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The Monitor Movie Guide

(Page 2 of 3)

TEACHING MRS. TINGLE (PG-13) Director: Kevin Williamson. With Helen Mirren, Katie Holmes, Leigh Ann Watson, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael McKean, Molly Ringwald. (96 min.) u1/2 OK, heres the lesson plan for today: Were going to go over to our teachers house, clear up a misunderstanding about almost cheating on a test, and then graduate in a few days. Or so three high school students think. Instead, one of the students shoots a crossbow at their mean-spirited teacher, grazing her forehead and knocking her out. The rest of the movie, Mrs. Tingle is tied to her bed as the students figure out what to do next. Its sometimes fun and campy, but the movie turns out to be a silly mindless tale. Grade: D for dismissed. By Lisa Leigh Parney ++ Tedious, juvenile, hollow but entertaining. Sex/Nudity: No nudity, but two students get frisky on the couch and the students also plot a sex scandal. Violence: A couple of bloody scenes with punches, slaps, and a crossbow. Profanity: 24 expressions, mostly mild. Drugs: Some wine drinking; coach gets drunk; 1 cigarette.

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CURRENTLY IN RELEASE THE ASTRONAUTS WIFE (R) Director: Rand Ravich. With Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron, Nick Cassavetes, Blair Brown, Joe Morton. (124 min.) ++1/2 Its a lot spookier than you might expect. Astronaut Spencer Armacost (Depp) wont discuss the two minutes he lost contact with NASA during his latest mission. His schoolteacher wife, Jillian (Theron), senses that something is amiss but even she cant get peep one out of her spouse as home life begins to unravel. A unique psychological sci-fi thriller that sometimes drags and gets too weepy, but overall its a good scare. By Katherine Dillin ++1/2 Somber, unusual, not enough tension, creepy. Sex/Nudity: 3 sex scenes, 2 are graphic; 2 scenes with implied nudity. Violence: 7 scenes, some graphic. Profanity: 26 expressions, mostly harsh. Drugs: 2 scenes with smoking, 5 with alcohol.

CHILL FACTOR (R) Director: Hugh Johnson. With Cuba Gooding Jr., Skeet Ulrich, Peter Firth, David Paymer. (112 min.) ++ Ignore the fact that the storyline is fantastically implausible. And that the bad guy role is loaded with ludicrous antics. Theres something utterly fun about this movie. Goodings enthusiasm is infectious, and Ulrich is a brooding counterweight in this story about two average guys trying to keep a heat- sensitive weapon from a revenge-bent ex-colonel. Look for the recurring moving pictures theme of the 90s a conspiracy-riddled government. Most of all, enjoy. By Katherine Dillin

ILLUMINATA (R) Director: John Turturro. With John Turturro, Susan Sarandon, Christopher Walken, Beverly D'Angelo. (111 min.) ++ An ambitious playwright, an actress he's infatuated with, a self-important critic, and an insecure star are among the many characters of this comedy-drama about a theater troupe peddling its cultural wares in New York a century ago. While the cast and material have promise, Turturro's uneven filmmaking is stronger on superficial energy than deep-seated resonance.

THE MUSE (PG-13) Director: Albert Brooks. With Albert Brooks, Sharon Stone, Andie MacDowell, Jeff Bridges. (97 min.) +++ Afraid that his career is stalling in midstream, a Hollywood screenwriter seeks assistance from a woman who claims to be an ancient muse in a modern guise, but soon wonders if his newfound inspiration is worth the trouble this unusual friend keeps bringing him. Stone is superb, the movie-business cameo performances are very funny, and Brooks's screenplay is sharp enough to suggest he's found a muse of his own. +++ Entertaining, intelligent, uneven. Sex/Nudity: 1 brief instance of nudity, some innuendo. Violence: None. Profanity: 11 expressions, some harsh. Drugs: 9 scenes with alcohol.

OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE (R) Director: Michael Corrente. With Shawn Hatosy, Alec Baldwin, Amy Smart, George Wendt. (95 min.) ++ A working-class father packs his trouble-making son off to a prep school, where the well-heeled students show instant contempt for his blue-collar background. The story is lively and energetic, if you can take its raunchy jokes and rowdy behavior, but Corrente's flair for ethnic portraiture fails to raise the movie above a zillion other pictures about high-school high jinks. ++ Predictably funny, sometimes entertaining, dazed 1970s atmosphere. Sex/Nudity: 3 scenes with sexual activity; 5 instances of innuendo. Violence: 2 mild scenes plus a couple of car crashes. Profanity: 165 expressions, mostly harsh. Drugs: 21 scenes with alcohol, smoking, marijuana, or some combination of these.