James Jones ("From Here to Eternity"). Kris Kristofferson, Barbara Hershey and Leelee Lobieski ("Deep Impact") star. In English and in French, with English subtitles. Reviewed in this section on Page W17. R (profanity, violence, vulgarity, racial epithets, drug use). (Exclusive, Broadway.)

WHAT DREAMS MAY COME - Fantasy/romantic drama based on the Richard Matheson novel and starring Robin Williams as a recently slain physician willing to throw away his chance at the afterlife to rescue his wife (Annabella Sciorra) from Hades. Cuba Gooding Jr. co-stars. Reviewed in this section on Page W14. PG-13 (profanity, violence, nudity, vulgarity). (Century; Gateway; Holladay; Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Small Soldiers"; Reel; South Towne; Trolley Corners.)


THE BEST OF THE 19TH ANNUAL UTAH SHORT FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL - A compilation of award winners from this year's festival, which featured more than 150 short film and video works from local and national directors. The program is not rated, but may contain some R-rated material. (Friday, 7 p.m., Salt Lake Art Center.)

THE UTAH FILMMAKERS AND UTAH STUDENT FILMMAKERS FILM FESTIVAL - Two programs of short films made by local professionals and student directors. Includes works by Dale Angell ("Fish Wars") and Trent Harris ("The Burning Man"). These programs are not rated, but may contain some R-rated material. (Oct. 4-6, Tower.)


AIR BUD: GOLDEN RECEIVER - * 1/2 - Lame sequel to last year's surprise hit about a sports-talented pooch, who this time applies his skills to the gridiron, and also has to contend with two animal "collectors" trying to kidnap him. Uninspired performances and scripting make this one almost unbearable. PG (slapstick violence, vulgarity). (Cinemas 5, Olympus.) (Aug. 14, 1998)

ARMAGEDDON - * * - More chaotic, headache-inducing eye candy from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay ("The Rock"). The premise is intriguing: A roughneck crew of oil drillers (including Bruce Willis) is sent into space to destroy an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. But the characters are reduced to spouting one-liners and the action is too hectic and confusing. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, partial nudity, gore). (Century, Creekside, Gateway, Plaza 5400, Sandy 9.) (July 2, 1998)

THE AVENGERS - * - A stultifyingly dull redo of the '60s TV series, thoroughly inert, with a frosty, charmless performance from Ralph Fiennes and a frazzled, charmless performance from Uma Thurman. Not even Sean Connery as the villain can wake things up. The only thing this dismal, depressing exhumation of the witty old TV show has going for it is the production design. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity). (Sugar House.) (Aug. 16, 1998) - Steven Rea (Knight Ridder)

BLADE - * * * - Based on the comic book series, this intense action-thriller stays true to its roots with one-dimensional characters, cartoon violence and heroic poses - you can almost see the thought balloons. It doesn't try to be more and succeeds as a cathartic experience. Wesley Snipes is the vampire hunter, who is half-human and half-vampire himself. Knockout special effects, powerful fight scenes and buckets of blood. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity). (Century; Creekside; Crossroads; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Halloween: H20"; Sandy 9.) (Aug. 21, 1998) - Rick Mortensen

DANCE WITH ME - * * 1/2 - Enchanting music and sometimes-great choreography can't dance around the fact that the storytelling in this romantic drama is all left feet. About the only things that make this overlong movie worth sitting through are the dance numbers. PG (sex, profanity, vulgarity). (Cinemas 5.) (Aug. 21, 1998) - Bob Strauss (Los Angeles Daily News)

DEAD MAN ON CAMPUS - * * - Angling to be a hybrid of "Heathers" and "National Lampoon's Animal House" for the '90s, this comedy lacks the genuine satiric darkness of the former and the exuberant yuks of the latter. What it does have is attractive packaging, some energetic performances and a sharp eye for contemporary college types. R (drug use, profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Redwood, with "A Night at the Roxbury.") (Aug. 21, 1998) - Steve Murray (Cox News Service)

DEEP IMPACT - * * - Possibly the dullest disaster film ever made, this all-talk-and-no-action flick wastes an all-star cast - including Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni, Morgan Freeman and Elijah Wood, who try to survive when scientists discover that a huge comet is on a collision course with the Earth. Not worth sticking around for the 10 minutes' worth of destruction, frankly. PG-13 (profanity, violence). (Valley Fair.) (May 8, 1998)

DR. DOLITTLE - * 1/2 - An uninspired Eddie Murphy plays second fiddle to crass anthropomorphic animals (voiced by Norm Macdonald, Chris Rock and others) in this incredibly crude comedy, "inspired by" the 1967 musical comedy and the children's stories. It's hard to say which is worse here - all the potty humor or the insincere attempts to put across a message. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, violence, partial nudity, hospital gore). (Redwood, with "There's Something About Mary"; Sandy Starships; Sugar House; Valley Fair.) (June 26, 1998)

