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MOVIE REVIEW

Warner Bros.’ ShoWest Reel

Previews for the summer, fall and winter

By Roy Rodenstein
STAFF REPORTER

Recently Warner Bros. screened their “ShoWest Reel,” with trailers for over a dozen of the studio’s upcoming movies, all the way to Christmas. They ranged from special-effects extravaganzas such as The Wild, Wild West, WB’s Independence Day weekend opener, to a thriller about the dangers of high-school gossip, to the remake of The House on Haunted Hill, to Oliver Stone’s star-studded football movie starring Al Pacino. The reel fittingly closed with Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick’s last completed film. Here’s a look at what the trailers were all about:

Spring:

Lost & Found: With the loss of David Spade’s comedy partner, Chris Farley, who does Spade turn to? Jon Lovitz, who had the memorable opening monologue in last year’s Happiness. Spade tries to catch the eye of Sophie Marceau, his lovely neighbor, even if he has to catch her dog to get her attention. If you didn’t like the dog humor in There’s Something About Mary you’ll want to stay away from this movie. On the other hand, if you liked it or like Spade, you may be in for a treat. With Martin Sheen and Estelle Harris.

Summer:

The Wild, Wild West: From the director of the funky Men In Black comes a movie that looks to pump up the funk. With an artistic style resembling The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen, Wild, Wild West could be beautifully insane, or a convoluted mess. The heavyweight favorite opening Independence Day weekend, it stars of course Will Smith, along with Kevin Kline, in a battle with the evil Dr. Loveless (Kenneth Branagh). Also with Salma Hayek and M. Emmet Walsh.

The Iron Giant: This animated feature focuses on a giant robot which drops from the sky and the child he befriends. The town, of course, has other plans once it gets wind of the big lug. With a smooth visual style and a director with pedigree from The Simpsons, The Critic and King of the Hill, this film might find a ready audience. Currently slated for August 6. With voices by Jennifer Aniston, Harry Conick Jr., and John Mahoney.

Deep Blue Sea: Yes, it’s another action horror sci-fi thriller about the deep sea. But maybe director Renny Harlin learned from last year’s flops. Sam Jackson, Stellan Skarsgard and Michael Rapaport in the cast bode well. The threat in this case comes from genetically-engineered sharks, and water, lots of water.

Mickey Blue Eyes: Hugh Grant stars as a meek auctioneer who gets in with the mob a little too deep - they’re his girlfriend’s family. On the heels of mob-humor Analyze This, Mickey Blue Eyes may benefit from being another entry in that genre. With James Caan and Jeanne Tripplehorn. The trailer features an entertaining scene where Americans laugh at Hugh’s funny way of running, thinking he was running funny on purpose.

Eyes Wide Shut: The trailer shown to critics won’t be making the rounds at theaters anytime soon. Alluringly simple, it shows stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman making love. Kidman has other things on her mind, though, as she keeps falling into and out of the moment, gazing at her reflection in the mirror. Stanley Kubrick’s latest movie, completed days before his tragic death, is a self-assured analysis of married psychologists with obsessions of their own. Also with Sydney Pollack and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Fall:

Three To Tango: Friends’s Matthew Perry is Oscar, chasing after Neve Campbell’s Amy. The problem? Dylan McDermott, Amy’s boyfriend. Also, they think Oscar is gay. A game cast could make this movie, or a bad script break it. With Bob Balaban and Oliver Platt.

Gossip: High school rumors can be strong stuff. Realizing this, Josh Jackson plots the most effective way to spread rumors, but when someone dies, Sharon Lawrence is called in, and the rumormongers must face their possible involvement. Gossip evokes the late-80’s classic Heathers but it remains to see whether philosophy is, similarly, its underpinnings or if it’s more of a thriller. Also with Eric Bogosian and Edward James Olmos.

Three Kings: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube are in the army now. In the aftermath of the Gulf War, they’re after treasure the Iraquis are hiding. Directed by David O. Russell, who directed Flirting with Disaster and Spanking the Monkey, it should be an offbeat ride. With Jamie Kennedy and Cliff Curtis.

Chill Factor: A chemical weapon must be kept below 50 degrees, Earth’s fate hangs in the balance. Powerful men, and their money, are after the chill factor. Hopefully Cuba Gooding can save the day. Also with Skeet Ulrich and Peter Firth.

The House on Haunted Hill: Based on the 1958 movie by the same name, The House on Haunted Hill stars Geoffrey Rush as an eccentric millionaire who challenges several people to spend time at a house with a deadly history. The original is a reputed pinnacle of camp. With Peter Gallagher, Elizabeth Hurley, Famke Janssen and Chris Kattan.

Holidays:

Any Given Sunday: Oliver Stone’s latest is a gritty football drama starring Al Pacino as a blood-and-guts motivating coach. The cast is all names, including Dennis Quaid, James Woods, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Diaz, Charlton Heston, Matthew Modine and Tom Sizemore on the acting side, and Jim Brown, Frank Gifford, and Lawrence Taylor.

The Green Mile: Stephen King and Frank Darabont, the writer-director team that brought us The Shawshank Redemption, is at it again with a story of prison, and hope. Tom Hanks stars as a 30’s guard at death row, where one of the inmates is found to have healing powers. Hanks shares the screen with James Cromwell and Gary Sinise, among others.