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Director: Edward Decter. With D.J. Qualls, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin, Eliza Dushku. (100 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Staff *1/2 Dizzy Gillespie Harrison (Qualls) is a high school senior who stretches the boundaries of geekiness, until a convict teaches him you don't need a magic wand, a spider bite, or divine intervention to be cool you just need an attitude. His newfound charisma inspires a whole school to greatness. Now all he needs is a little humility. Original gags, an earnest young cast, lots of cameos, and even compassionate moments bring welcome freshness to the genre, but rationality and cohesiveness skipped class today. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 6 instances, mostly innuendo. Violence: 12 scenes with violence. Profanity: 44 harsh expressions. Drugs: 1 scene with alcohol.
Director: Samuel Raimi. With Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco. (121 min.)
Staff ***The long-awaited "Spider-Man," finally swings and soars his way across Gotham City, marking the 40th anniversary of the Marvel Comics creation. The teen turned superhero after being bitten by a mutant spider, delivers a visually impressive turn, saving damsels and confronting his own demons in a satisfying high-tech action flick. Parents will appreciate the emphasis on responsibility, duty, and sacrifice while teens will enjoy the coming-of-age struggles of an extra-ordinary kid trying to get the girl and oh, by the way, saving the world from super-villains. By Gloria Goodale
Staff ***1/2 Best superhero film, exhilarating, action galore.
Sex/Nudity: 1 wet T-shirt scene. Violence: Cartoonish violence in most scenes, but few are graphic. Profanity: 2 harsh expressions. Drugs: 3 scenes with alcohol, 1 with cigar.
Director: Adrian Lyne. With Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez, Erik Per Sullivan.
Staff ** This movie is loosely based on the 1968 French film "La Femme Infidèle." Lane and Gere play an affluent couple living in a New York City suburb with their 8-year-old son and dog. Their lifestyle is as comfortable as the V-neck sweaters that Gere sports daily. But the mood suddenly changes when Lane falls for a sexy French book dealer (Martinez) in SoHo. The movie's flaw lies in the screenplay it fails to shed light on why she wants to have an affair. OK, she's bored, he's great-looking, but that doesn't seem to be enough in this story. What does work is Lane's performance. She moves from being happy to sad and confused without saying a word.By Lisa Leigh Parney
Staff **1/2 Lacks depth, tragic, suspenseful, very few clichés.
Sex/Nudity: 9 scenes with sex/nudity. Violence: 2 scenes, 1 is bloody. Profanity: 28 harsh expressions. Drugs: 7 scenes with alcohol, 3 with smoking.
Director: Alejandro Amenábar. With Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Eric Sykes. (104 min.)
Sterritt ** A war widow, her little boy, and their new servants dwell amid the mysteries of what may be a very haunted house. This is a subdued and sometimes subtle exercise in ghostly doings, going against the horror-movie grain by relying on quietude and understatement. Kidman is a bit stiff as the increasingly anxious matriarch, though, and Amenábar's filmmaking is sadly short on surprises.
Staff *1/2 Unoriginal, great ghost story, too slow.
Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of implied sex. Violence: 10 scary scenes. Profanity: 2 mild expressions. Drugs: 2 scenes of pilltaking.
Director: Brian Levant. With Cuba Gooding Jr., James Coburn, Joanna Bacalso. (99 min.)
Staff **1/2 A successful Miami dentist learns he is adopted when he inherits his birth mother's Alaskan sled dogs. Amid predictable slapstick episodes, the film champions courage and tenacity, and raises surprisingly serious issues: racial harmony, appreciation of adoptive parents despite the yearning for biological roots, and the worth of every child irrespective of parents' marital status. City kids will appreciate all the snow and mountains. By M.K. Terrell