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On the screen


THE BUTCHER BOY - An irreverent and blackly comic adaptation of Patrick McCabe's novel by writer/director Neil Jordan ("Interview with the Vampire," "Michael Collins"), about a disturbed Irish teen who takes deadly revenge on some of the villagers who shunned him. Reviewed in this sectionon Page W3. R (profanity, violence, vulgarity, gore). (Exclusive, Tower.)

FIREWORKS (HANA-BI) - Japanese cult star "Beat" Takeshi Kitano stars in this thriller, which he also wrote and directed, as a renegade former cop deep in debt to a local Yakuza crime boss. A selection of the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. In Japanese, with English subtitles. Reviewed in this sectionon Page W3. Not rated, probable R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity). (Exclusive, Tower.)

THE MASK OF ZORRO - Antonio Banderas gets to swashbuckle as the legendary masked hero in this action-adventure. Co-stars include Catherine Zeta-Jones as his love interest and Anthony Hopkins as his mentor, the retiring original Zorro. Reviewed in this sectionon Page W3. PG-13 (violence, gore, nudity, vulgarity). (Carmike 12; Century; Holladay; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Can't Hardly Wait"; Reel; Sandy 9; Trolley Corners; Trolley North.)

SMOKE SIGNALS - Based on short stories from Sherman Alexie's collection "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven," this drama follows two young American Indians on the journey from Idaho to Arizona to claim the remains of one man's father. Winner of the Sundance Film Festival's Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy. Jeff Vice interviews director Chris Eyre on Page W1; reviewed on Page W12. PG-13 (profanity, violence, racial epithets). (Exclusive, Broadway.)


JUMANJI - * * * - This kids movie is definitely not for little ones, but as a rambunctious action-comedy it's loads of fun. The plot has a pair of kids stumbling onto the title board game, as they inadvertantly endanger New England's ecosystem by unleashing exotic animals and a deadly virus. Think "Gremlins," with which this film shares a certain anarchic sensibility. PG (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Kaysville, Wednesday only, 12:15 and 2:30 p.m.) (Dec. 15, 1995) - Chris Hicks


GONE WITH THE WIND - * * * * - Up until the release of "Titanic" last year, this 1939 classic was America's favorite sweeping romance, an epic love story between two mismatched rogues (Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable), set amongst the backdrop of the Civil War. Rarely has justice been done to a novel as it is here (the film is based Margaret Mitchell's book of the same name), and though there's a troubling sympathy for the pro-slavery South expressed, it's more of a subtext than anything explicit. This reissue features digitally enhanced sound (including the original lobby and intermission musical score), as well as "restored" color and picture. G (wartime violence, mild profanity). (Exclusive, Crossroads.)


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). (Carmike 12; Century; Creekside; Gateway; Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Six Days, Seven Nights"; Reel; Sandy 9; Trolley Corners.) (July 2, 1998)

CAN'T HARDLY WAIT - * * - At-times bright but more often annoying, modern-day revision of "American Graffiti." Ethan Embry (from "That Thing You Do!") is good as a shy high-school graduate trying to summon the courage to tell the class knockout (Jennifer Love Hewitt, from "I Know What You Did Last Summer") how he feels about her before he leaves town. But too often the film settles for cheap humor. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, violence, sex, racial epithets). (Olympus; Redwood, with "The Mask of Zorro.") (June 12, 1998)

CITY OF ANGELS - * * 1/2 - Loosely based on the 1987 art-house film "Wings of Desire," this romantic drama/fantasy stars Nicolas Cage as an angel who's torn between duty and the love of a heart surgeon (Meg Ryan). The story's fine until things take a turn toward weepy melodrama. Fine performances from Cage and Ryan, as well as co-stars Dennis Franz and Andre Braugher, though. PG-13 (profanity, violence, sex, nudity, hospital gore, vulgarity). (Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 10, 1998)

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). (Avalon, Brewvies, Cinemas 5, Olympus.) (May 8, 1998)

