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"All About My Mother," "The Beach," "Snow Day," and "Tigger Movie"

Quick Flicks

!B! "All About My Mother"
!B! "The Beach"
!B! "Snow Day"
!B! "The Tigger Movie"

"All About My Mother" - This Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film is a valentine to Woman in all her infinite variety. Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almod¢var's most assured and mature work to date, this probing look into the female psyche is not the comic romp some might expect. But what it lacks in genuine laughs, the movie more than makes up for with heart.

Flawless performances propel this tale about Manuela (Cecilia Roth), a Madrid woman whose son's accidental death sends her searching for his long-lost father. Of course, as only happens in Almod¢var movies, that father is now a transsexual prostitute (Toni Canto) living in Barcelona. During the course of her journey, Manuela encounters and takes under her wing another transsexual (the scene-stealing Antonia San Juan), a troubled nun (Penelope Cruz), and an aging stage diva (Marisa Paredes) as well as her junkie girlfriend (Candela Pena). Almod¢var's message is clear — that being a woman, let alone a mother, has more to do with heart and soul than womb.

"The Beach" - Leonardo DiCaprio's long-awaited movie proves two things: 1. That reality never matches anticipation. And 2. That there truly is nothing new under the sun.

This edgy but parboiled travelogue for the Game Boy generation steals the best from myriad better movies but with lackluster results. Think "Heart of Darkness" and "Lord of the Flies" rehashed for a Sony PlayStation.

Leo plays Richard, a fellow looking to escape the computer-driven, fast-track in his future. So he heads to Thailand, where he meets a wacko named Daffy (Robert Carlyle) who slips him a map to a mystical beach, then kills himself. Leo asks a French couple if they'd like to travel with him. When they finally get to the island, they find that paradise is no day at the beach.

Overwrought and predictable, "The Beach" may be from the creative team who crafted "Trainspotting," but it plays like the fevered dream of a 12-year-old.

"Snow Day" - From the arrested development department of Nickelodeon comes this pleasant but predictable excuse for cute kids to cavort in the snow, flirt with true love and prove who really knows best.

On the adult team are Chevy Chase (as a reluctant Willard Scott-type weatherman), Chris Elliott (as the evil, yellow-toothed Snowplow Man) and Jean Smart as a career mom who lets her cell phone rule her life. The kids are newcomers — except for Schuyler Fisk, who's real-life mom is Sissy Spacek — and spunky.

Nothing original goes on and it ends just as you'd expect. Much like the real thing, parents will find this PG-rated "Snow Day" a trying ordeal, but the kids will love it.

"The Tigger Movie" - Anyone who loves A.A. Milne's "Pooh" characters should see this sweet, though uninspired, tale of family and belonging. Why, you ask? Because at one point when Tigger is all bummed about not finding any other Tiggers, all of his pals don "stripedy" suits to make him feel better. Watching Eeyore try his best to be upbeat and "tiggery" is priceless. Sweet entertainment for the smallest moviegoers, it's also pleasant enough to keep parents awake.

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