"One Night at McCool's"; "Driven"; "The Forsaken"; "Into the Arms of Strangers" 

Quick Flicks

!B! "One Night at McCool's"!B! "Driven"!B! "The Forsaken"!B! "Into the Arms of Strangers"

"One Night at McCool's" — This "Rashomon-style" tale of three men's experiences with one woman is cynical, sinful fun. Liv Tyler is the nymphet Jewel, a voluptuous creature with big doe eyes and a naughty nature. Told in flashback, the action begins with nice guy Randy (Matt Dillon), a bartender at McCool's, the night Jewel hits town. After they share an amorous night together, her boyfriend (Andrew Dice Clay) bursts in, ready to rob and kill Randy. But instead, Jewel shoots him. The cop on the case (John Goodman) immediately falls for Jewel, and sets out to prove Randy was the shooter. Enter Randy's sleazy lawyer cousin (Paul Reiser) who naturally lusts after Jewel as well. Dillon, Reiser and Goodman play their roles perfectly, savoring the delightful lines writer Stan Seidel tosses their way.

"Driven" — Written by Sylvester Stallone, with a surprising lack of ego, this "Rockyesque" action flick runs out of gas fast. Fueled by every sports cliché in the book, as well as some of the dumbest dialogue ever uttered onscreen, "Driven" tells the tale of a brash young race-car driver (newcomer Kip Pardue) who just can't handle the success or stress. Enter Stallone as older but wiser mentor, thanks to ruthless team-owner Burt Reynolds, who cares only about winning. There's a love triangle and plenty of racing action, but who really cares?

"The Forsaken" — Don't you just hate it when you're riding cross-country to your sister's wedding and you stop to pick up a hitchhiker and that hitcher turns out to be a professional vampire slayer? That's exactly what happens to movie-trailer editor Sean ("Dawson's Creek's" Kerr Smith)when he stops to give Nick ("Roswell's" Brendan Fehr) a lift. The next thing you know, the two are off tracking the sucker who infected Nick with some mutated blood infection. This low-budget mishmash offers precious little by way of thrills or chills, or even coherent storytelling. What it does have in spades, however, are lots of fiery explosions, gunfights, decapitations, electrocutions and bad WB and FOX network teen actors.

"Into the Arms of Strangers" — Focusing on a little-known piece of Holocaust history, Mark Jonathan Harris' documentary tells the story of the tens of thousands of German Jewish children who were allowed to emigrate to Britain before the start of World War II. Their parents, of course, stayed behind, most dying in Nazi concentration camps. Although the youngsters were spared the firsthand horror of Hitler's attempted genocide, Harris shows us that they faced their own kind of hellish existence: never knowing what or where their parents were and desperately fearing deportation. Narrated by Judi Dench, "Strangers" moves slowly, sometimes losing track of the bigger historical picture as Harris follows the telling details of each individual. But the pain and power of those stories is undeniable.


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