Mainstream Flicks


Film Festivals


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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 9, 2000. All rights


Gilbert & Sullivan at the Movies

Topsy-Turvy describes the film of this name at least

as aptly as anything pertaining to Gilbert & Sullivan, the


British creators of a dozen immortal operettas. The promotion for

this much-hyped Mike Leigh ("Secrets & Lies") movie promises,

"Gilbert & Sullivan and so much more." And adds: "The

egos. The battles. The words. The music. The women. The scandals."

Oh, please.

Not enough challenge simply to document the making of "The


— an operetta, of a dozen some, that has lasted, and thrived,

for more than a century — at a critical time in Savoyard history?

Not enough excitement in merely staging the operetta itself, together

with the much-loved music? Too easy to play it straight? Too tempting

to improve upon perfection?

Instead, Leigh has produced a series of disjointed vignettes, with

little closure and even less clarity. And accuracy — of


of names, of motivation — is yet another matter. Although the

film is too long (almost three hours), its ending is sudden. And with

a lame printed afterword it addresses, unsatisfactorily, one of its

central issues: Sullivan’s desire to write more "serious"


Nonetheless, "Topsy-Turvy" looks just great: Victorian


interiors, atmosphere. The acting is commendable, particularly Jim

Broadbent as the irascible and brilliant William Schwenck Gilbert,

and Allan Corduner as Arthur Seymour Sullivan, portrayed here as the

playboy of the Victorian world, although his musicianship and


are also credited. Costumes, especially in the


are wonderful, colorful, all they should be. And the scenes showing

how "Mikado" was first mounted are fascinating and too few.

Even though it’s performed much too slowly throughout, Gilbert &


music saves the film. So don’t bother with the touted Sony Classical

soundtrack. Invest in the recordings of the now-defunct and much


D’Oyly Carte Company. Finally, the rationale behind the "R"

rating, which came as quite a surprise: The apparent need to tart

up Gilbert & Sullivan by including scenes of Sullivan cavorting with

bare-breasted, dancing "French whores" (as one viewer put

it). Was that trip really necessary?

With productions always too scarce for devoted Savoyards, this film

serves at least as a reminder of the glory that was Gilbert &


And maybe it will prompt those who see it to look, and listen,


Even so, severely "modified rapture" is all the movie


— Pat Summers

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Mainstream Flicks

Confirm titles with theaters.

Any Given Sunday. Director Oliver Stone pits brash youth

against experience on the football field, where Al Pacino plays a

curmudgeonly coach to a quarterback Jamie Foxx. AMC, Loews,


American Beauty. Annette Bening and Kevin Spacey in Sam

Mendes’ dark drama. East Windsor.

Angela’s Ashes. Frank McCourt’s bestselling autobiography

about the hardships of a Catholic childhood in the slums of Ireland.

AMC, Loews, Mercer, Montgomery, Regal.

Bicentennial Man. Robin Williams plays a household


who wants to be a man. AMC.

The Cider House Rules. Michael Caine stars in a rendition

of John Irving’s 1985 best-seller. AMC, Regal.

Down to You. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles in a

Generation-Y romance. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair,


The End of the Affair. Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore

play an adulterous couple during World War II. AMC, Loews,


Eye of the Beholder. Intelligence officer Ewan McGregor

finds himself obsessed with master criminal Ashley Judd. AMC,

Destinta, Loews, MarketFair, Montgomery, Regal.

Galaxy Quest. Tim Allen plays a has-been sci-fi TV show

star recruited by aliens to save their planet. AMC, Destinta,

East Windsor, Loews, MarketFair.

Girl, Interrupted. Winona Ryder stars in the real-life

story of Susanna Kaysen’s commitment to a mental hospital. AMC,

Destinta, Loews, MarketFair, Montgomery, Regal.

The Green Mile. Michael Clarke Duncan and Tom Hanks star

in Stephen King’s prison story about an innocent man with miraculous

powers. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair.

Gun-Shy. Liam Neeson is a man who’s lost his nerve while

undercover in the middle of an organized crime sting operation. Also

starring Oliver Platt and Sandra Bullock. Loews, Regal.

The Hurricane. Denzel Washington won the Golden Globe

for his heroic performance based on the life of the New Jersey boxer

framed for a triple murder. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer,


Isn’t She Great? Bette Midler and Nathan Lane in the story

of `Valley of the Dolls’ author Jacqueline Susann. AMC, Loews,

MarketFair, Regal.

