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The Monitor Movie Guide

(Page 3 of 4)



Sex/Nudity: Several scenes of nudity and sex; homosexual undertone. Violence: None. Profanity: Several dozen harsh expressions. Drugs: 65 instances of drugs and alcohol.

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FIRELIGHT (R)

Director: William Nicholson. With Sophie Marceau, Stephen Dillane, Kevin Anderson, Lia Williams, Dominique Belcourt, Joss Ackland. (103 min.)

++ Needing money to settle her father's debts, a young woman agrees to bear a child for a wealthy man whose wife is an invalid, then tracks down the little girl years later and takes a job as her governess. The story is compassionate and humane, but many scenes are trite or unbelievable, and the movie is drenched in corny music that detracts from the emotions it's supposed to enhance.

+++ Romantic, Bront-esque, period drama.

Sex/Nudity: 4 brief sex scenes, 2 include partial nudity. Violence: None. Profanity: 9 mild expressions. Drugs: 8 instances of social drinking. .

HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK (R)

Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan. With Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs, Whoopi Goldberg, Regina King. (125 min.)

++ Vacationing in Jamaica after getting downsized from her executive desk, a 40-year-old woman falls for a 20-year-old man who refuses to be dissuaded by either their age difference or the skepticism of their friends and relatives. Bassett and Diggs are appealing as the slightly odd couple, but the movie rambles on too long and falls back on steamy clichs.

+++ Warm, funny, refreshing.

Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes of nudity, 2 scenes of sex. Violence: None. Profanity: 21 expressions. Drugs: 1 cigar smoker, 1 scene with alcohol, drugs discussed in a hospital.

LA SENTINELLE (NOT RATED)

Director: Arnaud Desplechins. With Emmanuel Salinger, Thibault de Montalembert, Valerie Dreville, Bruno Todeschini. (150 min.)

+++ After a train journey during the height of the cold war, a European student finds a shrunken head inexplicably placed into his luggage and encounters a series of sociopolitical enigmas as he tries to unravel this mystery. Although it loses some of its punch as its secrets are revealed, this 1992 drama placed Desplechins on the cinematic map as a thoughtful French filmmaker whose style is a saVy blend of the cool, the calculated, and the paradoxical.

A MERRY WAR (NOT RATED)

Director: Robert Bierman. With Richard E. Grant, Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Wadham. (101 min.)

+++ Entertaining adaptation of George Orwell's amusing novel "Keep the Aspidistra Flying," about a young poet who declares war on money and sticks to his guns even when the ugliness of poverty draws uncomfortably near. The filmmaking is smooth and the acting is excellent, but the picture shares the novel's weakness of a flabby final scene.

NEXT STOP WONDERLAND (R)

Director: Brad Anderson. With Hope Davis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Gelfant, Jos Zuiga, Lyn Vaus, Robert Klein, Victor Argo, Arnie Reisman. (94 min.)

++ A young woman tries to convince herself that contented solitude is preferable to the unenticing men who dog her trail, but can't stop wondering if a really nice guy will ever come her way. The movie gains a few points for its colorfully filmed Boston background and bright bossa-nova music. But it's filmed in a fake-spontaneous style that's as stale and artificial as the relationships between the characters.

+++ Down-to-earth, contemporary, romantic.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of implied sex. Violence: None. Profanity: 19 expressions, mostly mild. Drugs: Some social drinking and smoking, the main character drinks and smokes to relieve boredom.

SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS (R)