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Volume 2, Issue 1                            University of Houston

Anna and the King and Bicentennial Man help audiences enjoy the holidays

Andrew Cooper/Twentienth Century Fox

East meets West as Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat explore themes of politics and love in the new Fox drama Anna and the King.


Courtesy of Dream Quest Images

Robin Williams is not quite human as he plays a familyís personal android in the comedy Bicentennial Man.

By Carla Neighbors
Staff Writer

Anna and the King

Jodie Foster gives one of her most outstanding performances in the new movie Anna and the King. The two-and-a-half hour movie will keep your eyes riveted to the screen.

The movie has themes of treason, politics, loyalty, loss and love. You will laugh, cry and walk away mystified as you are transported to Siam in 1862, with the monarchy and royalty of early British customs.

The movie also features Chow Yun-Fat (The Corrupter). The actors are definitely worth Oscar nominations in this timeless epic of East meets West. Customs clash and emotions soar as the drama plays out.

Directed by Andy Tennant (Ever After), Anna and the King features an international crew with actors from more than 20 countries.

"The Thai face is unique. We wanted faces in our film that you haven't seen before, so we incorporated the real-life influences of Siam's neighboring countries, including Burma, Vietnam and even the colonized countries where there was a co-mingling between the British and the French," Tennant said.

This idea was brilliant. The casting of new faces helped the lifelike quality of the film.

This is a definite must-see and is well worth the ticket price.

Rating: A+

Bicentennial Man

Audience members may feel mildly disappointed when Bicentennial Man, starring Robin Williams, Sam Neill, Embeth Davidtz, Wendy Crewson and Oliver Platt, doesn't come close to their anticipated desires.

The plot of one android's 200-year journey to become a man is portrayed well. However, time seems to tick by slowly, as no action ever really takes place.

With a climax that is pretty much on an even keel with the rest of the movie, the viewers may find themselves wondering how the directors will be able to wrap up the film.

The costumes stand out, and it was hard to tell that Robin Williams wasn't an android.

This is one of those movies that you might have to see two or three times to fully appreciate, mainly because it is almost unfathomable to think a robot would share in our daily lives and interact with our families.

This is the first time director Chris Columbus and Williams have worked together since 1993's Mrs. Doubtfire, which grossed $219 million at the box office.

Disney actually pulled the plug on Bicentennial Man just a few weeks after shooting began.

"I was kind of surprised. Sets had been built, people had been hired," Columbus said.

However, after cutting some corners and convincing Disney that audiences would accept the fact that you canít see the lead actorís face for at least half of the movie, Disney agreed to continue filming.

Bicentennial Man comes to a theater near you on Dec. 17.

Rating: B

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