Director: Gary Fleder. With Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy, Sean Bean, Jennifer Esposito, Oliver Platt, Famke Janssen. (110 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt ** Douglas plays a New York psychiatrist treating a troubled teenager who's been faking most of her afflictions for years; then his daughter gets kidnapped by a twisted criminal who's after a crucial number buried in the teen's memory. The movie has promise as a psychological thriller, but the filmmakers show far more interest in chases and shoot-outs than characters and ideas.
Director: William Friedkin. With Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco, Ann Rebbot, Eddie Egan. (104 min.)
Sterritt *** Two hard-boiled cops pursue a Continental criminal who's bringing a large narcotics shipment to New York, and at times the cops seem more unsavory than the crook they're trying to bust. The movie is strong on shock value and action - its bravura car chase caused a sensation in 1971, when it was first released - but its filmmaking is more energetic than imaginative. Hackman is almost too good as bigoted Popeye Doyle, the nasty lawman at the center of the story.
Director: Scott Hicks. With Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis, Anton Yelchin, Mika Boorem, David Morse. (98 min.)
Sterritt *** A mysterious stranger (Hopkins) rents a room above the home of an 11-year-old boy and his self-absorbed mother, then asks the child to provide a peculiar service - keeping an eye out for menacing enemies who want to track him down and capture him. The movie takes on a lot of material, from the boy's problems with bullies and romance to the stranger's eerie predicament and the clairvoyant powers that tell him when danger is approaching. Hicks doesn't always keep the story clear and compelling, but Hopkins is in top form, and the filmmakers have enough imagination to leave some of its mysteries unsolved, inviting us to ponder the clues and draw our own conclusions.
VS/N: 3 instances of innuendo, including implied rape. VV: 6 scenes including beatings. VP: 13 expressions. VD: 6 scenes with smoking, 2 scenes with drinking.
Director: Ben Stiller. With Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor, Will Ferrell, Jerry Stiller. (95 min.)
Staff ** Imagine a collision between "Austin Powers" and "Dumb and Dumber" inside the world of fashion catwalks and you'll have a fair idea of the manic and kaleidoscopic tone of "Zoolander." The loose plot - it's more of a concept, actually - has Ben Stiller starring as the world's most famous supermodel (that's worth a giggle right there) who becomes unwittingly embroiled in a plot to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The hit-and-miss jokes play like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch, but there are laughs aplenty. By Stephen Humphries
Director: J.B. Rogers. With Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan. (104 min.)
Sterritt ** It's summer vacation, the "American Pie" alumni are now college kids, and all they can think of is still - you guessed it - sex, sex, sex. This energetic sequel moves from one gross-out set piece to another, with occasional moments of teen-pic sentimentality to cleanse the palate.
VS/N: 19 scenes of graphic innuendo or implied sex, 1 sex scene with nudity. VV: 2 scenes of comic violence. VP: 124 harsh expressions. VD: 20 scenes with alcohol, 1 with smoking.
Director: Hassan Yektapanah. With Rashid Akbari, Valiollah Beta, Mahbobeh Khalili. (94 min.)
Sterritt **** The title character, an Afghani immigrant who works at a small Iranian dairy farm, falls in love with an Iranian woman and needs help winning her affection - no easy matter, given the strictness of Iranian courtship customs. The performances of this quiet Iranian drama are utterly genuine, and the story is a blend of slice-of-life realism and soft-spoken social commentary. In Farsi with English subtitles
Director: Daniel Sackheim. With Leelee Sobieski, Diane Lane, Stellan Skarsgard, Trevor Morgan. (111 min.)