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A TIME TO KILL (R)Skip to next paragraph
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* A white attorney defends a black worker on trial in a Mississippi town for killing the men who abducted and raped his young daughter. There's strong acting by Matthew McConaughey as the lawyer, Samuel L. Jackson as the defendant, and Sandra Bullock as a law student eager to help, among others. But the drama's attack on racism would be more persuasive if it rejected vigilante justice and recognized that hatred and violence of all kinds must be condemned if evils like bigotry are ever to be eradicated. Directed by Joel Schumacher and based on John Grisham's popular novel. V S P
*** Riveting, unsettling, surprisingly witty.
TIN CUP (R)
* Kevin Costner plays a golf pro who's loaded with talent but hasn't got a disciplined bone in his body. Can he clean up his act and win the US Open, thereby impressing the psychologist he's fallen in love with and putting her present boyfriend - a conceited golf star - in his place? Ron Shelton's romantic comedy has no more visual excitement than a televised golf tournament, but the climax is truly surprising, and there's solid acting by Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. P S N V
*** Exciting sports scenes, romantic, witty, excessive alcohol.
* The life and times of several young Scottish drug addicts. It's hard to recall a movie that etches the horrors of drug dependence more shatteringly than this British tragicomedy, which Danny Boyle has directed with ferocious energy. But moviegoers should be strongly warned that it contains over-the-top vulgarity of every description in nearly every scene. S V N P
** Iconoclastic, jarring, complex; ranges from the hilarious to the horrific; compelling but difficult to watch.
THE TRIGGER EFFECT (R)
* Power and telephone lines go haywire and so do the people caught in the disaster, fleeing town or barricading themselves in their homes and buying guns to shoot anyone who seems too threatening. A couple of effective suspense scenes can't outweigh the silliness and senselessness of the overall story. Kyle MacLachlan and Elisabeth Shue star. Written and directed by David Koepp. V P S
** Intense, thought-provoking, disturbing, reveals powerful insight into human nature.
A VERY BRADY SEQUEL (PG-13)
** The lovable Brady family is still stuck in a 1970s time warp, oblivious to the changing world around them. They're easy prey for a crook who tries to con them by pretending to be Mrs. Brady's first husband, lost at sea years ago. The comedy has some mischievous laughs, but it's less original than the first Brady movie and relies on a considerable amount of sexual innuendo about the teenagers of the family. V P
** Funny, groovy, farcical, tired.
WALKING AND TALKING (R)
** Amelia and Laura have been best friends for ages, but their relationship gets rocky as Laura prepares to marry her boyfriend while Amelia can't even decide whether to date the local video-store clerk. Perky performances by Catherine Keener and Anne Heche give warmth and humor to the cheerfully offbeat screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, who also directed the comedy. But it contains vulgar language and discussion of sex. P
** Slow-moving, endearing, flighty.
THE WIFE (Not rated)
*** A long, sometimes-crazy evening with two psychotherapists and a troubled couple that's dropped in for dinner. All the characters are a few degrees out-of-kilter, but filmmaker Tom Noonan digs into their personalities with the same insight, humor, and compassion he showed in his previous picture, the excellent "What Happened Was ..." Wallace Shawn, Julie Hagerty, Karen Young, and the multitalented Noonan provide the splendid performances. P