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NEW FILMS FRIDAY

THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY — Shot on digital video, this largely improvised drama from co-directors Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming follows a just reconciled show-business couple who run into problems when they throw a party to celebrate. The all-star supporting cast includes Kevin Kline, Gwyneth Paltrow and Phoebe Cates. R (profanity, drug use, nudity, vulgarity, brief sex). (Exclusive, Tower.)

PLANET OF THE APES — Not a straight remake, but a "re-imagining" of the classic sci-fi film by director Tim Burton. The all-star cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth and Michael Clarke Duncan. Jeff Vice interviews Roth on Page W1; reviewed in this section. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity, brief drug use). (Broadway; Carmike 12; Century; Five-Star; Gateway; Holladay; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Dr. Dolittle 2"; Ritz.)

MIDNIGHT MOVIES

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT — **** — Reissue of director Richard Lester's frenetic but hilarious "day-in-the-life" musical comedy starring the Beatles. The four Brits seem perfectly at ease in front of the camera, resulting in charming performances, and the remastered soundtrack features several of their biggest hits (including the title track). In black and white. G (slapstick violence). (Tower, Friday and Saturday.)

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

ALASKA: SPIRIT OF THE WILD —*** 1/2 — This large-screen documentary is a pleasurable 39-minute trip away from the Utah desert. But apparently the filmmakers felt they had to set up conflicts — potentially violent ones — to keep our attention. Narrated by Charlton Heston. Shown in the large-screen format. Not rated, probable G. (Exclusive, Jordan Commons.) (April 20, 2001) — Diane Urbani

BRIGHAM YOUNG — FRONTIERSMAN — *** — Enjoyable but highly fictionalized version of LDS Church leader Brigham Young's struggle to lead his fellow church members on their westward trek. Good performances — including Dean Jagger as Young and Vincent Price's all-too-brief appearance as Joseph Smith — help things out greatly. In black and white. Made before ratings (1940), probable G. (Jordan Commons.)

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: JOURNEY OF MAN —*** 1/2 — A vista of sheer beauty, the kind that mesmerizes your children and seduces adults into a warm visual bath. The images wash over you for 38 minutes — and the less you think and analyze, the better. Three routines by the Montreal-based circus troupe, which symbolize the birth of mankind. Narrated by Ian McKellen. Shown in the large-screen format. G (nothing offensive). (Jordan Commons.) (March 2, 2001) — Diane Urbani

TOOTSIE —*** 1/2 — Dustin Hoffman shines in the title role of this 1982 comedy, about an out-of-work actor who pretends to be a woman to get a part in a television soap opera. Frequently hilarious, with terrific supporting performances by Oscar-winner Jessica Lange, Oscar-nominee Teri Garr and an unbilled Bill Murray. PG (vulgarity, profanity). (Jordan Commons.)

CONTINUING FILMS

A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE — *** — Uneven, frustrating and even a bit aloof, Steven Spielberg's science-fiction epic is also one of the most provocative, edgy films to come from a major studio in a long time. Haley Joel Osment as a robotic boy trying to find his reason for existence, while Jude Law, Frances O'Connor and William Hurt co-star. Running time: 144 minutes. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity, nude artwork, brief gore). (Carmike 12; Century; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Midvalley, Redwood, with "Cats & Dogs"; Ritz; Trolley Corners.) (June 29, 2001)

ALONG CAME A SPIDER —* 1/2 — Executive producer/star Morgan Freeman does his best to make this prequel to "Kiss the Girls" watchable. But it's a lost cause, thanks to the suspenseless action and ludicrous plot twists. Running time: 103 minutes. R (violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Sugar House.) (April 6, 2001)

AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS — ** — Hardly the sweet romantic comedy it appears to be, this major-studio dud is actually a toothless show-biz parody revolving around Billy Crystal's smug character. A couple of laughs, but nearly charmless. Running time: 100 minutes. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, slapstick violence). (Broadway; Carmike 12; Century; Five-Star; Gateway; Holladay; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within"; Ritz.) (July 20, 2001)

AMORES PERROS — *** — Despite some superficial similarities to "Pulp Fiction," this Mexican thriller (an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film) is a lively, piece connecting three very different tales, one of which is definitely not for animal lovers. In Spanish, with English subtitles. Running time: 153 minutes. R (profanity, gore, violence, sex, vulgarity, brief nudity). (Brewvies, must be 21 or older.) (June 1, 2001)

