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The Monitor Movie Guide

(Page 4 of 4)

Director: Tamara Jenkins. With Natasha Lyonne, Alan Arkin, Marisa Tomei, David Krumholtz. (91 min.)

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+++ The tacky side of the 90210 ZIP Code is spotlighted in this sardonic comedy about a teenage girl coping with adolescent uncertainties plus an eccentric family that can't hold onto the bottom rung of the bourgeoisie. SaVy performances and an unpredictable story make this a memorable debut for filmmaker Jenkins, a newcomer with a promising future.

++1/2 Offbeat, lightweight, humorous.

Sex/Nudity: Four scenes with nudity, one scene of implied sex. Violence: 2 instances of stabbing a man's thigh with a fork. Profanity: 50 somewhat-mild expressions. Drugs: 4 scenes including cigarette smoking, drug overdose, and selling pot.


Director: Gregory Nava. With Larenz Tate, Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox, Lela Rochon, Little Richard (120 min.)

++ The story of pop singer, bigamist, and drug abuser Frankie Lymon as seen through the eyes of his three widows. Many of the comic and dramatic scenes are wildly off-kilter, but the doo-wop music packs a nostalgic wallop and Little Richard shows up occasionally to blow the movie wide open.

+ Uninspired, melodramatic, good sound track.

Sex/Nudity: 2 fully nude love scenes, one highly suggestive scene. Violence: 4 scenes of physical fighting. Profanity: 82 expressions. Drugs: 2 hallucinogen scenes, 1 scene of heroin use.


Director: Neil LaBute. With Ben Stiller, Catherine Keener, Aaron Eckhart, Nastassja Kinski, Jason Patric. (100 min.)

++ Six young urbanites turn their personal relationships into a complicated web of friendship, romance, deception, and betrayal, which LaBute appears to believe is normal behavior for the Generation X crowd. The results have a grim fascination, but as with his earlier "In the Company of Men," the movie is a lot nastier than necessary to make its cautionary points.

Sex/Nudity: 13 instances of sex enacted, depicted on stage, fantasized, or explicitly described; also constant talk about sex. Violence: Discussion of homosexual rape and sex used for revenge; man beats violently on locked bathroom door. Profanity: 133 expressions, mostly strong. Drugs: Social drinking; cigarette smoking.


(In stores Sept. 15)



Director: Brad Silberling. With Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Dennis Franz. (112 min.)

++ In love with a beautiful heart surgeon, an angel decides to "fall" into mortality so he can experience human love.

+++ Life-affirming, thought-provoking, pensive.



Director: Stephen Sommers. With Trent Williams, Famke Janssen, Anthony Heald. (110 min.)

+ Assorted adventurers battle sea monsters in the briny deep.

++ Alien-esque, good sense of humor, scary.



Director: Spike Lee. With Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, John Turturro, Lonette McKee. (128 min.)

+++ A father is offered early release from prison if he can persuade his son, a gifted basketball player, to attend the local college instead of signing with one of the high-powered institutions that are tempting him with offers of money, sex, and sin.

+++ Gritty, lurid, ambitious.



Director: Jonathan Darby. With Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnathon Schaech, Nina Foch. (98 min.)

+ A woman inflicts unconscionable cruelty on her pregnant daughter-in-law attempting to keep her son on the beautiful Virginia farm.