Listings begin on Friday and may change after we go to press. For addresses and phone numbers, see the "Metro Chicago Movie Houses" directory. Films are recommended for qualities ranging from perfection to one perfect moment. Reviewers are identified after each review. Film is edited by Ray Pride.

NEW REVIEWS THIS WEEK
Burn, Hollywood, Burn: An Alan Smithee Film
Dark City
The Real Blonde
<img width=14 height=14 src=RECOMMENDED


AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARISDirected by Anthony Weller. A long-delayed, multiply-reshot part-Luxembourgese tax-shelter retread of John Landis' long-ago "An American Werewolf in London." The lovely Julie Delpy is on hand as the love interest. With Tom Everett Scott. NR. Barrington Square Daily 7:25, 9:45; Fox Valley Daily 7:30, 9:30, Fri-Sun 1:45, 3:40, 5:35; Foxfield Daily 9:40; Ogden Daily 7:25, 9:45; Park Forest Daily 9:35; Spring Hill Daily 9:45; Tradewinds Daily 9:25; York Daily 9:50

AMISTAD Directed by Steven Spielberg. After blowing the lid off the Holocaust, Spielberg applies his Oscar-honed instincts to yet another historical epoch, and the results are painful. With the exception of the terrifically gory opening mutiny, this is resoundingly disappointing work. Expect multiple Oscars. (Nick Digilio) Casino Daily 2:30, 6:30, 9:30; Chatham Daily 1:40, 5:25, 8:25; River Oaks Daily 8:30, Sat-Mon 2, 5:15

ANASTASIA Directed by Don Bluth. The Romanov princess's discovery of herself--ya, ya, ya!--against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. Voices include those of Meg Ryan, John Cusack and Angela Lansbury. 96m. NR.; Barrington Square Sat-Sun 12:30, 2:35, 4:40; Logan Daily 3:50, 7:25; Ogden Sat-Sun 12:30, 2:35, 4:40

*THE APOSTLE Directed and written by Robert Duvall. For a medium ripe with stories of mysticism and redemption and rebirth, it's the rare movie that takes spirituality seriously and at face value. But as writer, director, star and financier, Robert Duvall does so, in the ebullient, exhilarating "The Apostle." Duvall's performance astonishes as well. Rather than depict his Pentecostal preacher character, Sonny Dewey, as an "Elmer Gantry"-type charlatan, Duvall draws a portrait of a flawed man whose belief is unyielding even as his life unravels around him. Duvall's rousing performance, particularly in the scenes where Sonny "exalts the Lord" is easily the best role of the 67-year-old actor's estimable career. 143m.; Bloomingdale Court Daily 6:30, 9:30, Sat-Sun 12:30, 3:30; Chatham Daily 12:45, 3:45, 6:15, 9; Cinema 12 Daily 12:25, 3:15, 7:15, 9:45; Crestwood Daily 12:50, 3:50, 7:15, 10:10; Lake Daily 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:45; Norridge Daily 6:30, 9:30, Sat-Mon 12:30, 3:30; Old Orchard Gardens Daily 12:50, 3:45, 6:40, 9:30; Park Forest Art Daily 1, 3:50, 6:50, 9:25; Piper's Alley Daily 4, 10, Fri-Tue, Thu 7, Sat-Sun 1; Ridge Daily 6, 8:50, Fri-Sun noon, 2:55; River Run Daily 6:40, 9:40, Sat-Mon 12:40, 3:40; Woodfield Daily 6, 9, Sat-Sun 12:30, 3:20; York Art Daily 12:45, 3:40, 6:50, 9:35

*AS GOOD AS IT GETS Directed by James L. Brooks. Jack Nicholson plays Melvin Udall, a successful Manhattan writer of romance novels who's afflicted with an unspecified condition, a kind of emotional Tourette's--he'll do anything. Melvin is an obsessive-compulsive, a neat freak who goes so far as to keep different colors of M&Ms in separate glass canisters near his stacks of multiple-colored papers on which he prints his emotionally phony manuscripts. Everything must be on Melvin time: whether it's the gay neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear, pretty good) or Carol, the waitress at his breakfast haunt (Helen Hunt, at once sturdy and winsome) with the ill son who keeps her up late at night, they reach out to or recoil from Melvin at the risk of his substantial gift for the verbal blitz. Nicholson telegraphs Melvin's discomfort-shy-of-insanity with exquisite body language, at once leonine and nuts. Who else acting today could make something so bitter and hilarious of a line like, "People who are talking metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch!" In its simplest reduction, "As Good As It Gets" is about finding appropriate ways of giving and receiving love, and the tentativeness of Brooks and co-writer Mark Andrus' complications is what makes the movie funny and memorable. Bloomingdale Court Daily 6:40, 9:20, Sat-Sun 1, 3:50; Broadway Daily 7, 9:45, Sat-Sun 1:30, 4:15; Chicago Ridge Daily 1, 3:50, 6:50, 9:40; Cinema 12 Daily 12:30, 3:25, 6:50, 9:40; Crestwood Daily 11:45am, 3:10, 6:10, 9:10; Esquire Daily 2:30, 3:50, 5:50, 7, 9, 10, Fri-Mon 11:40am, 12:30; Fox Lake Fri-Sun 6:55, 9:45, Sat-Sun 4:05, Sat-Mon, Wed 1:15, Mon -Thu 5:05, 7:45; Golf Glen Daily 7, 9:40, Fri-Mon 1, 3:50; Lake Daily 12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30; Lincoln Village Daily 6:20, 9:20, Fri-Mon 12:35, 3:30; Oakbrook Daily 6:30, 9:30, Fri-Mon 12:45, 3:35; Old Orchard Gardens Daily 1:20, 4:10, 7, 9:40; Orland Square Daily 6:15, 9:10, Fri-Mon 12:20, 3:05; Rice Lake Square Daily 12:50, 3:50, 6:50, 9:50; Ridge Daily 6:25, 9:10, Fri-Sun 12:35, 3:30; River Run Daily 6:10, 9;10, Sat-Mon 11:40am, 3:10; Rivertree Court Daily 6:20, 9:20, Sat-Mon 12:20, 3:20; Rolling Meadows Daily 1, 2:15, 4, 5:30, 7, 8:30,10; Streamwood Daily 6:30, 9:30, Sat-Sun 12:30, 3:30; Westridge Court Daily 6:30, 9:25, Fri-Sun 12:40, 3:35

BLUES BROTHERS 2000 Directed by John Landis. A sequel that two or three of Landis' fans have been crying out for, starring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Joe Morton and a scrawny little Macauley Culkin-alike. NR.; Chatham Daily 9:50; Lawndale Daily 6:30, 9:15, Sat-Mon 12:40, 3:30; Orland Square Daily 9:30; River Oaks Daily 7:15, 10, Sat-Mon 1:45, 4:30; Rolling Meadows Daily 3:30, 6:45, 9:45, Sat-Sun 12:45

*BOOGIE NIGHTS Directed and written by Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson's epic-length portrait of a surrogate family--damaged souls seeking a little dignity while churning out porno movies in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley in the late 1970s shows a keen intelligence at work in shaping the gaudy set pieces and potentially trashy drama, even without taking Anderson's portrait of the home video industry's baleful impact on the porn business as a metaphor for Hollywood filmmaking as well. The greatest strength of Anderson's work is perhaps the earnestness of his characters, their clueless desire to somehow better themselves. They dream, they scheme, they fail. Panavision. 157m.; Woodfield Daily 12:15, 3:15, 6:15, 9:15

THE BORROWERS Little people live like thieving mice, based on the children's classic. 88m. With John Goodman. NR. 600 N. Michigan Daily 1:20, 3:40, 5:40, 7:40; Bloomingdale Court Daily 6:50, 9:10, Sat-Sun 12:40, 2:40, 4:40; Bricktown Square Daily 7:20, Sat-Mon noon, 2, 5; Chatham Daily 1:10, 3:20, 5:20, 7:40; Cinema 12 Daily 12:50, 3, 5:10, 7:20, 9:40; Crestwood Daily 11:50am, 2:30, 4:40, 7:05; Fox Valley Daily 7:10, 9:10, Fri-Sun 1:30, 3:20, 5:10; Golf Glen Daily 7:10, Fri-Mon 1:10, 3:15, 5:15; Hawthorn Daily 7:05, 9:10, Sat-Mon 12:30, 2:50, 5; Hillside Square Daily 5, 7:20, 9:30, Sat-Mon 12:30, 2:45; Orland Square Daily 7:30, Fri-Mon 1:20, 3:20, 5:30; Rice Lake Square Daily 1:10, 3:10, 5:10, 7:10; River Run Daily 4:40, Sat-Mon 11:30am, 2:10; Streamwood Daily 4:10, 6:20, Sat-Sun 11:40am, 2; Woodfield Daily 6:30, 8:35, Sat-Sun 12:05, 2:10, 4:25

