News & Features » Miscellany

"Behind Enemy Lines"; "Texas Rangers"; "Sidewalks of New York"; "Amelie"; "Waking Life"

Quick Flicks

"Behind Enemy Lines" — This gung-ho tale of a downed Navy pilot and his determined commanding officer overflows with that good ol' American can-do spirit. Owen Wilson is the pilot who's shot down over hostile territory in Bosnia; Gene Hackman, the CO who's gonna get him out alive. Although Hackman brings his usual depth and dignity to the role, the CO is still a character he could play in his sleep. Wilson, who usually sticks to comedic roles, shows promise as a wisecracking action-hero. The feature film debut of Irish commercial director John Moore, "Behind Enemy Lines" crackles with tension, imminent danger and some dazzling special effects. While the plot may be standard issue, Hackman and Wilson are all that they can be.

"Texas Rangers" — This pretty-boy Western was slated for release in April 2000, then August 2000, then moved again to May 2001. It's now December 2001, which should tell you all you need to know about this hackneyed excuse to exploit some popular young stars. But even as eye candy, this look at the ragtag band of vigilantes who become the well-respected Texas Rangers leaves a bad taste. Starring James Van Der Beek, Dylan McDermott, R&B artist Usher, Rachel Leigh Cook and Ashton Kutcher, among others, "Texas Rangers" should have gone straight to video.

"Sidewalks of New York" — Former "McMullen" Bro' and Woody Allen wannabe Ed Burns writes/directs/produces/stars in this "mockumentary" about neurotic Manhattanites who yammer on about "love, sex and stuff." Burns' character, Tommy, a successful TV reporter, is at the center of this romantic roundelay. Kicked out by his fiance, he starts flirting with the realtor (Heather Graham), who helps him find new digs. She's married to a smarmy dentist (Stanley Tucci) who's having an affair with a younger woman (Brittany Murphy) who's got her eye on doorman/struggling musician (David Krumholtz) who's divorced from, but still in love with, his schoolteacher ex-wife (Rosario Dawson) who's interested in Tommy. Yikes! Though Burns the writer gets off a few good lines, "Sidewalks" ends up a case of "been there, seen that done better."

"Amelie" — Why is it the French seem the only ones capable of capturing that infectious yet elusive froth-factor when it comes to lighthearted romance on screen? This beguiling look at the cause and effect of love is a perfect case in point. Gamine and charming, Audrey Tautou stars as a simple waitress who discovers as she yearns for love that she has a knack at helping others. Her help, however, is not without comic consequences. "Amelie" is magical whimsy at its best.

"Waking Life" — Looking for something unique? Here it is. This trippy fantasy from Richard Linklater was filmed as live-action, then had it all transformed into animation. It's a shimmery, dizzy dream world where characters expound upon their theories of life only to dissolve into clouds or drift away. With no discernible plot and set in no real time or place, "Waking Life" will frustrate as many as it delights. "Waking Life" made me think, and then made me

Add a comment