DIRTY WORK - turkey - Leaden, taste-deprived attempted comedy about a couple of losers (including former "Saturday Night Live" star Norm Macdonald, who co-wrote the script) whose contribution to American capitalism is a revenge-for-hire business. Far too often, the supposedly funny business happens offscreen. PG-13 (profanity, violence, vulgarity). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (June 14, 1998) - Lawrence Van Gelder, New York Times News Service

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). (Century; Holladay; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Small Soldiers"; Reel; South Towne; Trolley North; Trolley Square.) (June 26, 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). (Brewvies, Cinemas 5.) (May 20, 1998)

GOOD WILL HUNTING - * * * 1/2 - Well-acted, though also profane and vulgar, comedy-drama about a troubled 20-something mathematics genius (Matt Damon) who must undergo therapy (from Oscar winner Robin Williams, playing a down-on-his-luck college professor) as part of his parole. Damon and co-star Ben Affleck also wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay. R (profanity, vulgarity, violence, sex, nude paintings, racial epithets). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Dec. 26, 1997)

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) (Brewvies, Carmike 12, Cinemas 5, Olympus.) (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). (Cinemas 5, Cottonwood, South Towne.) (May 15, 1998)

LES MISERABLES - * * * - This dramatic, not musical, adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel suffers from choppy pacing (due to studio-mandated cuts) and a lack of necessary melodrama. Still, the performances by Liam Neeson and "Shine's" Geoffrey Rush, as longtime antagonists Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert, are superb, as is Uma Thurman, playing the doomed Fantine. PG-13 (violence, gore, partial nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Kaysville, Sugar House.) (May 1, 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). (Carmike 12; Century; Cottonwood; Crossroads; Gateway; Midvalley; Redwood, with "A Perfect Murder"; Reel; Sandy 9.) (July 10, 1998)

LOST IN SPACE - * * 1/2 - Neither as good nor as bad as you might think, this big-screen version of the cult '60s television series, a science-fiction take on "Swiss Family Robinson," is decent if unexceptional eye-candy. However, things bog down in the second half, with a time-travel storyline that makes no sense. PG-13 (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity). (Kaysville, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 3, 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). (Broadway; Century; Gateway; Holladay; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Mulan"; South Towne.) (July 10, 1998)

THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK - * * - Who says two Leonardo DiCaprios are better than one? The "Titanic" star is downright awful playing twin brothers - one the evil King of France and the other a sweet-natured prisoner - in this dimwitted adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel. Still, the dream casting of actors playing the Four Musketeers (Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich, Gerard Depardieu and Jeremy Irons) almost saves things. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, sex, nudity, profanity). (Valley Fair.) (March 13, 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). G (animated violence) gives charming performances. (Gateway; Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Madeline"; South Towne; Trolley Square; Villa.) (June 22, 1998)

MY GIANT - * * - There's yet another smug turn by Billy Crystal in this unfunny comedy, which stars Crystal as a third-rate talent agent who accidentally discovers a new star, a 7-foot-plus, Shakespeare-quoting monastery caretaker (Gheorghe Muresan, from the NBA Washington Wizards), while in Europe. Things are also marred by a vulgar vomiting gag. PG (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Valley Fair.) (April 10, 1998)

OUT OF SIGHT - * * * - Acclaimed independent film director Steven Soderbergh out-Tarantinos Quentin Tarantino with this adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel, a blackly comic thriller about an escaped bank robber (George Clooney) who falls in love with the federal marshal (Jennifer Lopez) pursuing him. Clooney and Lopez heat up the screen and help overcome a serious lull midway through. R (profanity, violence, gore, vulgarity, sex, racial epithets). (Holladay, Midvalley, South Towne, Trolley Square.) (June 26, 1998)

PAULIE - * * * - Here's the year's most pleasant surprise to date: a charming kids comedy about the title character, a parrot who learns to speak and comprehend the human language and who yearns to be reunited with his original owner. A great cast of human co-stars (Tony Shalhoub, Gena Rowlands and Cheech Marin) certainly doesn't hurt. Jay Mohr, from "Jerry Maguire," lends his voice to the character. PG (profanity). (Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Valley Fair.) (April 17, 1998)