BURN, HOLLYWOOD, BURN: AN ALAN SMITHEE FILM A catastrophe of almost unendurable proportions, "Burn, Hollywood, Burn: An Alan Smithee Film" is simply not to be seen. Megasuccessful script machine Joe Eszterhas wrote this parody of the doings behind a failed $200 million Hollywood action movie as some kind of commentary on the backstabbing of the cloistered community of L.A.-based studio filmmakers, yet his true, gratifying raspberry was last year's gentle, worthy "Telling Lies in America," a small film of some craft. Here's the groaner of a set-up: The credit "Alan Smithee" is given by the Director's Guild when a director decides his work has turned out so badly he doesn't want anyone but his accountant to know he made the thing. Eric Idle plays a crackpot filmmaker whose real name is Alan Smithee, so it's, ha ha ha ha, impossible for him to take his name off a movie. When his action film "Trio," starring Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg and Jackie Chan, is muddled by producer Ryan O'Neal and studio head Richard Jeni, he steals the negative and threatens to burn it. This pseudo-doc is a horror show from the get-go, badly shot, acted and edited. And whose fault is it? Well, Alan Smithee. Motion Picture Academy President and long-time hack director Arthur Hiller directed. Eszterhas took it away from him, recut it, layered in more of the wallpapered soundtrack. Hiller took his name off. Voila, "An Alan Smithee Film" became "An Alan Smithee Film." Smithee should be embarrassed. While Robert Evans plays himself-almost as well as Dustin Hoffman does in "Wag the Dog"-the only scene of lasting beauty comes near the end. Eszterhas and Hiller sit at a table beneath their respective heads of big hair and Hiller says, "The last thing in the world a director needs is you standing up for them." But let's leave the amen to Richard Jeni, who, appearing on a Las Vegas talk show, had the best line: Think "The Player," just not funny. 85m.; Evanston Sat 2:45, 5, 7:20, 9:40; Piper's Alley Daily 5:30, 8, 10:15, Sat-Sun 1:30, 3:30

CAUGHT UPDirected and written by Darin Scott. Bokeem Woodbine is a dreamer who meets beautiful Cynda Williams; their passionate affair leads to a job with a friend of hers, but he soon finds himself driving a Cadillac with a body in the trunk and on the lam from the law. 95m. Not available for preview. NR. 62nd & Western Daily 4:20, 5:15, 6:30, 7:30, 8:45, 9:45, Sat-Mon 12:45, 2, 3; Bricktown Square Daily 7:50, 10:10, Sat-Mon 12:50, 3:10, 5:30; Chatham Daily 12:30, 1:30, 3:10, 3:45, 5:30, 6, 6:45, 8:15, 9:40, 10:30; Cinema 12 Daily 12:45, 2:55, 5:05, 7:20, 9:35; Crestwood Daily 11:20am, 1:50, 4:30, 7:10, 9:40; Evergreen Daily 5:15, 7:45, Fri-Sun 10:15, Sat-Sun 2:45; Fox Valley Daily 7:35, 9:40, Fri-Sun 1:40, 3:35, 5:40; Hillside Mall Daily 6, 7, 8:30, 9:30, Sat-Sun 3:30, 4:30; Hyde Park Sat 12:15, 2:30, 4:45, 7:15, 10; Lawndale Daily 5, 6:10, 7:20, 8:20, 9:40, Sat-Mon 12:20, 1:40, 2:30, 4; One Schaumburg Place Daily 12:40, 2:45, 4:55, 7:10, 9:25; Orland Square Daily 7:45, 10, Fri-Mon 12:30, 2:45, 5; Plaza Daily 7:45, 10, Sat-Mon 12:50, 3:15, 5:30; River Run Daily 5, 7:30, 10, Sat-Mon noon, 2:30; Streamwood Daily 5:30, 7:50, 10:10, Sat-Sun 12:20, 3:10; Water Tower Daily 12:30, 2:50, 5:10, 7:30, 10

DANGEROUS BEAUTYDirected by Marshall Herskovitz. The coproducer-cowriter of "thirtysomething" tries his hand at the erotic period piece, a seventeenth-century Venice-set item once named "Courtesan." Catherine McCormack is the employee in question; her costars are Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt, Moira Kelly, Fred Ward, and Jacqueline Bisset. NR. 900 N. Michigan Daily 12:30, 1:45, 3, 4:15, 5:30, 7, 8:15, 9:40; Crestwood Sat 7:10; Oakbrook Sat 7

>*DARK CITY Directed by Alex Proyas. See Film Feature. 600 N. Michigan Daily 12:40, 2:30, 3, 4:50, 5:20, 7:20, 8, 9:40, 10:20; 62nd & Western Daily 5, 7:20, 9:35, Sat-Mon 12:15, 2:30; Bricktown Square Daily 7:40, 10, Sat-Mon 12:40, 3, 5:20; Burnham Plaza Daily 7:25, 9:35, Sat-Mon 12:45, 3, 5:15; Chatham Daily 12:50, 3, 5:10, 7:30, 9:40; Cinema 12 Daily 12:40, 2:55, 5:10, 7:25, 9:40; The Commons Daily 7:15, 9:30, Sat-Mon 12:15, 2:30, 5; Crestwood Daily 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:40, 10:20; Evanston Sat 2, 4:30, 7, 9:50; Evergreen Daily 5, 7:30, Fri-Sun 10, Sat-Sun 2:30; Fox Valley Daily 7:45, 10, Fri-Sun 1, 3:15, 5:30; Golf Glen Daily 7:50, 10:15, Fri-Mon 12:30, 3:10, 5:30; Hawthorn Daily 7:15, 9:35, Sat-Mon noon, 2:30, 4:50; Hillside Square Daily 5:15, 7:30, 10, Sat-Mon 12:45, 3; Hyde Park Sat noon, 2:15, 4:30, 7, 9:30; Lawndale Daily 4:30, 5:40, 7:10, 9:10, 9:30, Sat-Mon 12:50, 2:10, 3:15; North Riverside Daily 7:45, 10:10, Fri-Mon 12:50, 3, 5:20; One Schaumburg Place Daily 12:50, 3, 5:20, 7:40, 10:05; Orland Square Daily 7:10, 9:40, Fri-Mon noon, 2:20, 4:50; Rice Lake Square Daily 11:30am, 1:50, 4:10, 6:30, 9:20; River Run Daily 5:10, 7:40, 10:10, Sat-Mon 12;10, 2:40; Stratford Square Daily 7, 9:45, Sat-Sun 2, 4:30; Streamwood Daily 4:30, 7:20,10, Sat-Sun 11:50am, 2:10; Town & Country Daily 7:30, 9:50, Sat-Sun 12:30, 2:50, 5:10; Webster Place Daily 3, 5:30, 7:50, 10:20, Fri-Sun 12:30

DEEP RISING Directed by Stephen Sommers. Treat Williams leads a rapidly thinning crew of gunners through the Argonautica, a cruise ship disabled by big worms during its maiden voyage on the South China Sea. We're working with a budget of distinctively un-Titanic proportions here. Early on, all the passengers are conveniently exsanguinated off-screen (represented by the sight of one shrieking, panicked woman getting sucked down the toilet) and throughout the film, the cast appears to be sloshing through the same dimly lit corridor again and again. With Kevin J. O'Connor, Anthony Heald as the toothy captain and Famke Jannsen in a moist, clingy tank top. 106m. (Ellen Fox) 62nd & Western Daily 4:10, 6:40, 9:05, Sat-Mon 1:25; Chatham Daily 1, 3:15, 5:35, 7:50, 10:05; River Oaks Daily 9:40, Sat-Mon 4:40

