Crouching Pussycats, Hidden Gems

Moviegoers Avoid Big-Budget Pitfalls

Say It Isn't So
Chris Klein and Heather Graham enjoy a sex-drenched courtship until discovering they're brother and sister, but then Chris discovers they're not, and must race cross-country to win Heather back. As improbably motivated road trips go, it sounds very Me, Myself & Irene, and since the Farrellys are producing, that can't be all bad. MARCH 16

The Brothers
A quartet of black buddies faces up to romantic reality in what its director rather recklessly dubs Refusing to Exhale. We're feeling muzzy already. MARCH 23

Heartbreakers
Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer "Love" Hewitt play mother-daughter con artists. Mom marries rich suckers; "girl on TV" serves as jailbait. MARCH 23

Amores Perros
A restless Mexican joyride centered on a devastating car crash, visited three times from three perspectives, all of them concerning beaten, lost, or otherwise harried dogs. A big hit at half a dozen fests last year, Alejandro González Iñárritu's debut could be a refreshing surprise, or it could be Snatch. MARCH 30

Someone Like You
Still gliding untarnished through one stinking tar pit of a movie after another, Ashley Judd inhabits a sex columnist studying the "male animal" (her character's name is Jane Goodale, yawn) and vacillating between overrefined twat Greg Kinnear and yummy wolfboy Hugh Jackman (type-casting alert!). MARCH 30

Spy Kids
Robert Rodriguez puts the "ulp" back in pulp once again with this cartoony, Hong Kong-inflected kids' adventure about can-do warrior kids saving their pro spook parents. Teri Hatcher, Alan Cumming, Cheech Marin, and Antonio Banderas are the mugging adults. MARCH 30

Deuces Wild
In anticipation of Scorsese's Gangs of New York, it seems, here's a post-teen gang-war epic set in the '50s, crammed with actors with atrophying résumés: Stephen Dorff, Matt Dillon, Fairuza Balk, Balthazar Getty, Brad Renfro, Max Perlich, Debbie Harry, etc. In the crowd, Blair Witch's Joshua Leonard proves he's not dead.

The Fast and the Furious
A Two Lane Blacktop for the new millennium? Aptly named Vin Diesel and Jolie-in-waiting girlfighter Michelle Rodriguez hop behind the wheel for this go-speed-racer saga, from the giddy braintrust that brought you guilty faves Cruel Intentions and The Skulls.

The Man Who Cried
Having somehow assembled Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett, and John Turturro, Sally Potter proceeds to neutralize their collective charisma in this tale of a Russian Jewish singer (Ricci) in prewar Paris. Never one to shy from a vanity train wreck, the director provides Ricci's singing voice.


APRIL

All Access Front Row. Backstage. Live!
IMAX extravaganza giganticizes Mary J. Blige, Kid Rock, Macy Gray, Sting, and George Clinton—when does he get his own damn IMAX movie? APRIL 6

Beautiful Creatures
In this pseudo-feminist Brit caper, Rachel Weisz and Susan Lynch escape abusive relationships and go on a murderous rampage. APRIL 6

Blow
The Hollywood coke binge continues with Ted Demme's period saga. Johnny Depp stars as dealer George Jung, who put Colombian cartels in touch with the U.S. market in the '70s. APRIL 6

Get Over It
Teen romance with three-word title but no Freddie Prinze Jr! Some kid called Ben Foster fills in. APRIL 6

On Hostile Ground
Pro-choice doc helmed from the perspective of several abortion providers, with voiceover by Julianne Moore. APRIL 6

Chopper
Fictionalized portrait of Mark "Chopper" Reid, notorious Australian psychopath, folk hero, and bestselling author. Stand-up comic Eric Bana's powerhouse performance holds it together. APRIL 11

Bridget Jones's Diary
No doubt a precursor to the inevitable Ally McBeal feature, the U.K.'s own dancing baby gets her movie, though nobody can humanize and humorize infantile regression like Renée Zellweger. Hugh Grant plays the Cleaver (natch); Colin Firth is Darcy (again). APRIL 13

Along Came a Spider
Morgan Freeman reprises his role as the serial-killer-hunting detective-psychologist from Kiss the Girls. Ashley Judd pulled a Jodie, so you're stuck with Penelope Ann Miller and Monica Potter. APRIL 13

Lakeboat
We never thought we'd miss David Mamet's nasty man's man shoutfests, but then he decided he was a master of light comedy. Here, underemployed Joe Mantegna attempts to enforce order over the non sequitur puns and worshipfully affectless performances. APRIL 13

Unconditional Love
Leave it to Aussie camp counselors P.J. Hogan and Jocelyn Moorhouse to come up with this beaut: Jonathan Pryce stars as a Tom Jones-style crooner who gets himself shot; nutty fan Kathy Bates and grieving lover Rupert Everett team up to find the killer. Julie Andrews shows up as herself, as does . . . Barry Manilow. APRIL 13

Shadow Magic
Silent movies come to China. Jared Harris stars in director Ann Hu's (and Sony Pictures Classics') bid to crack the Paradiso/Postino market. APRIL 16

The Center of the World
Wayne Wang and Paul Auster reteam (and Miranda July shares a story credit?!) for this supposedly explicit DV feature about a Silicon Valley geek (Boys Don't Cry's Peter Sarsgaard) who takes off for a Vegas long weekend with a stripper (Molly Parker). APRIL 20

The Charcoal People
Chronicle of the people directly responsible for the destruction of the Amazon rainforest—the Brazilian migrant workers, prey of lung disease and malnutrition, who barely eke out a living by tearing down trees for the pig-iron and steel industries. APRIL 20

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