Ratings and comments by David Sterritt and Monitor staff Staff comments 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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STAR RATINGS MEANING
**** Excellent *** Good ** Fair * Poor DUD The Worst
A Good Baby (Not rated)
Director: Katherine Dieckmann. With Henry Thomas, Cara Seymour, David Strathairn. (89 min.)
Sterritt *** In a rural Southern community, an abandoned baby becomes a pawn in complicated relationships involving the melancholy young man who finds her, a thick-skinned woman who takes a liking to him, and a sinister traveling salesman who's deeply involved in the mystery. Dieckmann's debut film is skillfully acted, and builds a sense of true menace when Strathairn's salesman drifts onto the screen.
A Hard Day's Night (G)
Director: Richard Lester. With John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfred Brambell, Victor Spinetti, Anna Quayle. (94 min.)
Sterritt **** Wit, joy, imagination, and sensational mid-'60s music spark this 1964 classic, starring the Beatles and providing a slyly fictionalized look at the skyrocketing fame that discombobulated their hitherto normal lives. Lester's filmmaking was never more inventive, and the fabulous foursome never made another movie that so perfectly suited their extraordinary talents.
Paragraph 175 (Not rated)
Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman. With Rupert Everett, Klaus Muller, Annette Eick, Heinz Dormer, Pierre Seel, Gad Beck, Albrecht Becker. (81 min.)
Sterritt *** An informative documentary about how the Nazi regime used a 19th-century German law to initiate persecution of homosexuals in the Third Reich. Victimization of homosexuals during the Holocaust era has often been overlooked. Epstein and Friedman lucidly recount this woeful history, with help from Everett's articulate narration.
Director: Don Roose. With Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natasha Henstridge, Jennifer Grey, Tony Goldwyn, David Paymer. (105 min.)
Staff *** Paltrow stars as Abby, a real estate agent who tries to "bounce back" after her husband dies in a plane crash. As it turns out, Buddy (Affleck), a self-absorbed advertising agent, switched his ticket with a stranger he met in Chicago (Abby's husband) at the last minute. Riddled with guilt, Buddy shows up on her Los Angeles doorstep a year later to see if she's all right. Buddy then falls for her, but his "secret" creates problems. The movie is well acted, deeply moving, and unlike some love stories, it doesn't feel forced or contrived. By Lisa Leigh Parney
Staff *** Naturalistic, Paltrow shows versatility, heartfelt, moral tale, slow-moving.
Sex/Nudity: 2 bedroom scenes with no nudity, and 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: aftermath of a plane crash; clothing is ripped in a dog attack. Profanity: 24 expressions, some harsh. Drugs: 13 scenes with alcohol; 3 scenes with cigarettes.
Charlie's Angels (PG-13)
Director: McG. With Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Tim Curry, LL Cool J, Crispin Glover, John Forsythe. (98 min.)
Sterritt ** The popular '70s television series inspired this campy romp, which has enough sassy lines - and enough of Diaz's radiant smile - to outclass most parodies of its ilk. Too bad the action scenes rarely rise above standard kung-fu comedy, diluting the film's otherwise considerable entertainment value.
Staff **1/2 Lively, humorous, kitsch fun, actresses let their hair down.
Sex/Nudity: 1 implied sex scene; 1 scene with brief nudity; and numerous scenes with scanty clothing. Violence: 3 scenes with violence, including a gun threat. Profanity: 4 expressions, mostly mild. Drugs: 16 scenes with drinking and smoking.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (PG)
Director: Ron Howard. With Jim Carrey, Molly Shannon, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin. (105 min.)
Sterritt *** A lavishly produced adaptation of Dr. Seuss' classic children's book about a mountain-dwelling monster who decides to make the residents of nearby Whoville as grouchy as he is in the Yuletide season. Carrey is excellent, making the most of his comic gifts even in a cumbersome Grinch outfit, and the eye-spinning color scheme is dazzling to behold. The movie ultimately seems more entranced by its own effects than by the Christmas spirit itself, though.
Staff *** A holiday classic, Jim Carrey's perfect, great for kids, fantastic visuals.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 11 extended scenes of comic mischief. Profanity: 75 expressions, a mix of harsh and mild. Drugs: 1 mild instance.
The Sixth Day (PG-13)