The Great Escape

Chain Gangs! Cast Aways! Kung Fu! Chocolate! ... It's Time for the Holiday Film Previews

Finding Forrester

D: Gus Van Sant; with Sean Connery, Rob Brown, Anna Paquin, F. Murray Abraham, Busta Rhymes.

Is Gus Van Sant going soft? After a decade of making complicated, messy masterpieces like Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho, Van Sant finally earned a little respect with the fuzzy, friendly Good Will Hunting. Following his aberrant remake of Psycho, Van Sant seems to be returning to the similarly audience-friendly terrain of his 1997 Oscar winner. Take one aging, beloved actor playing a mentor role (Sean Connery here, Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting), throw in a misunderstood genius (newcomer Rob Brown in the Matt Damon role), and, just for good publicity, make sure there's a neat, media-friendly success story behind the film. (Radio DJ and first-time screenwriter Mike Rich beat the odds and won the coveted Nichols' fellowship with Finding Forrester; no need to rehash the Damon/Affleck "local boys make good" angle.) Connery also produced the film, about a young basketball star who secretly harbors writing ambitions nurtured by Connery. Supposedly, Connery had some reservations about Van Sant's subtextual homosexual implications, so hey, hopefully this one ain't so soft after all. And isn't that Busta Rhymes listed in the credits? (Dec. 25)

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