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Director: Jacques Rivette. With Jeanne Balibar, Jacques Bonaffé, Hélène de Fougerolles, Sergio Castellitto, Catherine Rouvel, Claude Berri. (150 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** Back in Paris after three years with an Italian theater group, a French actress wavers between an old flame and her current boyfriend, who's obsessed with finding the manuscript of a long-lost play. Lots more happens in this magical movie, which has brilliant fun with the contrasts between film and theater, love and infatuation, reality and fantasy. Don't let the 2-1/2-hour running time put you off. It's a delight from beginning to end, and a triumphant return to glory for Rivette, one of French film's most towering talents. In French with English subtitles
Director: Antoine Fuqua. With Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Macy Gray, Snoop Dogg. (120 min.)
Staff *** The first day on any job can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, but nothing can prepare ordinary cop Jake Hoyt (Hawke) for what he endures on his "training day." Hoyt shadows a veteran narcotics cop (Washington) through the underbelly of Los Angeles, and discovers a more corrupt and violent world than he could have imagined. Aided by superb performers, director Fuqua has fashioned a gripping thriller in which both moral and immoral actions have consequences. One of the year's best. By Stephen Humphries
Director: Gary Fleder. With Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy, Sean Bean, Jennifer Esposito, Oliver Platt, Famke Janssen. (110 min.)
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: Daniel Sackheim. With Leelee Sobieski, Diane Lane, Stellan Skarsgard, Trevor Morgan. (111 min.)
Staff * When Ruby and Rhett Baker's parents die in a mysterious car accident, they are adopted by Erin and Terry Glass. It isn't long before Ruby realizes there's something creepy about their adoptive parents. This is one of those thrillers in which lightning flashes in a dark house, the girl drops the car keys just as the baddie is approaching, and the killer has to be killed twice at the end. 'The Glass House' is too transparent to be effective. By Stephen Humphries
Director: Brian Robbins. With Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane, John Hawk, D.B. Sweeney. (90 min.)
Staff **1/2 His life threatened by bookies, Connor O'Neill (Reeves) agrees in desperation to coach Little League. Initially, O'Neill's only reason for coaching is to collect his weekly check. But the harsh realities of life in the projects won't let him, or the viewer, remain callous for long. Meanwhile, the young cast of "Hardball" pitches laughs and tears, making sure both you and O'Neill think twice about how to live. By Nathan Smith
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 keep an eye out for menacing enemies who want to capture him. The movie takes on a lot of material, from the boy's problems with bullies and romance to the stranger's 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 leave some of its mysteries unsolved, inviting us to draw our own conclusions.