EVER AFTER - * * 1/2 - Drew Barrymore tries to charm her way through this feministic, revisionist retelling of the "Cinderella" fairy tale, but only the star and Anjelica Huston, who nearly steals the picture out from under her as her wicked stepmother, fare all that well. Handsome production values, though. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity). (Carmike 12, Century, Creekside, Crossroads, Plaza 5400, Sandy 9, Trolley North.) (July 31, 1998)

GODZILLA - * * - Despite the awesome computer graphics-created title character, which rampages through Manhattan rather than Tokyo this time, this sci-fi/thriller from the "Independence Day" filmmaking team is a too-transparent ripoff of the "Jurassic Park" movies. Kids will probably love it, but adults may find themselves wanting better-developed characters and situations. A few thrills and a couple of chuckles, but on whole pretty disappointing. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, gore, brief partial nudity). (Valley Fair.) (May 20, 1998)

HALLOWEEN: H20 (20 YEARS LATER) - * * 1/2 - Jamie Lee Curtis is great reprising her role as Laurie Strode, who is forced to again do battle with killer Michael Myers in this "official" sequel to the infamous 1978 slasher film. There are also some very tense, thrilling moments, but the ludicrous five-minute finale almost ruins the whole thing. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity). (Redwood, with "Blade.") (Aug. 5, 1998)

HOPE FLOATS - * * - Not the change of pace Sandra Bullock might have anticipated, this disappointingly downbeat drama stars Bullock as a single mother who discovers love and acceptance when she is forced to move back to her small Texas hometown. Frankly, she tries too hard to charm her way through this uneven mess. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity). (Kaysville, Sugar House.) (May 29, 1998)

THE HORSE WHISPERER - * * * * - A case of the movie actually being better than the book, Robert Redford's long-anticipated adaptation of the Nicholas Evans best seller stars Redford as a horse trainer who helps heal a wounded animal, as well as its young rider and her mother (Kristin Scott Thomas, from "The English Patient"). Wonderfully low-key, with superb photography that makes great use of the beautiful Montana scenery. PG-13 (profanity, violence, gore). (Kaysville, Sugar House.) (May 15, 1998)

KNOCK OFF - turkey - Possibly the worst Jean-Claude Van Damme movie to date, an unthrilling thriller about a kung-fu fighting clothing counterfeiter who has to foil a plan by the Russian mob to implant remote-controlled explosives in designer jeans. The cast (which includes Rob Schneider and Paul Sorvino) looks embarrassed, and definitely should be by this mess. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, brief nudity). (Redwood, with "Urban Legend.") (Sept. 6, 1998)

LETHAL WEAPON 4 - * 1/2 - More like a series of poorly conceived skits rather than a coherent narrative film, the fourth installment in the action series reunites Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci and Rene Russo and brings in newcomers Chris Rock and Jet Li to pump up the action and comedy. Unfortunately, much of the humor is surprisingly racist and sexist in nature and the stunts look like stunts. R (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity, racial epithets). (Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (July 10, 1998)

MADELINE - * * * - Charming newcomer Hatty Jones shines as the title character, a tiny but mischievous schoolgirl in this sweetly low-key family comedy, drawn from Ludwig Bemelmans' beloved novels. Also helping are Oscar-winner Frances McDormand as schoolteacher Miss Clavel and Nigel Hawthorne as the villainous Lord Covington. PG (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity). (Kaysville, Valley Fair.) (July 10, 1998)

MAFIA! - * * - Despite some funny gags at the start (particularly the on-target Las Vegas sendups), this parody of the "Godfather" trilogy and "Casino" runs out of steam quickly and features a very vulgar, mean-spirited streak. And pity the late Lloyd Bridges, who is reduced to stumbling around for laughs. PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, profanity, drug use, ethnic slurs, sex, nude artwork, brief gore). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (July 24, 1998)

THE MASK OF ZORRO - * * 1/2 - Star power (including Antonio Ban-der-as, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins) really brings to life this swashbuckling adventure, based on the pulp fiction stories and various movies. A bit too long and too much concentration on explosions at the end but exciting nonetheless. PG-13 (violence, gore, nudity, vulgarity). (Carmike 12, Century, Midvalley, Olympus, Sandy 9, Trolley North.) (July 17, 1998)

MR. NICE GUY - * * - Action star Jackie Chan's newest, a martial-arts comedy about a TV chef accidentally dragged into a turf war between a motorcycle gang and a drug lord, almost lives up to its advertised promise of having "more action than the last three Jackie Chan films combined." But its plot is too thin, the acting is abominable and the ending is pretty dull, frankly. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity, nude artwork). (Redwood, with "Rush Hour.") (March 20, 1998)

