15 Minutes (R) Robert De Niro and Ed Burns play the pistol-packing good guys on the trail of a pair of mad-dog killers with a mania for videotaping their crimes. Tough, exciting and just off-kilter enough to keep us guessing, 15 Minutes is a thriller that transcends the buddy movie genre and even says a few interesting things along the way about America's mania for celebrity and sordid reality TV. Also stars Kelsey Grammer and Avery Brooks.
All Access (PG) IMAX Channelside's five-story- tall screen and 14,000-watt sound system add immeasurably to the pleasures of this hour-long concert film, which features the likes of Sheryl Crow, Sting, Carlos Santana, B.B. King, Trey Anastasio (of Phish), George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, Macy Gray and others.
Along Came A Spider (R) Morgan Freeman returns to the role of Dr. Alex Cross in this follow-up to Kiss the Girls (1997). Both films are based on novels by James Patterson. Cross is a renowned profiler, or psychological detective, chosen by a serial killer who wishes to gain crime-of-the-century status for his kidnapping of a senator's daughter by luring Cross into the case. The movie uses several cop-drama clichs, but most of them effectively increase the tension and the dialogue's vigor. Directed by Lee Tamahori (Mulholland Falls), Along Came a Spider is fun and exciting. But if you dislike feeling duped by slick plot twists, read the Patterson thriller beforehand, then buy a large popcorn and affect a smug grin.
Blow (R) A rise and fall yarn about an ordinary guy who avoids poverty by selling pot in the '60s, graduates to dealing coke and then winds up falling as far as he can fall, while getting screwed by pretty much everyone on the planet. Johnny Depp delivers yet another outstanding performance as our contraband-dealing hero and all-around nice guy, George Jung, a blank, clueless cipher with a bad shag haircut and a broad Boston accent. The great tragedy of George Jung is not just his fall from innocence; it's that he never seems remotely aware of what's happening to him. Depp, for his part, manages to make his clueless character both utterly transparent and strangely magnetic, sort of like a human black hole. It's mostly Depp's performance, in fact, that lifts Blow above its rather routine script and competent but uninspired direction. Also stars Penelope Cruz, Franka Potente and Paul Reubens.
Brazil (NR) Before there was 12 Monkeys, there was this: Terry Gilliam's deranged masterpiece of grimy future shock is equal parts 1984, Monty Python, a half-ironic take on the sort of romantic fantasies you find air-brushed on the sides of vans, A Clockwork Orange and — always and everywhere — ducts, ducts, ducts. Jonathan Pryce is a downtrodden clerk in a dreary, relentlessly paranoid future society who finds himself caught between his increasingly vivid utopian daydreams and some ominous and potentially deadly conspiratorial forces. The film's long, tortured history involves numerous disastrous edits and, it's rumored, up to six completely different endings. All of this makes for a somewhat overlong and convoluted movie, but much of it is astonishing and the production design still ranks among the most original ever. Starring Michael Palin, Ian Holm and Robert De Niro, with a screenplay co-written by Tom Stoppard. April 29 at Tampa Theatre.
Bridget Jones's Diary (R) An English everywoman in the limbo between youth and middle-age, Bridget Jones is single (although not by choice), slightly overweight, smokes and drinks too much, doesn't get on that well with her nagging mum, and finds herself constantly falling for the wrong sort of man (like her sexy scoundrel of a boss, impeccably played by Hugh Grant), while soundly rejecting the ones who might just turn out to be Mr. Right. There's an undeniable charm to this pleasantly droll comedy, but for all the humorous winks, nudges, quirks and buffoonery, there's an inescapable blandness to it all, something formulaic and compromised that makes it difficult to completely give ourselves over to Bridget Jones's Diary.
The Brothers (R) Four successful black men ponder life, love and friendship while on the brink of marriage. Sound familiar? It should. This is the third in a string of such films (including The Wood and The Best Man) and is by far the worst of them. Morris Chestnut (The Best Man, Boyz 'N the Hood) plays the compassionate one who thinks he's finally met the right woman — until he discovers that she used to date his father (Oops!). Also stars Bill Bellamy, Shemar Moore and D.L. Hughley.
Chocolat (PG-13) Free-spirited Juliette Binoche opens a chocolate shop in a repressed village, setting up a didactic conflict of indulgence vs. denial. The French locales, food and faces are lovingly photographed (the disarming ensemble includes Judi Dench, Johnny Depp and Alfred Molina), but the film cannot equal the comparably themed but richer Babette's Feast. Chocolat melts in your hands, not in your heart.