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Movie Guide

March 2, 2001



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.

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STAR RATINGS MEANING

**** Excellent *** Good ** Fair * Poor DUD The Worst

New Releases

The Caveman's Valentine (R)

Director: Kasi Lemmons. With Samuel L. Jackson, Aunjanue Ellis, Colm Feore, Ann Magnuson, Sean MacMahon, Tamara Tunie, Anthony Michael Hall. (103 min.)

Sterritt ** Jackson gives a lively and generally credible performance as the unlikely hero: a homeless man with a deranged mind, a talent for music, and enough clues to solve a murder if the world would just pay attention to him. More psychological realism and less showy cinema would have made this offbeat melodrama more memorable, though.

The Mexican (R)

Director: Gore Verbinski. With Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Bob Balaban, J.K. Simmons, David Krumholtz, Gene Hackman. (123 min.)

Sterritt *** Pressured by mobsters, a small-time crook takes on one last job - retrieving an exotic pistol from a Mexican village - which places him in very hot water and lands his estranged girlfriend in the hands of an eccentric kidnapper. Lively acting and stylish directing make this an engaging comedy-drama, although its attitude toward guns and violence is disconcertingly romantic.

Series 7 (R)

Director: Daniel Minahan. With Brooke Smith, Mark Woodbury, Michael Kaycheck, Marylouise Burke, Richard Venture, Donna Hanover. (85 min.)

Sterritt *** This ferocious satire of "reality television" presents a marathon of episodes from a (bogus) show that arms ordinary people with deadly weapons and then videotapes them as they hunt and kill one another. Too cynical and savage to believe? Have another look at the TV listings in your local

newspaper, project your imagination into the future, and ponder the possibilities.

The Widow of Saint-Pierre (Not rated)

Director: Patrice Leconte. With Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, Emir Kusturica, Philippe Magnan. (108 min.)

Sterritt *** A condemned man develops a complex relationship with a mid-18th-century military commander and his wife as they wait for a guillotine to arrive on their tiny French-controlled island, so that his death sentence can be carried out. Leconte reconfirms his growing importance to French cinema with this precisely crafted, marvelously acted drama, which makes a powerful statement on capital punishment.

Tigerland (R)

Director: Joel Schumacher. With Colin Farrell, Matthew Davis, Clifton Collins Jr., Tom Guiry. (100 min.)

Staff *** "Tigerland," the nickname of a harrowing training ground in Louisiana, is an unconventional war movie. It takes place late in the Vietnam War (1971) and never even leaves the United States. The story revolves around rebel soldier Bozz - played by dazzling newcomer Colin Farrell - who helps a few troubled souls get discharged from the military. Director Schumacher, known for slick Hollywood flicks like "Batman and Robin," employs a handheld camera technique which creates a memorable, involving, and in-your-face movie. By Lisa Leigh Parney

Currently in Release

Chocolat (PG-13)

Director: Lasse Hallstrom. With Juliette Binoche, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp. (121 min.)

Sterritt ** A peaceful French village gets more excitement than it bargained for when a feisty newcomer sets up a shop devoted to chocolate, and a local curmudgeon decides to combat her immoral influence at any cost. Binoche and Molina are as magnetic as usual, but the unsubtle story is full of simplistic divisions between right and wrong, and the filmmaking is pretty but predictable.

Staff ***1/2 Quirky, sweet, engaging, "Babette's Feast" redux, a visual banquet.

Sex/Nudity: 3 scenes of implied sex; 1 incident of innuendo. Violence: 3 scenes, including insinuations of wife-beating. Profanity: 9 mild expressions. Drugs: 5 scenes with alcohol; 1 scene with smoking.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (PG-13)

Director: Ang Lee. With Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Chang Chen, Zhang Ziyi, Lung Sihung. (119 min.)