"Rounders" and "Simon Birch" head tomorrow's movie openings

By Josh Wolk
September 10, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Now that fall is here, the deluge of Oscar-hopeful dramas begins. Tomorrow sees the following sober openings:

  • Rounders Matt Damon has moved from solving equations to counting cards, playing an ex-gambler who is sucked back into the world of underground poker to help his ex-con, childhood friend (Edward Norton) raise money to settle a debt with the Russian mob. (EW grade: B)
  • Simon Birch A dwarf boy helps his best friend discover who his father is after the friend’s mother (Ashley Judd) dies in this movie based loosely on the John Irving novel, “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” Irving asked Disney to change the characters’ names and have the screen credit for his book changed from “Based on” to “Suggested by.” (EW grade: C-)
  • Without Limits Billy Crudup (“Sleepers”) plays the legendary runner Steve Prefontaine, and Donald Sutherland plays his coach, in this biopic written and directed by Robert Towne, the screenwriter of such classic films as “Shampoo” and “Chinatown.” “Limits” opens in limited release tomorrow and will expand nationally on September 25. (EW grade: A-)
  • Touch of Evil Orson Welles’ 1958 classic has become even more Wellesian, now that editors have recut his film according to notes that the oft-victimized director sent Universal after studio executives kicked him out of his own editing room and took over the movie. Charlton Heston stars as a Mexican (yes, you read that right) detective investigating a murder with a corrupt American detective (Welles) at the border. (EW grade: A)

  • Rounders Matt Damon has moved from solving equations to counting cards, playing an ex-gambler who is sucked back into the world of underground poker to help his ex-con, childhood friend (Edward Norton) raise money to settle a debt with the Russian mob. (EW grade: B)
  • Simon Birch A dwarf boy helps his best friend discover who his father is after the friend’s mother (Ashley Judd) dies in this movie based loosely on the John Irving novel, “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” Irving asked Disney to change the characters’ names and have the screen credit for his book changed from “Based on” to “Suggested by.” (EW grade: C-)
  • Without Limits Billy Crudup (“Sleepers”) plays the legendary runner Steve Prefontaine, and Donald Sutherland plays his coach, in this biopic written and directed by Robert Towne, the screenwriter of such classic films as “Shampoo” and “Chinatown.” “Limits” opens in limited release tomorrow and will expand nationally on September 25. (EW grade: A-)
  • Touch of Evil Orson Welles’ 1958 classic has become even more Wellesian, now that editors have recut his film according to notes that the oft-victimized director sent Universal after studio executives kicked him out of his own editing room and took over the movie. Charlton Heston stars as a Mexican (yes, you read that right) detective investigating a murder with a corrupt American detective (Welles) at the border. (EW grade: A)
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