NEW FILMS FRIDAY

BARNEY'S GREAT ADVENTURE: THE MOVIE - The much-beloved and almost-as-reviled big purple dinosaur finally gets his own movie with this musical/comedy, which features original songs written by Broadway composer Jerry Herman ("Hello Dolly," "Mame"). Reviewed in this section on Page W7. G. (Cottonwood, Midvalley, South Towne.)

CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL - A tasteless, outrageous and factually based comedy/musical from writer/director/star Trey Parker, co-creator of TV's "South Park," about 19th-century guide Alferd Packer, the only man in U.S. history to be convicted of cannibalism. Not rated, probable R (violence, gore, vulgarity, profanity). (Exclusive, Tower.)

LIVE FLESH - Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's latest is this drama/thriller, based on Ruth Rendell's novel about a young man sent to prison for an accidental crime of passion, who later plans to exact revenge on the woman and cop who sent him to jail. In Spanish, with English subtitles. Reviewed in this section on Page W6. R (sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity, violence, drug use, brief gore). (Exclusive, Tower.)

LOST IN SPACE - The cult '60s television series, a science-fiction take on "Swiss Family Robinson," comes to the big screen. Stars include Gary Oldman, William Hurt, Matt LeBlanc, Heather Graham and Lacey Chabert (TV's "Party of Five"). Jeff Vice interviews the stars of the movie on Page W1; reviewed in this section on Page W3. PG-13 (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity). (Carmike 12, Century, Cottonwood, Gateway, Midvalley; Redwood, with "The Wedding Singer"; Reel, Sandy 9, Trolley Corners.)

MERCURY RISING - Bruce Willis stars in this action-thriller as an outcast FBI agent hired to protect a 9-year-old autistic savant who's accidentally cracked a top-secret governmental military code. Reviewed in this section on Page W10. R (violence, profanity, gore, drug use). (Century, Crossroads, Holladay, Midvalley; Redwood, with "Blues Brothers 2000"; Reel, South Towne, Trolley North.)

NIL BY MOUTH - British character actor Gary Oldman wrote and directed this downbeat drama, loosely based on his own harrowing childhood, about the relationship between an abusive head of the household and his long-suffering wife. Reviewed in this section. R (profanity, violence, drug use, vulgarity, nudity, racial epithets). (Exclusive, Broadway.)

SNEAK PREVIEWS

NEIL SIMON'S THE ODD COUPLE II - Playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon resurrects Oscar Madison and Felix Unger (and Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon reprise their movie roles for this sequel to the play/movie/television series), which brings the two together for the wedding of their children. To be reviewed when it opens April 10. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Saturday: Carmike 12, Century, Flick, Gateway, Holladay, Plaza 5400, Sandy 9.)

RE-RELEASES

GREASE - * * * - John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are a mismatched high school couple in this energetic (and raunchy) 1978 adaptation of the stage hit about life in the '50s, with terrific dance numbers and amusing songs. Stockard Channing steals the show as bad-girl Rizzo. All three leads are far too old to play adolescents, and the ending sends a questionable message, but it's still a lot of fun. This 20th-anniversary reissue features digitally remastered sound. PG (profanity, vulgarity). (Carmike 12, Century, Flick, Gateway, Holladay, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Spice World"; Sandy 9.) (June, 1978) - Chris Hicks

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

WORKS FROM ALONG THE WASATCH FRONT - The monthly open screening program of the Utah Film & Video Center, which features the first 85 minutes of short video and film projects made by local directors. This program is not rated, but some of the selections may contain PG-13 or R-rated material. (Salt Lake Art Center, Friday only, 8 p.m.)