FALLEN Directed by Gregory Hoblit. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, best known for "Usual Suspects," is the star of "Fallen," rather than Denzel Washington or anyone else in the cast. The autumnal palette of "Fallen" is a joy to look at, even as the uneasy mix between supernatural thriller and detective tale fades in and out of focus. Set in and around Philadelphia, the story tracks Washington as he struggles to find out how the soul of an executed serial killer has lived on. In each scene, the settings are as stark or lush as stage settings. The police station is a wonder, verdigris lit by starbursts of lamplight. Sheets of rain provide a milky wash over night interiors. The antiqued, burnished irreality dazzles as flatfoot Washington drags out the truth about a 4,000-year-old fallen angel named "Azazel." River Oaks Daily 7, Sat-Mon 1:10

FLUBBER Directed by Les Mayfield. Too bad no one sprayed Flubber on "Flubber." Sagging from beginning to end as if marching in muck, this remake of Disney's 1961 "The Absent-Minded Professor" offers too few laughs and too many schmaltzy subplots. 95m. (Sam Jemielity); Fox Valley Daily 7:45, 9:40, Sat-Mon 2:15, 4, 5:50; Foxfield Daily 7:15, Sat-Mon 2, 4:40; Logan Daily 2, 3:40, 5:20, 7:05, 8:45; Ogden Daily 7:15, Sat-Sun 12:35, 2:40, 4:45; Park Forest Daily 12:45, 2:45, 4:40, 7:10; Spring Hill Daily 7:25, Sat-Mon 12:40, 2:40, 4:40; Tivoli South Sat-Mon 2:15, 4:30; Tradewinds Daily 7:15, Sat-Sun 2:15, 4:35; York Daily 12:50, 2:50, 4:50 7:20

*THE FULL MONTY Directed by Peter Cattaneo. Local zeroes make good. A hilarious treat, "The Full Monty" is a directorial debut of rare confidence. Cattaneo has turned what sounds like terminally jokey material into something quite wonderful, a deadpan comedy of character that plays like a sparkling successor to the best moments of Bill Forsyth's comic work. ; Skokie Daily 7:15, Sat-Sun 12:30, 2:20; Three Penny Fri-Sun 6:40, 8:35, 10:25, Sat-Sun 1, 2:55, 4:45; Town & Country Daily 7:40, 10:10, Sat-Sun 12:50, 3:10, 5:20; Woodfield Daily 1:15, 3:45, 6:05, 8:50

*GATTACA Directed and written by Andrew Niccol. "Gattaca" is a curious hybrid, with a story every movement of which encapsulates its theme, in the densest sense of Hollywood classicism, yet it is captured in the amber of a look as glassy and monumental as contemporary European art movies. With Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman. Some have rejected "Gattaca" out of hand as ponderous, suffocating artiness, but there are few themes I can think of where this burnished, serenely confident style could be more appropriate. Panavision. 112m.; Barrington Square Daily 7:10, 9:35; Foxfield Daily 7:10, 9:30, Sat-Mon 1:35, 4:15; Logan Daily 2:10, 4:05, 6:10, 8:15; Ogden Daily 7:10, 9:35; Spring Hill Daily 7:15, 9:35, Sat-Mon 1:15, 4:10; York Daily 7:10, 9:45

THE GINGERBREAD MAN Directed by Robert Altman. For all its drama, "The Gingerbread Man" fails to deliver suspense because it lacks the two fundamentals of any good stalker tale: fear of the hunter and sympathy for the hunted. In this story based on a John Grisham original screenplay, Kenneth Branagh plays Rick Magruder, a dick-swinging Savannah attorney who goes home with a troubled waitress one night and gets involved in fending off her stalker father (Robert Duvall). He and his mysterious band of derelict men are thoroughly un-scary. When we're told--twice--that he landed another character in the hospital for drinking out of his favorite cup, it's just not as chilling as hearing that Hannibal Lecter bit off a nurse's face. Without the threat of any real violence, the film must rely on standard devices like threatening mail and imminent bad weather to drum up suspense. Slightly more engaging is the portrayal of Magruder's emotional undoing. You can even see a bit of Bill Clinton in Magruder--he's not so much slippery as he is pathetic, unaware of how distasteful to others is the libidinous side of his persona. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with a separated lawyer sleeping with a waitress, but, of course, there is: we can see it in the black stockings stretched across her bony knees, and in the way her hand trembles as she brings the cigarette to her lips. She's trash and he'll pay. (Ellen Fox) Fine Arts Daily 4:30, 7, 9:30, Sat-Sun 2

*GOOD WILL HUNTING Directed by Gus Van Sant. An intensely acted feel-good movie seems an unlikely quantity from van Sant, the career chronicler of sweetly lawless outlaws. Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a janitor at MIT, an unlikely mathematics genius and autodidact philosopher who's more content to get into dust-ups with his childhood buddies and to drink his life away. Whenever someone gets too close, whether math professor Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), or Harvard undergraduate Skyler (Minnie Driver) who falls in love with the pretty-mugged brawler (Driver is a big bonus in this boy's-story-- smart, darling and never subordinate to any other character). On one hand, "Good Will Hunting" could be taken as a modestly more ambitious version of studio high-concept: the therapeutic opening-up of a character's adolescent pain in "Ordinary People" meets the precocious genius of "Searching for Bobby Fischer" or "Amadeus." Yet the pop simplicity of the script--particularly once Lambeau brings Robin Williams' damaged therapist into the picture--is actually a joy. Etched with van Sant's trust of his actors and a textured use of Boston's Irish South End neighborhood, it all comes together to create a charming, affecting fairytale about finding the roles of parents and siblings satisfied in the larger world. 120m. With Ben Affleck. (Ray Pride) 600 N. Michigan Daily 12:50, 1:30, 2:45, 3:30, 4:15, 5:30, 6:10, 7, 8:15, 9, 9:50; Bloomingdale Court Daily 6:20, 9, Sat-Sun 12:50, 3:25; Chicago Ridge Daily 12:50, 3:40, 6:30, 9:20; Cinema 12 Daily 12:35, 3:10, 7, 9:50; Crestwood Daily 1:15, 4:10, 6:40, 9:20; Evanston Daily 2:15, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15; Fox Lake Fri-Sun 7, 9:35, Sat-Mon, Wed 1:25, Sat-Sun 4:10, Mon-Thu 5:10, 7:50; Golf Mill Daily 6:30, 9:15, Fri-Mon 1, 3:45; Lake Daily 1, 4, 6:50, 9:40; Lincoln Village Daily 6:30, 9:30, Fri-Mon12:45, 3:45; Norridge Daily 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 10; Oakbrook Daily 6:30, 9:15, Fri-Mon 12:45, 3:35; One Schaumburg Place Daily 12:30, 1:30, 3:20, 4:20, 6:10, 7, 8:45, 9:35; Rice Lake Square Daily 11:50am, 2:30, 5:30, 8:40; Ridge Daily 6:10, 9, Fri-Sun 12:25, 3:15; River Oaks Daily 6:40, 9:20, Sat-Mon 1:20, 4; Rivertree Court Daily 9:30, Fri, Tue-Thu 6:40, Sat-Sun 12:50, 3:50; Streamwood Daily 6:40, 9:40, Sat-Sun 12:50, 3:40; Webster Place Daily 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 10; Westridge Court Daily 7, 9:45, Sat-Sun 1:20, 4:10

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Gwyneth Paltrow stars in a lushly designed nouveau riche romance set in the art world of Manhattan, placing Ethan Hawke dead center of the Dickens novel as adapted by Mitch Glazer ("Scrooged"). With Robert DeNiro, Anne Bancroft. From the director of "The Little Princess." NR.; Esquire Daily 2:10, 4:50, 7:40, 10:20, Fri-Mon 11:30am; Old Orchard Gardens Daily 1:10, 7:10; Orland Square Daily 7:10, 9:50, Fri-Mon 2:10, 4:40; Rice Lake Square Daily 9:40; Rolling Meadows Daily 2, 5, 7:45,10:10

HALF BAKED Directed by Tamra Davis. Dave Chappelle and Jim Breuer star in a millennial Cheech & Chong item about the search for perfect pot. NR. Barrington Square Daily 9:45; Ogden Daily 9:45; Park Forest Daily 9:40; Spring Hill Daily 9:45

THE HIDDEN DIMENSION Directed by Paul Cox. A film about the invisible world of the microscopic and strange within an ordinary home. IMAX 3-D.; Navy Pier IMAX Daily 11:20am, 2, 4:40

