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The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts for the week ended April 15

Issue: "Target: Taiwan," May 5, 2001
1
Spy Kids $12.5 million
3 weeks in release
$68.3 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino / Robert Rodriguez (The Faculty) / Miramax Films

PLOT
When their secret agent parents are captured during a mission, a brother and sister set off to track them down and reunite their family.

CAUTION
Rated PG for action sequences. Also contains some mild language.

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BOTTOM LINE
A fun-filled adventure that should appeal to parents and children alike, both for the quality of the storytelling and the strength of the film's pro-family message.

2
Along Came a Spider $11.5 million
2 weeks in release
$33.9 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter / Lee Tamahori (The Edge) / Paramount Pictures

PLOT
A Secret Service agent and a police detective unite to find the kidnapper who abducted a congressman's daughter; based on the James Patterson novel.

CAUTION
Rated R for violence and language.

BOTTOM LINE
Admittedly implausible and occasionally flat, but nonetheless a thriller without gratuitous sex or extreme violence.

3
Bridget Jones's Diary $10.7 million
1 week in release
$10.7 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth / Sharon Maguire / Miramax Films

PLOT
Quasi-update of Pride and Prejudice, recounting the exploits of a 30-ish Londoner and her quest to be free from the curse of singlehood.

CAUTION
Rated R for language and strong sexuality.

BOTTOM LINE
Well-acted but sadly set in a world where virtue and honor have far different meanings than they did for Jane Austen.

4
Joe Dirt $8 million
1 week in release
$10.7 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
David Spade, Brittany Daniel / Dennie Gordon / Columbia Pictures

PLOT
A mullet-haired loser, working as a janitor and living in a boiler room, tells the story of his search for his parents to an L.A. shock jock.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, and for language.

BOTTOM LINE
Simultaneously crude and mushily sentimental, but it does have half a heart.

5
Blow $8 million
2 weeks in release
$25.9 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz / Ted Demme (Life) / New Line Cinema

PLOT
The real-life story of George Jung, credited with mainstreaming the use of cocaine in the U.S. during the 1970s and early '80s.

CAUTION
Rated R for pervasive drug content and language, some violence and sexuality. Also contains brief nudity.

BOTTOM LINE
Sympathetic but sad portrayal of an unrepentant drug dealer that makes no moral judgments-making a questionable project seem all the more irrelevant.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Spy Kids (rated PG for action sequences) is one of Hollywood's best recent children's films. Writer/director Robert Rodriguez, known for violent adult fare, puts his creative energies to work in Spy Kids to tell the story of the Cortez family, headed by father Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and mother Ingrid (Carla Gugino). They're super spies who elect to retire when they marry and start a family. But domestic tranquility is interrupted when they are called in to rescue a missing comrade-and are captured in the process. The Cortez children, sister Carmen (Alexa Vega) and younger brother Juni (Daryl Sabara), flee an attack force of thumbs (yes, the human appendage) and set off to find and free their parents. In the process, they learn to work together, overcome irrational fears, and respect their parents. Although limited by budget constraints, the special effects are consistently of the inspired sort that serve rather than distract from the story.

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