CONTINUING FILMS

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS - * - Awful and awfully derivative remake/sequel to 1981's "An American Werewolf in London," which rips off some of the best bits from the original - but with much less wit and more gore. A huge disappointment coming from director Anthony Waller ("Mute Witness") and star Tom Everett Scott ("That Thing You Do!"). R (violence, gore, sex, nudity, vulgarity, profanity). (Valley Fair.) (Dec. 26, 1997)

ANASTASIA - * * * - Fox Animation Studios' first movie is this funny but at-times inconsistent (in terms of animation) musical-comedy about the sole survivor of Russia's imperial family, based on the 1956 film. Great performances by the "voice" actors - Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Angela Lansbury and Christopher Lloyd - definitely help. G (animated violence and gore). (Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Nov. 21, 1997)

THE APOSTLE - * * * 1/2 - Robert Duvall's long-overdue third film as a director is this drama about a disgraced preacher (Duvall) who rediscovers his faith when he's forced to flee Texas after viciously beating another man. Religion and faith usually aren't portrayed nearly as sympathetically and intelligently as they are here, and all the performances are very strong. PG-13 (profanity, violence, racial epithets). (Broadway, Sandy 9.) (Feb. 13, 1998)

AS GOOD AS IT GETS - * * * 1/2 - Alternately dramatic and brutally funny, this comedy from writer/director James Brooks ("I'll Do Anything") wouldn't fly if not for the stellar performance by Oscar winner Jack Nicholson as a tactless romance novelist. Greg Kinnear is surprisingly subtle as a gay artist, but Oscar winner Helen Hunt is miscast as Nicholson's romantic foil. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, nudity, violence, racial epithets). (Gateway, Holladay, Midvalley; Redwood, with "Wild Things"; South Towne, Trolley Corners.) (Dec. 26, 1997)

THE BIG LEBOWSKI - * * - Not exactly a stellar follow-up to "Fargo," this black comedy involving mistaken identities and kidnappings shows the filmmaking Coen brothers at their most unfocused and self-indulgent. Star Jeff Bridges has fun playing an aging stoner, but the payoff isn't worth the wait for most audiences. R (profanity, vulgarity, violence, drug use, nudity, torture, racial epithets). (Sandy 9.) (March 6, 1998)

BLUES BROTHERS 2000 - * * - The musical numbers are actually better than those in the original (B.B. King, Koko Taylor and Erykah Badu are among the featured performers), but this otherwise lame sequel to 1980's surprise comedy hit suffers whenever it tries to tell a story. Star/co-writer/co-producer Dan Aykroyd doesn't embarrass himself, but co-stars John Goodman and Joe Morton should stick to acting. PG-13 (violence, profanity, partial nudity, vulgarity). (Redwood, with "Mercury Rising.") (Feb. 6, 1998)

BOOGIE NIGHTS - * * 1/2 - The first half of this controversial drama about the adult entertainment industry during the late 1970s, actually lives up to the hype. But when the story moves into the early 1980s, the film turns into yet another "Pulp Fiction" wannabe, with graphic violence and surprisingly bad plotting. Great performances from stars Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore and Burt Reynolds, though. Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson had to make major cuts just to avoid an NC-17 rating. R (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, drug use, gore, vulgarity). (Sugar House.) (Oct. 24, 1997)

THE BORROWERS - * * 1/2 - Marred by some tasteless and vulgar jokes, this big-screen version of Mary Norton's beloved children books - about a clan of very, very tiny people trying to thwart an evil developer (John Goodman) - has some dazzling visuals and a brisk pace. But in the process, some of the charm is lost. PG (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity). (Midvalley, Olympus.) (Feb. 13, 1998)

DARK CITY - * * - Technically dazzling but seriously lacking in content, this futuristic thriller from writer/director Alex Proyas ("The Crow") shows what happens when a man discovers his "reality" is part of a bizarre experiment being carried out by hostile aliens. Too cold and sterile to be effective, and co-star Kiefer Sutherland's wheezy performance is a major distraction. R (violence, gore, nudity, sex). (Brewvies, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Feb. 27, 1998)

