News & Features » Miscellany

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Thirteen Days, "Save the Last Dance," "Antitrust," DoubleTake"

Quick Flicks

!B! "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"!B! "Thirteen Days"!B! "Save The Last Dance"!B! "Antitrust"!B! "Double Take"

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" — Promise me you won't miss Ang Lee's stunning, lyrical meeting of East and West. Combining incredible action sequences with a little romance and lots of superhero flash, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is a winner in any language. (Yes, there are subtitles.) Just 20 minutes into the film, when two fighting women begin bounding up high walls and using rooftops for trampolines, it's clear this is no ordinary martial arts movie. Employing the mastery of martial arts choreographer Yuen-Wo Ping ("The Matrix"), Lee fills this epic fantasy-adventure with the hippest action possible without sacrificing either plot or character development. As middle-aged knights with a suppressed love, a dissembling princess and an outlaw, Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi and Chan Cheng deliver a quality of acting rarely seen in such movies, adding to its thrilling magic. "Thirteen Days" — A talky but involving re-enactment of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the movie visualizes the diplomatic, military and strategic chess game that occurred between then-President John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood), Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (Steven Culp), the rest of the Cabinet and the Joint Chiefs. Kevin Costner (with an irritating Boston accent) is our window onto this historical drama as JFK aide Kevin O'Donnell. Although enthralling from a historical perspective, any true sense of urgency is missing, despite the filmmaker's multiple cutaway shots of a nuclear bomb's mushroom cloud. "Save The Last Dance" — Likable stars Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas lend some much-needed credibility to this interracial teen romance about keeping one's dream alive. Stiles is Sara, whose dream to study ballet at Julliard gets cut short when her mother dies. Thomas is Derek, an inner-city kid with his heart set on becoming a doctor. The two hook up, much to the chagrin of the incredible number of blatant stereotypes that seem to people their surroundings. Despite the predictable script and hokey dialogue, there's an energy here that can't be ignored. Teens, who've never seen the myriad other movies this one liberally steals from, will find it engrossing. "Antitrust" — Ryan Phillippe stars as a computer genius who encounters evil doings at a Microsoft-style company run by Tim Robbins' control freak of a CEO. Though slickly made, this cyber thriller turns silly as it veers laughably into scene-chewing melodrama. The final insult: screenwriter Howard Franklin and director Peter Howitt take two hours to bring this dud to a lame conclusion. "Double Take" — Sadly, this is another instance where a movie's only funny moments are exploited in the trailer. And while I find both Orlando Jones and Eddie Griffin to be very funny actors, the messed-up plot of their new movie will leave even these guys' staunchest fans scratching their heads in disbelief. Not surprisingly, the movie's best moments are when the two are left to do what they do best — making fools of themselves, clowning around and insulting the rest of the cast. Unfortunately, this tale of switched identities doesn't let them do that often enough.

Add a comment