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"Get Carter," "Duets," "Trixie," "Dancer in the Dark" and "Meet the Parents"

Quick Flicks

!B! "Get Carter"!B! "Duets"!B! "Trixie"!B! "Dancer in the Dark"!B! "Meet the Parents"

"Get Carter" — If you "Get Carter," make sure it's Mike Hodges' 1971 original (which was just released on home video) and not this lackluster misstep from the mighty mumbler, Sylvester Stallone. The movie's tagline is "The truth hurts." And boy does it. Stallone is Jack Carter, a Vegas strong-arm who returns home for his brother's funeral. Quickly discerning that the death was no accident, he sets out to find answers and wreak havoc. His brother's widow (Miranda Richardson) is skeptical; his grungy niece (the usually sweet Rachael Leigh Cook), merely sulky. Along the way Stallone bumps into or up against the likes of Mickey Rourke, Alan Cummings and Michael Caine.

"Duets" - Another misguided search for the meaning of life, this tale of six characters who find the key to self-expression through karaoke — Yes! Karaoke! — has little going for it. The only remotely interesting aspect of the movie is finding out that Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow can carry a tune. She's apparently also a terrific daughter — this oddball flick is directed by her daddy, Bruce Paltrow.

"Trixie" - Time was when Alan Rudolph's name on a movie meant something. Lately, it hasn't meant much to anyone other than actors who enjoy the once-revered director's knack for ensemble pieces and character-driven narratives. The good news about Rudolph's latest work, "Trixie," is that it's not so much a bad movie as a disappointing one. Emily Watson plays the title character of this film noir parody with her usual panache. She's a gum-chewing, rent-a-cop with dreams of becoming a real police detective. Nick Nolte is a corrupt state senator; Nathan Lane, a casino lounge performer. They all converge when Trixie becomes a murder suspect after a crime's committed while she's on duty at a casino.

"Dancer in the Dark" - If it weren't for a terrific central performance by Icelandic pop singer Bjork, and an equally raw portrayal by Catherine Deneuve, this movie would almost be unwatchable. The controversial winner of this year's Cannes Fest's prestigious Palme D'Or, Lars von Trier's "Dancer in the Dark" brims with cheap irony, manipulative sentimentality and reflexive anti-Americanism. Not to mention some uninspired musical dance numbers.

Bjork plays Selma, a Czech immigrant to America's Northwest. Though she tries to hide it, she's going blind from a hereditary condition. Unknown to anyone, Selma is saving her pitiful wages to pay for an operation for her 12-year-old son to ensure he doesn't suffer her same blinding fate. As her condition worsens, she takes on double shifts at the factory where she works, as well as continuing to rehearse for her role as Maria in a local production of "The Sound of Music." When things take a turn from bad to worse for Selma, so does the movie.

"Meet the Parents"

- Ben Stiller is the sincere suitor; Robert De Niro, the future father-in-law. What more do I need to say? The affable Stiller squirms and prevaricates with the best of them, responding to De Niro's chilly disapproval by launching into elaborate tall tales. De Niro, as a former CIA operative and protective father, plays it perfectly straight. Anyone who's ever known the fear of meeting the parents will find it hard not to laugh as this comedy of errors escalates.

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