DEEP RISING - * - "Anaconda" on a boat, this stupid and extremely gory B-horror movie pits a band of seafaring mercenaries against vicious sea monsters that have overrun a luxury cruiseship. But the characters are so annoying and the plot is so stupid that you may find yourself rooting for the heroes to be swallowed quickly. Yuck! R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, nude photos). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Jan. 30, 1998)

DESPERATE MEASURES - * 1/2 - Proof that a movie can get dumber by the minute, this awful thriller stars Michael Keaton as a serial killer who gets loose in a hospital when he's freed to be a transplant donor for the son of a police officer (Andy Garcia). Keaton tries but he's hampered by a witless script. R (violence, profanity). (Valley Fair.) (Jan. 30, 1998)

FLUBBER - * * - Writer/producer John Hughes again gives a Disney classic the "Home Alone" treatment. This time it's the 1961 comedy "The Absent Minded Professor," as Robin Williams takes over the Fred MacMurray role as a scientist who invents a rubbery substance that seems to defy gravity. Kids may get a kick out of the computer-animated goo, but most of the jokes just aren't funny. PG (violence, vulgarity, profanity). (Kaysville, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Nov. 26, 1997)

FOR RICHER OR POORER - * - Dull, unfunny and offensive comedy pairing TV stars Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley as unhappily married Manhattan socialites who wind up rediscovering their love while they're hiding from the IRS among the Amish. Also, the saccharine sweet ending can't cover up the otherwise mean-spirited jabs directed at the Amish. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence, sex). (Valley Fair.) (Dec. 12, 1997)

THE FULL MONTY - * * * - Somewhat raunchy, surprisingly touching and always hilarious British comedy about six financially strapped English steelworkers (including "Trainspotting's" Robert Carlyle) who are inspired by a touring Chippendales show to take it all off, in hopes of making a killing. But they find that their inhibitions get in the way. Strong characterizations and laugh-out-loud visual gags highlight this winner. R (nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Brewvies, Sugar House.) (Sept. 12, 1997) - C.H.

GATTACA - * * * - Sterile (both in theme and treatment) and not as engaging as it could be, this futuristic cautionary tale about genetic engineering is nonetheless fascinating on its own terms as natural-born human Ethan Hawke tries to infiltrate the world of genetically bred "superiors." Reminiscent of dozens of other sci-fi tales, but thoughtful and earnest in a way that has eluded the genre for too many years now. Co-stars include Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin and Ernest Borgnine. PG-13 (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity). (Sugar House.) (Oct. 24, 1997) - C.H.

GOOD WILL HUNTING - * * * 1/2 - Well-acted, though also profane and vulgar, comedy-drama about a troubled 20-something mathematics genius (Matt Damon) who must undergo therapy (from Oscar winner Robin Williams, playing a down-on-his-luck college professor) as part of his parole. Damon and co-star Ben Affleck also wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay. R (profanity, vulgarity, violence, sex, nude paintings, racial epithets). (Broadway, Holladay, Midvalley, South Towne.) (Dec. 26, 1997)

GREAT EXPECTATIONS - * * - A glossy buy shallow update of the Charles Dickens novel, starring Ethan Hawke as a naive young artist desperately trying to impress the snooty and manipulative socialite (Gwyneth Paltrow) he's loved for years. The dumbed-down script also seems to indicate that the writers didn't think Dickens knew how to end the story! R (profanity, nudity, sex, violence, brief gore, drug use, vulgarity). (Sugar House.) (Jan. 30, 1998)

HUSH - * - This dull thriller about an evil mother-in-law (Jessica Lange) has more problems than just a bad title (though several others, including "Kilronan," were rejected). Lange and co-star Gwyneth Paltrow are hammy and wooden, respectively, and the script's unintentionally hilarious. PG-13 (profanity, violence, vulgarity, gore, nudity, sex). (Cinemas 5, Sandy 9.) (March 6, 1998)