A PERFECT MURDER - * 1/2 - Terrible miscasting and an even worse script sinks this slickly directed but disappointing thriller, inspired by the stageplay and film "Dial M for Murder" and starring Gwyneth Paltrow as the young wife of a millionaire industrialist (Michael Douglas) who is trying to kill her. R (violence, gore, profanity, sex, partial nudity). (Redwood, with "Lethal Weapon 4.") (June 5, 1998)

THE PLAYERS CLUB - Rapper/actor Ice Cube makes his writing and directing debut with this comedy-drama about a struggling single mother (newcomer Lisaraye) who takes a job as a dancer in a thriving "gentlemen's club." Co-stars include Ice Cube and Jamie Foxx. R (profanity, nudity, sex, violence, vulgarity, racial epithets). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.)

POST COITUM - * * * - A smart but uneven comedy/drama from French director Brigitte Rouan ("Overseas"), who wrote, directed and stars as a 40-year-old book editor who risks her career and family by having an affair with a much younger man. Well-acted and conceived, at least until it bogs down in the second half. In French, with English subtitles. Not rated, probable R (nudity, sex, profanity, violence, gore, vulgarity). (Exclusive, Tower.) (July 10, 1998)

QUEST FOR CAMELOT - * * - Flat animation and unmemorable songs are just several of the many problems facing this dull animated musical, a feminist revision of the King Arthur legends that's based on a famous fantasy novel. In it, the daughter of a slain knight and a blind warrior, who try to recover King Arthur's mystical sword, Excalibur. Deadly dull. G (animated violence). (Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (May 15, 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 York 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). (Broadway; Carmike 12; Creekside; Gateway; Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Armageddon"; Sandy 9) (June 12, 1998)

SLIDING DOORS - * * - A lack of chemistry between the leads seriously hampers this uneven comedy/fantasy, a variation on "It's a Wonderful Life," which follows what happens when a young woman (Gwyneth Paltrow, sporting a bad British accent) misses a London subway train, as well as what happens when she makes it to the train station on time. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, sex, brief partial nudity, violence). (Brewvies.) (April 24, 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). (Carmike 12; Century; Cottonwood; Gateway; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Dr. Dolittle"; Reel; Sandy 9; Trolley Square.) (July 10, 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 "The X-Files"; South Towne.) (July 15, 1998)

TITANIC - * * * - Too long by at least 45 minutes, director James Cameron's romance/adventure epic - set aboard the ill-fated passenger ship - is also more passionate and thrilling than most of what we've seen lately. Things are helped enormously by stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, playing doomed lovers, and the fact that almost all of the reported $200 million budget seems to have gone to the dazzling historical recreations. Winner of 11 Academy Awards. PG-13 (profanity, violence, nudity, vulgarity, sex). (Cinemas 5, Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Dec. 19, 1997)

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). (Broadway, Carmike 12, Gateway, Holladay, Plaza 5400, Sandy 9.) (June 5, 1998)

U.S. MARSHALS - * * - There are some exciting stunts in this spinoff of the 1993 hit "The Fugitive," but they're obvious retreads of action sequences from the first film (as well as "Con Air" and others) and the plot's not up to snuff. Also, Tommy Lee Jones does a fine job reprising his role, even though Wesley Snipes isn't nearly interesting enough as the subject of his hunt. PG-13 (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity). (Sugar House.) (March 6, 1998)

THE WEDDING SINGER - * * 1/2 - Surprising chemistry from stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore helps save this silly but sweet romantic comedy, set in the mid-'80s, about a struggling musician and wedding entertainer who falls in love with a waitress who's engaged to be married. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence, partial nudity). (Sugar House.) (Feb. 13, 1998)

THE X-FILES - * * * - The truth may be out there, but not all of it is revealed in this science-fiction/thriller based on the hit television series, which picks up the story from the season-ending cliffhanger episode. Still, it's a thrilling ride, and stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson get to show more personality than they're usually allowed. PG-13 (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, brief nudity, racial epithets). (Broadway; Carmike 12; Creekside; Midvalley; Redwood, with "There's Something About Mary"; Sandy 9.) (June 22, 1998)

Past movie reviews and capsules by Jeff Vice and Chris Hicks are available online. Search for MOVIES.