"A.I.: Artificial Intelligence"; "Cats & Dogs"; "Scary Movie 2"; "Sexy Beast" 

Quick Flicks

!B! "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence"!B! "Cats & Dogs"!B! "Scary Movie 2"!B! "Sexy Beast"

"A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" — Stanley Kubrick's "Hal" meets Steven Spielberg's "E.T." in this postmodern "Pinocchio." In this flawed but fascinating film, Spielberg manages to both channel the late master filmmaker's dark sensibilities as well as inject certain scenes with his own trademark optimism. But like the old adage says, no one — and no movie — can serve two masters. Young actor Haley Joel Osment turns in another eerily terrific performance as David, the first robotic child programmed to love. But when his adoptive parents abandon him, he sets out on a chilly, disturbing journey. Jude Law is equally captivating as Gigolo Joe, a robot crafted to satisfy humans' pleasure who tries to set David straight. Those who go expecting Spielberg's usual sentimentality and crowd-pleasing uplifting ending will be shocked beyond belief.

"Cats & Dogs" — "Babe" it's most certainly not, but kiddos 6 and older who love dogs should find this comic fantasy purrfectly amusing. Featuring the voices of Tobey Maguire, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and "Will & Grace's" Sean Hayes, the movie follows the tyrannical dreams of villainous kitty Mr. Tinkles as he claws his way to world domination. You see, Jeff Goldblum has crafted a serum that eliminates humans' allergic reaction to canines. This does not sit well with the feline population, particularly Mr. Tinkles. Consequently, it's doggone Armageddon time. While the animals are adorable, the humans don't even come close.

"Scary Movie 2" — Yes, after the original earned some $155 million at the box office, a sequel wasn't just expected — it was demanded! Unfortunately no one thought to demand that this second helping from the talented Wayans family also be good. "SM2" unreels on a seemingly endless supply of comically explicit sexual situations, graphic toilet humor, marijuana jokes, slapstick violence and witticisms about molesting children. The plot revolves around Shawn and Marlon Wayans as college students who spend the night in a haunted mansion with their creepy psych professor (Tim Curry). Riffing on "The Exorcist," "Hannibal" and "Charlie's Angels," some of the humor works in a fresh irreverent way, but most just elicits groans from the audience.

"Sexy Beast" — Brutal and brilliant, this British crime caper boasts one of the best acting performances of the year. Ben Kingsley's raw turn as mob psychopath Don Logan will have you saying "Gandhi who?" Wanting to bring thief Gary Dove (the equally wonderful Ray Winstone) out of retirement for one last heist, Kingsley is a profanity-spewing, whirling dervish of perversity and pain. On the other hand, the formerly hard-boiled Gary has no intention of risking his "perfect" life. Although the underwater heist takes up much of the film, the real action comes when Kingsley and Winstone confront each other.


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