HOME ALONE 3 Directed by Raja Gosnell. "Noooooooooooooooooo!" 104m. Logan Daily 2:05, 5:35, 9:05

I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER Directed by Jim Gillespie. A new stalker-shocker from Kevin Williamson, writer of "Scream," starring Jennifer Love Hewitt; the salubriously goofy Sarah Michelle Gellar; Ryan Phillipe and Freddie Prinze, Jr. 100m. Barrington Square Daily 7:20, 9:40, Sat-Sun 1:45, 4:10; Fox Valley Daily 7:15, 9:10, Fri-Sun 1:30, 3:25, 5:20; Foxfield Daily 7:20, 9:35, Sat-Mon 1:50, 4:25; Ogden Daily 7:20, 9:40, Sat-Sun 1:45, 4:10; Park Forest Daily 1:40, 4:20, 7:20, 9:45; Spring Hill Daily 7:20, 9:40, Sat-Mon 1:10, 4; Tivoli Daily 7, 9:20; Tradewinds Daily 7, 9:15

*INTO THE DEEP A gripping theatrical experience. I could not fall asleep no matter how hard I tried. Just as my eyes would droop, a crazy lobster would be molting his shell down there in the forest of giant kelp. My breathing would slow--only to be quickened by the marauding attack of the sea star, or the spawning frenzy of the squid, or the teeth-cleaning rituals of the sea lions. By the end, I was tired, but exhilarated. IMAX, 40m. (Frank Sennett) Navy Pier IMAX Daily 12:40, 3:20, 6, 7:20, Fri-Sat, Mon-Thu 10am, Fri-Sat 8:40, 10

KISSING A FOOL Directed by Doug Ellin. The fear of commitment among the young, urban and implausibly wealthy is the among the subjects on "Kissing a Fool"'s mind, as well as womanizing sportscasters (in the scrumptious person of David Schwimmer). With Jason Lee, Mili Avital, Vanessa Angel and Bonnie Hunt. NR.; Bloomingdale Court Daily 7:40, 9:40, Sat-Sun 1:40, 3:40, 5:40; Bricktown Square Daily 7, 9:20, Sat-Mon 12:30, 2:40, 4:50; Cinema 12 Daily 12:50, 2:55, 5, 7:05, 9:20; The Commons Daily 7:40, 9:50, Sat-Mon 1:10, 3:20, 5:30; Crestwood Daily 11:40am, 2:20, 4:45, 7:20, 9:50; Fox Lake Daily 5:15, 7:25, Fri-Sun 9:40, Sat-Mon, Wed 12:45, 3; Golf Glen Daily 7:20, 9:30, Fri-Mon 12:50, 3, 5:10; Grove Daily 7:30, 9:40, Sat-Mon 12:50, 3:10, 5:20; Hawthorn Daily 7:35, 9:45, Sat-Mon 12:15, 3, 5:10; Lincoln Village Daily 8, 10:10, Fri-Mon 1:25, 3:50, 6; Norridge Daily 2:45, 5:15, 7:40, 10:10, Fri-Mon 12:10; North Riverside Daily 7:10, 9:10, Fri-Mon 1, 3:10, 5:10; Old Orchard Daily 3, 5:15, 7:30, 9:45, Fri-Mon 12:45; Rice Lake Square Daily 12:10, 3:20, 5:40, 7:50, 10:10; River Run Daily 4:50, 7:20, 9:50, Sat-Mon 11:50am, 2:20; Rolling Meadows Daily 2:30, 4:50, 7:10, 9:30, Sat-Sun 12:15; Streamwood Daily 6, 8:10, 10:20, Sat-Sun 1:40, 3:50; Town & Country Daily 7:10, 9:20, Sat-Sun 12:20, 2:30, 4:50; Water Tower Daily 12:15, 2:35, 4:50, 7:10, 9:45; Webster Place Daily 2:45, 5:15, 7:40, 10:10, Fri-Mon 12:10; Westridge Court Daily 7:40, 9:55, Fri-Sun 1, 3:10, 5:20

KRIPPENDORF'S TRIBE Directed by Todd Holland. One of the customary directors of "The Larry Sanders Show" makes the leap to the big screen with a Disney comedy about an anthropological fraud exacted by a desperate academic, played by Richard Dreyfuss, and abetted by television sensaysh and newfound twinkly Scientological spokesface Jenna Elfman. NR. Bricktown Square Daily 6:40, 9, Sat-Mon 12:10, 2:20, 4:30; Chicago Ridge Daily 12:40, 3, 5, 7, 9; Crestwood Daily 12:10, 2:40, 5:10, 7:30, 10; Grove Daily 7:20, 9:30, Sat-Mon 12:40, 3, 5:10; Lincoln Village Daily 6:50, 9:10, Fri-Mon 12:25, 2:35, 4:45; Oakbrook Daily 7:15, 9:45, Fri-Mon 12:30, 2:45, 5; Old Orchard Daily 2:45, 5, 7:15, 9:30, Fri-Mon 12:30; One Schaumburg Place Daily 1, 3:10, 5:10, 7:30, 9:45; Rice Lake Square Daily 11:40am, 2:20, 4:50, 7:20, 9:10; Ridge Daily 7:40, 10:10, Fri-Sun 12:45, 2:55, 5:05; Rivertree Court Fri-Mon, Tue-Thu 7, 9:10, Sat-Mon 11:40am, 2:10, 4:30; Stratford Square Daily 7, 9, Sat-Sun 1, 3, 5; Streamwood Daily 4:50, 7:10, 9:20, Sat-Sun 12:10, 2:30; Water Tower Daily 12:10, 2:20, 4:40, 7:10, 9:30; Webster Place Daily 2:30, 4:45, 7, 9:30, Fri-Mon noon; Westridge Court Daily 6:50, 9:05, Fri-Sun 12:20, 2:30, 4:40

KUNDUN Directed by Martin Scorsese. A biopic of the early life of the Dalai Lama, Scorsese's reverential-yet-inert "Kundun" is one of the handsomest movies in ages, with each shot suffused with color and compositional care. The first few shots are riveting--a Werner Herzog mountain swathed in snow, a village of Taviani tumult. At first there's a sense that Scorsese's placid attempt to imagine the childhood of the Tibetan leader is of a piece with his "Last Temptation of Christ," here imagining the missing child-years of Jesus. There's little drama, however, and while watching the exquisitely mounted, daringly banal drama, eventually one gives oneself over to cinematographer Roger Deakin's rich color schemes and waits for the movie to end. There are two moments of blistering concentration breaking the lush, hypnotic torpor--one, where the Dalai Lama dreams himself at the center of a world carpeted with murdered, red-robed monks, another, where a flash of intense empathetic imagination allows him to imagine Tibetan children being forced by Chinese troops to shoot their parents. In virtually every other scene, there is only the basso tootling of Philip Glass' score to nudge one awake and hope for story's end. The eye is filled; the heart wanders.; Fine Arts Daily 4:15, 7:15, 10, Sat-Sun 1:30

*L.A. CONFIDENTIAL Directed by Curtis Hanson. Hanson's unlikely distillation of James Ellroy's vigorously plotted novel is a slashingly-paced thriller starring Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, a pair of Australians, as two complex cops in a 1953 Hollywood intrigue. It also stars James Cromwell as the silkily menacing L.A. police chief, Kevin Spacey as a Dean Martin-cool cop who's technical advisor to an early television show much like "Dragnet," Kim Basinger as a Veronica Lake-like siren and Danny DeVito as a gleeful dervish of dirt who collaborates with Spacey in digging out the lowdown among the Hollywood highlife for his Hush-Hush sleaze-rag. Panavision. 140m. (Ray Pride)The Commons Daily 6, 9, Sat-Mon noon, 3; Old Orchard Gardens Daily 12:30, 3:25, 6:30, 9:20; Three Penny Daily 6:30, 9:15, Sat-Sun 1, 3:45; Town & Country Daily 6:45, 9:35, Sat-Sun 12:40, 3:45; Water Tower Daily noon, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30; Woodfield Daily 12:45, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

