Oct. 25, 2002 -- Now in theaters: Tuck Everlasting, Ghost Ship, The Ring, The Truth About Charlie.
Tuck Everlasting — Tuck Everlasting is a beautifully told fable with a kind of Halloween twist. A young girl falls in love with a young man who will stay young forever. This is a family film in a league with The Little Princess or Old Yeller. Please, see it with your family. Trick or Treat Grade: Treat! Regular Grade: B+
Ghost Ship — The crew of a salvage tug finds a ghost ship, and goes on a search and destroy mission. You've been to the movies, so you know what I mean. They search. And, one by one, they get destroyed. After a very brutal and bloody beginning, Ghost Ship plays like an old-fashioned ghost story, the kind that kept you awake when you were a kid. Trick or Treat Grade: Treat! Regular Grade: B-
The Ring — The premise: Watch a videotape and you'll be dead in seven days. Which makes it very difficult for me not to say, "Watch this movie and you'll wish you were dead in an hour and a half." But, nope, it's not that bad. This remake of a hugely successful Japanese horror film is very well acted by Naomi Watts. It's just not that scary. Trick or Treat Grade: Trick! Regular Grade: C+
The Truth About Charlie — Charade is one of Hollywood's great romantic thrillers. The Truth About Charlie is a bizarre, completely unnecessary remake. It's as if director Jonathan Demme challenged himself to make every scene in his version worse than the original — and he succeeds.
Even though Mark Wahlberg wears a hat, we still recognize him and are reminded every minute not who he and Thandie Newton are, but who they aren't — Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, who starred in the original.
Demme does something I've never seen another director do — he makes Paris look bad. Just in time for Halloween, this is the scariest film out there. But for the wrong reasons. In the last half hour, I kept waiting for Madonna to show up.
I am grateful to Demme for one thing, though. He was the reason I bought the DVD of Charade and watched the film for, I guess, the 11th or 12th time. It's still wonderful. Trick or Treat Grade: Boo! Regular Grade: C- (Charade gets an A-)