Magnolia. A desperate day on a San Fernando Valley street

brings together an assortment of intriguing characters, including

Tom Cruise. AMC, Loews, Mercer.

Man on the Moon. Jim Carrey’s portrayal of the


comedian Andy Kaufman of TV’s `Taxi.’ East Windsor.

Mansfield Park. A witty re-telling of Jane Austen’s comic

novel starring Frances O’Connor and Harold Pinter. Mercer.

Next Friday. Ice Cube returns in the sequel to 1995’s

`Friday.’ Cube plays a fish out of water, as his family moves from

the ghetto to the suburbs. AMC, Destinta, Loews.

Play It to the Bone. Woody Harrelson and a gaunt Antonio

Banderas star as two washed up Vegas boxers and their last chance

to make it big. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair.

Pokemon. Gotta catch the big screen version of the cute

(if inane) cartoon. East Windsor.

Rear Window. The restored version of Alfred Hitchcock’s

thriller. James Stewart, Grace Kelly and Wendell Corey star.


Scream 3. Though some critics claim the finale to Wes

Craven’s trilogy is a cut below the rest (pardon the pun), expect

the same mix of laughs and thrills with Neve Campbell, David Arquette

and Courtney Cox-Arquette. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Garden, Mercer,

Montgomery, Regal.

Simpatico. The story of three friends whose lives are

changed. Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone star in the


of the Sam Shepard play. AMC, MarketFair, Regal.

Snow Falling On Cedars. The bestselling novel of the


brought to the screen, starring Ethan Hawke and Youki Kudoh. East

Windsor, MarketFair.

Stuart Little. E.B. White’s beloved mouse on the big


AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer, Regal.

Supernova. James Spader and Angela Bassett star in this

space thriller. AMC, Loews.

Sweet and Lowdown. Woody Allen directs his latest feature

about a stellar jazz guitarist with a less than stellar private life.

Sean Penn plays the musician. MarketFair.

The Talented Mr. Ripley. Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow

star in this thriller based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel, directed

by Anthony Minghella. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer, Regal.

Toy Story 2. Animated feature with the voices of Tom Hanks

and Tim Allen. AMC, Loews, Mercer.

Top Of Page

AMC Hamilton 24 Theaters, 325 Sloan Avenue, I-295 Exit

65A, 609-890-8307. Stadium-seating multiplex. $7; $5 matinees; $5


Destinta, Independence Plaza, 2465 South Broad Street,

Hamilton, 609-888-4500. Stadium-seating multiplex. $6.75; $5 matinees.

East Windsor Cinemas, Routes 130 and 571, 609-443-9295.

$3 adults; $2.50 matinees.

Garden Theater, 160 Nassau Street, 609-683-7595. $6.50

adults; $4 matinees.

Loews Theaters, Route 1 South, New Brunswick,


Stadium-seating. $8.50; $5.25 matinees.

MarketFair-UA, Routeth, 609-520-8700. $7.50; $4.75


Mercer Mall General Cinemas, Route 1, 609-452-2868.

$7.25 adults; $4.75 matinees.

Montgomery Center Theater, Routes 206 and 518,

609-924-7444. $7; $4.25 matinees.

Regal Cinemas Town Center, 319 Route 130 North, East

Windsor, 609-371-8470. Stadium-seating, 15 screens. $8; $5 matinees.

Top Of Page
Film Festivals

New Jersey Film Festival is presented by the Rutgers Film

Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center. Screenings are Fridays through

Sunday in Scott Hall, Room 123, College Avenue campus, near the corner

of College Avenue and Hamilton Street. Thursday screenings are in

Loree Hall, Room 024, Douglass College campus. Films are $5, $8, &

$10; all programs begin at 7 p.m. Call 732-932-8482.

Dreams That Money Can Buy, an early American avant-garde

film (1947) by Hans Richter, about dreams for sale, with visuals by

Richter, Max Ernst, Fernand Leger, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and

Alexander Calder; $5, Thursday, February 10. My Best Friend,

Werner Herzog’s 1999 documentary about his relationship with cinema

maniac Klaus Kinski. On a double bill with Herzog’s 1973 "Aguirre,

Wrath of God" that stars Kinski; $8, Friday and Saturday, February

11 and 12.

