At the movies … One con artist , one class trip

City of Ghosts
in theaters Friday
Don’t pay eight bucks for this. Even the matinee price is stretching it. That being said, MGM’s City of Ghosts is a decent movie, taking place in mysteriously exotic Cambodia, involving kidnapping, murder and prostitution. It just might be better left to the video store rack than the theater.

The movie incorporates everything one would expect in a psychological thriller. The film focuses on Jimmy (Matt Dillon), a successful New York con artist, who flees to Cambodia after an insurance scam runs afoul.

Presumably for guidance, Jimmy searches and eventually finds his elusive mentor/father figure, Marvin (James Caan). Jimmy finds himself trapped in another of Marvin’s scams, but finds escaping Marvin’s plan to be extremely difficult. Jimmy becomes intertwined in an elaborate web of lies and conspiracies which could prove deadly.

The main problem with this film was that it just wasn’t very interesting. As the “run of the mill” story was somewhat convincing, it seemed to lack an underlying focus. The acting wasn’t bad, but the screenplay didn’t give the actors a whole lot to work with. The characters in City of Ghosts were about as complex as frozen yogurt.

Dillon’s role was nothing more than the stereotypical portrayal of a “slick-talking, smooth-acting con artist.” I was actually surprised that Vin Diesel and Keanu Reeves weren’t used to fill the film’s supporting roles, but perhaps they were asked, and turned them down.

This film tried to be original and “compellingly dramatic,” but came up predictable and felt like a repeat of every single mainstream psychological thriller I have ever seen.

If you think you’d like a predictable, mainstream “thriller,” with that guy from Something About Mary, go see City of Ghosts. Otherwise, look for this on HBO in a few short months.
-Mike Kassan

The Lizzie McGuire Movie
in theaters Friday
Sitting in the movie theater, amid throngs of 14-year-old girls, I was astonished to find myself nostalgic, thinking of my own junior high school days. Though looming finals make me long for simpler times, another round of middle school seems somewhat sadistic. In her movie debut, The Disney Channel’s Lizzie McGuire takes it all in stride, making junior high look a lot easier than I remember.

Hilary Duff plays the loveable Lizzie in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, a spin-off of the popular television show. While the movie’s plot is far-fetched, Lizzie and her friends are affable in their amusing escapades and simple humor.

Adventures abound when Lizzie, her best friend Gordo (Adam Lamberg) and the rest of the gang visit Italy on a class trip. They travel under the hilariously watchful eye of Ms. Ungermeyer (Alex Borstein). In Rome, Lizzie meets Paolo (Yani Gellman), a handsome 17-year-old Italian pop star. Paolo, along with the Italian paparazzi, mistake Lizzie for Isabella, his ex-girlfriend.

Undoubtedly flabbergasted by her resemblance to his former flame, Paolo begs to meet Lizzie the next day. Disregarding Ms. Ungermeyer’s firm rules, Lizzie feigns sickness and spends the next few days touring Rome with her Italian stallion.

While The Lizzie McGuire Movie is far from a work of artistic genius, it is easy, comical entertainment. Perfect for temporary distraction from school, The Lizzie Mcguire Movie is worth the trip.
-Catherine Clement

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