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DECEMBER 7, 1999: 

PRINCESS MONONOKE. Revered Japanese animator/director Hayao Miyazaki makes his mainstream debut in America with his most recent (1997) animated feature. Anticipated in Japan to be his last and greatest work (though he's already at work on another), this eco-fable pits the wolf princess San (Claire Danes) against the aristocratic Lady Eboshi (Minnie Driver) in a multi-layered tale of good and evil. Standing between them is the dying warrior Prince Ashitaka (Billy Crudup). Despite the inevitable Disney campiness, this isn't your typical Disney movie: decapitations, severed limbs, lepers and prostitutes take their place alongside Miyazaki's lovely watercolor images of a magical medieval forest inhabited by adorable alien-like tree spirits, animist gods and mythical beasts. Other celebrity voices include Gillian Anderson as the mammoth wolf queen, and Billy Bob Thornton as the scheming monk sidekick. -- Mari Wadsworth


THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. British super-spy James Bond blasts bomb-wielding badguys and beds beautiful babes in this 19th installment of the long-running series. About half the dialogue is made up of dopey sexual innuendo of the "that's what she said!" sort, and the plot has more errors in logic than a Rush Limbaugh rant. Still, I'm sure longtime fans of the series will not be disappointed; since they ask only that the film aim low, they'll be satisfied when World hits them below the belt. -- James DiGiovanna


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