*LIVE FLESH Directed by Pedro Almodovar. Victor Plaza (Liberto Rabal), born on a Madrid city bus stopped on deserted streets during a 1970 crackdown by the Franco regime, is a doe-eyed, lush-lipped innocent who loses his virginity in a club washroom to Elena (Francesca Neri) the strung-out daughter of the Italian consul. Confronting her a week later, a chain of coincidences and a single gunshot eternally entangles Victor's life with that of the two policemen who come to Elena's rescue, as well as both their wives. Part of the great pleasure of "Live Flesh" is the particulars of its plotting, which I'll describe no further. But Almodovar's sexy soap opera of obsession and revenge is luminous in its view of Madrid, taking on the geometry of a specific city, not just in the harsh angles of soulless modern buildings, but also in the odd shapes formed by lights in distance, glowing classical edifices, circling views from buses, a city of floating, circling images. (During the immaculately choreographed face-off between Victor and policemen, there is a post-DePalma slow-motion 360-degree shot that puts the lie to any claim of mastery by that cold clinician of a director.) Almodovar scores the film with mad, unabashed songs of carnal vengeance, yet there is always time for grace notes, in decor, widescreen compositions, and especially in behavior, such as, after a night of unending sex, a woman sniffing her nude skin for the last traces, the last unguents of the other before she showers them away, committing the lover's scent to memory before confronting her husband. The characters growl morose lines like "No one ever owns his youth or the women he loves" but Almodovar amply demonstrates why they feel that way. Piper's Alley Daily 5, 9:30, Fri-Mon 7:15, Sat-Sun 12:15, 2:30

*MA VIE EN ROSE Directed by Alain Berliner. Gaudy, rich and sweet like marzipan, a rhapsody in rouge, "Ma vie en rose" ("My Life In Pink") is a complete charmer. Berliner's bubbly, bubblegum-colored Belgian fantasy is designed and directed as if almost always from the point of view of 7-year old Ludovic (Georges DuFresne, a remarkable coup of casting), who doesn't understand why the kids at school or his teachers or his parents' suburban neighbors and co-workers can't accept him for the cheerful cross-dresser that he is. While Ludo decides after a while that he's a "girlboy," an accident caused when God's hand flung the wrong measure x and y chromosomes down the chimney, Berliner leaves ambiguous the question of Ludo's nascent sexuality, presenting him as a force (not freak) of nature, rather than a transvestite or "gayboy" in the making. Along with a zesty contemporary pop soundtrack, and a marvelous, brisk cutting style, Berliner's movie charms for its delicious design, a Baby Gap fever dream, with a toy cul-de-sac filled with hot pink garage doors, minicars painted opalescent blues and greens, and the occasional grandma in a banana-yellow Fiat convertible. A party in the film's opening scene posits an entire neighborhood of summer-color clad neighbors descending on the family home, giddy as a musical comedy. (At times, I thought of "Ma vie en rose" as the musical comedy version of "Crash"-uncommon empathy and tenderness toward a private inner world, private raptures made public.) It's rare to see such a fully imagined world. As a last treat, Berliner finds a logical and poetic culmination that leaves you smiling for days. 88m. ; Music Box Fri-Sun 5:40, 7:40, 9:40, Sat-Sun 1:40, 3:40

MOUSE HUNT Directed by Gore Verbinski. "Mouse Hunt" is "Tom & Jerry" with human actors, an occasionally entertaining hodge-podge of cartoon violence with no soul. With Nathan Lane, Lee Evans. (Sam Jemielity) Lake Daily 12:25, 3:25, 6:25, 9:25

*MRS. BROWN Directed by John Madden. In "Mrs. Brown," a bracing and convincing portrait of Britain's Queen Victoria (Judi Dench), director John Madden and writer Jeremy Brock embroider the whispers and rumors that surrounded her friendship with a Scottish servant, John Brown (Billy Connolly). The heart of the movie lies in the lucid performances by Dench and Connolly, yet Madden, a stage veteran with a couple of indifferent movies to his credit, works cleanly and efficiently, finding the means to convincingly portray, through pause and glance, through blocking and motion, the impossible gulf between the pair. 103m. (Ray Pride); Casino Daily 2, 4:20, 7, 9:35; Fine Arts Daily 5:15, 7:45, 10:15, Sat-Sun 2:45; Norridge Daily 4:30, 10:10; Woodfield Daily 1:50, 4:20, 6:50, 9:20

OFFICE KILLER Directed by Cindy Sherman. The eminently collectible photographer turns her attention to moving pictures with this horror comedy about the camp and bloody goings on at Manhattan's "Constant Consumer" magazine. Murder; oh my. Starring Carol Kane, Molly Ringwald, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Barbara Sukowa and Michael Imperioli. Written by Elise MacAdam and Tom Kalin ("Swoon"). 81m. NR. Music Box Fri 5, 8:30, Fri-Sat midnight, Sat-Sun 3:45, 7:45, Mon-Thu 7:15

*PALMETTO Directed by Volker Schlondorff. While John Dahl is the king of movies with supremely dense protagonists (think of the hapless males in "Red Rock West" and "The Last Seduction"), Schlondorff and "Something Wild" screenwriter E. Max Frye have the good fortune of Woody Harrelson--a better and better actor in his every role--incarnating their dogged yet fuzzy-minded protagonist. "Nothing came out that wasn't bitter and cynical," his defrocked journalist, Harry, voice-overs from his prison cell, intending to change his life, intending to relocate in Miami, never to return to the sleepy burg of Palmetto, when he's told that a state's witness has cleared his name. But neo-noir is a mix of nightmare repetition and bone-headed haplessness, which Harry partakes of like whiskey and chasers. Palmetto, as you would well expect, turns out to be the damp, mildew-reeking 1950s Florida of subtropical fever dream. Harry's bitter: he was framed, he's lost two years of his life, and now no one will hire him. Old girlfriend Gina Gershon gives him support both moral and carnal, but he's quickly approached by one Rhea Malroux (played by Elisabeth Shue as if she thought she were Gina Gershon), who's married to a dying older man. Shue's enjoyably cartoony, striving for day-long swank, bullet-bra'ed, sleek-skirted and kittening her voice as she rolls her liquid brown eyes. Even after a deuce in prison, Harry's gotta know this girl is pushing it too hard. The implausibilities are compounded when Rhea corrals Harry into a faked kidnapping of young stepdaughter Odette, played by the wry, preternaturally assured Chloe Sevigny. Harry Barber is a variation of the classic detective in this type of tale, a journalist playing detective without a license, whose non-paying client is the truth. He tries to be a hard-boiled type, but he's got it all wrong, filling his days with dreams of being good, while living a nightmare of recurring screw-ups that, naturally, add up to big-time trouble. In over his head from the first scene, Harry just can't get it right, just like most real-life crooks. To add to his knack for moral equivocation, Harry suffers the damnation of being sought sexually by these three very attractive women. Schlondorff's direction is restrained, the film's languorous pace playing against the frisky chat of Frye's script. But the cheeky dialogue and strutting acting are of a piece with the success that cinematographer Thomas Kloss and production designer Claire Jenora Bowin have in capturing a flushed Floridian rut-swelter. When stepdaughter Odette is putting the make on Harry in a seedy bungalow, the lighting and framing captures not just the tawny flex of Sevigny's legs, but the bristling blonde of down on her inner thigh as well. Panavision.; Biograph Daily 7:15,10, Sat-Mon 1:30, 4:15; Bloomingdale Court Daily 7:30, 9:50, Sat-Sun 12:20, 2:50, 5:10; Bricktown Square Daily 9:40; Chatham Daily 1:15, 4:15, 7:10, 9:45; Chicago Ridge Daily 12:15, 2:45, 5:15, 7:45, 10:15; Cinema 12 Daily 12:20, 7:10; Crestwood Daily 12:20, 2:45, 5:40, 8:30, Fri-Sat 10:50; Esquire Daily 2, 4:40, 7:30, 10:10, Fri-Mon 11:20am; Golf Glen Daily 7:40, 10:05, Fri-Mon 12:15, 2:40, 5:20; Lincoln Village Daily 6:30, 9:15, Fri-Mon 1, 3:45; Oakbrook Daily 7:30, 10, Fri-Mon 12:10, 2:35, 5:05; One Schaumburg Place Daily 1:10, 4, 6:50, 9:15; Orland Square Daily 7:30, 10:10, Fri-Mon 12:10, 2:35, 5:05; Ridge Daily 7:20, 10, Fri-Sun 11:50am, 2:20, 4:50; River Run Daily 6:50, 9:20; Rivertree Court Daily 7:20, 9:50, Sat-Mon 11:50am, 2:20, 4:50; Streamwood Daily 5:50, 8:20, Fri-Sat 10:50, Sat-Sun 3:20; Westridge Court Daily 6:40, Fri-Sun 1:30, 4

