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Spring Movie Preview: Also in April 1998

‘The Big One,’ ‘Dirty Work,’ and more

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The Big One
Last year, when Michael Moore (Roger & Me) went on a tour to promote his book Downsize This! he took along a camera to prove the book’s point: Corporate downsizing sucks. The documentary was well received at Sundance, but got a thumbs-down from Nike’s chief exec, Phil Knight, who was interviewed for the film and asked that some of his lines be cut. Moore refused to downsize. (April 3)

Dirty Work
Former “Weekend Update” anchor Norm Macdonald, who stars as a henchman for hire, says movies are a cinch compared with live TV: “In a movie, you do what you think is funny — if it’s not funny, you don’t have to know.” (April 10)

Meet the Deedles
Twin surfer dudes (Paul Walker IV and Steve Van Wormer) are mistaken for Yellowstone park rangers and are enlisted to save Old Faithful from an evil ex-ranger (Dennis Hopper). Also featured is Bart the Bear, who appeared in The Edge. “We’re getting a lighter side of Bart,” says Van Wormer. “He doesn’t kill anybody.” (March 27)

Baby Geniuses
Kathleen Turner stars in this comedy about a psychiatrist whose plan to rule the world by molding babies into geniuses is foiled by the toddlers themselves. “What makes it special is watching the computers morph pre-speech kids so they appear to be speaking intelligently,” says Turner. (April 10)

Shooting Fish
Brit slang for “swindle,” Shooting Fish stars Dan Futterman (The Birdcage) and Stuart Townsend as two grown-up orphan grifters saving to buy a house. “It’s sort of a ’90s Robin Hood kind of thing,” says Futterman. “These guys steal from the rich and give to, um, themselves.” (April 10)

Nightwatch
Ewan McGregor plays a morgue attendant accused of unspeakable crimes. “At last,” cracks McGregor, who played a Trainspotting junkie, got naked in The Pillow Book, and kidnapped Cameron Diaz in A Life Less Ordinary, “my mother can watch me in a film and not be ashamed.”(April 17)

Tarzan and the Lost City
Starship Troopers‘ Casper Van Dien, as Hollywood’s latest Tarzan, sets out to save an ancient mystical city. The ape man was recently played by Christopher Lambert in 1984’s Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan. But Van Dien says he’s not worried: “I’ll kick Lambert’s Highlander ass.” (Late April)

The Hanging Garden
An overweight boy attempts suicide and runs away from home; when he returns 25 years later, he’s trim and openly gay, and his Nova Scotian family’s as dysfunctional as ever. “I used to think none of it is autobiographical,” says first-time director Thom Fitzgerald, “but since I’ve done a thousand interviews, I’m now convinced that I was an obese teenager who hung myself.”(April)

Go Now
Robert Carlyle really does show the full monty as a working-class Scot who learns that he has MS. “It’s about the way the illness affects his relationships,” says director Michael Winterbottom (Welcome to Sarajevo). “It’s supposed to be quite funny.” (April 10)

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