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In Brief: "Holy Smoke!" and "Toy Story 2"

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In Jane Campion's Holy Smoke!, Kate Winslet may be playing an Australian girl who falls under a guru's spell while traveling in India, but she's the true spellbinder of the piece: Whether her Ruth is smoldering in a sari or cavorting on an emu ranch, Winslet keeps you watching. The film, otherwise something of a botch, is about what happens when Ruth, lured back to her family, squares off with a cult deprogrammer (Harvey Keitel). The sexual politics between them is like Feminism for Dummies, and Keitel's held-in performance doesn't credibly account for his transformation from cock of the walk to whimperer. It probably all looked good on paper, but the playing out is something else again. . . . In the marvelous Toy Story 2, there's a scene in which Mrs. Potato Head gently counsels Mr. Potato Head as he is about to embark on a dangerous mission that is more observant about how married people act than most of this year's overstuffed live-action "relationship" dramas. In this sequel, Woody and Buzz Lightyear and the rest are joined by a fresh fleet of computer-generated wonders, and the results are so exhilaratingly spry that you leave on a high -- a sure sign of an instant classic.


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