THE ANIMAL — ** — It's not great art, but this comedy starring Rob Schneider as a would-be cop who receives trans-species organ transplants has a few guilty laughs, and is more sweet-spirited than its cruder comedic cousins. Colleen Haskell (TV's "Survivor") co-stars. Running time: 84 minutes. PG-13 (vulgarity, slapstick violence, profanity). (Sandy, Showcase, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (June 1, 2001)

ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE — *** — It's troublingly violent and a little thin in the story department, but the latest Disney animated feature is a pretty exciting action-adventure tale about a linguist (the voice of Michael J. Fox) involved in an expedition to find the legendary underwater city. Running time: 98 minutes. PG (animated violence, vulgarity). (Carmike 12, Gateway, Holladay, Jordan Commons, Jordan Landing, Midvalley.) (June 15, 2001)

BRIGHAM CITY —** 1/2 — Utah filmmaker Richard Dutcher's follow-up to "God's Army" is an ambitious but muddled dramatic thriller about a small-town sheriff who must solve his community's first murder. The dramatic elements work, but the murder mystery itself is more problematic. Running time: 120 minutes. PG-13 (gore, violence, mild profanity, racial epithets). (Kaysville, Sandy, Showcase, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 6, 2001)

CATS & DOGS — *** — Surprisingly funny and gentle family comedy about a "war" between felines and canines. The all-star voice cast steals the show, particularly Sean Hayes (from TV's "Will and Grace") as the voice of the evil Mr. Tinkles. Running time: 85 minutes. PG (slapstick violence, vulgarity, mild profanity). (Broadway; Carmike 12; Century; Five-Star; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Midvalley; Redwood, with "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence"; Ritz; Trolley North; Villa.) (July 4, 2001)

CHOCOLAT —** 1/2 — Filling but unsatisfying comedy/fantasy from director Lasse Hallstrom, adapting the acclaimed novel about a mysterious woman (the always luminous Juliette Binoche) who rankles some in a small French village when she opens a chocolate shop. A good cast helps, but the sometimes inappropriate tone is a distraction. Running time: 121 minutes. PG-13 (profanity, sex, violence, brief vulgarity, brief partial nudity). (Kaysville, Sandy, Sugar House.) (Dec. 22, 2000)

CRAZY/BEAUTIFUL — *** — Good performances by Kirsten Dunst and newcomer Jay Hernandez greatly help this well-meaning but soft teen drama about the seemingly ill-fated romance between a wealthy but troubled girl and a studious teen who comes from "the wrong side of the tracks." Running time: 95 minutes. PG-13 (profanity, sex, violence, drugs, brief partial nudity). (Cottonwood; Jordan Landing; Redwood, with "Legally Blonde.") (June 29, 2001)

"CROCODILE" DUNDEE IN LOS ANGELES —** 1/2 — The premise is tired, but Paul Hogan still charms in his role as Aussie wildlife wrangler Mick Dundee, who takes his family to the City of Angels. Lightweight and not nearly funny enough, but at least it's clean. Running time: 95 minutes. PG (slapstick violence, profanity, vulgarity). (Sandy, Showcase, Valley Fair.) (April 20,2001)

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON — **** — More than "just" a martial-arts film, director Ang Lee's period fantasy is a beautiful-looking, breathtaking and ultimately heartbreaking piece that finally puts veteran Hong Kong performers Michelle Yeoh and Chow-Yun Fat on the screen together. Easily the best film of 2000, and arguably the best in the history of the underappreciated genre. Winner of four Academy Awards. In Mandarin, with English subtitles. Running time: 120 minutes. PG-13 (violence, gore, brief sex). (Sugar House.) (Jan. 12, 2001)

DR. DOLITTLE 2 — ** — More clever but just as crude as its predecessor, this sequel to the 1999 smash hit has a good message about preserving wildlife, but buries it under tons of inappropriate sexual humor. Eddie Murphy and an all-star voice cast do try hard, though. Running time: 88 minutes. PG (vulgarity, slapstick violence, mild profanity). (Century; Holladay; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Redwood, with "Planet of the Apes"; Ritz.) (June 22, 2001)

EVOLUTION — *** — It's derivative and decidedly lowbrow, but this sci-fi comedy from director Ivan Reitman has some funny moments and great special effects. And David Duchovny has fun as a scientist who must stop an alien life-form from taking over the Earth. Running time: 104 minutes. PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, profanity, alien goo, brief partial nudity). (Brewvies, must be 21 or older; Kaysville; Sandy; Showcase; Sugar House; Valley Fair.) (June 8, 2001)

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS — ** — Exciting but brain-dead action thriller that swipes the plot of "Point Break," adding some street-racing for variety. Bleached blond Paul Walker makes a poor substitute for Keanu Reeves, though, and some of the dialogue is howlingly bad. Running time: 107 minutes. PG-13 (violence, sex, profanity, vulgarity). (Carmike 12; Century; Gateway; Holladay; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Jurassic Park III"; Ritz.)

FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN — ** — This science-fiction/fantasy film, based on the hit video game, features some of the most sophisticated computer-generated animation ever. But it also has a nonsensical plot borrowing from much-better sources, and the voice cast (which includes Ming-Na, Alec Baldwin and James Woods) is phoning it in. Running time: 101 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity). (Broadway; Carmike 12; Century; Cottonwood; Gateway; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Midvalley; Redwood, with "America's Sweethearts"; Ritz.) (July 11, 2001)

THE FORSAKEN — * — Possibly the most toothless vampire movies ever, and certainly one of the least scary of the lot. And despite a cast of attractive young stars from the WB, there are no really interesting characters here. Running time: 90 minutes. R (violence, gore, profanity, sex, nudity). (Sugar House.) (April 27, 2001)

JOE DIRT — * — David Spade is largely to blame for this painfully unfunny comedy: He co-scripted and stars as the title character, a white-trash janitor who heads out on a cross-country search to find his biological parents. Running time: 93 minutes. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity, violence, sex, brief partial nudity). (Sandy, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (April 11, 2001)

JURASSIC PARK III — ** 1/2 — More fun than the first sequel, but this rollercoaster ride of a movie has plot holes you could drive a stampede of dinosaurs through, as well as a disappointing, "what the?" ending. Still, the effects are great, as are stars Sam Neill and William H. Macy. Running time: 91 minutes. PG-13 (violence, brief gore, vulgarity). (Carmike 12; Century; Five-Star; Holladay; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Midvalley; Redwood, with "The Fast and the Furious"; Ritz; Trolley Corners; Trolley North.) (July 18, 2001)

KISS OF THE DRAGON — ** — Mediocre, ugly and rather mean-spirited Jet Li vehicle featuring the action star as Chinese cop who's double-crossed in Paris. A couple of decent fight scenes, but it pales in comparison to his Hong Kong work. Running time: 98 minutes. R (violence, gore, profanity, drug use, sex, vulgarity). (Century; Jordan Landing; Redwood, with "The Score.") (July 6, 2001)

A KNIGHT'S TALE —** 1/2 — A mixed bag if there ever was one, this medieval comedy-adventure film has exciting action and a good performance by Aussie actor Heath Ledger as a commoner who tries to become a knight. But it's also ridiculous anachronistic and plays out like an MTV production of "Gladiator." Running time: 132 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, brief nudity, vulgarity). (Kaysville, Sandy, Showcase, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (May 11, 2001)

LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER — ** — Despite having the perfect choice for the title character — Angelina Jolie, who plays the video-game heroine — this is a substandard, lethargic action-adventure piece with relatively few memorable sequences. Running time: 101 minutes. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, brief partial nudity). (Carmike 12, Gateway, Jordan Landing, Midvalley.) (June 15, 2001)

LEGALLY BLONDE —** 1/2 — It's little more than "Clueless Goes to Law School," but this fluffy little comedy wins points on the strength of Reese Witherspoon's performance as a perky sorority girl who enrolls in Harvard to win back her boyfriend. Running time: 96 minutes. PG-13 (vulgarity, profanity). (Broadway; Carmike 12; Century; Cottonwood; Five-Star; Gateway; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Midvalley; Redwood, with "crazy/beautiful"; Ritz.) (July 13, 2001)

MEMENTO —*** 1/2 — A deserved hit at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, this neo-noir piece is a mind-blowing thriller about a partial amnesiac (Guy Pearce) who is trying to figure out who is friend or foe before it's too late. Great performances, as well as a clever, labyrinthine plot that begs for repeated viewings. Running time: 116 minutes. R (profanity, violence, gore, vulgarity, brief drug use, brief nudity). (Brewvies, must be 21 or older.) (April 27, 2001)

