The Monitor Movie Guide
Reviews in this weekly guide are written by Monitor critic David Sterritt (the first set of '+' marks in each review) unless otherwise noted. Ratings and comments by the Monitor staff panel (the second set of '+' marks in each review) reflect the sometimes diverse views of at least three other viewers. Information on violence, drugs, sex/nudity, and profanity is compiled by the panel.Skip to next paragraph
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+++1/2 Very Good
++ 1/2 Average
THE MASK OF ZORRO (PG-13)
Director: Martin Campbell. With Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Maury Chaykin Stuart Wilson, Matt Letscher. (136 min.)
++ The legendary freedom-fighter of 19th-century California trains a young bandit to carry on his struggle against a former Spanish governor who has already wrecked Zorro's family and now wants to create an independent nation on the backs of its ruthlessly exploited people. This is proudly old-fashioned entertainment in every respect except its often excessive violence. The heroes are as dashing as can be, and Zeta-Jones definitely has a promising Hollywood future.
++1/2 Spirited, classic hero-villain tale, fun.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: Several dozen scenes of high-intensity sword-fighting and brawls resulting in deaths, some explosions. Profanity: A few mild expressions. Drugs: 5 scenes of social drinking and smoking, 2 scenes of drunkenness.
THE SILVER SCREEN: COLOR ME LAVENDER (NOT RATED)
Director: Mark Rappaport. With Dan Butler and clips of Walter Brennan and other classic movie stars. (101 min.)
+++ The gifted director of "Rock Hudson's Home Movies" and "From the Diaries of Jean Seberg" assembled this revealing look at the devious ways in which Hollywood winked, peeked, and indirectly glanced at homosexuality in countless pictures of bygone decades, but hardly ever faced up to the social, cultural, or psychological issues raised by the subject.
SMALL SOLDIERS (PG-13)
Director: Joe Dante. With Kirsten Dunst, Grergory Smith, Jay Mohr, Phil Hartman, Kevin Dunn, Denis Leary, and voices of Frank Langella, Tommy Lee Jones, Christina Ricci. (101 min.)
++ Two groups of ridiculously high-tech action figures - soldiers with more muscles than brains and barbarians looking for their homeland - get into a furious war in a sleepy Midwestern town, thanks to a high-schooler who installs them in his dad's toy store. The teenage characters are bland and the cartoonish violence is surprisingly strong at times, but the picture erupts into Dante's patented lunacy - he directed "Explorers" and "Gremlins" years ago - just often enough to keep things interesting.
++ Cynical, ballistic, violent.
Sex/Nudity/Drugs: None. Violence: Numerous scenes of fighting between toy action-figures, bloodless but strong hints of ugliness. Profanity: Several strong expressions.
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY (R)
Directors: Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly. With Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Chris Elliott, Lee Evans, Lin Shaye, Jeffrey Tambor, W. Earl Brown. (120 min.)
++ Still hopelessly in love with a high school heartthrob he hardly knew, a New England yuppie tracks her down to Miami, then competes for her affection with various new rivals, including the private eye he hired to locate her. This comedy is as down-and-dirty as you'd expect from the Farrelly team, who launched their career with "Dumb and Dumber" and "Kingpin," but more than one sequence manages to be hilarious on its own outrageously crass terms.