*THE RAINMAKERDirected by Francis Coppola. While there's little even the most gifted director could do to rise above a John Grisham potboiler, Coppola has confected a high-toned, tender rendition of dreary potboiler material. With Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Jon Voight. Panavision. 133m.; Arcada Daily 7, 9:45; Barrington Square Daily 6:40, 9:25, Sat-Sun 1, 3:45; Ogden Daily 6:40, 9:25, Sat-Sun 1, 3:45; Spring Hill Daily 6:45, 9:25, Sat-Mon 12:50, 3:45; Tivoli South Daily 6:45, 9:30; York Daily 12:35, 3:35, 6:45, 9:30

THE REAL BLONDE Directed and written by Tom DiCillo. See Off Camera Evanston Sat 1:30, 4:15, 7, 10; Water Tower Daily 12:20, 2:40, 5, 7:20, 9:40; Woodfield Daily noon, 2:30, 5, 7:30, 9:50

REPLACEMENT KILLERS Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Chow Yun-Fat and Mira Sorvino on the run from bad guys who aren't happy to be going to all the trouble. With Til Schweiger. NR.; 600 N. Michigan Daily 1, 3:10, 5:10, 7:30, 9:30; 62nd & Western Daily 5:25, 7:40, 10:15, Sat-Mon 1:15, 3:20; Burnham Plaza Daily 8, 10:10, Sat-Mon 1:45, 3:45, 5:45; Casino Daily 2:20, 4:30, 7:10, 9:45; Chatham Daily 1:50, 4, 6:10, 8:10, 10:20; Crestwood Daily 12:30, 3:20, 5:50, 8:20, Fri-Sat 10:40; Evergreen Daily 4:30, 7, Fri-Sun 9:30, Sat-Sun 2; Golf Glen Daily 9:20; Hillside Square Daily 4:30, 7:10, 9:45, Sat-Mon 2; Lake Daily 12:20, 2:30, 4:45, 7, 9:30; Lawndale Daily 5:30, 7:40, 10:10; Lincoln Village Daily 7:40, 10, Fri-Mon 1:15, 3:20, 5:30; Norridge Daily 1:30, 4, 6:10, 8:15, 10:30; Old Orchard Gardens Daily 4:55, 9:55; Rolling Meadows Daily 1:10, 3:45, 6, 8:15, 10:45; Streamwood Daily 8:30, Fri-Sat 10:40; Webster Place Daily 1:30, 4, 6:10, 8:15,10:30; Westridge Court Daily 9:15

*SCREAM 2 Directed by Wes Craven. A thunderously paced, self-reflexive comedy that takes itself apart even as it puts the audience on. After the bloodbath of "Scream," the relentlessly spunky Sidney (Neve Campbell) has moved on to a small-town Ohio college. Jamie Kennedy, the movie-mad Randy, studies film there, still infatuated with Sidney and spouting movie lore left and right. But Courtney Cox's brittle, testy Gale Weathers wrote a trashy insta-book that spawned the movie-within-a-movie that opens "Scream 2." A copycat killer (or killers) slash their way into a dark and knowing dissection of whether on-screen violence can find its way into an audience's lap. Smelling a story, Weathers, as well as David Arquette's now-confident Deputy Dewey, descend on the school. The jam-packed two hours that follow are like a blithely witty rendition of Agatha Christie for the nineties, with suspicion generously apportioned among a large cast. 120m. Panavision. Navy Pier IMAX Fri-Sat 11, Sun-Thu 9

SENSELESS Directed by Penelope Spheeris. Anyone who names a bad-taste comedy "Senseless" is asking for it. "Senseless" is a ramshackle, scattershot teen comedy, directed with just-do-it awkwardness by "Wayne's World"'s Spheeris. For her labor of love, check out "Decline of Western Civilization Part 3" later this year. But the highlight of lowlights on this particular day-job is the incessant mugging by Marlon Wayans, the youngest of the many-member Wayans performing clan. Wayans plays a college student trying to wangle his way into a white-collar job as an economist. After a dumb series of odd-jobs, he gets work as a guinea pig for an experimental drug that will heighten his senses by a factor of five. Wayans out-Jerry Lewises Jim Carrey at times, with a willingness to perform any gag--low, high-low or middling. ; 600 N. Michigan Daily 1:45, 3:55, 10:10, Fri-Wed 6, 8:10; 62nd & Western Daily 4:50, 5:40, 6:15, 7:10, 7:50, 8:25, 9:25, 10:05, Sat-Mon 12:30, 1:40, 2:40, 3:10, 3:50; Burnham Plaza Daily 7:45, 10, Sat-Mon 1, 3:15, 5:30; Chatham Daily 1:20, 2:30, 3:30, 4:45, 5:45, 7, 8:05, 9:10, 10:10; Chicago Ridge Daily 1:10, 3:15, 5:30, 7:25, 9:30; Cinema 12 Daily 1:15, 3:20, 5:25, 7:30, 9:35; Crestwood Daily 1:30, 4:15, 6:45, 9:15; Evergreen Daily 4:45, 7:15, Fri-Sun 9:45, Sat-Sun 2:15; Fox Valley Daily 7:20, 8, 9:20, 9:50, Fri-Sun 1:20, 2:10, 3:05, 4, 5:20, 6; Grove Daily 8, 10, Sat-Mon 1:30, 3:30, 5:40; Hawthorn Daily 7:25, 9:55, Sat-Mon 1, 3:10, 5:20; Hillside Square Daily 4:45, 5:45, 7, 8, 9:15, 10:15, Sat-Mon 12:15, 1:15, 2:30, 3:30; Hyde Park Sat 12:30, 2:45, 5, 7:30, 9:45; Lawndale Daily 4:50, 5:50, 6:10, 7:20, 8:20, 9:40, Sat-Mon 1:20, 2:40, 3:40; Norridge Daily 5:10, 7:30, 10, Sat-Mon 12:50, 3; North Riverside Daily 7:35, 9:40, Fri-Mon 1:20, 3:25, 5:30; Old Orchard Gardens Daily 1:30, 3:35, 5:40, 7:50, 10:10; One Schaumburg Place Daily 1:40, 3:40, 5:40, 7:50, 10:15; Plaza Daily 8, 10:10, Sat-Mon 1:30, 3:40, 5:50; River Oaks Daily 6:45, 7:45, 9, 10, Sat-Mon 1:15, 2:20, 3:20, 4:40, 5:40; Stratford Square Daily 7:45, 9:55, Sat-Sun 1:30, 3:35, 5:40; Streamwood Daily 4:15, 6:50, 8:50, Fri-Sat 11, Sat-Sun 1:20; Town & Country Daily 7, 8, 9, 10, Sat-Sun 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6

