Snap Judgment: Movies

Déjà Vu

Directed by Tony Scott

This flashy Jerry Bruckheimer thriller, which starts with the terrorist bombing of a New Orleans ferry, asks that perennial sci-fi question: if you go back in time, can you change the future? Denzel Washington's ATF investigator, with the help of "top secret" technology, time-travels back to save the life of (and fall in love with) Paula Patton, who holds the key to the terrorist's identity. It's preposterous, but never dull: Scott whips the action into a taut, tasty lather.

On the Day Bobby Kennedy Died

Bobby," Emilio Estevez's heartfelt and softheaded tribute to Robert F. Ken-nedy, follows 22 fiction-al characters at the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, the day of Kennedy's assassination. Estevez was 6 that day, and his concept of the politician (who's glimpsed in newsreel footage) is unabashedly starry-eyed. The figure who presides over this film is purely mythic: he's the great What-Might-Have-Been, a convenient symbol for all our liberal dreams.

In other words, "Bobby" isn't really about Bobby. Owing a conceptual debt to both "Grand Hotel" and "Nashville," it's a star-studded, sentimental panorama that earnestly attempts to encapsulate that traumatic, idealistic time through its "representative" fictional characters. They include Demi Moore as an alcoholic singer; Sharon Stone as a hairdresser; William H. Macy as her unfaith-ful husband, the hotel manager; Lindsay Lohan as a girl marrying Elijah Wood to keep him from going to Vietnam. Laurence Fishburne is an erudite chef; Ashton Kutcher, an acid dealer, and Martin Sheen, Emilio's dad, a depressive businessman. Etc. All the actors get their Big Moments, but verisimilitude goes out the window.

Finally, we get the assassination. The director pulls out all the stops, showing us the horror and chaos in slow motion as we hear RFK's eloquent pleas for national healing and an end to violence. You don't have to have lived through the period to find this wrenching. And you don't have to doubt Estevez's sincerity to find it emotionally opportunistic.

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