"Atlantis: The Lost Empire"; "Lara Croft: The Tomb Raider"; "Moulin Rouge" 

Quick Flicks

!B! "Atlantis: The Lost Empire"!B! "Lara Croft: The Tomb Raider"!B! "Moulin Rouge"

"Atlantis: The Lost Empire" — Although an entertaining adventure for the 6 to 12 set, "Atlantis" doesn't come close to rivaling other recent Disney efforts. Michael J. Fox voices the bumbling, bespectacled Milo Thatch, a young scholar with dreams of being an explorer. Milo's certain he's found the key to the lost city of Atlantis, but his museum bosses think he's nutty. Everything changes when an eccentric millionaire asks Milo to join an expedition to search for the buried kingdom. But what they find there — a living civilization, a magic crystal and a lovely princess, bring's out the crew's true mission. Now it's up to Milo to save the princess and Atlantis.

As its PG rating implies, "Atlantis" is scarier and more violent than other Disney animated movies. On the plus side, there are no musical numbers or any cuddly animal sidekicks. Certainly not a disaster, "Atlantis" is just a minor Disney effort.

"Lara Croft: The Tomb Raider" — Angelina Jolie is the embodiment of video-game hottie Lara Croft. Jolie flies, leaps and shoots out her double-barrelled chest with Croftlike verve. She's also quite handy with a pair of pistols and oh-so-softly spoken. But the filmmakers spent too much time making sure Jolie fit the fleshed-out fantasies of the prepubescent boys who play "Tomb Raider," that the movie's plot suffers. Jolie may be packing, but the movie ain't. "Tomb Raider" is an action/adventure flick with a little kick and tons of eye-popping special effects and exotic locales in which to plop bombshell Jolie. "Tomb Raider's" first 20 minutes are dynamite, but then the video-game-thin plot kicks in. The filmmakers may have been trying for a hip kind of "Fem-diana Jones," but they fall way short. Their Lara Croft ends up just another cartoon character in a high-tech Wonderbra.

"Moulin Rouge" — More artistic vision than traditional movie, Australian writer/director Baz Luhrmann offers up a sensory overload intended to breathe life into the once-prominent musical film form. For the most part, he succeeds. The film's hero and narrator is Christian (Ewan McGregor), a penniless poet who gravitates to the Bohemian lifestyle of 1890s Paris. His goals are simple and pure: "to write about truth, beauty, freedom and love." He soon finds himself falling for Satine (Nicole Kidman), the high-priced chanteuse at the Moulin Rouge.

Some will find "Moulin Rouge" a post-modern hell; others will be jazzed by the bombarding spectacle and physical energy rushing from the screen. But unlike Lurhmann's "Romeo + Juliet," which had Shakespeare's timeless tale of star-crossed lovers to its core, "Moulin Rouge" falls flat when the music stops.



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