SHOWTIMES NOT AVAILABLE AT PRESS TIME. Village ; Village North

SPHERE Directed by Barry Levinson. ... and Loathing. Of the many things that may be said about "Sphere," an adaptation of a Michael Crichton potboiler, the first must be: This is the "Showgirls" of sci-fi. Psychologist Dustin Hoffman prepared a study for the Bush administration of what must be done if aliens were discovered on earth. A few years later, when an apparent alien craft is discovered beneath the Pacific Ocean, his study becomes a textbook for the secret government agency studying the vessel. Bring on a covey of his old friends--mathematician Samuel L. Jackson, astrophysicist Liev Schreiber, biochemist, former patient, secret lover and attempted suicide Sharon Stone--and before you can say, "Who wrote this shit anyway?", a thunderously scored, neurotic-aside-filled technothriller about the fears we all hold inside ourselves veers from bad suspense to not-bad comedy dialogue. If you've seen "Forbidden Planet," you've seen a better version of the same material--ah, monsters from the id! If you've seen "Solaris," you've seen the mystic, art-house edition. There are moments of big, dumb fun, particularly in Hoffman's superb comic lines, but it's mostly a watch-watcher.; 600 N. Michigan Daily 12:30, 3:20, 10, Fri-Tue 6:20, 9:10; 62nd & Western Daily 7, 9:55, Sat-Mon 1,4; Bricktown Square Daily 6:50, 9:30, Sat-Mon 1:15, 4; Burnham Plaza Daily 7, 9:45, Sat-Mon 1:30, 4:15; Chatham Daily 1:45, 4:30, 7:20, 9:55; Cinema 12 Daily 3:25, 9:40; Crestwood Daily 12:45, 3:40, 9:45, Fri, Sun-Thu 6:30; Fox Valley Daily 6:30, 9:30, Fri-Sun 1:10, 3:45; Golf Mill Daily 7, 9:40, Fri-Mon 12:30, 3:15; Lawndale Daily 7, 9:50, Sat-Mon 1, 4; Lincoln Village Daily 7, 9:30, Fri-Mon 2, 4:30; Norridge Daily 3:30, 6:45, 9:45, Fri-Mon 12:20; North Riverside Daily 7, 10, Fri-Mon 1:10, 3:50; Oakbrook Daily 6:45, 9:45, Fri-Mon 1, 3:50; Old Orchard Daily 4, 7, 10, Fri-Mon 1; Orland Square Daily 6:40, 9:30, Fri-Mon 1, 3:50; Rice Lake Square Daily 12:30, 3:40, 6:40, 9:30; Ridge Daily 6:50, 9:55, Fri-Sun 1:05, 3:50; River Run Daily 4:30, 6:30, 7:50, 9:30, Sat-Mon 12:30, 1:30, 3:30; Rivertree Court Daily 6:50, 9:40, Sat-Mon 12:30, 3:30; Rolling Meadows Daily 1:20, 2:45, 4:20, 5:45, 7:20, 8:45, 10:20; Stratford Square Daily 6:30, 9:30, Sat-Sun 12:30, 3:30; Streamwood Daily 4:40, 7:40, 10:30, Sat-Sun 1:50; Webster Place Daily 3:30, 6:45, 9:45, Fri-Mon 12:20

SPICE WORLD Directed by Bob Spiers. From the opening credits, where the Spices' flaming silhouettes dance across the screen a la the Bond films, to the opening scene of them singing on stage dressed in virginal white ass-cheek-baring, cleavage-enhancing and navel-revealing Spicewear, it's clear that it's all about being a girl. After a run-through of a song for the concert, a crew member nonchalantly sums it up, "Absolutely perfect. Without actually being any good." The bland truth of the Spice Girls phenomenon.; Plaza Daily 7:15, 9:20, Sat-Mon 1, 3:05, 5:10; River Oaks Daily 7:15, Sat-Mon 1, 3:05, 5:10

STAR KID Written and directed by Manny Coto. Awkward seventh grader Joseph Mazello investigates "a meteor crash in a nearby junkyard," where he finds and befriends "a friendly, seven-foot tall robotic cybersuit with incredible superpowers and a mind of his own." 101m. NR. Arcada Sat-Mon 2, 4:25; Barrington Square Sat-Sun 12:25, 2:3s0, 4:35; Ogden Daily 12:25, 2:30, 4:35; Park Forest Daily 1:30, 4:10, 7:15; Spring Hill Daily 7:10, Sat-Mon 1:20, 4:20; Tivoli Sat-Mon 2, 4:25; Tradewinds Sat-Sun 2, 4:20; York Daily 12:30, 2:40, 4:45

*THE SWEET HEREAFTER Directed and written by Atom Egoyan. The ferociously sorrowful "The Sweet Hereafter," based on Russell Banks' novel, rewards intent contemplation as it evokes a small Canadian mountain town in the winter calm of the weeks after fourteen children have died in a school bus crash. Ian Holm is a city lawyer who comes to the town, trying to lure the survivors into a class-action suit that would allow the mourning parents to attempt to sate their immense loss with the small solace of cash. Instead, he finds himself caught in a hum of what is already lost, of unspeakable fluster, embarrassing grief. (His own daughter is caught in a nightmare of potential sudden death that consumes him as well.) Egoyan's past work has sometimes been regarded as gamesplaying, mechanistic and hermetic, closed worlds populated by neurotic outsiders seeking perverse substitutes for the comforts of family and home. "The Sweet Hereafter" is something fresh, about family and loss, mournful and riven with undercurrents of simmering rage. The film's moments of anguish are all the more powerful for Egoyan's magisterial restraint, thrillingly precise yet seemingly seen through the exacting, unjudging eye of a mute God. To shattering effect, Egoyan parcels out what we already know, moving fluidly back and forth across months of screen time. There is a scene of brute simplicity where a husband and wife, small against mountains of white and sky so clear, bundle their beloved adopted son off to bus, to the foreordained disaster. It is an act of simplest love, of instinctual concern, of unwitting farewell. That parental good-bye along a slushed road in a high, winter heaven is so simple and perfect, that Egoyan's work seems finally ready to move out of arthouses and into the hearts and malls of the world. "The Sweet Hereafter"'s audacious warping of time, far more rewarding than a similar playfulness in "Pulp Fiction," suggests that answers never come, only healing, which we can refuse or embrace. Panavision. 112m.; Fine Arts Daily 4:45, 7:30, 9:45, Sat-Sun 2:15; Lake Daily 1:10, 4:10, 7:10, 9:40

THRILL RIDE Glimpses of the craft of corporate-financed motion-simulation rides, which give the sensation of actual entertainment, advertised in all the glory of IMAX. 40m. NR.; Museum of Science & Industry Daily 10:50am, 12:30, 2:10, Sat-Sun 3:50

*TITANIC Directed and written by James Cameron. Time is James Cameron's great hiccup. His worlds warp the future with the past, and several movies he's made, such as "Terminator 2" and "True Lies," have also suffered from breathless hurry to meet studio release dates. While as a driven storyteller, Cameron not only tries to raise the level of commercial moviemaking standards, he also erects dauntingly colossal challenges to himself as a filmmaker. And as with the "Terminator" movies, time and memory remain his fixation. Cameron dares to combine his knack for spectacle with the intimate details of a sweetly corny love story between the privileged, but trapped young socialite, Rose (Kate Winslet) and the dead-broke, spirited artist Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio). Then he provides a contemporary set of bookends, unfolding the story through a 101-year-old survivor's recounting if the story to a crew of techno-buccaneers who intend to salvage valuables from the long-dead wreck. While Cameron's dialogue never rises to literature, his storytelling verve, in details large and small, again demonstrates his grand range of skills. The deft balance of intense intimacy and immense spectacle is thrilling. 62nd & Western Daily 2, 8; Burnham Plaza Daily 7:15, Sat-Mon 2:30; Chatham Daily 2:30, 8; Chicago Ridge Daily 12:30, 4:30, 8:30; Cinema 12 Daily 12:30, 1:30, 4:15, 5:15, 8, 9; Crestwood Daily 11am, noon, 1,2, 3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; Fox Lake Fri-Sun 5:05, 9, Sat-Mon, Wed 1, Mon-Thu 6:45; Golf Mill Daily 8, Fri-Mon noon, 4; Grove Daily 8:15, Fri-Mon 9, Sat-Mon 12:15, 1, 4:15, 5, Tue-Thu 6:50; Hillside Mall Daily 7:15, Sat-Sun 3; Hillside Square Daily 4, 8:15, Sat-Mon noon; Lawndale Daily 8, Sat-Mon 2; Lincoln Village Daily 8, Fri-Mon noon, 4; McClurg Court Daily 6, Fri-Sun 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, Sat-Mon noon, 1, 2, Tue-Wed 7:15, 8:15, Thu 8; Norridge Daily 1, 3:45, 5, 8, 9, Fri-Mon 11:45am; North Riverside Daily 8:30, Fri-Mon 12:30, 4:30; Old Orchard Daily 4:15, 8:30, Fri-Mon 12:15; Rice Lake Square Daily noon, 1, 4, 5, 8, 9; Ridge Daily 8, Fri-Sun 12:15, 4; River Oaks Daily 7, Fri-Mon 9, Sat-Sun 1, 2:30, 5, Tue-Thu 8:30; Rivertree Court Fri, Mon-Thu 7:15, 8:30, Sat-Mon noon, 1, 4, 5, 8, 9; Stratford Square Fri, Mon-Thu 7:30, 8:30, Sat-Sun 1, 4, 5, 8, 9; Streamwood Daily 4, 5, 8, 9, Sat-Sun noon, 1; Webster Place Daily 1, 3:45, 5, 8, 9, Fri-Mon 11:45am; Westridge Court Daily 7:30, 8:30, Sat-Sun 12:30, 2:45, 4:30; Woodfield Daily 8:15, Fri, Mon-Thu 7, Sat-Sun 12:15, 1:40, 4:15, 5:40, 9:30

