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Film Openings

Week of March 12, 2003

Agent Cody Banks. Harald Zwart. This inevitable Spy Kids ripoff postulates at least one interesting wrinkle in the James Bond formula: What if our top-secret agent were inept at the art of seduction? "It" teen Frankie Muniz is nicely believable as an awkward adolescent; unlike previous teen stars (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, say), he looks like a real kid rather than a child actor groomed for stardom. The same cannot be said of the girl he's hired to get close to, Disney protégé du jour turned jailbait starlet Hilary Duff, but no doubt the movie's young demographic won't care. The plot involves something about nanobots, but essentially the movie's an excuse to show off cool gadgets and co-star Angie Harmon's cleavage. Arnold Vosloo makes a killer henchman, and Darrell Hammond shows up using a barely disguised Bill Clinton voice as Cody's "Q." Parents may be disturbed by one or two creepy double-entendres (possibly a result of Madonna's executive-producing?), the depiction of the CIA as childlike toymakers and the film's implication that nuclear disarmament is a bad thing. Opens Friday, March 14, at multiple locations. (Luke Y. Thompson)

The Hunted. William Friedkin. Opens Friday, March 14, at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.

The Safety of Objects. Rose Troche. Opens Friday, March 14, at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema. Reviewed this issue.

The Trials of Henry Kissinger. Alex Gibney, Eugene Jarecki. Taking its cue from Christopher Hitchens' excoriating, similarly titled book (minus the "s" in "Trials"), this terse and compelling documentary presents the case that former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger deserves to be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity under the standards applied to Slobodan Mlosevic, Augusto Pinochet and even the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg -- his 1973 Nobel Peace Prize notwithstanding. With newsreel footage and a very few re-creations, filmmakers Alex Gibney and Eugene Jarecki manage to condense complex, often forgotten issues from the '70s -- does anyone actually remember East Timor? -- into clear indictments of Kissinger's brutal role in world affairs. They also give time to some of Kissinger's defenders, most notably General Alexander Haig, who comes across like a stock Evil Military Commander from Central Casting. Two minor drawbacks: Onscreen IDs of speakers are sometimes omitted, and Kissinger's crimes seem almost paltry in comparison to current American policies. Opens Friday, March 14, for a one-week engagement at the Tivoli. (Andy Klein)

Willard. Glen Morgan. A young man connects with rats and uses them for sociopathic ends. Opens Friday, March 14, at multiple locations. NR

 
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