Freeze Frames: The Monitor Movie Guide
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GENTLEMEN DON'T EAT POETS (R)Skip to next paragraph
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*They don't watch silly movies like this, either. Sting plays a new butler who brings uproarious instability to the eccentric household of a British aristocrat (Alan Bates) and his motley group of friends and relatives. Patrick McGrath directed the dank and dour comedy from his own screenplay - a blend of the scatterbrained, the sensational, and occasionally the sick. S N V P
THE GRADUATE (PG)
**** Reissue of the classic 1967 comedy about a recent college grad who drifts into an affair with an older woman, then falls goofily in love with her daughter and scrambles to escape the traps he's fallen into. Dustin Hoffman gives the inspired performance that launched his movie career, and director Mike Nichols shows a gift for social satire that has never glistened quite so brightly since. Anne Bancroft and Katherine Ross head the marvelous supporting cast. Simon & Garfunkel spice up the soundtrack with "The Sound of Silence" and other hits. N P V
*** Provocative, sophisticated for its time, great music.
GRAY'S ANATOMY (Not rated)
*** Spalding Gray delivers one of the monologues that have become his trademark, this time putting a typically comic spin on his effort to cure an anxiety-causing illness. Inventively directed by Steven Soderbergh, although some will take offense at Gray's irreverence toward everything from sex to religion, not to mention his vivid descriptions of unpleasant physical conditions. P
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS (R)
** Class conflicts mix with romantic yearnings as two brothers from a broken home play out love-hate relationships with members of a wealthy Midwestern family. The drama is long on 1950s atmosphere and complicated feelings, short on emotional depth and real psychological insight. It also contains enough sex and nudity to make it questionable for some moviegoers who might otherwise respond to its nostalgic moods and varied performances. Pat O'Connor directed. S N V P
** Quiet, slow, too long.
KAMA SUTRA: A TALE OF LOVE (Not rated)
** Rivalry simmers for years between an aristocrat and her beautiful servant, who wind up competing for the attention of a handsome ruler. Mira Nair's sensuous drama decks out a trite and predictable tale with exquisite colors, textures, and music. Contains a number of heavily erotic sequences. S N V P
** Romantic, exotic, sensual.
*** Not long before the fall of the Soviet bloc and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, a middle-aged Czech musician agrees to a marriage of convenience with a Russian woman, then finds himself caring for her five-year-old son after she unexpectedly leaves the country. This thoughtful comedy-drama demonstrates how difficult it is to draw lines between the personal and political in the rapidly changing modern world. N S P
*** Moving, endearing, film does good job of weaving in Czechoslovakian context.
LIAR LIAR (PG-13)
** An overzealous lawyer hits personal and professional trouble when his little boy makes a birthday wish that his dad won't be able to lie for the next 24 hours. Jim Carrey proves that he's the most inspired clown in movies today, but parents should be warned that much of the picture's humor is extremely rude and crude. S V P
*** Energetic, hilarious, Carrey at his best.
LOVE & OTHER CATASTROPHES (R)
** Randy comedy about sexual shenanigans among a group of Australian university students with various orientations. Directed by Emma-Kate Croghan, a promising newcomer. S N V P
LOVE JONES (R)
*** A woman pursues her photography career while coping with romantic dilemmas involving her one-time fianc, not the most reliable person around, and a young poet she just met, who's a little too pushy for comfort. The story is thin, but it's fun to spend time with more likable African-American characters than most Hollywood movies ever put under the spotlight. Larenz Tate and Nia Long star in the comedy, which was written and directed by Theodore Witcher. Contains explicit sexual situations and language. S P N
** Hip, sexy, strong cinematography.
MANDELA (Not rated)