JACKIE BROWN - * * - Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited followup to "Pulp Fiction," an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel "Rum Punch," is way too long and lacks energy. However, Robert Forster steals things as a sympathetic bail bondsman who helps the title character, a flight attendant who doubles as a drug runner (former "blaxploitation" actress Pam Grier), swindle her boss and the cops. R (profanity, racial epithets, violence, drug use, sex, vulgarity, brief partial nudity). (Sugar House.) (Dec. 26, 1998)

JOHN GRISHAM'S THE RAINMAKER - * * * - Since he wrote the screenplay and directed, maybe it should be "Francis Ford Coppola's The Rainmaker." Slick, all-star adaptation is still pulp fiction, but the "Rocky"-like courtroom drama about a young, idealistic lawyer (Matt Damon) taking on an insurance company is compelling. Subplot about an abused woman (Claire Danes) he takes under his wing is less so. Co-stars include Danny DeVito and unbilled Danny Glover. PG-13 (violence, profanity) (Kaysville.) (Nov. 21, 1997) - C.H.

KRIPPENDORF'S TRIBE - * 1/2 - A humiliating experience in low-brow humor, as stars Richard Dreyfuss and Jenna Elfman (TV's "Dharma & Greg") try to enliven a dumbbell storyline about an anthropology professor forced to "create" a New Guinea tribe (himself and his children in disguise) to qualify for grant moneys. Awful, with inappropriate sexual humor and other crass gags. PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, profanity). (Plaza 5400.) (Feb. 27, 1998)

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL - * * * - Good-looking and glitzy, but sometimes confusing and very violent crime thriller, based on James Ellroy's novel, about detectives in 1950s Los Angeles investigating murders and a conspiracy that involves crooked cops and prostitutes who look like famous starlets. The cast, which includes Oscar winner Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito, certainly helps. R (violence, gore, profanity, nudity, sex, drug use, racial epithets). (Broadway, Cinemas 5, Olympus, South Towne.) (Sept. 19, 1997)

LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND - * * * - Great performances by British character actor John Hurt and TV star Jason Priestley as well as some odd humorous touches highlight this comedy/drama about a reclusive, technophobic novelist (Hurt) who becomes so obsessed with an B-movie actor/teen idol (Priestley) that he flies to America to be near him. R (profanity, vulgarity, sex, nudity, violence). (Exclusive, Broadway.) (March 27, 1998)

THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK - * * - Who says two Leonardo DiCaprios are better than one? The "Titanic" star is downright awful playing twin brothers - one the evil King of France and the other a sweet-natured prisoner - in this dumb-bell adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel. Still, the dream casting of actors playing the Four Musketeers (Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich, Gerard Depardieu and Jeremy Irons) almost saves things. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, sex, nudity, profanity). (Century, Creekside, Gateway, Midvalley, Reel, South Towne, Trolley Square.) (March 13, 1998)

MEET THE DEEDLES - turkey - In the "grand" tradition of the "Bill and Ted" movies comes this awful and unfunny Disney comedy (filmed partly in Park City), which follows two surfer-dude brothers who try to prove themselves to their millionaire father and wind up trying to save Yellowstone National Park from a deranged former park ranger (Dennis Hopper). PG (vulgarity, violence, bikini babes, sex). (Carmike 12, Flick, Gateway, Plaza 5400, Reel, Sandy 9, Villa.) (March 27, 1998)

MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL - * * - A disappointingly shallow adaptation of John Berendt's fact-based bestseller, about a young New York writer assigned to cover a Christmas party thrown by an eccentric Southern antiques dealer (Kevin Spacey), who is subsequently arrested and tried for murder. Director Clint Eastwood concentrates on too many details and not on the big picture. R (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Murray.) (Nov. 21, 1997)

