Dates in parentheses indicate a full review of the film in the Monitor.
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY When National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) meets Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) during a photo assignment, it is love at first sight. The two spend four days together while Francesca's husband and children are away. Both are forced to examine their lives and learn some hard lessons about love and commitment. Directed by Eastwood, the characters in this emotion-tugger are real, but for the most part the movie is slow moving. The film, based on Robert James Waller's novel, includes several sexual scenes and strong language. (PG-13, Warner Bros., June 2, 1995)
-- Carolee Aker
TO DIE FOR - Nicole Kidman stars as Suzanne Stone, a small-town girl who dreams of becoming a star in broadcast news. As she works her way to the top, she fails to develop morals and is so obsessed with becoming a celebrity that she will do whatever it takes - even if it means harming her loving husband. Her simple-minded view of the world is worth a few chuckles, as are her '60s-style clothes. The techniques used in this black comedy - the sharp camera angles and the flashback scenes - are brilliant. Kidman shows us that as an actress, she is capable of taking on a wide range of roles; this is her best performance yet. (R, Columbia TriStar, Sept. 26, 1995)
-- Lisa Leigh Parney
DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS - Ezekiel Rawlins's nickname may be Easy, but things aren't exactly a piece of cake when he takes a job tracking down an elusive woman in Los Angeles after World War II. Entangled in a web of murder and mysterious relationships, Easy gets a different slant on the politics and machinations of a segregated city. The plot smartly pieces together the puzzle and is guided by Denzel Washington's likeable performance. But the film drags in several unmemorable sequences for a less-than-stellar result. (R, Columbia TriStar)
-- Judy Nichols