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November 5 - 12, 1999

[Movie Reviews]

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The Bone Collector

Bone Collector In Phillip Noyce's brilliant Newsfront, which he directed in 1978 in his native Australia, the villain is a swaggering media maven who's made his fortune selling out his considerable talents in America. It's hard not to feel the irony now that Noyce, after the splendid 1989 on-the-ocean noir Dead Calm, has come to Hollywood and made his fortune with a series of competent but not especially personal or memorable big-budget assignments, including Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, Sliver, and The Saint.

His latest is a slick, intermittently effective, occasionally ghoulish genre thriller that squeaks by on the charisma of the two leads. We get an hour and a half in bed with Denzell Washington, who plays a New York detective specializing in forensics who's now a quadriplegic because of an accident on the job. From under the sheets, this paralyzed op conducts an investigation to locate a Silence of the Lambs-style serial killer, and he's helped by Angelina Jolie's street-smart (and incredibly good-looking) policewoman. She's threatened when out in the city; he's endangered when the killer comes calling at his bedside. Married with Children's dumbed-down dad, Ed O'Neill, co-stars as a cop, and Queen Latifah is a bedside nurse named Thelma, in obvious homage to the performance of Thelma Ritter in The Bone Collector's many-times-better source, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window.

-- Gerald Peary

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