*TOMORROW NEVER DIES Directed by Roger Spottiswoode. The gizmos are stupendous. Panavision. 120m. (Frank Sennett) Barrington Square Daily 7, 9:30, Sat-Sun 1:15, 4; Fox Valley Daily 7, 9:20, Fri-Sun 2, 4:15; Foxfield Daily 7, 9:25, Sat-Mon 1:30, 4:10; Logan Daily 2:10, 4:15, 6:25, 8:35; Ogden Daily 7, 9:30, Sat-Sun 1:15, 4; Park Forest Daily 1:10, 4, 7, 9:30; Spring Hill Daily 7, 9:30, Sat-Mon 1:10, 4; York Daily 4, 7, 9:40, Fri-Sat, Mon-Thu 1:10

*WAG THE DOG Directed by Barry Levinson. Wag the Bill? A satire about Hollywood and Washington make-believe, "Wag the Dog" is a hilarious exercise. Made in under a month for a low Hollywood budget (about $15 million), Barry Levinson's direction of David Mamet's script is unusually energetic and lively. When the President is accused of molesting a Girl Scout, what to do? D.C. spin doctor Robert DeNiro calls in Hollywood producer Dustin Hoffman, and together they concoct a blitz against the Albanian Menace to distract the nation before the upcoming election. Hoffman is dazzling throughout, and the rest of the cast seems content to stand back and let him play out one of the most nuanced cartoons ever seen on screen. Wheedling, self-regarding, inspired in the most appalling manner, Hoffman's character is one that both sends up and comforts Hollywood's idea of itself. Still, however jokey and smug, the film kept me grinning throughout, far more than in similar media-politico satires such as "Bob Roberts." 97m. Biograph Daily 7, 9:30, Sat-Mon 2, 4:30; Lake Daily 1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 9:45; Oakbrook Daily 7, 9:30, Fri-Mon 2, 4:30; Old Orchard Gardens Daily 1, 3:10, 5:20, 7:40, 10; One Schaumburg Place Daily 2, 4:30, 7:20, 9:55; Orland Square Daily 7:50, 10, Fri-Mon 1:20, 3:30, 5:40; Streamwood Daily 4:20, 7, 9:10, Sat-Sun 1:30; Water Tower Daily 12:40, 3, 5:20, 7:40, 10

*THE WEDDING SINGER In "The Wedding Singer," Adam Sandler moves from the pursuit of genial slob comedy to an unlikely, sweet-as-can-be love story co-starring Drew Barrymore. Sandler's a lovelorn wedding singer in 1985, giving him room for multiple song parodies and jabs at the thirty or forty oh-so-new-wave songs in the rummage sale of a soundtrack. When his own wedding goes kaflooey, he meets beatific waitress Barrymore, who twinkles and dimples like no one else this side of Gwyneth Paltrow. The movie's clunky-funny throughout--I probably laughed more than I have in months--and the romance is perky and puppy-dog.; Biograph Daily 7:30, 9:45, Sat-Mon 1, 3:10, 5:20; Cinema 12 Daily 12:35, 2:45, 5, 7:15, 9:30; The Commons Daily 7:30, 9:40, Sat-Sun 1, 3:10, 5:20; Crestwood Daily 11:10am, 12:40, 1:40, 2:50, 4:20, 5:20, 6:50, 7:50, 9;30, Fri-Sat 10:30; Esquire Daily 2:50, 4:20, 5:30, 7:20, 9:40, 10:40, Fri-Tue, Thu 8:20, Fri-Mon noon, 1:30; Fox Lake Daily 5:25, 7:40, Fri-Sun 9:55, Sat-Mon, Wed 12:50, 3:05; Golf Glen Daily 7:30, 9:50, Fri-Mon 12:40, 2:50, 5; Grove Daily 7:40, 9:50, Sat-Mon 1:10, 3:20, 5:30; Lincoln Village Daily 7:25, 9:40, Fri-Mon 12:15, 2:25, 4:35; North Riverside Daily 7:25, 9:50, Fri-Mon 12:40, 2:50, 5; Oakbrook Daily 7:45, 10, Fri-Mon 1, 3:15, 5:30; Old Orchard Gardens Daily 12:40, 2:50, 5, 7:30, 9:50; Orland Square Daily 6:40, 7:40, 8:50, 9:50, Fri-Mon noon, 1, 2:10, 3:10, 4:20, 5:20; Rice Lake Square Daily 12:20, 2:50, 5:20, 7:40, 10; Ridge Daily 7:30, 9:45, Fri-Sun 12:55, 3:05, 5:15; River Oaks Daily 6:50, 7:45, 9:10, 10:10, Sat-Mon 1, 2:15, 3:15, 4:30, 5:30; Rivertree Court Daily 7:30, 10, Sat-Mon 12:10, 2:30, 4:40; Rolling Meadows Daily 3, 5:20, 8, 10:30, Sat-Sun 12:30; Stratford Square Daily 7:15, 9:30, Sat-Sun 1:15, 3:15, 5:15; Streamwood Daily 5:10, 7:30, 9:50, Sat-Sun 12:40, 3; Westridge Court Daily 7:20, 9:35, Sat-Mon 12:50, 3, 5:10

WHALES Directed by David Clark, Al Giddings, Roger Payne. Sitting at a 30 degree angle staring at a 75-foot diameter screen, you truly feel like you are splashing around with the big guys. (Kevin L. Campbell) Museum of Science and Industry Daily 10am, 11:40am, 1:20, 3, Sat-Sun 4:40

*WINGS OF THE DOVE Directed by Iain Softley. While James purists will opt for the fug of their yellowing Penguin paperbacks, Softley and Amini have produced a handsomely appointed romance that rustles with desire, both thwarted and rewarded. And though it's one of the best-looking movies of the past year, there are also performances of note, particularly Helena Bonham Carter. Capturing both her offhand, contemporary vivacity and her "period" looks, Softley allows Carter to smile or glower and all the decor in the world of the frame melts away. (Linus Roache and Alison Elliott are two more corners of the London and Venice-set triangle.) Among the liberties taken is a striking, emotionally painful nude scene near the film's end, as well as transporting James' 1902 novel to 1910. 103m.; Norridge Daily 7:50, Sat-Mon 1:50; One Schaumburg Place Daily 1:20, 4:10, 6:40, 9:05; Stratford Square Daily 7:30, 9:45, Sat-Sun 1:10, 3:20, 5:30; Water Tower Daily noon, 2:30, 5:10, 7:30, 9:50

WORLD'S BEST COMMERCIALS '97 A bunch of them, eighty-six from twenty countries in all, unedited and without content interruption. Junior copywriters-on your marks, get set, go! Naw, I forgot, you get on-demand dubs of this stuff down at Burnett that must look twice as rotten as the blowup from video to 16. Waitaminit. Who the hell goes to this stuff anyway? Now I'm confused. 75m. NR. Music Box Fri 6:45, 10:15, Fri-Sat midnight, Sat-Sun 1:45, 5:45, 9:45, Mon-Thu 5:30, 9

*ZERO EFFECT Directed and written by Jake Kasdan. The chameleonic Bill Pullman gives a wonderfully twisted and funny performance as an agoraphobic private detective in "Zero Effect," embodying the conceits of first-time director Kasdan's script. Daryl Zero is the most detached man on the planet, completely focused when he's on the case, but otherwise unable to fucntion in society. Zero has a Holmes-and-Watson-like frontman, attorney Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller), who transacts his business, and when he's not working, he's hidden away, scarfing snack food and composing the rottenest rock songs you can imagine. There are a lot of incompletely realized ideas in the 22-year-old Kasdan's script, which tries for a "Usual Suspects" level of narrative gamesmanship. But even when Kasdan's inexperience muddies a moment, Pullman's rich, spirited performance embodies the character's all-too-modern emotional ineptitude. Pullman always seems to be having fun.; Piper's Alley Daily 5:15, 7:50, 10:30, Sat-Sun noon, 2:40








copyright 1998 New City Communications, Inc.