THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Jennifer Lopez and James Caviezel fall in love in Angel Eyes
In all the commotion of her career as a pop culture icon, it's easy to forget that Jennifer Lopez is also a very good actress. Her latest film, the drama Angel Eyes, casts her as Chicago cop Sharon Pogue. In the opening scene, we see her save the life of a car wreck victim. A year later, that man - Catch (James Caviezel) - saves her life when an armed criminal points a gun at her. (Catch has been secretly following Sharon around.) They begin a flirtation and eventually fall in love. The relationship is complicated by their individual troubles; he carries guilt over the car accident while she is shunned by her own family for using her career as a means to solve a family problem. Both characters must overcome their baggage and learn to tear down the walls they have built. Angel Eyes (written by Gerald DiPego and directed by Luis Mandoki) is a smart movie about - and for - adults. It examines the need for people to address their emotional wounds in order for love to enter their lives. Lopez and Caviezel bring a strong chemistry to their roles - Catch's life has spun so far out of control that he walks around in a daze, whereas Sharon overexerts herself trying to control the world around her. The bond between the characters works, partly because they act like real people. There aren't enough grown-up relationships on screen these days. Angel Eyes is refreshing in its refusal to stoop to easy cliches.

( 1/2 out of four)

Heath Ledger rides to victory in A Knight's Tale
In the recent comedy Josie and the Pussycats, there is a throwaway line of dialogue which proclaims Heath Ledger "the new Matt Damon." Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, the young actor does prove to have star charisma in A Knight's Tale, his first starring role. Ledger plays William Thatcher, a peasant who impersonates royalty in order to enter a jousting competition. Among his long-term goals are beating the insufferably smug Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell) and winning the heart of fair maiden Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon). A Knight's Tale is not your average medieval film; you figure that out in the opening sequence when a bleacher full of jousting fans starts doing the wave and singing Queen's "We Will Rock You." In fact, lots of contemporary music and attitudes can be found in the movie. And that is exactly what makes it fun. Through the tongue-in-cheek approach, A Knight's Tale is able to be both historical and current, thereby avoiding the trap of becoming stuffy. The jousting scenes are incredible to watch, and even if it is a bit overlong, writer/director Brian Helgeland keeps the pace moving at a satisfying speed.


Angel Eyes is rated R for language, violence and a scene of sexuality. The running time is 1 hour and 43 minutes.

A Knight's Tale is rated PG-13 for action violence, some nudity and brief sex related dialogue. The running time is 2 hour and 13 minutes.
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