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"Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," "The Dreamlife of Angels," and on video, "Gods & Monsters"

Quick Flicks

"Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me""The Dreamlife of Angels"Now On Video: "Gods & Monsters"

"Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" At times very, very funny and at times very, very gross, this Mike Myers extravaganza entertains on the lowest common denominator level. Which isn't a bad thing, just a statement of fact.

A sequel to his spoof of '60s spy movies, Myers once again stars as Austin Powers, British super agent who was frozen in the '60s but thawed out in the '90s. This second installment picks up where the last left off, with Powers married to the woman of his dreams (Elizabeth Hurley) and his nemesis Dr. Evil (also Myers) banished to a galaxy far, far away. But alas, his wife isn't the woman he thought she was, and Dr. Evil has not only found a way home, but has had his evilness cloned, albeit at one-eighth his size.

Although it's Powers' name in the title, this sequel is all about Dr. Evil and his clone Mini-Me. Which is fine, his Dr. Evil is very funny. Myers also introduces another character, a grossly obese Scotsman named Fat Bastard. Fat's only reason for existence is to raise the level of scatological humor. I have to wonder how they got a PG-13 rating considering all the sexual innuendo, gross body jokes and potty humor.

But will "The Spy Who Shagged Me" make money? Yeah, baby!

"The Dreamlife of Angels" French director Erick Zonca's film is a subtle and quietly compelling look at the bond between two unlikely friends. Elodie Bouchez and Natacha Regnier shared the best actress award at last year's Cannes Fest for their performances as roommates Isa and Marie.

Although both are loners, their need to find deeper connections with people becomes clear. The dark and gamine vagabond Isa is the one with the open heart. Blonde and troubled Marie is beset by a series of self-destructive decisions and relationships. While nothing much seems to be happening until the shocking end, Zonca's direction seems effortless. Zonca and cast will have you feeling as if you're somehow eavesdropping, rather than watching a staged screenplay. In French with English subtitles.

Now On Video

"Gods & Monsters" If you missed this wonderful movie during its first run, you should definitely check it out now. Not just because it contains two Oscar-nominated performances: Sir Ian McKellen as homosexual filmmaker James Whale and Lynn Redgrave as his bullying but caring Hungarian housekeeper.

Based on Christopher Bram's speculative novel about the filmmaker's 1957 death, Bill Condon's sensitive film centers on Whale's friendship with a handsome young gardener (Brendan Fraser) in his employ. Though Fraser did not receive an Oscar nomination, his performance helps the acting far outshine the slight story.

"Gods & Monsters" combines great acting with a rare glimpse at the catty glamour of Old Hollywood. Of particular note are the flashback sequences which recreate the production of Whale's two memorable Frankenstein movies.

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