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The Monitor Movie Guide

November 26, 1999



Red stars denote the reviews of Monitor movie critic David Sterritt unless otherwise noted. Ratings and comments by the Monitor panel ( blue stars) reflect the sometimes diverse views of at least three other moviegoers. Information on violence, drugs, sex/nudity, and profanity is compiled by the Monitor panel.

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STAR RATINGS

David Sterritt Monitor panel Meaning

**** **** Excellent

*** *** Good

** ** Fair

* * Poor

DUD DUD The Worst

NEW RELEASES

End of Days (R)

Director: Peter Hyams. With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Rod Steiger, CCH Pounder, Udo Keir, Kevin Pollak. (115 min.)

* The new millennium is approaching, and only Schwarzenegger can save the cosmos from satanic forces. Too bad he can't save the movie from its superstitious claptrap, sadistic violence, and sheer silliness.

Flawless (R)

Director: Joel Schumacher. With Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rory Cochrane, Barry Miller, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Chris Bauer. (110 min.)

* Stricken with a disability, a macho cop swallows his distaste and turns to a transvestite neighbor for therapeutic singing lessons. This noisy, disorganized story is riddled with clichs, stereotypes, and self-indulgence from beginning to end.

Ride With the Devil (R)

Director: Ang Lee. With Tobey Maguire, Jeffrey Wright, Jewel, Skeet Ulrich, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Simon Baker, James Caviezel, Jonathan Brandis, Thomas Guiry. (138 min.)

*** The adventures of several young men fighting the Civil War as irregular soldiers near the Kansas-Missouri border. The movie is longer and slower than necessary, but it explores interesting questions of wartime violence, personal integrity, and what it means to come of age in a society ripping apart at the seams. Wright stands out as an African-American man riding with these defenders of the Confederacy out of loyalty to a humane slaveholder.

Toy Story 2 (G)

Director: John Lasseter. With voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, Jim Varney, Annie Potts, Laurie Metcalf, John Ratzenberger, Wayne Knight, Estelle Harris. (92 min.)

**** It's playtime for viewers of all ages as astronaut Buzz Lightyear launches a rescue operation for cowboy Woody after a greedy merchant packs him up for shipment to a faraway museum. The story is surprising, the screenplay is witty, and the animation is wonderfully creative. A super sequel.

Tumbleweeds (PG-13)

Director: Gavin O'Connor. With Janet McTeer, Kimberly J. Brown, Gavin O'Connor, Jay O. Sanders. (100 min.)

** A working-class woman and her adolescent daughter drift to a new town in search of a better life, relying on the power of their mutual affection for support when new problems and temptations arise. The story is as rambling as the characters, but superb acting by McTeer and Brown goes a long way toward

redeeming it.

CURRENTLY IN RELEASE

Anywhere But Here (PG-13)

Director: Wayne Wang. With Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, Bonnie Bedelia, Shawn Hatosy. (113 min.)

*** A single mom heads from Wisconsin to Los Angeles with dreams of Hollywood stardom for her teenage daughter, who'd rather be exactly what the title says. The story is a sort of "Stella Dallas Meets Slums of Beverly Hills," helped by heartfelt acting from its talented stars.

*** Touching, sad, edgy, funny lines.

Sex/Nudity: A couple instances of innuendo. Violence: 1 mild scuffle. Profanity: 11 mild expressions. Drugs: 3 scenes with alcohol, 7 with smoking, 3 with alcohol and smoking.

Being John Malkovich (R)

Director: Spike Jonze. With John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, John Malkovich, Catherine Keener, Orson Bean. (112 min.)

*** Hilarious, utterly unpredictable comedy about an out-of-work puppeteer who finds a secret passageway into the famous actor's mind and decides to make a few bucks off his discovery. Jonze makes an uproarious feature-film debut, and Charlie Kaufman's screenplay is no less inventive. Contains sex scenes and gender-bending plot twists, however, which some moviegoers will find offensive.

*** 1/2 Weird, entertaining, boldly creative, comical.

Sex/Nudity: 2 sex scenes with nudity; innuendo. Violence: 2 fistfights. Profanity: 30 expressions, many harsh. Drugs: 6 scenes with alcohol or smoking; 1 with marijuana.

The Bone Collector (R)

Director: Phillip Noyce. With Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie. (118 min.)