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Sterritt **** The unglamorous setting is an Iranian construction site, and the unlikely hero is an Iranian man who falls in love with an Afghan woman after misadventures with a coworker. Majidi became one of Iran's most internationally famed filmmakers with "Children of Heaven" and "The Color of Paradise," but he far surpasses those melodramas with this expressively filmed story of rivalry, romance, and conflict. In Farsi with English subtitlesSkip to next paragraph
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Director: Ron Howard. With Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris. (120 min.)
Sterritt ** See review, page 15.
Director: Chris Columbus. With Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith. (150 min.)
Sterritt *** This richly produced fantasy stays true to the letter and spirit of J.K. Rowling's lively novel about a boy who discovers he's a natural-born wizard and finds himself battling the sinister sorcerer who killed his parents when he was a baby. Columbus fills the screen with colorful images, special effects, and a superbly chosen cast. What you won't find are qualities a great movie adaptation might have offered - new layers of meaning and fresh perspectives that only film images could provide.
Staff **1/2 Stirs childhood memories, a bit ordinary, enchanting, top-notch effects.
VS/N: None. VV: 8 scenes. VP: 1 mild expression. VD: 1 scene with alcohol.
Director: Richard Eyre. With Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet. (90 min.)
Sterritt *** Review, page 15
Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. With Nilofaur Pazira, Sadou Teymouri, Hassan Tantai. (82 min.)
Sterritt *** Clad in a full-length veil that hides her identity and intentions, an Afghan woman tries to enter her homeland from Iran on a rescue mission to her sister, who has threatened to commit suicide; during her journey she witnesses much suffering, but she also sees the strength of people who assist her, including a black US medical worker who sacrifices his comfort to help others. This dark drama by one of Iran's great filmmakers casts a light on the climate of a troubled region and on fundamental human conflicts.
Director: James Mangold. With Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Breckin Meyer. (118 min.)
Staff **1/2 When the world's first time traveler inadvertently transports Duke Leopold (Jackman) from the 19th century to present-day New York, an unexpected romance blooms between the bewildered Leopold, and a jaded advertising executive (Ryan). One obstacle: She doesn't believe Leopold has traveled through time. This, then, isn't your typical romance-comedy. But if you buy into the outlandish premise, then there's much fun to be had with Jackman's fish-out-of-water antics and a typically sprightly performance by Meg Ryan. By Stephen Humphries
Staff *** Romantic, playful, charmingly predictable, quick-witted.
VS/N: 1 scene of implied sex. VV: none. VD: 8 scenes with alcohol.
Director: Peter Jackson. With Elijah Wood, Richard Harris, Christopher Lee, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett.
Sterritt ** As generations of admirers know, J.R.R. Tolkien's great trilogy tells an epic story centered on a modest character: Frodo Baggins, a Middle Earth hobbit who finds himself the custodian of a powerful magic ring that must be destroyed in the fires of Mordor, the malevolent land where it was made. He sets off to accomplish this, helped by a loyal band of companions and opposed by terrifying supernatural foes. Jackson understands that wicked characters are often more interesting than virtuous ones, and the movie works best when he acts on this. The movie is a drab experience, though, marred by a talky screenplay, a lack of psychological insight, and precious few laughs despite some stabs at rustic humor. Stay home and reread the books.
Staff *** Outstanding special effects, action-packed, dark, enchantingly scenic, violent.
VS/N: None. VV: 28 scenes, many involving sword fights. VP: Some minor expressions. VD: 7 scenes of smoking, 3 of drinking.
Director: Frank Darabont. With Jim Carrey, Martin Landau, Laurie Holden, Bob Balaban. (153 min.)