Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

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December 2000

View Point

Cinema or video? — Two for the money, two for the show

A Dog’s Tale
My Dog Skip
is an autobiographical tale of a boy and his dog growing up in 1940s Mississippi, based on Willie Morris’ American bestseller. Willie (Frankie Muniz) is unathletic and bookish, and feels like an outsider. He doesn’t have a single friend to invite to his ninth birthday party. His mother (Diane Lane) gives him a puppy despite the objections of his father (Kevin Bacon). The dog, Skip, turns out to be a good listener and a loyal companion. Together, the two explore an ever-widening world. Skip helps Willie develop confidence and make friends with other boys and with the prettiest girl in school. Embarrassed and angry at his poor performance in a baseball game, he hits Skip, who runs away, devastating the boy. Willie takes responsibility for his behavior and faces the consequences, which starts him on the road to adulthood. Writer Morris’ southern nostalgia is palpable, even with Harry Connick Jr.’s hush-puppy narration. The film’s musical score is well suited to its spellbinding cinematography. Playing “older” roles for the first time, Lane and Bacon make the transition admirably. But it’s the “a boy and his dog” story that makes My Dog Skip resonate. The formula may be an old one, but it’ll make you sit up and beg for more.

Snow Job
Snow Day
takes place in Syracuse, New York, on the day when a record snowfall paralyzes the city, keeping nearly everyone stranded at home. In one household, this means that workaholic mom, Laura (Jean Smart), must tele-commute while taking care of her toddler son. Her husband, Tom (Chevy Chase), a second-rate weatherman, tries to win a ratings battle against his charismatic rival. Their oldest son, Hal (Mark Webber), pursues the most unattainable girl in school, while remaining oblivious to the romantic overtures of tomboy Lane (Schuyler Fisk). Natalie (Zena Grey), their daughter, conspires with her friends to highjack the snowplow driven by the dreaded Snow Plow Man (Chris Elliott), and bring a mythical second snow day to Syracuse. Director Chris Koch’s feature debut, aimed squarely at the under-11 crowd, doesn’t do much to endear itself to older viewers. The winter wonderland looks like a blizzard of stale vanilla frosting and, sadly, most of the adults in the film are portrayed as idiots.

Based on a lighthearted 1967 comedy starring Dudley Moore, Bedazzled is set in modern-day San Francisco, where we meet Elliot (Brendan Fraser), a computer geek leading a pathetic life. Elliot is infatuated with an unapproachable coworker, Allison (Frances O’Connor). He soon meets the Princess of Darkness (Elizabeth Hurley), a devilish temptress who has an offer he can’t refuse. In exchange for his soul, Elliot will be granted seven foolproof wishes that’ll secure him the girl of his dreams. Be careful what you wish for...
To be fair to director Harold Ramis, Bedazzled isn’t a bad movie, it’s just unremarkable. The makeup crew does a credible job in distorting the face and appearance of Elliot as his wishes are granted. Hurley may not be up to the acting challenge, but she looks like a million bucks in her scarlet wardrobe. This movie has no staying power, and, with the exception of a few choice scenes, it will make you ask, what the devil were they thinking?

Parent Trap
Male nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is about to propose to his girlfriend, Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo). Then he learns that Pam’s sister, Debbie, has become engaged, and that her fiancé asked for her hand the old-fashioned way: by asking her father first. Greg decides to do the right thing, so he and Pam head from Chicago to New York to visit her folks. Greg and Pam’s father, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro, as a CIA operative), don’t hit it off. Jack, who doesn’t take to Greg’s sarcasm, soon thinks that his future son-in-law is a cat-hating pothead. Greg finds Jack, who is obsessed with secrecy and his cat, equally unlikable. Before you can say “smile for the surveillance camera,” a wild series of misadventures ensues. Director Jay Roach scores well with his unlikely teaming of Stiller and De Niro. Wisely, he let the actors do what they do best, and let the comedy drive the film. Meet the Parents isn’t a hilarious movie, but it’s worth watching. <<<

Cinema 55 52 55 Nymphenburger Str. 31 (U1 Stiglmaierplatz), sneak preview Friday nights.

IMAX Cinema 21 12 50, in the Forum der Technik. A five-story-high screen.

Lupe 2 34 76 51 Ungererstr. 19 (U3/6 Dietlindenstr.).

Filmmuseum 23 32 41 50, St.-Jakobs-Platz 1 (S & U Marienplatz)

Museum-Lichtspiele 48 24 03, Lilienstr. 2, Ludwigsbrücke (S Rosenheimerplatz).

Neues Arena 260 32 65, Hans-Sachs-Str. 7 (U1/2 Fraunhoferstr.; Tram 18, 20, 25, 27).

Neues Rottmann 52 16 83, Rottmannstr. 15 (U1 Stiglmaierplatz).

Theatiner Filmkunst 22 31 83, Theatinerstr. 32 (U3/6, U4/5 Odeonsplatz).

Türkendolch 28 99 66 99, Türkenstr. 74 (U3/6 Universität).

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