MOUSE HUNT - * * - Good-looking but not nearly funny enough, this live-action cartoon pits Nathan Lane and British character actor Lee Evans against a pesky rodent (a real-life mouse, aided by computer-generated effects) for possession of a multi-million-dollar mansion. Too mean-spirited and far too vulgar for a "children's" film. PG (violence, vulgarity, brief partial nudity). (Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Dec. 19, 1997)

MR. MAGOO - turkey - A dumb and extremely unfunny live-action comedy, based on the now-controversial '60s cartoon, that manages to offend more than just the visually impaired. Leslie Nielsen, who plays the bungling, nearsighted eccentric, has never been so irritating. PG (violence, vulgarity, bikini babes). (Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Dec. 26, 1997)

MR. NICE GUY - * * - Action star Jackie Chan's newest, a martial-arts comedy about a TV chef accidentally dragged into a turf war between a motorcycle gang and a drug lord, almost lives up to its advertised promise of having "more action than the last three Jackie Chan films combined." But its plot is too thin, the acting is abominable and the ending is pretty dull, frankly. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity, nude artwork). (Carmike 12, Gateway, Holladay, Plaza 5400, Sandy 9, Trolley Square.) (March 20, 1998)

MRS. BROWN - * * * - Restrained version of one of history's most unusual relationships, between a Scottish horse-riding coach (Billy Connolly) and Queen Victoria (Dame Judi Dench), who became reacquainted in the years following the death of Prince Albert. At times the action is too subdued and inconsistent, but dazzling performances from the leads help. PG (profanity, violence, brief nudity, vulgarity). (Kaysville.) (Aug. 1, 1997)

THE NEWTON BOYS - * * * - Star power helps bail out this uneven but factually based drama from writer/director Richard Linklater ("Before Sunrise") about four brothers (Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Skeet Ulrich and Vincent D'Onofrio) who became the most successful bank robbers in U.S. history. Well-placed humor doesn't hurt either. PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, gore, torture, brief nudity). (Broadway, Century, Creekside, Gateway, Midvalley; Redwood, with "U.S. Marshals"; South Towne.) (March 27, 1998)

THE RAINMAKER - See "John Grisham's The Rainmaker."

PRIMARY COLORS - * * - Proof that you can't judge a film by its casting, this political satire/drama (based on the best-seller by "Anonymous") suffers because it relies too heavily on John Travolta's unsuccessful Clinton impression and because of some very uneven pacing. It's also far too heavy-handed. The supporting cast (Adrian Lester, Billy Bob Thornton and Kathy Bates) almost makes it work, though. R (profanity, vulgarity, violence, racial epithets, brief partial nudity). (Carmike 12, Century, Holladay, Midvalley, Sandy 9, Trolley Corners, Trolley North.) (March 20, 1998)

RIDE - Rags to riches comedy-drama from first-time writer/director Millicent Shelton about a group of black inner-city teens and twenty-somethings struggling to change their fate and find stardom as hip-hop musicians. Malik Yoba (TV's "New York Undercover") stars. R (profanity, vulgarity, sex, violence). (Midvalley, Trolley Square.)

SPHERE - * 1/2 - Some novels should never be made into movies, including this science-fiction thriller that's based on Michael Crichton's best seller, about a team of scientists (Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone and Samuel L. Jackson) investigating a long-submerged space craft resting on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Not nearly as cerebral as you'd expect from the cast and director Barry Levinson ("Wag the Dog"). PG-13 (violence, profanity). (Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Feb. 13, 1998)

SPICE WORLD - turkey - An awful star vehicle for international pop stars the Spice Girls (an extremely unfunny blending of "A Hard Day's Night," "This is Spinal Tap" and "Speed!"), this stupid and tasteless musical comedy is unsuitable for all moviegoers - especially its obvious target audience of 8-year-old girls. PG (vulgarity, violence, brief nudity, profanity). (Cinemas 5; Redwood, with "Grease.") (Jan. 23, 1998)