MULAN - * * * - Almost too brisk for its own good, the latest Disney animated offering is an exciting musical adventure about a young Chinese woman who disguises herself as a warrior to save her ailing father's life and earn his respect. Superb animation, and the vocal cast (which includes Ming Na-Wen, Eddie Murphy, Donny Osmond, Harvey Fierstein and George Takei) gives charming performances. G (animated violence). (Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (June 22, 1998)

THE NEGOTIATOR - * * - Despite a powerhouse performance by Samuel L. Jackson, playing a hostage negotiator framed for murder, this overwritten suspense/thriller suffers from awful plotting and scripting. And despite some tense moments, no other cast member (not even Kevin Spacey) can match Jackson's intensity. R (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity). (Brewvies.) (July 29, 1998)

NEXT STOP WONDERLAND - * * * - A wonderful lead performance from acclaimed independent film actress Hope Davis ("The Daytrippers") enlivens this breezy romantic comedy about a nurse who keeps missing out on seemingly "fated" meetings with her true love. Some off-kilter humor and strong writing from newcomer Brad Anderson also help. R (profanity, violence, vulgarity). (Exclusive, Broadway.) (Aug. 28, 1998)

ONE TRUE THING - * * * - This adaptation of Pulitzer-Prize winning author Anna Quindlen's best-selling novel is pretty thin, and reduces the plot to "disease of the week" territory, but Meryl Streep makes it all worthwhile with a terrific performance as a housewife dying of cancer. And Renee Zellweger is fine as an ambitious journalist who moves home to help her out. R (profanity, vulgarity, brief partial nudity). (Century, Crossroads, Holladay, Midvalley, Sandy 9, Trolley North.) (Sept. 18, 1998)

THE OPPOSITE OF SEX - * * * - At-times shocking but very clever black comedy that features former preteen star Christina Ricci as a teenaged vixen who wreaks havoc on the lives of several Indiana residents, including her much-older half brother (Martin Donovan). Great dialogue, and Ricci's viciously deadpan narration certainly helps smooth over some rough spots. R (profanity, violence, sex, vulgarity, nude artwork, hospital gore). (Brewvies.) (Aug. 14, 1998)

THE PARENT TRAP - * * * - The real surprise of the summer, this remake of the 1961 Disney comedy is too long by at least 20 minutes, but it benefits from terrific performances. Best of all is charming newcomer Lindsay Lohan, who stars as identical twin sisters who have never met but who conspire to get their single parents (Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson) back together. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Cottonwood, Gateway, Plaza 5400, South Towne.) (July 29, 1998)

RETURN TO PARADISE - * 1/2 - Awful thriller based on the 1989 French film "Force majeure," starring Vince Vaughn and David Conrad as two New Yorkers compelled to return to Malaysia to help out their friend (Joaquin Phoenix) who has been convicted of drug trafficking. The cast tries, but the dialogue is horrible and character developments are so preposterous it's hard to take the thing seriously. R (profanity, drug use, violence, sex, nudity, vulgarity). (Valley Fair.) (Aug. 14, 1998)

RONIN - * * * - There's only one really good scene in this thriller, namely a heart-pounding auto chase going the wrong way through Paris traffic. But it's a doozy and helps salvage this otherwise undeveloped tale about a team of assassins and weapons specialists (including Robert De Niro and Jean Reno) who are betrayed by their em-ploy-ers. R (violence, gore, profanity, torture, vulgarity). (Carmike 12, Century, Cottonwood, Gateway, Midvalley, Reel, Sandy 9, Trolley Square.) (Sept. 25, 1998)

ROUNDERS - * * * - Matt Damon and Edward Norton are great playing two gambling buddies in this drama/thriller from filmmaker John Dahl ("The Last Seduction," "Red Rock West"). However, they're hampered by some too-slow pacing and some uneven supporting performances (particularly, Gretchen Mol as Damon's love interest). Still, the finale's pretty tense, and it's an intriguing premise. R (profanity, violence, vulgarity, nudity, ethnic slurs, sex, gore). (Broadway, Cinemas 5, Olympus, Sandy 9.) (Sept. 11, 1998)

RUSH HOUR - * * - Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan is great as a Hong Kong detective who goes to the states to rescue his prize student in this action comedy. Unfortunately, writer/director Brett Ratner ("Money Talks") pairs him with the ultra-annoying Chris Tucker, who spoils the movie with his fast-talking shtick and some nasty racist humor. PG-13 (violence, profanity, racial epithets, vulgarity, drug use, gore). (Century; Creekside; Gateway; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Mr. Nice Guy"; South Towne; Trolley Corners.) (Sept. 18, 1998)

