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quick flicks

Road to Perdition, Stuart Little 2, Eight Legged Freaks, Men In Black 2, Minority Report


"Stuart Little 2" — For his second outing on the big screen, little Stuart has a death-defying adventure and his first romance in this charming sequel. Tots and older kids should delight in Stuart's sweetly dopey innocence as well as the movie's high-flying action and cheery retro feel. Parents will be equally delighted to know Nathan Lane returns to voice Snowbell. Deftly woven amid the silly jokes and computer-generated derring-do is a message young and old can relate to — the need for parents to give their kids enough freedom to face the world with confidence. ****

"Eight Legged Freaks" — How one feels about those old B-movie sci-fi thrillers will dictate just how entertaining one finds this David Arquette-starring, revamped retro-spoof. In keeping with those old '50s flicks, it seems giant spiders mutated by toxic waste have overrun a dusty Western town. Amusing at first, this sci-fi parody begins to wear thin. In short, it just goes on too long to sustain the silliness. But one can't help loving those computer-generated arachnids. They look bulbous, fuzzy and far too real. Rating: ***

"Men In Black 2" — The unlikely comic partnering of Will Smith with Tommy Lee Jones is as deadpan-delightful and droll here as in the original "MIB." Picking up where the first left off — Agent Jay (Smith) has "neuralized" Agent Kay (Jones), and the latter now languishes in his happy, nonremembering state as a semiaware postal worker. But then his ol' nemesis shows up, having morphed into the comely shape of Lara Flynn Boyle. So Kay gets his memory back and joins Jay for a little alien-Armageddon. Thanks to the wonderful chemistry between Jones & Smith, this bit of summer alienation is a no-brainer: So sit back, relax and let the incongruous, oddball fun of "Men In Black 2" invade your world. ***

"Minority Report" — From the very first frame, it's obvious that this Philip K. Dick-based, sci-fi adventure is a Steven Spielberg guilty pleasure — a mature, edgier Spielberg, at that. Even those who avoid sci-fi flicks will be entertained watching Tom Cruise's circa 2054 Everyman race against time and technology, unraveling an elaborate frame to prove his innocence. Shorn of hair and eyebrows, Samantha Morton steals the show, however, as Cruise's only helpmate, an empathetic foreseer of criminal intent. A mix of future shock and wishful thinking, "Minority Report" is a provocative, heart-pounding thriller where good men do the right thing against all odds. *****

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