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The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts for the week ended March 18

Issue: "Untouchable?," April 7, 2001
1
Exit Wounds $18.5 million
1 week in release
$18.5 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Steven Seagal, DMX / Andrzej Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die) / Warner Brothers

PLOT
Who better to clean up a corrupt police precinct than a highly decorated but insubordinate cop skilled in gunplay and the martial arts?

CAUTION
Rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity. Several scenes take place in a topless club.

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BOTTOM LINE
Seagal dispels the quaint notion that in order to keep the law, cops need to obey the law.

2
Enemy at the Gates $13.8 million
1 week in release
$13.8 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes / Jean-Jacques Annaud (Seven Years in Tibet) / Paramount Pictures

PLOT
Two snipers, one Russian, one German, play cat and mouse among the ruins of WWII Stalingrad.

CAUTION
Rated R for strong graphic war violence and some sexuality. Contains a fully clothed but lengthy sex scene.

BOTTOM LINE
Visually striking; a success had the film been wordless, it loses credibility each time the characters open their mouths.

3
The Mexican $8 million
3 weeks in release
$50.8 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.

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

4
See Spot Run $5 million
3 weeks in release
$24.8 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
David Arquette, Angus T. Jones / John Whitesell (Calendar Girl) / Warner Brothers

PLOT
A mailman must 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 are couched in an idiotic story aimed a lowest-common-denominator child audience.

5
Fifteen Minutes $4.3 million
2 weeks in release
$17.9 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Robert DeNiro, Edward Burns / John Herzfeld (2 Days in the Valley) / New Line

PLOT
A New York cop and an arson investigator track two killers who are filming their crimes and manipulating the media.

CAUTION
Rated R for strong violence, language, and sexuality. Contains a scene with a topless prostitute.

BOTTOM LINE
Effective as a thriller, less so as an indictment of blood- and scandal-obsessed media-it's just as violent as that which it condemns.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Steven Soderbergh found himself nominated for two Academy Awards in the same category last week, and he took home an Oscar as Best Director for Traffic at the expense of his nomination for Erin Brockovich-two very different films. But variety isn't new for the 38-year-old director. He made his debut with the subdued but frank independent film sex, lies, and videotape in 1989, and followed with a deliberately paced but moving Depression-era drama about a resourceful boy called King of the Hill (rated PG-13 for thematic elements). The movie, now out on video, is a mature look at a smart, kindhearted 12-year-old boy trying to survive on his own in 1930s St. Louis. King of the Hill is upbeat and the action always understated, but the themes are mature: In addition to the general harshness of life during the Great Depression, there are references to prostitution, suicide, and theft, as well as some strong 1930s language. And Aaron, the movie's hero, frequently lies when he finds himself in a tight spot. But he also exhibits remarkable compassion and self-sacrifice in his attempts to show kindness to his neighbors and care for his family.
Gene Edward Veith
Gene Edward Veith

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