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Quick flicks

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If you are so inclined, "Blade II" is a Gothic gore fest to relish. Wesley Snipes returns as the leather-clad Blade, who's sworn to kill the vampires who killed his mom and turned him into a freaky half-vamp. Also back is Kris Kristofferson as Blade's mentor, Whistler, despite having committed suicide at the end of the 1998 original. But the movie's real star is Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, who directed the sublimely creepy art-house hit "The Devil's Backbone" (which hasn't played Richmond). He makes everything so eye-catching, fans of the genre will eagerly overlook the script's fatal flaws.

"Sorority Boys" — Lewd, crude and proud of it, this frat-house drag show has nothing but sex, alcohol and substance abuse on its mind. The story follows the cross-dressing escapades of three desperate frat boys who get the boot when they're suspected of stealing. Naturally they decide to become galumphing girls, pledge the unpopular DOG sorority across the street, and ultimately learn that in-crowd kids are hurtful and mean to plain Janes. Although this "Tootsie Goes to College" rip-off doesn't break new ground, it does have its share of laughs and truths.



"Harrison's Flowers" — Made more than two years ago, this French production about a wife's (Andie MacDowell) desperate search for her missing journalist husband (David Strathairn) has been released because of the tragic kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. But such blatant exploitation is not the movie's only problem: Filmmaker Elie Chouraqui may painstakingly recreate the chaos of war-torn Croatia, he just doesn't do it well. And MacDowell certainly deserves credit for attempting such a role; she just doesn't have the depth required to hold the drama together. Fitfully gripping, the movie falters between a travelogue to hell and a solid B-movie weepy.



"Lantana" — Like the flowering tropical bush of its title, thorny prickly subjects lie just below the beautiful surface of four married couples in this Aussie thriller/drama. Quietly enthralling, the movie offers uniquely authentic characters brought to life by Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Blake and Kerry Armstrong, all of whom deliver astonishing performances. Ray Lawrence directs with a firm but subtle hand, befitting a screenplay that refuses to settle for pat judgments or easy stereotypes. Besides examining the darker side of the morally victimized, "Lantana" is often wickedly funny.





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