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
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
STAR RATINGS MEANING
**** Excellent *** Good ** Fair * Poor DUD The Worst
Juliet of the Spirits (No Rated)
Director: Federico Fellini. With Giuletta Masina, Mario Pisu, Valentina Cortese, Sandra Milo. (148 min.)
Sterrit **** A woman must come to terms with moral, personal, and domestic challenges posed by her husband's infidelity. Masina gives one of her most expressive performances in the rerelease of this 1965 masterpiece, which explores psychological and cinematic ideas first unveiled in Fellini's classic "8 1/2," an even greater excursion into the borderline area where fantasy and reality intertwine.
Directors: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson. With voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, John Lithgow, Vincent Cassel. (90 min.)
Sterrit *** An amiable ogre, a talkative donkey, and a domineering princess set off on a fairy-tale quest that brings out the hidden decency of the ugly-looking monster and the inner beauty of his royal companion. The story has rollicking moments and the visuals are amazingly realistic, filling the screen with authentic effects - eagerly dancing flames, smoothly flowing water, finely detailed facial expressions - that animators could only approximate before computer-generated imagery entered their tool kit. Don't expect a great cartoon on the level of "Toy Story" or the old Disney classics, but animation fans will find a generous amount of fun.
Currently in Release Along Came A Spider (R)
Director: Lee Tamahori. With Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Jay O. Sanders. (104 min.)
Staff **1/2 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
Staff * Stale dialogue, ridiculous twists, Morgan Freeman is the only redeeming aspect.
Sex/Nudity: 1 reference to sex. Violence: 9 instances of fairly graphic violence, including one car crash and several shootings. Profanity: 9 harsh expressions. Drugs: 1 cigarette.
Director: Ted Demme. With Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ray Liotta, Paul Reubens, Rachel Griffiths. (119 min.)
Sterrit ** The fact-based story of George Jung, a small-time California crook who became a big-time associate of a Colombia drug cartel, is inherently stale, especially since Martin Scorsese did it better in "Goodfellas." But Depp evokes emotional depth with a characteristically subtle performance, and Demme elicits fine acting from the supporting cast.
Staff *** Realistic, thought-provoking.
Sex/Nudity: Brief nude shots in a photo collage, topless women in a pool, and backside shots of nude women. Violence: Graphic fighting scenes with guns and 1 slap to a woman. Profanity: 134 harsh expressions. Drugs: 31 scenes with alcohol and 39 with drugs.
Bridget Jones's Diary (R)
Director: Sharon Maguire. With Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent. (94 min.)
Sterrit ** A romantic Englishwoman searches for a man who won't mind her slightly bulky figure and slightly dissolute habits, and finds herself dallying with her cocky boss while dodging the company of a lawyer who'd be a duller but more dignified partner. This lightweight comedy evidently sees itself as a Jane Austen spinoff in the "Clueless" vein, and fans of the genre will enjoy it if they're not distracted by trite plot twists, Firth's one-note formality, or Zellweger's on-and-off English accent.
Staff ***1/2 Exaggerated, v.g. (very good), very British.
Sex/Nudity: 3 sex scenes, no nudity. 3 instances of innuendo and several sexual references. Violence: 1 scene with a fistfight. Profanity: 35 including many harsh expressions. Drugs: 15 scenes of smoking and drinking.
Center of the World (Not Rated]
Director: Wayne Wang. With Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker, Carla Gugino. (88 min.)
Sterrit * A young millionaire pays a stripper to accompany him to Las Vegas for the weekend in this grim and ultimately flat attempt to dissect the difference between money, sex, emotions, and what's really real. Director Wayne Wang relies on a self-consciously arty digital film style and brutally direct sex scenes - some of which border on pornographic - to make his film appear groundbreaking, but it ultimately leaves its audience as cold as its lifeless characters. By Amanda Paulson