MOULIN ROUGE —** 1/2 — The extravagant period design and oddly exhilarating musical numbers make sure director Baz Luhrmann's avant-garde musical isn't unwatchable. But he counters every clever move with an equally disastrous one. Still worth a look, though. Running time: 126 minutes. PG-13 (vulgarity, brief sex, brief violence, attempted rape, brief drug use, nude artwork). (Century, Kaysville.) (June 1, 2001)

THE MUMMY RETURNS —** 1/2 — So-so sequel to the 1999 smash hit, with Brendan Fraser repeating his role as archeologist/adventurer Rick O'Connell, who must stop the title character once again. The action's fine, but the script's not funny enough and some of the CGI effects look chintzy. Running time: 127 minutes. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity, brief partial nudity). (Kaysville, Sandy, Showcase, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (May 4, 2001)

O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? —*** 1/2 — The Coen brothers bounce back nicely from some recent disappointments with this hysterically funny Depression-era comedy, based very loosely on "The Odyssey." The period bluegrass music is terrific, and George Clooney has never been better as he is here, as the fast-talking leader of three prisoners who escape from a chain gang. Running time: 103 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, torture, racial epithets). (Sugar House.) (Jan. 12, 2001)

PEARL HARBOR —** 1/2 — Producer Jerry Bruckheimer's would-be epic takes nearly 90 minutes to finally get the actual "Date Which Will Live in Infamy" and, as good as the battle scenes are, they're sandwiched between a flat soap-opera romance tale. A disappointment. In English and Japanese, with English subtitles. Running time: 183 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, racial epithets, gore, brief partial nudity, brief sex). (Carmike 12, Cottonwood, Gateway, Jordan Commons, Jordan Landing, Midvalley,) (May 25, 2001)

RECESS: SCHOOL'S OUT —** 1/2 — This animated feature, based on the popular Saturday morning cartoon, is acceptable kids fare, though adults may be bored. In it, the elementary school students try to foil a madman's plan to end the summer vacation. The voice cast includes Dabney Coleman and James Woods. Running time: 83 minutes. G (violence, mild profanity). (Sandy.) (Feb. 16, 2001)

THE ROAD HOME — **** — The perfect tonic for those moviegoers tired of all the overblown Hollywood "formula" blockbusters, Chinese director Zhang Yimou's latest is a sweetly low-key drama about love and family loyalty and stars Zhang Ziyi (from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") as a girl who falls in love with her village's new teacher. Absolutely wonderful. In color and black and white. In Mandarin, with English subtitles. Running time: 91 minutes. G (nothing offensive). (Exclusive, Tower.) (July 20, 2001)

SCARY MOVIE 2 — turkey —Much cruder and much less funny than its already unfunny predecessor, this follow-up is nothing more than a series of gross-out gags and stupid movie parodies. Ugh! Running time: 82 minutes. R (vulgarity, slapstick violence, profanity, sex, drug use, nudity, racial epithets). (Carmike 12, Century, Five-Star, Jordan Landing, Midvalley, Ritz.) (July 4, 2001)

THE SCORE —*** 1/2 — Unlike most major-studio films, this thriller favors straightforward storytelling techniques, which allows its stellar cast (which includes Oscar winners Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando, as well as Edward Norton) to actually interact with one another. A bit slowly paced, but worth it for the performances alone. Running time: 123 minutes. R (profanity). (Carmike 12; Century; Holladay; Jordan Commons; Jordan Landing; Midvalley; Redwood, with "Kiss of the Dragon"; Ritz; Trolley Corners; Trolley North.) (July 13, 2001)

SHREK — *** — If you can endure the opening salvo of flatulence jokes, you'll have fun with this extremely irreverent fairy tale, based on the children's book about an ogre (the voice of Mike Myers) who becomes an unwilling hero. Great sight gags, some of which are laugh-at-loud funny. Running time: 87 minutes. PG (vulgarity, animated violence, brief profanity). (Carmike 12, Century, Gateway, Jordan Commons, Jordan Landing, Midvalley, Ritz.) (May 18, 2001)

WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN? —* 1/2 — A lame attempt to copy "Get Shorty," with Martin Lawrence starring. He and Danny DeVito are unfunny as a thief and a billionaire trying to one-up each other, while a talented supporting cast is wasted. Running time: 95 minutes. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, brief violence, brief sex). (Sandy, Valley Fair.) (June 1, 2001)