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
Almost Famous (R)
Director: Cameron Crowe. With Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, Patrick Fugit, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin, Noah Taylor, Philip Seymour Hoffman. (122 min.) *** The adventures of a very young rock-music journalist who accompanies a second-rate band on tour in the early '70s, chasing his story through a maze of distractions ranging from groupies and parties to the group's insecurity about its future. Crowe's screenplay is loosely based on his past experiences, and a sense of authenticity and sincerity shines through the movie's Hollywood veneer. Fugit gives a starmaking performance as the teenage reporter, and Crudup and Lee are excellent as the band's lead guitarist and singer, respectively. Best of all is Hoffman as Lester Bangs, the legendary rock critic who sees gloomy prospects for a pop scene that's getting too grown-up for its own good.
Director: Antoine Fuqua. With Jamie Foxx, David Morse, Kimberly Elise, Doug Hutchison, David Paymer, Mike Epps, Jamie Kennedy, Robert Pastorelli, Nestor Serrano. (120 min.) ** Feds use a petty thief to lure a killer into the open, manipulating the psychopath into thinking his small-time colleague knows the whereabouts of a hidden treasure trove. The comically tinged action is as lively as it is brainless, and it revels in violence a bit less eagerly than many thrillers of its ilk.
Boy Meets Girl (Not rated)
Director: Leos Carax. With Denis Lavant, Mireille Prier, Carroll Brooks, Elie Poicard, Anna Baldaccini. (100 min.) *** Carax made his directorial debut with this 1984 tale of a young man who breaks up with his girlfriend, searches for a new love, and falls into a romance that's ill-starred from the start. Carax's effort to revivify France's revolutionary New Wave filmmaking movement has never quite panned out, but his early work shows great energy and imagination. In French with English subtitles
Director: Bruce Paltrow. With Paul Giamatti, Gwyneth Paltrow, Andre Braugher, Maria Bello, Huey Lewis, Scott Speedman. (113 min.) ** A burned-out businessman, a gun-toting crook, an idealistic cab driver, and a hooker-turned-chanteuse are among the denizens of this meandering comedy-drama, which uses karaoke singing as a ready-made metaphor for the notion that life's true pleasures may have little to do with professional ambition. The movie is too crisp and calculated to match the moods of its wild and woolly characters, and its interwoven subplots lead to predictable outcomes. It has some lively performances and sprightly songs, though.
Human Resources (Not rated)
Director: Laurent Cantet. With Jalil Lespert, Jean-Claude Vallod, Chantal Barr, Vronique de Pandelare, Michel Begnez, Lucien Longueville. (100 min.) **** A young man becomes a front-office intern at a factory in provincial France where his father and sister work, sparking a series of events that lead to family strife and serious moral dilemmas. This superbly acted, expressively filmed story offers a rare blend of compelling drama, ethical awareness, and sheer human emotion. In French with English subtitles
Mauvais Sang (Not rated)
Director: Leos Carax. With Denis Lavant, Juliette Binoche, Michel Piccoli, Julie Delpy, Carroll Brooks, Serge Reggiani, Hans Meyer, Hugo Pratty. (105 min.) *** Carax assembled an excellent cast for this dark 1987 fantasy about a young man who joins a scheme to steal the cure for a new illness that only attacks lovers who don't really care about each other. Also present is Carax's cinematic verve and a love for pop-culture detritus that gives the story much of its distinctive feel. Also known as "Bad Blood" and "The Night Is Young." In French with English subtitles
On the Run (Not rated)
Director: Bruno de Almeida. With Michael Imperioli, John Ventimiglia, Drena De Niro, Joaquim de Almeida, Anna Kohler, Agns Jaoui. (94 min.) ** A travel agent who never travels has an unexpected adventure when an old pal shows up in town, fresh from breaking out of prison two weeks before the end of his sentence. The action is fast, furious, and occasionally quite funny. Imperioli takes the acting honors, but the others have impressive moments too, especially when De Niro enters the picture as a possible love interest for the jailbird.