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The Monitor Movie Guide

April 28, 2000

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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David Sterritt Monitor panel Meaning

**** **** Excellent

*** *** Good

** ** Fair

* * Poor

DUD DUD The Worst


The Big Kahuna (R) *** Director: John Swanbeck. With Kevin Spacey, Danny De Vito, Peter Facinelli. (90 min.)

Three businessmen face uncomfortable questions about their lives during a long evening in a hotel hospitality suite where they've gathered to give a sales pitch. There's nothing cinematic about this transplanted stage play, but good acting and pungent dialogue - some of it about the place of religion in business and in life - lend it more than passing interest.

Bossa Nova (R) *** Director: Bruno Barreto. With Amy Irving, Antonio Fagundes, Alexandre Borges, Dbora Bloch. (95 min.)

Romantic comedy about an English teacher and an attorney who enter an unexpected love affair while assorted friends and associates search for their own happiness. The story is slender, but the Brazilian settings are exquisite and lilting tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim cast a spell over the entire enterprise. In English and Portuguese with English subtitles

Frequency (PG-13) ** Director: Gregory Hoblit. With Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel, Daniel Henson. (121 min.)

A young man discovers an old ham-radio hookup that allows him to communicate with his dead father in the past. He uses this miracle - caused by an unusual solar storm - to help his dad avoid the accident that killed him, thereby altering their family's history. This event has negative consequences too, putting another loved relative into the path of a serial killer whom only they can track down. Toby Emmerich's screenplay gains emotional punch from its sincere concern for family values, but science-fiction fans may be disappointed by the limited exploration of its fascinating time-travel premise.

Gossip (R) *1/2 Director: Davis Guggenheim. With James Marsden, Lena Headey, Norman Reedus, Kate Hudson, Joshua Jackson, Edward James Olmos. (100 min.)

Have you heard about "Gossip"? Did you know it's about three college friends who start a vicious rumor to study its effects for a class project? Did word arrive that this not-so-innocent idea ends up bringing out the worst in most involved? Did news reach you that it's a creepy, uncomfortable story with unlikable characters, but that the concept and plot twists are rumored to be intriguing enough to keep you in your seat? But, that's just what I heard. By Katherine Dillin

The Idiots (R) * Director: Lars von Trier. With Bodil Jorgensen, Jens Albinus, Louise Hassing, Bjarup Riis. (115 min.)

Depressed by recent events in her life, a young woman joins a group of antisocial rebels who like to gross out their middle-class neighbors by posing as mentally retarded "idiots" in public places. Filmed in the no-frills style of Denmark's much-publicized Dogma 95 group, which von Trier helped establish, the movie tries to be daring and iconoclastic but winds up seeming as spoiled and childish as its main characters. In Danish with English subtitles

Love and Basketball (PG-13) **1/2 Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood. With Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Alfre Woodard, Dennis Haysbert. (124 min.)