Queen Latifah on a Royal 'Holiday'

It's a three-day weekend with Martin Luther King's birthday, and I've got three movies for you. Two of them I can recommend. I'll start with the third.

Have you seen the commercials for "Tristan and Isolde"? They're advertising it as kind of a prequel to "Romeo and Juliet." Here's the difference. That one was written by the guy who wrote "Hamlet" and "Macbeth." This one was written by the guy who wrote the sequel to "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider."

Indeed, it's a classic. "Tristan and Isolde" is a 1,000-year-old Celtic myth that became a Wagner opera. Part of the problem here is the director, who never made me feel his two not-ready-for-primetime stars came close to loving each other. At least in this one, nobody sings. (Grade C)

"Glory Road" is a must-see for kids who think 1966 was ancient history. That year, Texas Western University, now the University of Texas at El Paso, went on to win the NCAA tournament with an unprecedented all-black starting five.

Call it an almost-true story: In real life, it was coach Don Haskins' fifth season, not his first. In real life, he chose his starting five against the then all-white University of Kentucky team, not to make a point about race, but to score a lot of points on the court. They were his quickest players.

I could blow the whistle on a few more factual fouls. Hollywood, you didn't have to phony it up. There's so much honest, fist-clenching drama in the real racism -- subtle and blatant -- that this team beat. Think "Remember the Titans" with hoops and it scores. (Grade: B-)

I'm really impressed with Queen Latifah onscreen and off. "Last Holiday" is a very sweet romantic comedy that gives its audience something important to think about. It was also written for a male lead. In the 1950 original, Alec Guinness played George Bird, who goes on a soul-searching trip after he finds he doesn't have long to live.

Now Latifah is Georgia Byrd. She made it her own, and she made it wonderful. I've said it before, "Long live the Queen!" (Grade: B)

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