"Sleepy Hollow," "The World is Not Enough" and "Light it Up" 

Quick Flicks

!B! "Sleepy Hollow"
!B! "The World Is Not Enough"
!B! "Light It Up"

"Sleepy Hollow" - This moody, special-effects-driven thriller has little to do with Washington Irving's 19th-century classic, which is both the good news and the bad. Master of the eerie and quirky, director Tim Burton fills the movie with whimsical Gothic touches and tons of stylishly drifting fog and smoky candlelight.

Ignoring poor Ichabod Crane's original profession of teacher, here Burton and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker ("Seven," "8mm") opt to make him into a constable full of newfangled investigative techniques. As this pre-Holmesian character, Johnny Depp masters the tricky art of showing both Crane's arrogance and cowardice. Less successful is Christina Ricci as Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of Crane's wealthy host. As Depp's Ichabod begins exhuming bodies and examining freshly decapitated corpses, the hollowness of this updated tale begins to show through. Even when scripted from scratch, it's difficult to mix horror with humor. And that holds true here. While the "funny" scenes are funny and the horror scenes thrilling and chilling, they just don't gel.

There's no disputing that Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" looks great, but without his stunning visuals and the terrifying presence of the headless horseman, this movie would be just sleepy.

"The World Is Not Enough" - This 19th installment in the James Bond series is surprisingly satisfying, offering the usual mix of guns, gals and gadgets, plus something more — two tragic villains. "The Full Monty's" Robert Carlyle is morose and evil, a mastermind who sports a bullet in his brain. A bullet whose slow course through the gray matter is killing off his ability to feel either pain or pleasure. But it's his accomplice that makes this latest installment memorable. (No, I'm not going to give that away!)

The gifted director Michael Apted, who began his career in the documentary side of film, shows his flair for capturing the essence of the characters. For once, Bond seems more human than super-spy. Oh, don't worry, all those sexy Bond innuendoes and double entendres persist, but, this time, Bond utters them with a sort of resigned nonchalance. He's still smooth, and the movie's inventive action scenes and seductions underscore that flair, but there's an edge to him that seems genuine.

Speaking of those action scenes, I can't recall a Bond flick that was any more active than this one. On land, on sea or under covers for that matter, the action seems almost nonstop. For once though, the characters are meant to be far more intriguing than the plot about an oil pipeline and ethnic pride and saving the world.

"Light It Up" - It would be easy to write off this violent urban tale of students taking over their school as irresponsible. But as preachy, formulaic and yes, exploitative, as this aren't-we-all-victims "Breakfast Club" wannabe is, the performances are earnest and deserving of praise.

R & B star Usher Raymond is memorable as the leader of the student group, as are Sara Gilbert as a purple-haired teen expecting a baby and Robert Ri'chard as a graffiti artist. But those performances aren't enough to make up for the ridiculous, and often condescending dialogue they are given to speak.


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