But though you may not like antihero Igby (Kieran Culkin), whose affected ennui is almost palpable, you'll find him hard to forget. As recidivist prep-school dropout Igby Slocumb, Culkin gets to interact with all sorts of character actors from Ryan Phillippe (as his even snottier older brother) to Claire Danes (as his brother's main squeeze, but really the girl of Igby's dreams) to Susan Sarandon (his old-money, uptight Mommy dearest), and he does so with relish. ***
"Knockaround Guys" If there is anything more delicious than watching John Malkovich slither across a screen, I haven't come across it. And here he practically leaves a "snail trail" behind when he oozes out of frame. Although Malkovich is delightful as a coldblooded mobster, he can't salvage this crime caper about four wannabe, sons-of-goombahs (Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Seth Green and Andrew Davoli). Trying to get in good with their elders, the boys set out to retrieve a cool half-mil one of them somehow lost. Trust me, there's nothing remotely "wise" about these guys. In fact, the true fun of this long-delayed movie is trying to figure out who's dumber: the Big Sky bumpkins who took the dough, the bumbling bagmen or the old geezers who trusted the numskull nimrods with that much cash. **
"Brown Sugar" As star-crossed friends (and inevitable lovers), Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan are sweetly alluring in the savvy, Af-Am romance where they play a record company executive named Dre (Diggs) and Sidney, a music journalist. They grew up in the same neighborhood, grooving on the same hip-hop songs and, without realizing it, each other. So when Dre tells Sidney he's engaged to Reese (Nicole Ari Parker), shouldn't she be happy for him? Oh no, that's when the romantic sparks really start to fly, and the chemistry between Diggs and Lathan starts to percolate big time. All about fashion, music and looking fine, this "Brown Sugar" bubbles with an infectious energy. ****
"Spirited Away" Weirdly wonderful and brimming with breathtaking visuals, this Hayao Miyazaki animated film has plenty to delight and captivate kids from 7 to 70. In this anime masterpiece, Miyazaki introduces us to Chihiro (voice of Daveigh Chase), a spoiled 10-year-old girl. Her parents find themselves in a weird fantasyland of ghosts and spirits. Chihiro must look within herself to find a way to save her parents from being turned into pigs by Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), a nasty ol' witch who throws all sorts of obstacles and frights in Chihiro's path. Equally appealing to adventurous children, anime fans, and any still-functioning Timothy Leary devotees of the late '60s, "Spirited Away" will blow you away.
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