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reviews of "Charlie's Angels", "The Legend of Bagger Vance", "Girl On the Bridge", and "Billy Elliot"

Quick Flicks

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!B! "Charlie's Angels"!B! "The Legend of Bagger Vance"!B! "Girl On the Bridge"!B! "Billy Elliot"




"Charlie's Angels" — Playing like a live-action "Powerpuff Girls" for grown-up gals, this campy Kung Fu actioner is a chick-flick in disguise. Yes, there's plenty of PG-13 "T& A," for the guys, but the real treat is watching the trio of female leads (Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu) kick men's butts all movie-long. Oh yeah, I guess I should also tell you that the storyline is perfunctory; the acting, uneven; and the dialogue is, well, on par with the '70s TV show that inspired this big-screen remake. But then again, considering the source material, who on earth expected seminal cinema? Trashy, dumb and flashy has never seemed so, uh, invigorating. Yeah, that's it, invigorating. "The Legend of Bagger Vance" — This sentimental golf fable from director Robert Redford misses the cut. Matt Damon stars as Rannulph Junuh, an amateur golf champion who's married to Southern belle Charlize Theron. But when he returns shell-shocked from WWI, Junuh quits the game and disappears. Our hero gets a shot at redemption with the help of mysterious caddy Bagger Vance (Will Smith), who decides to help Junuh regain his grip — on both his clubs and his life. Despite being gorgeous to look at, with its Roaring '20s period details, the film's metaphorical message feels silly and pretentious because every character is a stereotype. The gifted cast does its collective best, but the weak material can't support Redford's lofty intentions. "Girl On the Bridge" — French director Patrice Leconte delivers this visually gorgeous but symbol-laden tale of codependence. After professional knife-thrower Gabor (Daniel Auteuil) rescues a suicidal and lovelorn sexaholic named Adele (pop sensation Vanessa Paradis) from drowning, she agrees to work as his target. Because the two share a type of telepathy, their act becomes more daring and a huge commercial success. Sadomasochistic symbiosis and annoyingly blatant metaphors aside, "Girl on the Bridge" remains a breathtaking movie; thanks to the actors and especially to Jean-Marie Dreujou's stunning black-and-white cinematography. "Billy Elliot" —As predictable as they come, this British import about working-class spunk clashing with artistic dreams succeeds because of its many charms. The time is 1984; the setting, the depressed and on-strike coal mining area of England. Still saddened by the death of his mother, young Billy Elliot is just going through the motions. His father, who spends his days manning the strike lines, decides his youngest son needs to be toughened up. So he sends him to the local gym to learn to box. But Billy's attention soon wanders to the ballet class being taught in another part of the gym. When Dad finds out his son is dancing instead of fighting, he forbids Billy to return to the class. It's dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson to the rescue. From newcomer Jamie Bell (in the title role) to Julie Walters as the no-nonsense ballet teacher, "Billy Elliot" is simply irresistible.

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