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A COUPLE OF HIGH-FIVES BETWEEN CRITICS.

Byline: Bob Strauss Daily News Film Writer

Of all the movies coming up, the following five could really be something. No guarantees, though; last year at this time, I thought ``The Thin Red Line'' would, at least, keep me awake.

Anywhere but Here: Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman sound perfectly cast as the dysfunctional mother and daughter from Mona Simpson's brilliantly observed novel. And director Wayne Wang made one of the best parent/child movies of all time, ``The Joy Luck Club.'' (April)

Cradle Will Rock: The story behind Orson Welles' almost aborted staging of a controversial play in 1930s New York. Tim Robbins directs an immensely cool cast that includes Joan and John Cusack, Vanessa Redgrave, John Turturro and Emily Watson, all playing famous (and infamous) cultural figures of the era. (Fall)

The Fight Club If Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are ever going to redeem themselves for ``Meet Joe Black'' and ``American History X,'' respectively, it will be in this surreal, gritty thriller by the director of ``Seven,'' David Fincher. (Summer)

Magnolia Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, the Valley's own cinematic bard, returns with another sprawling, multicharacter study of the tough and tender side of San Fernando Valley living. Hopefully as bold and insightful but perhaps less pornographic than Anderson's scintillating ``Boogie Nights.''

Summer of Sam Spike Lee is at his best when depicting hot and bothered New York summers, so maybe this reality-based look at a '70s neighborhood haunted by a serial killer will recapture his glorious work of ``Do the Right Thing.'' (Summer)

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: Fight Club: Edward Norton and Brad Pitt star in this boxing movie. (Summer)
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 15, 1999
Words:273
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