Directors: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz. With Hugh Grant, Toni Collette, Nicholas Hoult, Rachel Weisz. (101 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt * See review, page 15.
Director: Henry Bean. With Ryan Gosling, Summer Phoenix, Billy Zane, Theresa Russell. (92 min.)
Sterritt **** See review, page 15.
Director: Matthew Barney. With Barney, Aimee Mullins, Richard Serra. (182 min.)
Sterritt ** Barney has moved from hot young artist to hot indie filmmaker with his "Cremaster" series, but the last of the five movies (despite the 3 in its title) is far from the best, even though it's the longest and most ambitious. Like the others, it spins a storyless web of images and sounds, organized around the human need for myths and fables to make sense of an ultimately senseless world. Few of its loosely linked vignettes have enough visual or emotional power to be very memorable.
Director: Dover Kosashvili. With Lior Loui Ashkenazi, Ronit Elkabetz, Moni Moshonov, Lili Kosashvili. (100 min.)
Sterritt **** After an unpromising start, this unpredictable comedy-drama becomes a dazzlingly funny-sad account of a young man's attempt to avoid an arranged marriage despite his family's insistence on keeping old traditions alive. The acting is superb, the filmmaking is imaginative, and the story never goes quite where you expect. In Georgian and Hebrew with English subtitles.
Director: George Lucas. With Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson. (136 min.)
Sterritt ** Anakin Skywalker is now a fledgling Jedi knight who helps Senator Padmé, his former Tatooine playmate, hide from assassins while Obi-Wan Kenobi investigates a threat from Dark Side enemies. The movie has a broader range of emotions and visual effects than any "Star Wars" installment since "The Empire Strikes Back," but the writing and acting are as stiff as R2-D2's metal torso. If clones are so scary, why does Lucas keep cloning pop-culture clichés he's latched onto from other films, including his own? (See full review in May 16 issue.)
Director: Majid Majidi. With Hossein Abedini, Mohammad Reza Naji, Zahra Bahrami. (105 min.)
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 a string of misadventures with an illegal immigrant who works alongside him. Majidi became one of Iran's most internationally famed filmmakers with "Children of Heaven" and "The Color of Paradise," but he far surpasses those sappy melodramas with this expressively filmed story of rivalry, romance, and cultural conflict. In Farsi with English subtitles.
Director: Roger Michell. With Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Affleck, Amanda Peet, Sidney Pollack. (96 min.)
Sterritt *** A corporate lawyer and an insurance salesman become adversaries after a highway fender-bender, sparking a day-long ordeal of threats and counter-threats. The filmmakers meant to whip up a high-tension thriller. What they ended up with is a psychological satire that's quite engrossing if you regard it as an absurdist morality tale rather than a straight-ahead suspense yarn. It loses its bite in a last-minute happy ending, but much of the way it's a refreshingly novel ride.
Sex/Nudity: 3 instances innuendo. Violence: 5 scenes, including assault. Profanity: 13 strong expressions. Drugs: 3 instances drinking.
Director: Scott Kalvert. Cast: Stephen Dorff, Brad Renfro, Fairuza Balk. (93 min.)
Staff ** It's 1958, and tensions are high on the streets of Brooklyn. Marco, ex-con and leader of The Vipers, wants to deal drugs in the neighborhood, but Leon and The Deuces will have none of it. Threats, violence, and 90 minutes of tough-guy clichés ensue. It's full of sound and fury, and the ensemble tries hard, but mob boss Fitzy has it right: They're just kids who need to grow up. By Alex Kaloostian.
Director: Michael Apted. With Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam. (117 min.)