The Monitor Movie Guide
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.Skip to next paragraph
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David Sterritt Monitor panel Meaning
**** **** Excellent
*** *** Good
** ** Fair
* * Poor
DUD DUD The Worst
Anna and the King (PG-13) ** Director: Andy Tennant. With Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-Fat, Bai Ling, Tom Felton, Syed Alwi, Keith Chin. (146 min.)
The adventures of an English schoolteacher who takes a job as tutor to a Siamese prince and enters a deliciously complex relationship with the boy's regal father. Based on the same memoir that inspired "The King and I," this colorfully filmed drama makes many changes from the classic 1956 version of the tale - most important, the music numbers are gone - but doesn't develop enough momentum to justify its too-long running time.
Bicentennial Man (PG) ** Director: Chris Columbus. With Robin Williams, Embeth Davitz, Oliver Platt, Wendy Crewson, Sam Neill. (133 min.)
In the not-so-distant future, a family acquires a household robot with an individualistic streak that makes him dream of an independent life. Kids may yawn at the movie's dawdling pace, but making Williams play an android is one way to stifle the gooey sentimentality that has marred so many of his performances.
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (R) ** Director: Mike Mitchell. With Rob Schneider, Eddie Griffin, Arija Bareikis. (88 min.)
Schneider, a former "Saturday Night Live" cast member, stars as likable loser Deuce Bigalow, a fish-tank cleaner who must raise quick cash to cover damage done while fish-sitting at a male gigolo's home. What quicker way, he surmises, than become a gigolo himself. The tasteless jokes are, all things considered, pretty tastefully done, but this one may not even rank as rent-worthy. By Katherine Dillin ** Raunchy, silly, unoriginal, sometimes funny.
Sex/Nudity: 26 instances total with sexual situations, mild nudity, and/or innuendo. Violence: 6 instances of cartoonish violence. Profanity: 76 expressions, mostly harsh. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol, 1 with alcohol and smoking.
The Emperor and the Assassin (R) *** Director: Chen Kaige. With Gong Li, Li Xuejian, Zheng Fengyi, Chen Kaige, Sun Zhou, Lu Xiaohe, Wang Zhiwen, Gu Yongfei, Zhao Benshan, Ding Haifeng. (161 min.)
A ruthlessly ambitious king, his disillusioned lover, and a professional assassin who's given up killing are the main characters in this sweeping tale set in China more than 2000 years ago. Chen is one of China's most gifted filmmakers, but this movie has a mixture of strengths and limitations often found in historical epics: lots of eye-filling action and spectacle, little in the way of psychology or human interest.
Magnolia (R) ** Director: Paul Thomas Anderson. With Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Melinda Dillon, Jason Robards, William H. Macy, Luis Guzman, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alfred Molina. (185 min.)
The director of "Boogie Nights" makes less impact with this large-scale panorama of life in Los Angeles, focusing on a varied cast of characters - an insecure policeman, a woman-hating sex lecturer, a dying media mogul, his grief-stricken young wife, and others - many of whom are linked to one another by connections with the world of TV quiz shows. The cast is terrific and the multitudinous story lines allow Anderson to cook up an impressive display of moviemaking logistics. But there's precious little to think about despite the screenplay's comic-philosophical musings on fate and coincidence.
Stuart Little (PG) *** Director: Rob Minkoff. With Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki, Jeffrey Jones, Jon Polito, Dabney Coleman, and voices of Michael J. Fox, Jennifer Tilly. (83 min.)
The hero is a mouse with a human-sized vocabulary and a yen for family living, which stands him in good stead when he's adopted by a mom and dad who want to give their son a little brother. Complications arise, however, when a mouse couple shows up claiming to be his real parents. Told through animation and live action, the movie lacks the subtle sense of mystery that distinguished E.B. White's lovely novel, but nicely conveys its playful spirit and amiable tone. Fine viewing for all but the youngest children.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 1 long but fairly mild sequence with animals chasing and threatening one another Profanity: 1 mild expression.