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JURASSIC LARK; Weary replay of dinosaur adventure.

Byline: Richard Williamson

THAT gnashing of teeth you can hear is not Tyrannosaurus Rex munching on human bones.

It's the sound of film fans bored silly by yet another summer of sequels.

Take JURASSIC PARK III (PG), which is an entirely predictable and rather weary re-run of everything we'd already seen in two previous outings among the man-eating lizards.

Without Steven Spielberg in the director's chair, this one lacks entirely his trademark combination of breathless excitement blended with a sense of wonder.

But at least Sam Neill is back as Alan Grant, the dinosaur expert from the original movie and a reluctant participant in this latest adventure.

A boy called Eric (Trevor Morgan) has been accidentally marooned on the island where the dinosaurs roam.

His parents, Paul (William H. Macy) and Amanda (the amazingly irritating Tea Leoni), are determined to rescue him despite a total ban on humans going anywhere near the place.

Having conned Grant into joining them, they promptly crash their plane and find themselves just one small step ahead of the scaly beasts who, it now turns out, are quite bright and actually talk to one another.

With little new to say, a severe shortage of suspense and a collection of special effects that no longer seem awesome, this is all rather tedious stuff.

Never mind the ethics of genetically engineering dinosaurs from scraps of DNA, how can Hollywood justify this cynical cloning of old movies?

MINNIE Driver and Mary McCormack obviously enjoyed themselves in HIGH HEELS AND LOW LIFES (15). It's just a pity that the audience doesn't have quite as much fun.

This is a strangely old-fashioned, Mel Smith-directed British comedy that takes a much gentler line than other recent gangster capers.

Nurse Shannon (Driver) and her actress pal Frances (McCormack) accidentally overhear a telephone call about an ongoing robbery in a safe-deposit vault.

The police don't believe them so the two women decide to take action themselves.

After much soul-searching and earnest promises to use the money to do good, like buying equipment for Shannon's hospital, they decide to blackmail the robbers.

Naturally, the plan goes awry when the amateur extortionists fall foul of ruthless gangland bosses Mason (Kevin McNally) and Kerrigan (Michael Gambon), who respond with extreme violence.

The women may swear like troopers but this film is much less sordid than many of its contemporaries, marooned somewhere between a traditional Ealing comedy and the grubbily brash style of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

McCormack and Driver give it all they can in an acceptably amusing movie but it's definitely not the dog's whatsits, as East End gangsters tend to say.

Smoothie

Frankly, ANIMAL ATTRACTION (12) is a load of bull.

Having had her heart broken by a smoothie called Ray (Greg Kinnear), television researcher Jane (Ashley Judd) develops a theory to explain why men are insensitive love rats.

This is based on a comparison with cattle because, apparently, bulls mate with a cow once and then get bored - moving on to chat up the next new heifer.

Jane concludes that blokes are much the same. This is confirmed by her womanising flatmate Eddie (Hugh Jackman) who makes a point of sleeping with a different girl every night.

In collusion with her best friend Liz (Marisa Tomei), Jane publishes her ideas under a pseudonym in a magazine.

It's a big success until everyone starts clamouring for interviews with the author, including Jane's own boss (Ellen Barkin).

Not only must Jane produce a formidable, 65-year-old battleaxe of a professor but she is no longer even sure that the theory is valid.

Are all men useless oafs, or just some of them?

Ashley Judd is a chirpy heroine in what turns out to be an unexceptional romantic comedy with an obligatory dash of pathos.

But it has no real surprises, a sedate pace and a romantic punchline that is telegraphed right from the start.

RECESS: SCHOOL'S OUT (U) is this summer's Disney cartoon for the kids - but whether it will keep them quiet for long is questionable.

A gang of primary school kids have to thwart a dastardly villain who is plotting to abolish not only playtime but the whole of the holidays.

James Woods and Dabney Coleman provide the main voices in what is a rather bland piece of television-style animation.

This may work on the box but it is far too flat and stilted for the cinema, where audiences are used to the dazzling tricks at the disposal of animators these days.

The message is all about the joys of childhood.

Sadly, this movie isn't one of them.

TOP 10 FILMS

1. Tomb Raider

2. Jurassic Park 3

3. Shrek

4. The Mummy Returns

5. Evolution

6. Get Over It

7. Pokemon III

8. Sweet November

9. Bridget Jones's Diary

10. Pearl Harbour

(Birmingham Odeon)

CAPTION(S):

DINNER TIME... a Jurassic Park dinosaur tucks into another feast
COPYRIGHT 2001 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 22, 2001
Words:815
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