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"The Sixth Sense," "Brokedown Palace," "Detroit Rock City" and "Lovers of the Arctic Circle"

Quick Flicks

"The Sixth Sense""Brokedown Palace""Detroit Rock City""Lovers of the Arctic Circle"

"The Sixth Sense" Want to know how terrific this a movie is? I saw it twice. And I cannot tell you the last time I did that. Written and directed with detailed precision by M. Night Shyamalan, this eerie tale of ghosts, night terrors and the pain of childhood is the genuine article.

Although Bruce Willis does an OK job playing a child psychologist working through his own pain and fears, the movie belongs to Haley Joel Osment. This young actor is tremendous as the young boy besieged by ghosts. While Shyamalan shows us the ghosts sparingly, when they do appear their effect is maximized. Even when we don't see them, we know they are there, thanks to Osment's painful, tormented little soul. If "Blair Witch Project" left you wondering what all the fuss was about, this is the movie for you.

"Brokedown Palace" If this cautionary tale about two young girls who find themselves imprisoned in a foreign country for a crime they didn't commit sounds a lot like "Midnight Express" or even last year's "Return to Paradise," it's because it is. Only the gender of the characters has been changed.

Forget the recycled storyline, the performances of leads Kate Beckinsale and Claire Danes make this serious and subdued drama worth catching. Bill Pullman also turns in a dandy performance as a lawyer hired to defend them. For all its holes and truncated scenes, "Brokedown Palace" is quite watchable, especially as the friendship of the two young women is brutally put to the test.

"Detroit Rock City" If you can remember wanting to "rock 'n' roll all night and party every day," then you might find a few moments of fun in this energetic if uneven road movie. Exceptionally well-cast, "Detroit Rock City" follows the travails of four Cleveland teens who will do just about anything to see KISS in concert. As the movie progresses, the boys find themselves engaged in a culture war as they battle both the older and younger generations to stay true to their band.

One guy's mom believes "Kiss" stands for Knights In Satan's Service; so she torches their concert tickets. But even that won't stop this fearsome foursome. Although "Detroit Rock City" plays out like a mix of "Animal House" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," it has a much harder edge. But for all its highly salacious R-rated material, the movie still never quite reaches the fantasy-heights it's aiming for.

"Lovers of the Arctic Circle" Wow, now for something completely different. This highly praised film from Spanish writer/director Julio Medem is ideally suited to 18-year-olds in love for the first time. Or for those who can remember with aching, bittersweet clarity the delicious pleasure and pain of first love.

Using several pairs of actors to tell the passionately intense story of Otto and Ana, "Lovers of the Arctic Circle" follows the two from their first meeting at the tender age of 8 to a global game of hide-n-seek the two undertake in their 20s.

While the movie often feels genuinely romantic, it quickly devolves into a contrived, melodramatic mess. Which is a shame because the premise is imaginative, and Medem's direction is graceful and evocative.

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