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Movie Guide

April 5, 2002

Big Trouble (PG-13)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld. With Tim Allen, Rene Russo, Omar Epps, Janeane Garofalo, Jason Lee. (85 min.)

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Sterritt * See review, page 15.

High Crimes (PG-13)

Director: Carl Franklin. With Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Amanda Peet, Jim Cavaziel (115 min.)

Sterritt ** When her husband is charged with a wartime atrocity he never told her about and says he never committed, an attorney (Judd) teams with an old-time military lawyer to clear his name, encountering violent threats from forces that want to hush up the affair. The story has possibilities, but you'll spot the big plot twists long before they happen, and the acting by Judd and Cavaziel is strictly by the numbers. Ditto for Franklin's filmmaking.

The Komediant (Not rated)

Director: Arnon Goldfinger. With Mike Burstyn, Lillian Lux, Susan Burstein-Roth, Fyvush Finkel. (85 min.)

Sterritt *** An amiable documentary journey through the unique culture of Yiddish theater, as experienced by old-time stage star Pesach'ke Burstein and members of his family who followed a similar path in the US and elsewhere. The movie is more a family album than a historical study, but you'll learn a lot and your toe will tap, tap, tap. In English, Yiddish, and Hebrew with English subtitles.

Les Destinées (Not rated)

Director: Olivier Assayas. With Emmannuelle Béart, Charles Berling, Isabelle Huppert. (180 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, page 15.

Ram Dass: Fierce Grace (Not rated)

Director: Mickey Lemle. With Ram Dass, William Alpert, Dr. Huston Smith, Krishna Das. (93 min.)

Sterritt ** A documentary visit with Ram Dass, who was named Richard Alpert when he and fellow Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary pursued controversial research into psychedelic drugs in the 1960s era. Later he traveled to India for an education in Eastern religion and philosophy, and became a New Age icon in the US. That's the aspect of his career emphasized by this frequently sentimental portrait, along with his efforts to confront physical ailments in terms of his spiritual convictions.

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

Clockstoppers (PG)

Director: Jonathan Frakes. With: Jesse Bradford, French Stewart, Paula Garcés. (90 min.)

Staff ** Zak Gibbs (Bradford), a physics professor's son, accidentally gets hold of an experimental wristwatch that slows the world around him almost to a standstill. Evil forces kidnap the prof, hoping to turn this benign invention into a weapon for sale to the highest bidder. Zak and two friends set out to stop them. A fresh cast and delightful effects early on promise something special, but the script quickly shifts out of hypertime into plodding formula. By M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: A few instances of innuendo. Violence: 9 scenes, including shootings. Profanity: 3 mild expressions. Drugs: 1 scene with drinking.

Death to Smoochy (R)

Director Danny DeVito. With Robin Williams, Edward Norton, DeVito. (100 min.)

Sterritt *** Producers replace a bribe-taking TV clown (Williams) with a straight-arrow entertainer (Norton) who's shocked by the onslaughts of greed, corruption, and violence he gets from his agent (DeVito) and everyone else in the kiddie-media world. This pitch-dark satire marks a surprising career step for Williams, who plays the vengeful clown with surprising ferocity. It's also an impressive achievement for DeVito, who turns the wildly cynical screenplay into a kinetic cartoon full of brain-spinning images. Stay away if you treasure the lovable image Williams has cultivated in previous films, and don't take the kids!

Festival in Cannes (PG-13)

Director: Henry Jaglom. With Ron Silver, Greta Scacchi, Maximilian Schell. (99 min.)