Formerly cool director Wayne Wang (CHAN IS MISSING, THE JOY LUCK CLUB) and perennially cool postmodern novelist Paul Auster (The Music of Chance
) collaborated on this gimmicky art-house flick, a film narrative about literary narrative. An Auster alter ego (William
Hurt) trades stories with the proprietor of a Brooklyn cigar store (Harvey Keitel); it's pretty to look at but contrived and somewhat stagy. Anyone trying to quit beware: This is the kind of unapologetic orgy of smoking that hasn't been seen on screen since the heyday of the French New Wave.