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Daily News from New York, New York • 758

Daily Newsi
New York, New York
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'Shdb Seonse' ami aoDneveoTi ride Plodding thriller about a haunted boy does have a great ending, if little else By JACK MATHEWS DAILY NEWS MOVIE CRITIC THE SIXTH SENSE. With Bruce Willis. Toni Col-lette, Haley Joel Osment, Anna Crowe. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

At area theaters. Running time: 107 mins. Rated PG-13: Gory images, mature themes. that would otherwise have no reality to them). Sensing that Cole is on the same suicidal track as his former patient, Crowe dedicates himself to breaking through the boy's barriers.

With no other patients in sight, Crowe is on a full-time house-call alert, becoming Cole's constant companion, a be-there guy for the moment of truth. When the kid finally confesses his secret, the doctor accepts it, even though he unlike Cole fit 'wvf i h. Fhether the end justifies the means isn't a question often applied to the experience of watching a movie. But MOVIE and the audience doesn't see the dead people hanging from the rafters of Cole's elementary school, or the boy with the back of his head blown that is exactly what you'll be debating after seeing M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense." It is a metaphysi cal shaggy-dog story, whose unpredictable punchline is its only redeeming feature.

"Sixth Sense" stars Bruce Willis as a child psychologist trying to redeem himself for his failure with one patient by rescuing another. In the film's jolting opening sequence, the first patient confronts Dr. Malcolm Crowe, who can barely remember his name, then blows his own brains out. Months later, Crowe is in a melancholy haze. His patient's suicide has left him emotionally isolated, from his wife (Olivia Williams) and everyone else, and desperate for a lifeline.

That's thrown out to him by Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a fragile, tormented 8-year-old boy who harbors a secret he believes he can see and hear the dead that he won't share even with his caring, hard-working single mom (Toni Col-lette, adding real emotion to scenes away, or the dying girl who lives next door. This all makes sense eventually, but getting there, which takes at least two-thirds of the movie's running time, is a ponderous bore. With crucial information withheld until the last moments, nothing else has any dramatic weight. Willis' performance is maddeningly static; he moves and speaks as if the effort might do him in. And game as he is, young Osment (he played Forrest Gump Jr.) can't carry the film on his tiny shoulders.

Shyamalan who also wrote the script, keeps his own secret very well. I was not only surprised by the film's final twist, I wasn't even looking for one. I just thought I was watching a bad movie. The end doesn't quite redeem it, but it makes you think about what you've seen. That's a saving grace of some sort.

I I Will 1 ITfn- .11 lHlll ii i i HI- mlrl Haley Joel Osment plays a frightened boy who can see the dead. uniinata' iiS VIDEO Sliiniiiiats John TYirturro's star-studded troupe puts on a loud but thoughtful show i r- Kttf" I I By JAMI BERNARD DAILY NEWS MOVIE CRITIC MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE Warner 131 rated PG-13 When Garrett's wife dies, he writes to her, drops the letter into a bottle and drops that into the sea. It's found on a beach by a newspaperwoman who tracks him down for a story, ends up in his arms. A slow-moving (though pretty) movie. Pat O'Haire 20 DATES Fox 92 rated Myles Berkowitz decided to combine his two life goals making a movie, finding love by making a documentary of his 20-date search for a woman.

This movie will make you laugh and want to slap the directorstar. Ron Givens CRUEL INTENTIONS Columbia TriStar 97 rated Two rich young stepsibling snots (Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar), bored with the easy life and easy sex, set out to ruin some more sweet-natured acquaintances in this over-the-top but delicious morality play. Not for younger teens. Gerry Pirtzer opus-in-progress is nearly sunk by a premature bad review and whose marriage to the leading lady (the elegant Kathenne Borowitz, Turturro's real-life wife) is also in danger of revisions. The characterizations are dangerously broad and bawdy, particularly Christopher Walken in uproarious dishevelment as a gay critic whose reviews are dictated by his libido, and Susan ILLUMINATA.

With John Turturro. Christopher Walken. Susan Sarandon. Kathenne Borowitz. Rufus Seweli.

Aida Turturro. Directed and co-written by John Turturro. Running time: 112 mins. Rated partial nudity, sexuality. At UA Union Square.

eneath the noisv, rarcical 'surface of John MOVIE barandon as a man-eating grande dame of the theater. There's also literal and metaphoric breast-baring by Ben Turturro's "Illumina-ta" is a thoughtful and unusually mature meditation on love. COMING TUESDAY Celebrity (Miramax) The Mod Squad (MGM) Unmade Beds (New Yorker) True Crime (Warner) The Corruptor (Warner) The Deep End of the Ocean (Columbia TriStar) Shakespeare in Love (Miramax) Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Polygram) Turturro's second stab at directing (after is highly personal (he co-wrote the script), employing a star-studded cast in a "Kiss Me Kate" style story of a theater troupe whose backstage shenanigans mirror the play they're putting together. Turturro plays a turn-of-the-century playwright whose latest Gazzara, Leo Bassi, Georgina Cates, Beverly D'Angelo, Rufus Sewell and Aida Turturro. Because the movie is incidentally about actors using their roles as a means of exploring themselves, and because it is directed by one who appreciates the craft, expect plenty of actorish flourishes.

Christopher Walken stars as an uproarious gay critic. ID ID.

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