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. ++++ Excellent +++1/2 Very Good +++ Good ++ 1/2 Average ++ Fair +1/2 Poor + WorstSkip to next paragraph
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NEW RELAESES CHILDREN OF HEAVEN (PG) Director: Majid Majidi. With Mohammad Amir Naji, Mir Farrokh Hashemian, Bahare Seddiqi. (88 min.) +++ Burdened by the poverty of his family, a young boy in Tehran dreams of winning a prize in a local race so he wont have to share a single pair of shoes with his sister. This modestly produced family drama has all the poignancy and humor associated with todays vibrant Iranian film industry.
MY NAME IS JOE (NOT RATED) Director: Ken Loach. With Peter Mullan, Louise Goodall, Davie McKay. (105 min.) +++ A social worker starts a complex romantic relationship with a recovering alcoholic whos eager to start a constructive new life but apprehensive about the challenges he knows hell face. Loach is one of the worlds most deeply humanistic and politically alert filmmakers, and this expertly acted drama finds him close to his top form.
SIX-STRING SAMURAI (PG-13) Director: Lance Mungia. With Jeffrey Falcon, Justin McGuire, Stephane Gauger, John Sakisian. (81 min.) + Surreal action comedy about a wandering warrior who rescues an endangered orphan and faces off against Death himself as part of a quest to become the post-apocalyptic king of rock n roll. Fantasy fans may enjoy some of the gimmicks, but The Road Warrior did much of this better and sooner.
STILL CRAZY (R) Director: Brian Gibson. With Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly, Timothy Spall, Juliet Aubrey, Jimmy Nail, Bill Nighy, Rachel Stirling, Bruce Robinson, Helena Bergstrom. (96 min.) +++ Hoping to recapture the glory of years gone by, a washed-up rock musician decides to reunite the band that made him fleetingly famous in the not-so- swinging 70s. Although the plot and dialogue are less original than one might hope, a sensational cast and a lively spirit make this one of the best rock comedies since This Is Spinal Tap launched the genre.
VIRUS (R) Director: John Bruno. With Jamie Lee Curtis, WIlliam Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Joanna Pacula, Marshall Bell. (110 min.) DUD Combine the plots of Alien, Terminator, and Star Trek, and you end up with Virus. Jamie Lee Curtis and five dimwitted crewmen find themselves trapped aboard a Russian ghost ship, battling an evil, electrical space monster that has traveled to earth to create cyborgs to destroy mankind. Virus should have been quarantined and sent straight to video. By John Christian Hoyle Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 28 graphic scenes of robot alien attacks and explosions. Profanity: 74 expressions. Drugs: 2 instances of alcohol use.
CURRENTLY IN RELEASE AFFLICTION (R) Director: Paul Schrader. With Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, Willem Dafoe, James Coburn, Mary Beth Hurt. (115 min.) +++ Closely following Russell Bankss richly textured novel, this dark-toned drama traces a series of emotionally wrenching events in the life of a New Hampshire policeman whose family problems range from spats with his former wife to intermittent rage against his alcoholic father. Nolte gives one of his most fully realized performances, Coburn makes an amazingly powerful comeback, and Schraders filmmaking has never been more expressive or assured. +++ Grim, tragic, outstanding acting. Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 6 instances of violence ranging from comical to an offstage killing. Profanity: 137 expressions. Drugs: 15+ harsh instances of alcohol abuse, some tied to violence.
ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE (R) Director: Larry Clark. With James Woods, Vincent Kartheiser, Melanie Griffith, Natasha Gregson Wagner, James Otis, Christopher Doyle. (101 min.) ++ An experienced thug invites a drug-abusing teenager to become his protg, leading to a violent crime spree. Clarks first movie since the controversial Kids manages to be jarringly naturalistic and flagrantly melodramatic at the same time, bursting with explicit horrors that sound a loud alarm over antisocial elements in Americas heartland.