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Reviews of "The Perfect Storm," "Croupier," "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle" and "8 1/2 Women"

Quick Flicks

!B! "The Perfect Storm"!B! "Croupier"!B! "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle"!B! "8 1/2 Women"

"The Perfect Storm" — George Clooney packs his no-nonsense, loner tough-guy acting style and heads for the high seas in this battle between Man and Nature. Playing the captain of a swordfishing vessel who is off his game, Clooney decides to head out on one last fishing trip. But Mother Nature has plans of her own.

The film is based on Sebastian Junger's nonfiction, bestseller of the same name, and in it, we watch as 100-foot waves attack everything in their path. Clooney and crew mean nothing to the Storm of the Century. Nor do the valiant, heart-pounding attempts of heroic Coast Guard rescuers. Despite the truly awesome depiction of the storm, the movie is ultimately disappointing.

"Croupier" — In the mood for a really cool crime drama? Here's betting Mike Hodges' tale about a down-and-out wannabe writer who decides to be a casino dealer to make ends meet will fill that bill. Clive Owen is terrific as writer Jack Manfred who soon finds himself facing personal dilemma after personal dilemma. Hey, it ain't just about dealing cards, baby. It's about playing the hand dealt you and then some. Hodges, who made the cult hit "Get Carter" decades ago, makes a stellar return here. His direction is crisp and polished, making "Croupier" an intriguing experience reminiscent of those old British crime films. It's a hip bit of Brit Neo-noir.

"The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle" — Although this is the first "modern" update of a popular '60s TV show that comes close to capturing just the right blend of old and new, it's still something of a hit-or-miss affair.

When Rocky's and Bullwinkle's arch enemies find a way into the Real World, our hapless duo must stop Boris (Jason Alexander), Natasha (Rene Russo) and Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro), who plan to "zombie-fy" the nation by bombarding them with really bad TV.

"8 1/2 Women" — The always provocative Peter Greenaway has fashioned another painful and pretentious film about sex, taboos, men vs. women, fathers and sons. Certainly not for casual viewing or instant understanding, this semi-homage to Fellini requires a willing spirit and an open mind.

Inconsolable over his wife's death, Philip Emmenthal (John Standing) has nothing to live for until son Storey (Matthew Delamere) takes him to the movies. The next thing you know, the two turn their Geneva estate into a personal bordello, decorating each room with a different female. Then they talk about what it all means.

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