"Erin Brockovich," "Final Destination" and on video, "The Limey" and "The Sixth Sense" 

Quick Flicks

!B! "Erin Brockovich"
!B! "Final Destination"

Now on Video!B! "The Limey"
!B! "The Sixth Sense"

"Erin Brockovich" — Clad in spike heels, micro-minis and enough cleavage to win her scores of new fans, Julia Roberts plays a divorced mother of three struggling to make ends meet. When her lawyer (Albert Finney) blows her personal-injury court case, she demands he hire her. Once on the job, she discovers medical records buried among some real-estate files. She starts to investigate. What she finds out is that a West Coast power company has been polluting the water of a small town with chromium. Mad as hell, she sets out to make the mighty utility do what's right for the 600 townspeople.

While Finney more than holds his own against Roberts' screen presence — and against those costumes — the movie belongs to Roberts. Very satisfying to watch, "Erin Brockovich" inspires and exhilarates.

"Final Destination" — We all know the anxiety of waiting for your plane to take off, and that sweaty mix of apprehension and frustration is captured skillfully in the opening moments of "Final Destination." The movie's premise holds promise as well: Can one truly cheat fate?

As a group of teens await a school trip not unlike the one TWA Flight 800 students were embarking on, one young man has a terrifying premonition. He sees the plane going down in flames. He starts a panic when he begins screaming that the plane is going to crash. Naturally, he and his pals are removed from the plane.

The plane, of course, does go down, and the rest of the movie follows the teens as the Grim Reaper tracks them down for their missed appointment. Despite its promising beginning and premise, "Final Destination" ends up being just plane silly.

"The Limey" — If you missed this intriguing and well-acted fish-out-of-water tale from Steven Soderbergh this past summer, you definitely need to rent it. Terence Stamp is terrific as a British ex-con lost in Los Angeles. He's come to the City of Angels to avenge his daughter's murder.

Along the way, he makes lots of enemies, including an L.A. underworld kingpin, played by Peter Fonda (who is just as good here as Stamp). As the movie progresses, The Limey Stamp seems to be taking on the entire mob single-handedly. Although the acting is terrific, Soderbergh's camera style undermines much of the movie's power by relying too often on flashbacks and flash-forwards.

"The Sixth Sense" — The summer's biggest surprise hit is now at your local video store. This Best Picture nominee about a young man who sees dead people is one of the eeriest and best-made flicks I've seen in awhile. As the young man beset by folks from the otherworld, Haley Joel Osment gives one of the best performances by a child — ever. Even co-star Bruce Willis keeps his trademark smirkiness at bay in his sensitive portrayal of the child psychologist called in to help. Written and directed by M. Night Shamalayan, "The Sixth Sense" will leave you chilled to the bone.


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