Japanese New Wave

Japanese New Wave Cinema, a 10-week series of classic

films, presented by Princeton University’s East Asian Studies Program,

Mondays at 7 p.m. in the James Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau


Free. 609-258-5722.

Elegant Beast, Kawashima Yuzo’s 1962 tragicomedy about

relationships of convenience. On a double bill with Yasujiro Ozu’s

"Record of a Tenement Gentleman" (1947), a story of an aging

woman saddled with an abandoned child, by Yasujiro Ozu, Monday,


14. She and He, Hani Susumu directs a drama about the emotional

travails of an unhappy newlywed living in a high-rise complex, Monday,

February 21.

Second Chance Cinema

Second Chance Cinema, Princeton Adult School. Wednesday

at 7:30 p.m., at Kresge Auditorium, Princeton University. $55 series;

$5 single. 609-683-1101.

Boys Don’t Cry, Hilary Swank’s portrayal of gender-bending

Brandon Teena won her the Golden Globe’s best actress award, directed

by Kimberly Peirce, Wednesday, February 16.

Lolita, Adrian Lyne’s 1998 remake of the Nabokov novel,

with Jeremy Irons, Frank Langella and Melanie Griffith, Wednesday,

February 23.

Top Of Page

Actors’ NET will have auditions Saturday and Sunday,


12 and 13, at its Heritage Center Theater, 635 North Delmorr Avenue,

Morrisville, for its summer and fall season. Those interesting in

acting or technical positions call 215-295-3694.

The New Jersey Repertory Theater will have auditions for

"The Wizard of Oz" on Saturdays, February 12 and 19, beginning

at 1 p.m. at 1485 Livingston Avenue, North Brunswick. Girls should

prepare "Over the Rainbow," and boys "If I Only Had A

Brain." Performances begin May 5. Call 732-821-6644.

Nouveau Productions will hold auditions for Jean-Paul

Sartre’s "No Exit" on Monday through Wednesday, February 21

to 23, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Artists Showcase Theater, 1150 Indiana

Avenue in Trenton. Performances will run weekends between March 31

and April 16. Call 609-587-7915.

Shamrock/Stine Productions and producer Kevin Williams

seek crew and cast for an independent feature horror film to be shot

in March at the Jersey shore. Roles are for 18 to 40 years of age,

and all ethic types. The role of a Sherpa guide (Indian or Nepalese,

could be 25 to 60-years-old) is a character of particular interest.

Crew also needed, particularly sound mixer, gaffers, make-up, hair,

special effects. Possible pay. Meals, lodging, credit, and tape


Send resumes to Shamrock/Stine Productions, PO Box 9941, Trenton


Participate Please

Princeton Theological Seminary students are accepting

book donations for their annual benefit book sale at Whitely


Proceeds from the sale, which usually exceeds $10,000, go to


institutions around the world. Deadline for donations is Friday,


25; the sale is Wednesday through Friday, March 1 to 3. Call


The Millstone Valley Chorus is seeking women singers,

particularly low-voiced women. Singing a cappella, four-part harmony,

the group performs throughout the central Jersey area. Rehearsals

are Mondays at 7:45 p.m. at the Forrestal Center. Call Judy at


American Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days offers bouquets,

planters, and vases of the spring flowers for donations that support

cancer research. Orders can be placed until March 1 at the


office for pickup or delivery during the week of March 27. Call


Jewish Family & Children’s Service has a Bereavement


meeting weekly for six Tuesdays, beginning February 29, with


Barbara Snyder at the Adath Israel Synagogue, Lawrenceville. $25 fee.

Preregister with Rachel Goldberg, 609-987-8100.

American Cancer Society seeks community teams for its

annual Relay for Life, an overnight, non-competitive event where team

members walk or run relay-style around a track. Call ACS at



University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey seeks

volunteers for a study to evaluate a new drug treatment for


Participants should be in good health, and will be given a psychiatric

evaluation and a physical examination. Contact Dr. Karen Hoffman



CONTACT of Mercer County needs volunteers to staff its

24-hour hotline for people with problems. A training course for


begins Tuesday, March 7, at 9:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. Classes are held

at Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church, 2688 Main Street, in


Call 609-883-2880.

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