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Movie Guide

March 29, 2002

Death to Smoochy (R)

Director Danny DeVito. With Robin Williams, Edward Norton, De Vito, Catherine Keener. (100 min.)

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Sterritt *** See review, page 15.

No Such Thing (R)

Director: Hal Hartley. With Sarah Polley, Robert John Burke, Helen Mirren, Julie Christie. (106 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, page 15.

Panic Room (R)

Director: David Fincher. With Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker, Kristen Stewart, Dwight Yoakam, Jared Leto. (110 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, page 15.

The Piano Teacher (Not rated)

Director: Michael Haneke. With Isabelle Huppert, Benoit Magimel, Annie Girardot. (130 min.)

Sterritt *** Huppert is brilliant as a music teacher whose obsessively respectable life masks deeper, darker desires that break through the surface when she becomes fixated on a young man she's just met, disrupting the orderly existence she shares with her demanding mother and sparking self-destructive actions that build to the story's bleak conclusion. Haneke probes negative aspects of modern life in all his movies, and this is his most psychologically detailed film to date. Its grimness is explicit, so approach it with caution.

Time Out (PG-13)

Director: Laurent Cantet. With Aurélien Recoing, Karin Viard. (132 min.)

Sterritt **** Disillusioned with his life, a businessman stops working and conceals this from his family. After pulling in small amounts of money with a false investment scheme, he hooks up with a small-time criminal operation, abandoning this when he finds it just as spirit-killing as ordinary work. The story gathers power as he exhausts one option after another, making his future seem more and more ominous. Cantet's previous film, "Human Resources," also probed social and ideological problems linked with family and work. He has rich insights into this material, and brings them alive through sensitive acting and powerful filmmaking.

Blade II (R)

Director: Guillermo del Toro. With Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Norman Redus, Luke Goss. (108 min.)

Staff *** This sequel is every bit as good as the original, though it didn't have much to measure up to. Blade, a half-human, half-vampire who can withstand daylight and do kung-fu in a bulky leather jacket, has dedicated his life to hunting down vampires. But now he must team up with an elite squadron of them to hunt even deadlier vampire mutants. The frenetic fight scenes are too fast for non-vampire eyes, but those familiar with the original should find plenty to like. By Alex Kaloostian

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (PG)

Director: Steven Spielberg. With Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace Stone, Peter Coyote. (120 min.)

Sterritt *** Spielberg's much-acclaimed fantasy, about a 10-year-old boy and a childlike space visitor who wanders into his jumbled suburban home, has been touched up with new footage and a freshly tweaked soundtrack for its 20th anniversary. The picture charmed 1982 audiences with its sympathetic look at the challenges of childhood, and it helped alter the course of sci-fi movies by suggesting that intergalactic aliens might not be monsters but friendly, even loving, creatures. This doesn't make it a masterpiece, but it's fun.

Festival in Cannes (PG-13)