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CELESTIAL CLOCKWORK (Not rated)Skip to next paragraph
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* A young Venezuelan woman leaves the altar on her wedding day and flees to Paris. There she dreams of becoming an opera star while sharing an apartment with four eccentric new friends, including a video artist who disapproves of her ambitions. Ariadna Gil gives a lively performance in Fina Torres's comedy. S N P
COURAGE UNDER FIRE (R)
*** Ordered by the White House to determine whether a female helicopter pilot should receive a posthumous medal, an army investigator hears a different version of her story from everyone he interviews, raising questions of military honor and the chaotic nature of wartime. Edward Zwick directed this thoughtful drama, helped by Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan in the main roles. Contains a great deal of explicit violence and foul language as well as alcoholism and drug addiction. V P
*** Intense, compelling, well-crafted, violent.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a witness-protection agent battling his treacherous boss over a weapon-smuggling operation. The picture is effectively made, but viewers will want to erase the horrific violence that erupts in scene after scene, leading to an unusually mean-spirited finale. Charles Russell directed. V P
*** Classic Schwarzenegger, supercharged, grisly.
* Two convicts, one black and one white, flee a Georgia road gang and enter a complicated mix of action and intrigue centering on a missing computer disk. Kevin Hooks's adventure movie starts like a rehash of the '50s classic "The Defiant Ones," then turns into a hackneyed chase picture full of sickening violence, thudding vulgarity, and silly jokes. Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin star. V P N S
* Intricate plot, fast-moving, disjointed, bloody.
THE FRIGHTENERS (R)
* A cut-rate ghostbuster, played by Michael J. Fox, feuds with an ectoplasmic bad guy who's continuing a murder spree he started when he was still alive. The special effects are more impressive than in Peter Jackson's earlier horror comedy, "Dead Alive," but the story is mostly an excuse for exaggerated mayhem and violent jokes about unfunny subjects. V P S
** Ghoulish, extremely violent, and idiotic, but has good acting and special effects.
HARRIET THE SPY (PG)
*** A bright sixth-grader keeps tabs on her urban environment and jots her observations in a notebook. But grown-ups gripe when this interferes with school, and kids complain when her writing criticizes them. Spunky acting and bright, color-filled photography make the picture fun to watch even when the story wanders. Directed by Bronwen Hughes and based on Louise Fitzhugh's hugely popular novel. P V
*** Snappy, relevant, funny.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (G)
**** This feature-length animation turns Victor Hugo's tragic hero into a candidate for the Seven Dwarfs, frolicking with cute little gargoyles when he isn't busy helping a handsome soldier save a gorgeous gypsy from an evil judge. The cartooning is expertly done in keeping with the Walt Disney tradition. But some may question the wisdom of turning a serious, complex, and often tormented literary classic into a feel-good musical comedy. Some scenes are much too intense or violent for young children. V
*** Thought-provoking, breathtaking, sophisticated.
INDEPENDENCE DAY (PG-13)