March 29, 2001

PLANET HOLLYWOOD (Summer Movie Preview)

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Planet of the Apes

While the title remains the same, the remake of the 1968 sci-fi classic, Planet of the Apes, should be quite different from the original flm. The setting is a time and place where humans are ruled by apes and have to struggle to survive. Tim Burton directs this new interpretation of Planet of the Apes with respect for the original material. He chose to alter much of the original screenplay, and the new version includes an allegedly shocking ending, competing with the former version’s shot of the Statue of Liberty as a finale.

Burton’s concept for the film is to extract the essence of the plot and characters and reconfigure them with better special effects and a different storyline. Burton has a team of Academy Award winners in the make-up, costume, and music department and the cast boasts many A-list actors. George Clooney, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth, and Mark Wahlberg all have principal roles while Charlton Heston, a human in the first adaptation, has a cameo as an ape. Tim Burton is one of the best at creating visually astounding and mentally challenging science fiction films. His formula for a good film has worked in the past, and this one should be no exception.

–Diana Lind

The Score

With an all-star cast including perennial action favorite Robert DeNiro, up-and-coming young star Edward Norton, and the incomparable Marlon Brando, The Score promises to be a great thriller. In this Frank Oz-directed film, set for release on July 13, DeNiro plays a thief on the verge of retirement when Norton blackmails him into pulling one more heist. Although parts of the story — including Angela Bassett as DeNiro’s love interest who doesn’t want him pulling any more capers — seem reminiscent of DeNiro’s role in Michael Mann’s Heat, The Score should have its own edgy appeal.

A large part of that appeal should come from Brando, Norton, and DeNiro, who rewrote parts of the script in addition to adding their own spontaneous ad libs. The only concern is how Oz will fare in directing his first crime flick. His previous endeavors include the comedies Bowfinger and In & Out, as well as providing the voices for Miss Piggy and Yoda. But the film isn’t going to be totally devoid of laughs. Brando, as DeNiro’s fence, is rumored to provide a bit of comic relief (both in the film and on the set, since he reportedly went naked from the waist down during filming).

— Ed Howard

Moulin Rouge

Ewan MacGregor writes on his turn-of-the-century typewriter, “This is a story about love at the Moulin Rouge,” but that may be the understatement of the Victorian era. Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated new movie Moulin Rouge features amazing costuming, a love affair teetering on the edge of tragedy and insanity, and a few gallons of Parisian perfume and French champagne.

The story begins with Christian (Ewan McGregor), a young poet who moves to Monmarte, the hill inhabited by many of Paris’ greatest artists. Soon Christian is writing a piece on the Moulin Rouge and his heart falls victim to the club’s premiere star and courtesan, Satine, played by the talented Nicole Kidman. The rest of the film is a story of sex, drugs, bright lights, musical spectacle, and murder.

Surprisingly, the Moulin Rouge soundtrack is likely to garner more attention than the leggy Kidman. All of the songs performed on the nightclub stage are modern-era pop tunes like the Police’s “Roxanne.” But this is just one of the many interesting juxtapositions that promises to thrill and astound audiences nationwide. Moulin Rouge has the surreal look of a Tim Burton production and camera work that looks like a roller coaster ride through hell.

— Laura Thomas


Combining the open road and a handful of Generation-Y actors can lead to a variety of end products. A comedy perhaps. Maybe a coming-of-age saga. Or even a thriller. June’s release of Squelch falls into the latter category, as the story of three young adults traveling cross-country. Paul Walker (Varsity Blues) plays a college sophomore who road trips to pick up his prankster brother (Steve Zahn of Saving Silverman) and the girl of his dreams (Here On Earth‘s Leelee Sobieski). But their involvement with a psychotic truck driver marks the end of the love trek and the beginning of a nightmare.

So far, these actors haven’t strayed far from the typical teen fare. But if this film ends up anything like director John Dahl’s critical favorite The Last Seduction, it will deviate from the formula and provide an insightful and clever look into the lives of three friends and the man who wants them dead.

— Dave Kaplan

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is certainly balancing on a precarious ledge. It has the potential of being another U-571 or The Patriot; namely a war movie that borders on rewriting history for the sake of entertainment. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay promise that historical accuracy is the highest priority on their list. However, this is a Hollywood movie. The actual plot revolves around two friends (played by Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett) from Tennessee who join the army and end up falling in love with the same nurse. The battle of Pearl Harbor and later Jimmy Dolittle’s raid on Tokyo only serve as a backdrop for the fictional story. Obviously, something dramatic like a love triangle needs to be thrown in since documentaries aren’t marketable.

Also of note is the fact that not a single Hawaiian or local-looking person was shown in the trailer. Nor were any Asians seen besides The Dastardly Japanese. Bay wouldn’t want to confuse the film-going public, after all. And as long as the special effects are real pretty and the movie’s entertaining, who cares, right? Watching the trailer, one gets the feeling that if you’re going to this movie looking for a history lesson, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

— Matt Chock

American Pie 2

In the long-awaited sequel to 1999’s hit college comedy, much of the young cast from the teen pastry-love flick will be returning. So far, the movie’s producers have kept things under a tight lid, and the film’s stars have apparently been sworn to secrecy about the plot. But the morsels that have leaked so far are promising. Apparently, much of the movie will focus around Jim’s (Jason Biggs) preparations for a visit from the object of his lust, Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth). Also returning for American Pie II will be Alyson Hannigan, reprising her role as the “musically-inclined” Michelle, and Mena Suvari as the sweet choir girl Heather.

And though Jason Biggs claims that he will not be repeating his steamy scene with a pie from the first movie, he says not to rule out the possiblity of Jim turning his passionate eye to other sections of the bakery counter.

— Ed Howard

Archived article by Sun Staff