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 David Sterrit Monitor panel MEANING
**** **** Excellent *** *** Good ** ** Fair * * Poor DUD DUD The Worst
FEATURES, ARTS & LEISURE
Capsule reviews of new and current releases.
The King Is Alive (R)
Director: Kristian Levring. With Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Davison, Janet McTeer, Miles Anderson. (118 min.)
Struggling with loneliness and anxiety while waiting to be rescued from the African desert where their bus has broken down, a group of very different people decide to while away the time with a bare-bones staging of "King Lear," which stirs up more passions and apprehensions than expected. Levring was a founder of Denmark's innovative Dogma 95 movement, which tries to bring filmmaking back to its roots by forbidding artificial or extraneous effects. This unconventional character study is distinguished less by its elements of melodrama and psychodrama than by its intense acting and the vivid immediacy of Levring's powerful imagery.
A Knight's Tale (PG-13)
Director: Brian Helgeland. With Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk, Paul Bettany. (132 min.)
"A Knight's Tale" is a familiar story in which a kid from the wrong side of town (Ledger) makes his dream of becoming a knight a reality by posing as royalty. Trained as a child by the best knight in England, the only thing holding him back from rivaling the best competitors from Europe - and winning the heart of a beautiful princess - is his status in society. This quest for personal triumph is accompanied by a surprising array of classic rock-music favorites and other light-hearted comic relief. It's good family entertainment, but the jousting is bloody and violent.
By Heidi Wilson
Performance (Not rated)
Directors: Nicolas Roeg, Donald Cammell. With Mick Jagger, James Fox, Anita Pallenberg. (105 min.)
The personalities of a psychopathic gangster and a faded rock musician appear to mingle and fuse after unplanned events bring the unlikely pair together. This unorthodox 1970 psychological thriller from England includes one of Jagger's few successful appearances in a fiction film, and it remains the best-known effort completed by Cammell before his death. More importantly, it put Roeg's powerful cinematic style on the cultural map for the first time.
Time and Tide (R)
Director: Tsui Hark. With Nicholas Tse, Wu Bai, Anthony Wong, Candy Lo, Joventino Couto Remotigue. (111 min.)
A young bodyguard and a former mercenary soldier cope with challenges of marriage and impending parenthood, as well as a murder plot that ensnares them in complicated ways. Tsui is a legendary leader of Hong Kong's internationally popular action-movie scene, which thrives more on visual pyrotechnics than on the depth of its stories. Its visual strengths and dramatic weaknesses are on clear display in this flashy but uninvolving crime thriller. In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles
Trumpet of the Swan (Not Rated)
Directed by Richard Smith. With the voices of Jason Alexander, Mary Steenburgen, Seth Green. (75 min.)
In a newly animated version of the E.B. White children's classic, an all-star cast of voices, including the legendary Little Richard, brings jazzy new life to the story of a mute swan who finds his voice through music. For those whose memory of the book renders the story in gentle hues and tones, the animation may be a bit bouncy. But the jazz soundtrack by well-known jazz producer Marcus Miller will appeal to the next generation, who deserves to become familiar with this story of adolescent triumph over adversity.
By Gloria Goodale
Under the Sand (Not rated)
Director: Francois Ozon. With Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Alexandra Stewart, Jacques Nolot. (95 min.)
After her husband tragically vanishes during a vacation trip, a middle-aged woman sustains her loss by imagining him as an ongoing presence in her everyday life. Rampling's superb performance and Ozon's unexpectedly subtle cinematic style lend emotional power and psychological depth to this gently filmed French drama. In French with English subtitles
Currently in Release Along Came A Spider (R)
Director: Lee Tamahori. With Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Jay O. Sanders. (104 min.)
Morgan Freeman is back as detective Dr. Alex Cross in this well-paced thriller, which is technically the prequel to "Kiss the Girls." He's on the trail of a villain who has kidnapped the daughter of a US senator. "Along Came a Spider" is filled with surprising twists, which often evoke a smile.
By Steven Savides