CINEMA: DECK THE PLEX WITH TARANTINO

TIS THE SEASON FOR BIG, AMBITIOUS FILMS. SHALL WE HANG THEM FROM THE CHRISTMAS TREE? OR JUST PLAIN HANG 'EM?

Will any child want to jump out of bed on Christmas morning and rush off to a Quentin Tarantino film? Can Wag the Dog possibly be mistaken for a Snoopy holiday special? Does the 19th century Australia of Oscar and Lucinda have nearly the same Christmas kick as Scrooge's London? And Woody Allen, musing on death and betrayal--now there's the cure for seasonal depression.

The release of ambitious films at year's end has nothing to do with noel and everything to do with the Dec. 31 deadline for Academy Award qualifiers. While real people flock to Scream 2, movie people begin...

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