New releases this week are "Eyes Wide Shut," "The Cell" and "Coyote Ugly."
EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Sam Douglas, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack and Todd Field.
Mr. Kubrick, the creator of "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Full Metal Jacket," "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Shining," died just months before "Eyes Wide Shut" was released. His last tribute to filmmaking was much anticipated, then received with mixed reviews. In "Eyes Wide Shut," Mr. Kubrick once again explores human nature against a backdrop of infidelity and erotic fantasy.
Cruise and Kidman star as a married couple, William and Alice Harford. Alice confesses to William a sexual fantasy about a sailor she met the year before. William, hurt and confused, begins a bizarre journey into a world of prostitution and pent-up jealousy. He infiltrates a secret society that gathers for an orgy at a secluded mansion. Discovered by the proprietors, his life is endangered.
THE CELL (2000)
Directed by Tarsem Singh. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Dylan Baker.
A creepy ride through the mind of a serial killer, "The Cell" is the first movie from Mr. Singh, known for filming stylish music videos like REM's "Losing My Religion." "The Cell" is filled with lush visual effects and an intriguing plot, but generally fails to offer solid acting.
FBI agents Novak (Vaughn) and Ramsey (Weber) are on the trail of a killer who drowns his victims in an underground tank, cuts up their skin, and relives their deaths on video. When they catch up with Carl Stargher (D'Onofrio), he is in a coma. Even comatose, Carl holds a trump card; he has stashed one last victim in the tank.
In order to find her whereabouts, the feds take Carl's body to Catherine Deane (Lopez), a child psychologist at the cutting edge of technology. Catherine has devised a way to enter another person's mind. In race to find the girl before she drowns, Catherine enters Carl's mind, and his sick world.
COYOTE UGLY (2000)
Directed by David McNally. Starring Piper Perabo, Maria Bello, John Goodman, Melanie Lynskey and Adam Garcia.
"Coyote Ugly" is the typical "naive person moves to New York City with a big dream" story. Fresh from New Jersey, Violet Sanford (Perabo), goes to New York in search of fame as a songwriter. She quickly realizes there are thousands like her looking for success. The only way for her to get any attention is to perform her songs herself. The problem is, Violet has terrible stage fright.
In need of cash to make ends meet, she gets a job at a bar, Coyote Ugly, where the bartenders alternate between dancing, serving drinks and fighting off drunken men. She confronts her stage fright head on and becomes a star in her own right.
by Joe Yong-hee