Warm Weather, Tepid Movies

nicole kidman, rouge, moulin AP

This week, CBS News Sunday Morning's John Leonard tells us about three movies that have come out for the summer.
I will be brief. I have somewhere else to go before next Sunday: Downhill all the way to the lost empire of Atlantis where Lara Croft will raid a tomb.

But if you must see a movie right away, I am embarrassed to admit that I like "Moulin Rouge," for roughly the same reasons that I liked "Cop Rock" and "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg." Whereas "Evolution" is mildly vulgar but also funny, with three good jokes and one great one. And "Swordfish" is insulting to the intelligence of men, women, children and microchips.

John Travolta, a plutocratic archfiend, explains "Swordfish" to Hugh Jackman, an ex-con computer hacker. But John not only lies a lot; he's also crazy. Still, Hugh needs money to save his daughter from a porn king, so he lets himself get talked into running away from Don Cheadle of the FBI, and watching Halle Berry take her clothes off, and playing with his laptop, before World War III and a flying bus.

At least "Evolution" is stupid on purpose, like Seann William Scott, who is practicing to be a firefighter when an asteroid falls down on his Arizona desert. That gets the attention of college professors David Duchovny and Orlando Jones, who have to fight off not only rapidly evolving alien slime but also the U.S. military and Julianne Moore, who pratfalls a lot so we'll think she's comically cute instead of merely smart and
beautiful. What happens next is "Ghostbusters" meets "The Blob," although it also helps to think of these aliens as dandruff.

The Leonard File
Read past reviews by John Leonard.
About "Moulin Rouge," what can I say except that it's ridiculous and excessive and I like it anyway, because everybody tries so hard to put on an opera in a garage they pretend is Paris, with Ewan McGregor as the poor poet, Nicole Kidman as the consumptive courtesan, music videos instead of Verdi or Puccini, and what on earth were they thinking? "Moulin Rouge" is a little Orpheus, a lot of "Camille," plus songs by everybody from Rodgers & Hammerstein to the Beatles and Madonna to Elton John and Fat Boy Slim, as if Fellini had made a musical out of "Breakfast at Tiffany's." And every minute is so sincere, you ither cringe or grin. I've been told to loosen up. So here and now, I fall apart.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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