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The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts for the week ended March 4

Issue: "Casualty of 'peace'," March 24, 2001
1
The Mexican $20.1 million
1 week in release
$20.1 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts / Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt) / DreamWorks SKG

PLOT
The search for an elusive Mexican pistol creates the backdrop for this bloody romantic comedy/drama.

CAUTION
Rated R for violence and language. Also contains some sensuality and the implication of homosexual intercourse.

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BOTTOM LINE
Despite its strong cast, the movie remains a mishmash of genres with an unsettling amount of Tarantino-esque violence.

2
Hannibal $10.1 million
4 weeks in release
$142.8 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore / Ridley Scott (Gladiator) / MGM

PLOT
Grotesque sequel to Silence of the Lambs, with Hannibal Lecter emerging from "retirement" to revisit FBI agent Clarice Starling.

CAUTION
Rated R for strong gruesome violence, some nudity, and language.

BOTTOM LINE
Horrific violence undermines an already weak plot, wasting talent in front of and behind the camera.

3
See Spot Run $9.7 million
1 week in release
$9.7 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
David Arquette, Angus T. Jones / John Whitesell (Calendar Girl) / Warner Brothers

PLOT
Convoluted circumstances require a mailman to spend several days alone with his pretty neighbor's son and an FBI dog on the run from the mob.

CAUTION
Rated PG for crude humor, language, and comic violence.

BOTTOM LINE
Decent lessons about family and responsibility couched in an idiotic, over-the-top story aimed at a lowest-common-denominator child audience.

4
Down to Earth $7.8 million
3 weeks in release
$43.9 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Chris Rock, Regina King / Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz (American Pie) / Paramount

PLOT
A struggling black stand-up comic who is prematurely taken to heaven is reincarnated as a rich white guy.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for language, sexual humor, and some drug references.

BOTTOM LINE
Only occasionally funny comedy with a very skewed view of heaven and hell.

5
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon $4.9 million
13 weeks in release
$88.7 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang / Ang Lee (Ride with the Devil) / Sony Classics

PLOT
Mythic tale of veteran martial arts masters who go after a stolen sword and a young princess; she must choose between using her fighting skills for good or evil.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for martial arts violence and some sexuality.

BOTTOM LINE
Exhilarating story that transcends the martial arts genre, with moral but decidedly non-Christian worldview.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The Kid (rated PG for language) is a video release from Disney worth noting: it's a mature, wholesome film that provides agreeable entertainment for parents and children alike. Bruce Willis plays a successful, driven L.A. image consultant. He's also single, has very few friends, and is barely on speaking terms with his father. As his life begins to unravel slightly, a pudgy, sweetly naïve kid shows up at his home. If he looks familiar to Willis, it's with good reason-The "kid" is Willis himself, out of place and time, but transported to meet his future self for a reason. The movie refrains from nonsensical attempts to explain how the kid is where he is. And most refreshingly, Spencer Breslin, as the kid, does not speak in the vague sexual innuendos and nasty sarcasms that Hollywood writers often puts in kids' mouths in the name of humor. But The Kid doesn't completely rise above its roots. This is Disney, and the movie's ambiguous message communicates little more than a simple truism about the emptiness of unchecked professional ambition. Christians, however, know that it takes more than a wife, a dog, and pickup truck to fill the void in a vacant heart.

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