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Contact Us || Tuesday, September 2, 2003 || Terms of Service


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Seven movies that will appeal to grown-ups

 
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George Clooney becomes smitten with Catherine Zeta-Jones in 'Intolerable Cruelty'

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Nicolas Cage finds out he has a daughter, played by Alison Lohan, in 'Matchstick Men'

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By Ed Blank
TRIBUNE-REVIEW FILM CRITIC

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Hollywood treats the summer as an amusement park for under-25s -- almost nothing but the sort of comedies and effects-driven action films that skew very young in appeal.

It treats the year-end holidays as a mix of probable blockbusters and serious awards contenders.

In between is the off-season of fall, when most studios release at least one promising adult interest movie that just isn't commercially viable enough to compete in the summer or over the holidays.

"Seabiscuit," which braved the treacherously competitive July waters, and "Open Range," which took advantage of a lightweight August slate, would have been natural for fall but wisely staked out earlier dates of their own and profited from their daring.

Here are seven fall releases that have elements suggesting at least some promise:

"Matchstick Men" (Warner): Con man Nicholas Cage learns he has a daughter (Alison Lohan), who barges into his life inconveniently while he's coping with a compulsion disorder. Can you say "Paper Moon"? (Sept. 12).

"The Fighting Temptations" (Paramount): Compulsive liar Cuba Gooding Jr. gets fired from his New York City advertising job and returns to his small southern hometown to collect an inheritance. While there, he stumbles into a short-range project, preparing a mostly black Baptist choir to compete in the annual Gospel Explosion. With Beyonce Knowles, Rue McClanahan and Melba Moore. (Sept. 19).

"Anything Else" (DreamWorks): Woody Allen wrote, directed and plays a major supporting role as a mentor, but he doesn't even appear in the trailer for this romantic comedy. It's about a young writer (Jason Biggs) who falls in love with a beauty (Christina Ricci) and lacks the apparent wherewithal to court her. So he asks Allen's advice. With Danny De Vito and two women from "Le Divorce," Glenn Close and Stockard Channing. (Sept. 19).

"Secondhand Lions" (New Line): Haley Joel Osment is sent to live with two newly wealthy, eccentric uncles, Robert Duvall and Michael Caine. Could be the pick of the fall litter. (Sept. 19).

"Out of Time" (MGM): Denzel Washington becomes ensnared in incriminating circumstances when he "borrows" company funds to pay for a woman's operation. (Oct. 3).

"Intolerable Cruelty" (Universal): Joel and Ethan Coen took over a well-into-development project in which Catherine Zeta-Jones plots revenge against lawyer George Clooney by marrying him, only to (shucks, ma'am) fall in love with him. With Billy Bob Thornton and Geoffrey Rush. (Oct. 10).

"Runaway Jury" (Fox): Fact: When they were dirt-poor New York actors, Dustin Hoffman bummed space on the couch and floor of Gene Hackman's cold-water flat.

Forty-some years later, they're finally co-starring (and with John Cusack and Rachel Weisz) in a much-revised adaptation of John Grisham's novel. Gone is the anti-tobacco industry case, a casualty of shifting outcomes in court cases and disappointing returns for the anti-tobacco industry drama "The Insider." In its place is a case being mounted against the gun industry. (Oct. 17).

Ed Blank can be reached at edwblank@aol.com or (412) 854-5555.


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