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The Monitor Movie Guide

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Director: Paul Morrison. With Ioan Gruffudd, Nia Roberts, Sue Jones Davies, William Thomas. (105 min.) ** A young Welsh woman falls in love with a Jewish worker who hides his ethnicity from her prejudiced family, sparking a series of melancholy events. Set in the early 20th century, this variation on "Romeo and Juliet" gains energy from Gruffudd's sensitive performance and a no-nonsense ending that has more dramatic punch than much of the action preceding it. In English and in Welsh and Yiddish, with English subtitles

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CURRENTLY IN RELEASE

Autumn in New York (PG-13)

Director: Joan Chen. With Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, Anthony LaPaglia, Jillian Hennessey. (105 min.) * Richard Gere plays Will, an aging skirt-chaser who falls for Charlotte, a sweet 20-something woman (Ryder) who has a terminal illness. Already, this flat storyline has problems. There's no on-screen chemistry between Gere and Ryder, and the lines are so sappy you'll want to burst out in laughter. By Lisa Leigh Parney ** Harmless, romantic distraction, no sparks, done before.

Sex/Nudity: 1 suggestive scene and 2 of implied sex. Violence: None. Profanity: 10 expressions. Drugs: 6 scenes with alcohol and/or tobacco, 2 references to drug use.

The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack (Not rated)

Director: Aiyana Elliott. With Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Odetta, Kris Kristofferson. (105 min.) *** The life and times of folk singer Ramblin' Jack Elliott, capturing his public persona - part cowboy, part hobo, part folkloric researcher, part barroom raconteur - and glimpses of the private individual who's been playing this self-invented role since the '50s. The archival and interview footage is priceless, and the documentary gains extra interest from the fact that Elliott's daughter directed it, using it as a way to gain some fatherly attention she didn't get as a child.

Bless the Child (R)

Director: Chuck Russell. With Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits, Holliston Coleman, Christina Ricci, Ian Holm. (105 min.) ** A little girl becomes a pawn in a Manhattan-based battle between forces of heavenly goodness and Satanic evil. This is an old-style supernatural thriller in the vein of "The Omen" and "The Exorcist," often trite and predictable but grudgingly likable in the end. If the eye-jolting shocks don't keep you awake, the patches of howlingly awful dialogue will certainly do the trick.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 20 scenes of horror-movie style violence, including use of knives, guns, and explosions. Profanity: 8 expressions, some harsh. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol, 1 with tobacco, 3 with drug use or implied drug use.

Godzilla 2000 (PG)

Director: Takao Okawara. With Takehiro Murata, Naomi Nishida, Mayu Suzuki, Hiroshi Abe, Shir Sano. (97 min.) ** You want campy? Look no further than that great beast from Japan, Godzilla. The thick-skinned fella from the Toho film company swats away military missiles and tangles ferociously with an alien spacecraft. Only a scientist and his daughter who make up the Godzilla Prediction Network side with the radioactive lizard. The dubbed dialogue is as off-cue as ever, and the intentionally (we hope) terrible lines and super-fake special effects are side-splittingly funny. Amazingly, this movie stirs up some monster-size fun. By Katherine Dillin *1/2 Vintage Godzilla, hokey, better on TV.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 24 scenes of campy, bloodless violence. Profanity: 8 instances, mostly mild. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol and tobacco.

The Opportunists (R)

Director: Myles Connell. With Christopher Walken, Peter McDonald, John Ortiz, Cyndi Lauper. (89 min.) **1/2 A safecracker, who's done jailtime, finds life as a law-abiding car mechanic doesn't pay the bills. When some local dim bulbs equally desperate for cash propose a scheme for unearned dough, the ex-con considers taking another crack at the crooked path. Not a whole lot happens here, but the gentle and humorous story is ultimately about charity. Walken makes this movie's little engine purr. By Katherine Dillin *** Amiable, modest, fun casting.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 3 mild scenes of violence, including 1 scuffle with punches thrown and 2 instances of breaking and entering. Profanity: 22 expressions, some harsh. Drugs: 8 scenes with alcohol.

Ran (Not rated)

Director: Akira Kurosawa. With Tatsuya Nakadai, Satoshi Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryu. (160 min.) **** Reissue of Kurosawa's respected 1985 epic, which blends a lot of "King Lear" and a little of "Macbeth" into the story of a 16th-century lord who divides his territory among three sons with disastrous results. This isn't Kurosawa's most memorable film, but it stands with the most colorful and action-packed achievements of his extraordinary career. In Japanese with English subtitles