7 days to live

Amanda Plummer and Sean Pertwee are very good in this creepy haunted house story. They play Ellen and Martin Shaw, a couple trying to recover from the tragic death of their young son. To help heal their wounds and start a new life, the Shaws move to an old country house. What should have been a clean break turns into a nightmare for Ellen, who begins to receive supernatural warnings of her own death. Too bad their new dream house is built on an old graveyard. Familiar plot gets a lift from the two stars, who create a strong dynamic that rises above the material.

Plummer is especially effective as a woman who doesn’t know if she’s going crazy or just in tune with the spirits that haunt the house. Even though the finale is a little rough, the film delivers the goods for anyone looking for a chilling thriller. (Studio)

15 MINUTES (R)fifteen minutes

Tourist Thrill Killers take New York by Storm! Film at Eleven! Literally! School shootings. Serial killers. Terrorists. Professional wrestling. Thanks a lot Andy Warhol. The dead soup painting guy once claimed that in his future everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes. Welcome to Warhol’s future, a time when any disgruntled employee or student can roam the halls, killing as many people as possible in order to get their fifteen minutes of fame. It’s a sad state of affairs. Even sadder is how writer-director John Herzfeld approaches the subject in his new film “Fifteen Minutes.” Herzfeld’s script is a good idea gone bad. Instead of being a vicious diatribe on America’s fascination with violence, “Fifteen Minutes” is trite and cliched. Please click title for complete review. (New Line)


Charming, well acted comedy-drama barely mad a blip on the radar but will hopefully find a deserving audience on video. Who would believe that a comedy about a hair cutting contest would be filled with so much drama and laughs? “Blow Dry” comes out of nowhere, a sweetheart of a film that works its magic on you and never lets go. Alan Rickman and Natasha Richardson are excellent as Phil and Shelley, a former husband and wife haircutting team who broke up when Shelley ran off with Sandra (Rachel Griffiths), one of their models. It’s been ten years since the divorce, and even though they live in the same small town, Phil and Shelley keep their distance. It doesn’t help that they share a son, Brian (Josh Hartnett), or are the only to people in town capable of competing in the hairdressing show finals. Shelley is high on the idea, but Phil doesn’t want anything to do with it or Shelley. That is until Phil learns that his rival is participating in the show. Can three people who once loved each other come together to save the day? Can an English lad like Brian find true happiness with an American girl (Rachael Leigh Cook), even though her father is competing? Will Shelley be able to hide a devastating secret long enough to fulfill all her dreams? You’ll have to watch to find out. You won’t be disappointed. “Blow Dry” features terrific performances, engaging characters, hilarious complications and a winning spirit that makes this film from the writer of “The Full Monty” a delight and a surprise. (Miramax)

ENEMY AT THE GATES (R)enemy at the gates picture

All is fair in love and war, but it’s the romance that really screws up things. Take the new World War II film “Enemy at the Gates.” Here’s a really gripping drama about two professional snipers that gets shot down by a meaningless love story. Epic in scope, “Enemy at the Gates” is at its best when it sets its sites on the hunt between Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law) and his German equal Major Konig ( Ed Harris). Both men are the best at what they do, and their cat-and-mouse game set amidst the ruins of Stalingrad is intense and riveting. At least when it’s not being interrupted by the superfluous love story between Vassili and fellow soldier Tania (Rachel Weisz), who has also attracted the attention of Russian political officer Danilov (Joseph Fiennes). Their love triangle is dead weight, a misguided attempt to bring some humanity to a horrific situation. Director/co-writer Jane-Jacques Annaud and co-writer Alain Godard totally miss the point. War is supposed to be hell. It doesn’t have convenient breaks where characters can engage in affairs of the heart. Yet the writers feel the necessity to water down the real story with this annoying subplot that brings nothing to the party. Please click title for complete review. (Paramount)


Working under the name of Jay Andrews, prolific bad director Jim Wynorski does a better than usual job with this mountain high adventure that borrows heavily from a number of much better films. Treat Williams stars as a CIA agent trying to save the survivors and contents of a plane crash in the mountains of Alaska. Former 70’s heartthrob John Beck (“Rollerball”) plays an adventurer trapped on the mountain, while Williams has to battle the elements and terrorists to find the plane. Wynorski makes decent use of his limited budget, but his direction and the film’s script are obvious. The veteran actors look tired, and the fresh faces lack conviction. (20th Century Fox)


Occasionally funny teen comedy about a high school senior named Berke (Ben Foster) who is devastated when his girlfriend Allison (Melissa Sagemiller) breaks up with him and starts dating new student and boy band heartthrob Striker (Shane West). Even though his buddies Dennis (Sisqo) and Felix (Colin Hanks) advise him to get on with his life, Berke is determined to win back Allison. That means auditioning for a role in the school’s rock and roll musical version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Completely inept at singing and dancing, Berke turns to Felix’s talented sister Kelly (Kirsten Dunst), who teaches him the ropes. As he pursues Allison, Berke fails to realize that not only is Kelly perfect for him, she wants him. Director Tommy O’Haver (“Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss”) keeps everything light and fluffy, which works well for this sort of material. The cast is amusing, especially Martin Short as the drama teacher, and Swoosie Kurtz and Ed Begley Jr. as Berke’s parents, the hosts of a television relationship show. (Miramax)


The cartoon characters from Riverdale leap to the big screen in this silly piece of teen fluff. Rachael Leigh Cook (Josie), Tara Reid (Melody) and Rosario Dawson (Valerie) star as the girl band who suffer through embarrassing gigs at the local bowling alley. When they are picked by an important record manager (Alan Cumming) to replace a defunct boy band, Josie and the Pussycats hit the charts with a vengeance. As their fame grows, so does the stars in their eyes, creating dissension among the ranks. Things really heat up when the girls learn that their new sound is actually a government plot to subject teenagers to subliminal messages to buy, buy, buy and spur the economy. It’s difficult to take any of this seriously, especially the films attempts to skewer commercialism by being overly commercial. The cast is okay, and the songs aren’t mind numbing, but the film is so paper thin you can see through every plot device. Pretty to look at, leaves a bad taste. (Universal)


Familiar faces flesh out this haunted asylum story about a group of kids who spend the night in an abandoned asylum, only to meet violent and unexpected ends. Corbin Bernsen and Dee Wallace Stone head up a mostly young cast of fresh faces, who fulfill the prerequisite character types necessary to make all of this work. The story is a little more involved than usual, and director Ken Barbet milks as much suspense and atmosphere from the proceedings as possible. Trivia note: Stone’s husband, Christopher Stone, who costarred with her in “The Howling,” co-wrote the serviceable screenplay. (Trimark)


A bet between a group of bachelor friends turns into a gross-out race to see who will be the last one to tie the knot. After sitting through a friend’s wedding, six friends vow never to get married, and as incentive, set up a trust fund that goes to the last man standing. Several years later, only two friends remain unhitched: Michael (Jerry O’Connell) and Kyle (Jake Busey). Deep in debt to a casino, Michael has one month to come up with $50,000 or else. Aware that the bachelor fund has increased to more than half-a-million dollars, Michael decides to do whatever it takes to get Kyle married. That includes working in cahoots with an undercover vice officer (Shannon Elizabeth) who is anxious to get even with Kyle for taking her virginity years earlier. What begins as a con escalates into a major headache when Kyle actually falls in love with the vice officer. While the cast is fine, the set-ups and jokes are extremely weak. There’s lots of gross-out humor, but it’s not really that funny. (Columbia-TriStar)



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