Honestly horrific German thriller starring Franka Potente (Run, Lola, Run) as a medical student who suspects that her prestigious school is behind the deaths of several students. Potente is excellent as Paula, a bright student whose dreams of becoming a doctor begin when she’s accepted into a popular anatomy class. At first Paula can’t believe her luck, but when many of her classmates end up dead, she believes someone at the school is responsible.

Her investigation uncovers a secret society that will do anything to keep it that way. Writer-director Stefan Ruzowitzky does everything within his power to make this a creepy outing and he succeeds. Gruesome fun from start to finish, the thrills and chills come fast and furious. In German language with English subtitles. (Columbia-TriStar)


Extremely complex British caper film stars John Hannah (The Mummy) and Famke Janssen (X-Men) as Leo and Lily Garfield, a criminal couple whose boredom leads them to jump start a scam that spins madly out of control. The character’s motivations are just as confusing as the plot, which incorporates a number of cinematic devices to make its point. You’re never sure where writer David Logan and director Ron Walker are taking us, and when we get there, we really don’t care. There’s so much subterfuge and red herrings that all of the double and triple crosses become annoyingly predictable. Also participating in the scam are Eddie Izzard and Peter Stormare. (Columbia-TriStar)


Compassionate trilogy of stories focusing on the struggles of being gay in America. Made-for-cable, “Common Ground” covers a lot of ground, beginning in the fifties and ending up in the present. All three stories take place in the small town of Homer, and are connected by patriot Eric Stoltz, who raises the flag in the middle of town square. The first story is set in the fifties, and deals with a young woman who has been dishonorably discharged for being a homosexual. Brittany Murphy is excellent as Dorothy Nelson, who returns home to an embarrassed mother and spiteful town. The second story takes place in the seventies, right after the Vietnam War. Jonathan Taylor Thomas plays a high school student questioning his sexuality, who seeks advice from closeted teacher Steven Weber. The final episode takes place in the present, where two men prepare for their wedding day, much to the dissent of father Ed Asner. Even though the final episode, written by Harvey Fierstein, is funny and engaging, it’s the second story that really hits an emotional high. Weber is perfect as a man who knows that the very hint of his sexuality could mean his job, while Thomas is honest and sympathetic as a gay teenager looking for someone who will validate his existence. (Paramount)


baggervanceMovies about sports are always a tough sell. Especially movies that take sports seriously. It’s rare when a serious sports movie scores with an audience, but when the connection is made, it’s victorious. “The Legend of Bagger Vance” is about golf, and that may have been the reason audiences didn’t flock to this wonderful film. I don’t particularly like golf, but that didn’t stop me from sitting through “Caddyshack” a hundred times. I don’t watch golf on television, but I do know who the players are. How can you avoid them? Players like Tiger Williams have approached myth-like status. “The Legend of Bagger Vance” is about myth. Sure, it’s about golf, but golf is just a metaphor for life. It deals with how players feel alive while on the links, how their game is guided by spirituality. The connection between the club and the ball, man against the elements. Please click on title for complete DVD review. (DreamWorks)


Mel Gibson is on the cover of the box, but he takes a supporting role in Wim Wenders offbeat drama-mystery about a group of oddball denizens who occupy an old hotel. Gibson plays Detective Skinner, who arrives at the hotel to investigate the death of one of the residents. His investigation introduces him to a wild collection of tenants who have turned the hotel into their own madhouse. Behind every door is a freak show of some kind, from a man who claims to be the fifth Beatles, to Tom Tom (Jeremy Davies), a friend of the dead man who attaches himself to Skinner with the hopes of finding a little excitement. Wenders seems more interested in creating mood than resolving the film’s many lose threads, while the cast seems to have the run of the show. Milla Jovovich has some nice moments as the object of Tom Tom’s desire, but the rest of the cast act as if they’re just happy to be working with Wenders. Strictly for fans of the director. (Studio)


102 DALMATIANS (G/Walt Disney)




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