"Summer of Sam," "An Ideal Husband," and "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" 

Quick Flicks

"Summer of Sam""An Ideal Husband""South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut"

"Summer of Sam" Spike Lee's latest is an audacious mess, but a mess still the same. "Summer of Sam" is at times brilliant as it strives to recreate the Big Apple's Summer of Fear. It's 1977 and serial killer David Berkowitz has New York in a death grip. But Lee's movie is not so much about the killer — although the sequences when Lee shows us snippets of the killer are some of the most effective moments in the movie. "Summer of Sam" looks at one group of working class goombahs in one Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx.

Just as his last film "He Got Game" suffered from trying to do and show too much, "Summer of Sam" suffers from the same diffuse focus. John Leguizamo gives the acting performance of his career here, almost making us forget "The Pest." He plays Vinny, a philandering hairdresser who believes the Son of Sam intends to make him his next victim. Mira Sorvino (doing her Marisa Tomei shtick here) plays his long-suffering, waitress-wife who wants nothing more than to keep her hubby happy and at home. Adrien Brody plays Vinny's best bud Ritchie, an aspiring punk rock star who earns his bread dancing in a gay porn palace. We watch as fear and paranoia turn friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor. But it's never really clear what Lee is trying to say or teach us.

"An Ideal Husband" Politics and sexual intrigue on the eve of the new millennium lie at the heart of this charming and hugely enjoyable British film. But this has nothing to do with L'Affair Lewinsky. "An Ideal Husband" is set on the eve of the last millennium.

Although the scandal deals with Sir Robert (Jeremy Northam), the movie centers on Rupert Everett's playboy aristocrat Lord Goring. While the whole world wants Goring to settle down, he has more serious matters to deal with — such as how to stop the conniving and sexually mischievous Lady Cheveley (Julianne Moore) from blackmailing his best friend's political career.

Based on a play by Oscar Wilde, "An Ideal Husband" has a remarkably contemporary feel. Besides being a highly intelligent antidote to the summer's lowest common denominator blockbusters, the movie boasts wonderful performances. Everett steals the show, but he gets a run for his money from Minnie Driver (as Mabel, a possible solution to his need to be married) and the wonderful Cate Blanchett as Gertrude, Sir Robert's loving and supportive wife. If British period movies are your cup of tea, this one will have you cheering.

"South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" Those enfants terribles of South Park Elementary have been let loose on the big screen. And with more zeal than usual, their creators — Trey Parker and Matt Stone — thumb their runny noses at every sacred cow they can think of. Taking the biggest hits are the Motion Picture Association's movie rating system and middle-class morality.

Rude, crude and infused with verbal and visual sexual content, "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" is mostly hilarious. And the movie's musical numbers are inspired and vitriolic simultaneously.

All about our nation's current need to blame someone — anyone — outside the home for the deterioration of children's behavior, "South Park" is guaranteed to offend everyone at least once. If you can take your social satire pointed but puerile, "South Park" will also have you laughing.


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