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AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS. This goofy, exuberant cross between a horror movie and a comedy is an unexpectedly refreshing way to waste 99 minutes. Director Anthony Waller packs a whole lot of snarling beasts, romance, rotting corpses and dare-devil stunts into this energetic homage to John Landis' 1981 An American Werewolf in London. Tom Everett Scott plays an American tourist who just wants to make fun of foreigners, but ends up being pulled into some beastly doings; Julie Delpy plays a young Parisian werewolf trying to control her bitch of a monthly "lycanthropic cycle." Of course, the two fall in love. One scene shows a detective carefully fingerprinting someone's hand; the camera pulls back and we see it's attached to a severed arm. That's the kind of movie this is. --Richter

JACKIE BROWN. Quentin Tarantino adapted his screenplay from the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch, with unexpectedly lackluster results. Jackie Brown has the flat, literal look of a made-for-TV movie, and about as much style and charm. Tarantino does show his great knack for working with actors and making interesting casting decisions. Pam Grier--best known from her roles in '70s blaxploitation flicks Foxy Brown and Coffy--does a great job playing Jackie, a down-on-her-luck flight attendant who's a hell of a lot smarter than everyone else thinks. Bridget Fonda is funny as a stoned surfer chick who likes to hang out with criminals, and Robert Forster is wonderfully deadpan as the bail bondsman Max Cherry. But despite some good performances, Tarantino seems restrained, and concerned with keeping things slow, smooth, and real easy to understand. There's plenty of exposition, as well as intertitles to tell us where we are, just in case you go for popcorn during one of the long explanations. It's as though Tarantino doesn't trust himself to tell this story. Even the settings--mostly apartments, shopping malls and offices--seem tired and bland. --Richter

SCREAM 2. What? You say you didn't scream loudly enough during Scream one? I can't hear you. Wes Craven brings us more gory hijinks, including stabbing, slashing, blowing to pieces, crucifying, splattering and of course, taunting. More tired and blatantly formulaic than the first Scream, Scream 2 trundles out the same old slasher movie chops and tries to make them shiny. But Craven has set himself an impossible task: Could there be any way to make a sorority girl in a tight sweater being chased by a psychokiller "new"? Neve Campbell plays Sidney Prescott, the girl all the boys love to stalk. Now she's a college girl; the film version of her last traumatic weekend has just reached the big screen, and there's a copycat killer hoping to mark her on his scorecard of innocent victims. Courteney Cox and David Arquette provide additional bodies to butcher. --Richter

TOMORROW NEVER DIES. Prior to this year, only one James Bond novel had been made into a film more than once: Thunderball. Oddly, for the latest Bond flick, the producers decided to remake Thunderball. That move sums up the lack of imagination in this film, which is mildly brightened by a fine performance by Judy Dench, who's inexplicably slumming here after her role as Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown. Also of note is hot Hong Kong action star Michelle Yeoh, who plays a Chinese secret agent who allies herself with Bond to capture the Rupert Murdoch-like supervillain. Pierce Brosnan gives a characterless performance as Bond, unenthusiastically killing his way through the international cast of bad guys. The story is, of course, mostly nonsensical, with Bond gaining and losing the superhuman ability to defeat any number of heavily armed foes, as the plot demands. Thus, he is repeatedly captured by two or three thugs, then escapes by fighting his way past entire armies. For my part, I kept hoping he'd get his snotty British ass blown off so that Michelle Yeoh could take over and kick some Occidental butt, because, unlike Bond, she didn't feel the need to make an insipid pun every time she offed someone. --DiGiovanna

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