4 Days

Decent Canadian thriller about four days in the life of a teenager on the lam. Kevin Zegers stars as Simon, a normal teenager leading a seemingly normal life. His life is turned upside down when he learns that his father is actually a thief. When his father’s last heist goes bad, Simon finds himself on the run with a bag full of loot. Enter Crystal Ball (Lolita Davidovich), a woman on the run from her vindictive husband. When Crystal picks up Simon, she takes him for the ride of his life as the duo try to outrun various bad guys. The cast does a decent job of holding what is basically a road trip together, with Davidovich and Zegers displaying depth and understanding of their situation. (Paramount)


AGENT RED (R)

Poor Dolph Lundgren. In less than a decade his career has gone from starring in “A” films to “D” movies like “Agent Red.” Maybe it’s because Lundgren’s acting is as one note as this terrorist thriller went directly to video. Lundgren plays a Marine Special Operations Commander named Matt Hendricks, who has been assigned to escort a deadly virus aboard the submarine US New Orleans. When terrorists take over the sub and disable the crew, it’s up to Hendricks to save the day. The film’s low-budget sinks “Agent Red.” It looks as cheesy as it plays, a ham-handed thriller that is top heavy with every cliche in the book. You know you’re in dangerous water when the film’s co-star is former “Emergency” star Randolph Mantooth.

(Columbia-TriStar)

BOUNCE (PG-13)

Something unexpected from director Don Roos (“The Opposite of Sex”), a romantic drama about a smug advertising executive who gives up his seat on a plane to a family man, only to have the plane crash. After suffering through his guilt, Buddy Amaral (Ben Affleck) seeks out the widow, and despite his best efforts to keep his distance, begins to fall in love with her. Gwyneth Paltrow stars as Abby Janello, the widow who is a real estate agent trying to raise two kids in a soft market. In order to help her out, Buddy offers to buy an office building she represents. Abby thinks her dreams have come true. A big commission check and a cute buyer to boot. True love develops between the two, but when fate catches up with Buddy, will their newfound love be able to withstand the truth? Roos usually goes for more cutting edge material, but manages quite nicely here. He understands the dynamic between the two characters and allows his stars to fill in the blanks. Affleck and Paltrow are splendid, while the supporting cast includes the wonderful Joe Morton, Nastasha Henstridge and Johnny Galecki. (Miramax)

LOVING JEZEBEL (R)

Upcoming star Hill Harper does just fine in this romantic comedy about a man whose luck with women always ends in disaster. Perhaps it’s because he always picks “Jezebels,” women already involved in a relationship. That doesn’t stop Theodorus Melville (Hill), who knows that the woman of his dreams is out there. First he has to sift through all of the “other” women, which allows director-writer Kwyn Bader to take us through the highs and lows of romance. It all begins in grade school, where Theodorus begins his streak of bad luck. That leads to one Jezebel after another, forcing Theodorus to reexamine his life. His attempt to find the key and fix it is just one of the delights of this funny, winning film that works because we never really feel sorry for Theodorus, even if he is the one stuck in a rut. We want him to find true love, and don’t blame him for looking. “Loving Jezebel” had a limited run in theaters, so now audiences will be able to embrace this very human look at life and love. (Universal)

MEN OF HONOR (PG-13)

men of honorStrong, heroic performances from Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. and a thoughtful, intelligent screenplay make this true life story a winner. Gooding Jr. is outstanding as Carl Brashear, the son of a sharecropper whose dreams of becoming a Navy diver are met with prejudice. Stuck in the galley, Brashear fights the system, eventually finding a sympathetic ear in a Captain (Powers Boothe) who gets him reassigned to a search and rescue ship. It’s there where Brashear encounters Billy Sunday (De Niro), a Master Chief Diver who makes his life a living hell. Brashear’s next encounter with Sunday is at the Navy Dive and Salvage School, where Sunday is now an instructor. Faced with racism from all sides, Brashear goes the extra mile to overcome prejudice and phsyical limitations, even hiring a sexy tutor to help get his written grades up. There’s lots of adventure, heroism and history in this exciting, mature and eventually satisfying tale of one man’s fight to fulfill his dreams despite the odds. Excellent supporting cast, including Charlize Theron as a bored Navy wife going through the motions, and Michael Rapaport as Brashear’s only white friend. (Fox)

TOKYO RAIDERS (R)

Asian action-star Tony Leung plays a high-tech private eye in this madcap adventure that was Hong Kong’s highest grossing film of 2000. Leung teams up with Kelly Chin as a jilted bride and Ekin Cheng as a dubious interior designer to track down an elusive mobster. Filled with all sort of inventive action sequences, “Tokyo Raiders” benefits from breakneck direction by Jingle Ma and a wild sense of abandon. (Columbia-TriStar)

WHAT’S COOKING? (PG-13)

Excellent ensemble film that takes us into the lives of four different Los Angeles families on Thanksgiving Day. It’s the perfect gimmick to explore how different families deal with the holidays, and director Guirinder Chadha gets wonderful performances from all of his actors. The cross section includes the Williams family, headed up by mom Audrey (Alfre Woodard), who wants a perfect Thanksgiving despite the fact that her husband (Dennis Haysbert) and son (Erik K. George) are estranged; The Avila family, where single mom Elizabeth (Mercedes Ruehl) hopes her family will accept her new boyfriend, a fellow teacher played by A Martinez, unaware that her son (Douglas Spain) has invited her separated husband to dinner; The Nguyen family, whose mom (Joan Chen) can’t understand why her son can’t home from college for the holiday (he’s really spending it with his girlfriend); and the Seeling family, where mom (Lainie Kazan) and dad (Maury Chaykin) deal with their daughter’s (Kyra Sedgwick) new girlfriend (Julianna Margulies). Even though the nature of the beast doesn’t allow us to spend a significant time with each family, the actors and script provide just enough depth and insight to make all of this matter. (Trimark)

YARDS, THE (R)

yardsTough, gritty crime drama stars a riveting Mark Wahlberg as an ex-con trying to go straight. That’s impossible in director/co-writer James Gray’s Greek tragedy. Wahlberg is electric as Leo Handler, fresh out of the pen and ready to put his life back together. That means taking care of his fragile mother (Ellen Burstyn is another powerful performance) and looking for a job. When his prospects start looking thin, family friend Willie Guiterrez (Joaquin Phoenix) convinces Leo to join him in the protection business. That means breaking the law, a risk Leo is willing to take if it also means financial freedom. The characters are well-shaded in “The Yards,” including James Caan as a parts manufacturer for the New York City Transit Authority and the husband of Leo’s aunt Kitty (Faye Dunaway), and Charlize Theron as Kitty’s daughter Erica, who is engaged to Willie but finds comfort in Leo’s arms. The story really heats up when Leo finds himself framed for a murder he didn’t commit, desperately trying to find a way to stay alive and turn himself in. Gray keeps the tension bubbling under the surface until the film becomes a firestorm of emotion. (Miramax)



Comments are closed.