"Captain Corelli's Mandolin"; "Made"; "Rat Race"; "Divided We Fall" 

Quick Flicks

!B! "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"!B! "Made"!B! "Rat Race"!B! "Divided We Fall"

Movies are rated out of a possible 5 popcorns.

"Captain Corelli's Mandolin" — In this clumsy, though beautifully photographed, WWII love story, Nicolas Cage is Capt. Corelli, an interpreter with the Italian army. A gentle soul who lives for music; he's a lover, not a Fascist. He is part of the Occupation force on the Greek isle of Cephallonia. Things become tricky when Corelli falls for the daughter of the island's physician, played by Penélope Cruz. While the two fight the feeling, things are further complicated because Cruz just happens to be engaged to Mandras (Christian Bale). The melodrama kicks into high gear when Il Duce surrenders to the Nazis. "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" offers diehard romantics plenty of reasons to pull out those hankies. Others may wish for a more noteworthy story.

"Made" — Incredibly, it's been five years since the comedy "Swingers" put Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau on Hollywood's much sought-after, up-and-comers list. Now, the two reunite for "Made," a familiar though not quite as stellar effort from the two talents. Favreau plays an L.A.-based boxer named Bobby who's always helping out Vaughan's Ricky, a pain-in-the-posterior type who spells bad news to anyone who crosses his path. When Max (Peter Falk) hires Bobby for some less-than-honest work in the Big Apple, he gets Ricky on the payroll too. And that's when things go terribly awry. Although Favreau's straight-man action works, Vaughn is way, way, way over the top. The potential's there, but "Made" rarely makes good use of it.

"Rat Race" — This sophomoric exercise in puerile humor may tip its hat at the screwball classic "IT's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," but that's about it. John Cleese is a Vegas bigwig who randomly chooses six slot-machine players to compete in a freestyle race for $2 million stashed in a locker in New Mexico. Greed and gross-out humor propel the contestants as well as the plot. The contestants include Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., Breckin Meyer, Jon Lovitz and Rowan Atkinson. Rude, crude and overflowing with stupid humor, let me also say "Rat Race" has bad-movie classic written all over it.

"Divided We Fall" — Unlike Roberto Benigni's award-winning Holocaust comic fantasy, this Petr Jarchovsky, fact-based film does not take place in a concentration camp. Nor does it include any questionable heroics. Instead, it focuses on the dangers of hiding a Jewish man in a small Czech town and on the highly flawed — and therefore highly human — folks who come in contact with him. Moments of slapstick comedy meet scenes of surprising human kindness and pathos in this tale of a husband and wife. As we witness their daily struggle with just how far they will bend their beliefs to survive, things take a dramatic turn when the survival of not one, but three others becomes their responsibility. (subtitles)


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