TITANIC - * * * - Too long by at least 45 minutes, director James Cameron's romance/adventure epic - set aboard the ill-fated passenger ship - is also more passionate and thrilling than most of what we've seen lately. Things are helped enormously by stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, playing doomed lovers, and the fact that almost all of the reported $200 million budget seems to have gone to the dazzling historical recreations. Winner of 11 Academy Awards. PG-13 (profanity, violence, nudity, vulgarity, sex). (Carmike 12, Century, Cottonwood, Crossroads, Gateway, Plaza 5400; Redwood, with "Twilight"; Reel, Sandy 9.) (Dec. 19, 1997)

TOMORROW NEVER DIES - * * 1/2 - The plot is thin and the one-liners have never been so lame, but Pierce Brosnan's second outing as James Bond is still exciting in a mindless sort of way - especially because of the presence of Hong Kong action star Michelle Yeoh, who steals the picture as a Chinese spy who becomes Bond's sidekick. Co-stars Jonathan Pryce and Teri Hatcher are pretty much wasted, though. PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, sex, nudity, profanity). (Kaysville, Sandy Starships, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Dec. 19, 1997)

TWILIGHT - * * 1/2 - Even a dream cast of veteran actors (Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Gene Hackman and James Garner) can't conceal the obvious flaws of writer/director Robert Benton's latest, a surprisingly crass but still lively mystery-drama set in Hollywood. Newman's terrific as a broken-down private investigator trying to solve a murder/blackmail plot, though. R (violence, profanity, vulgarity, nudity, gore, sex). (Cinemas 5; Redwood, with "Titanic.") (March 6, 1998)

U.S. MARSHALS - * * - There are some exciting stunts in this spinoff of the 1993 hit "The Fugitive," but they're obvious retreads of action sequences from the first film (as well as "Con Air" and others) and the plot's not up to snuff. Also, Tommy Lee Jones does a fine job reprising his role, even though Wesley Snipes isn't nearly interesting enough as the subject of his hunt. PG-13 (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity). (Creekside, Midvalley; Redwood, with "The Newton Boys"; Reel, South Towne, Trolley North.) (March 6, 1998)

WAG THE DOG - * * * 1/2 - As sharp a political satire as we've seen since "Bob Roberts," this wicked comedy features a dream pairing of Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro as, respectively, a Hollywood producer and a White House "spin doctor" who create a "war" to deflect attention away from a presidential sex scandal just weeks before the election. Great performances all around and the script sparkles. R (profanity, vulgarity, violence). (Brewvies, Cinemas 5.) (Jan. 9, 1998)

THE WEDDING SINGER - * * 1/2 - Surprising chemistry from stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore helps save this silly but sweet romantic comedy, set in the mid-'80s, about a struggling musician and wedding entertainer who falls in love with a waitress who's engaged to be married. PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, violence, partial nudity). (Cottonwood, Gateway, Midvalley; Redwood, with "Lost in Space"; South Towne, Trolley Square.) (Feb. 13, 1998)

WILD THINGS - * - You can purposely make your movies trashy but you can't make audiences watch them! This blackly comic mystery/thriller about two high school students (Neve Campbell and Denise Richards) who falsely accuse their school counselor (Matt Dillon) of rape, tries to be Grade-A cheese but is spoiled by atrocious acting and lurid plotting. Bill Murray is a hoot as a shyster lawyer, however. R (violence, profanity, vulgarity, nudity, sex, drug use, gore). (Century, Holladay, Midvalley; Redwood, with "As Good As It Gets"; South Towne, Trolley Square.) (March 20, 1998)

THE WINGS OF THE DOVE - * * * 1/2 - Actresses Helena Bonham Carter and Alison Elliott are equally fabulous in this intelligent but downbeat adaptation of Henry James' novel, about a society woman (Carter) forced to chose between her status and a journalist who is a commoner (Linus Roache), until she strikes on a scheme to have him court and marry a dying rich American (Elliott). R (nudity, sex). (Avalon.) (Nov. 21, 1997)

*****

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