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN - * * * * - Director Steven Spielberg's "war movie to end all war movies" is startlingly graphic and violent, but it's also the most enthralling and compelling story of the year. Tom Hanks stands out among a great ensemble cast as the leader of a U.S. Army Rangers squadron sent on a seeming suicide mission - to bring back a paratrooper (Matt Damon) lost amid the famous 1944 D-Day invasion. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity). (Broadway, Century, Midvalley, South Towne.) (July 24, 1998)

SECOND CHANCES - Based on a true story, this independent family drama stars child actor Kelsey Mulrooney ("She's So Lovely") as a young girl who copes with family tragedies through horseback riding. G. (Carmike 12, Cottonwood, Plaza 5400.)

SIMON BIRCH - * * - John Irving fans will blanch at this comedy-drama, which was "suggested by" his novel "A Prayer for Owen Meany." And while the revamped plot, about the friendship between a youngster ("Star Kid's" Joseph Mazello) and the title character, his unusually small best friend (newcomer Ian Michael Smith), is promising, director Mark Steven Johnson doesn't have the subtlety or filmmaking skills to pull it off. PG (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Broadway, South Towne, Villa.) (Sept. 11, 1998)

SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS - * * - You can't blame either of the stars (Harrison Ford and Anne Heche) for this disappointing romantic adventure, which pairs them as a gruff cargo pilot and an acerbic New Yorker who find danger and romance when they're stranded on a deserted island. Both of them try, but they're undone by awful scripting and plotting. PG-13 (profanity, violence, vulgarity, partial nudity, brief gore). (Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House.) (June 12, 1998)

SMALL SOLDIERS - * * - More mean-spirited than you might expect and not nearly as funny as it thinks it is, this action-comedy features two armies of action figures who come to life and battle it out, dragging their unwitting human "owners" into the fray. Some good special effects, but the script is grossly underdone. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Cinemas 5; Redwood, with "What Dreams May Come.") (July 10, 1998)

SNAKE EYES - * * - The action is tense during the first hour of this suspense-thriller, starring Nicolas Cage as a corrupt cop who winds up having to investigate a shooting in the midst of a prize fight. But after the conspiracy plot is revealed, the whole thing falls apart. Besides, director Brian De Palma spends most of his time aping Alfred Hitchcock's best camera tricks. R (violence, profanity, gore, torture, vulgarity). (Cinemas 5, Sandy 9.) (Aug. 7, 1998)

THE SPANISH PRISONER - * * - Proof that playwrights don't necessarily make good filmmakers, this low-key thriller from David Mamet ("Oleanna") features clever plotting and decent pacing, but irritatingly robotic acting that robs it of life. Campbell Scott is at his most wooden, playing a young businessman unsure of whom to trust after he invents a revolutionary business strategy. PG (violence, profanity, gore, racial epithets). (Brewvies.) (May 8, 1998)

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY - * * - Nearly as funny as it is disgusting, the newest comedy from the makers of "Dumb & Dumber" and "Kingpin" follows the misadventures of a lovable loser (Ben Stiller) who hires a sleazy P.I. (Matt Dillon) to find the woman he's been in love with since high school (Cameron Diaz). Screamingly funny at times, but the movie runs out of steam in the second half with an irritating stalking subplot. R (vulgarity, profanity, violence, nudity, ethnic slurs). (Broadway; Century; Cottonwood; Gateway; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Dr. Dolittle"; South Towne.) (July 15, 1998)

THE TRUMAN SHOW - * * * * - One of those rare instances of the hype being justified, this thoughtful and subtle black comedy/suspense-thriller stars comic actor Jim Carrey (in his "breakthrough" role) as a man unaware that his "life" is being staged as part of a 24-hour-a-day documentary television show. Kudos also to Peter Weir ("Dead Poets Society"), whose skillful direction forces Carrey to act. PG (profanity, violence). (Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (June 5, 1998)

URBAN LEGEND - * - Yet another gory, dumbbell "Scream" wan-nabe, this one an uninspired thriller about a serial killer who uses folklore for inspiration. But when the filmmakers run out of folk tales, they make up some of their own and the premise is so ludricous it's laugh-able. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, sex, nude drawings). (Carmike 12; Century; Crossroads; Holladay; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Knock Off"; Reel; Sandy 9; Trolley North.) (Sept. 25, 1998)

WRONGFULLY ACCUSED - * - Yet another unfunny Leslie Nielsen comedy, this one a dumb parody of "The Fugitive," as he stars as a violinist framed for the murder of his lover's husband. Most of the "humor" here is people hitting their heads on objects, while nearly all of the sight gags fall flat. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, violence, sex). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Aug. 23, 1998)


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