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quick flicks

Spider-Man, Life or Something Like It, Hollywood Ending, Deuces Wild, Jason X

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As geeky Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Maguire and his trademark soulful expression are perfectly suited for the role. The look of befuddled bemusement on his face as Spidey tests his newfound powers mirrors our own. And who could ask for a better girl-next-door to pine away for than Kirsten Dunst? Or more over-the-top villain than Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin? Firmly rooted in comic-book sensibility and fantasy, Raimi's "Spider-Man" is no itsy-bitsy movie: It's a blockbuster.



"Life or Something Like It"



In this tepid Stephen Herek dramedy, Angelina Jolie sports an enormous head of Marilynesque platinum-blonde hair. White-hot, the image burns into your memory banks so it becomes the most memorable thing about this female twist on the price-of-celebrity story. Jolie plays a popular TV personality (in an oddly unrainy Seattle) who's on the verge of the big time — a network gig. But then out of nowhere comes homeless prophet Tony Shaloub who tells our platinum princess that she has less than a week to live. For strength and support, Jolie turns to her cameraman Ed Burns, who might just be her salvation. No doubt intended as a serio-comic exploration of the meaning of life, its earnest theme just can't compete with Jolie's goofy looks.



"Hollywood Ending"



If all late-life male fantasies were as funny as this Woody Allen comedy often is, well, women would be turning up in droves at the local multiplex. This time out 70-something Allen plays failed movie director Val Waxman, who by the grace of his studio-exec, ex-wife Tea Leoni, finds himself once again helming a major movie in New York. Various screwball machinations and complications ensue — many involving Tiffani Thiessen and Debra Messing — but as the title indicates, everything gets sorted out happily by movie's end. While Allen does his usual schtick (which is as neurotic and funny as always), it's Leoni who steals the show. Like a latter day Katharine Hepburn or Rosalind Russell, she's a fast-talking charmer. And when she and Allen spar in a bar, well, the movie flirts with comic Nirvana.



"Deuces Wild"



Clearly not dealing with a full deck, this garbled period gang drama feels like a low-rent take on "West Side Story." Except, of course, without the memorable music, stirring storytelling or the unforgettable young lovers. Starring Matt Dillon, Stephen Dorff, Brad Renfro and Fairuza Balk, the movie's nothing more than an amalgamation of every melodramatic cliche to come down the pike. Five minutes into it and you'll understand why it's been gathering dust for two years at MGM.



"Jason X"



It's the year 2455 and humans can regenerate human tissue, colonize unfriendly planets and build androids that would fool a mother. What they still can't do is kill Jason Voorhees. But take heart! If this tenth — and easily the worst — installment in the "Friday the 13th" franchise doesn't signal his demise, nothing can. In this teen slasher-rehasher, our hockey-mask-wearing psycho is thawed from his cryogenic sleep by some student scientists, and the gruesome slaughters begin. Wait to rent the video, if you must. Trust me, you won't have to wait long.





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