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Sex/Nudity: 4 instances, including partial nudity. Violence: 6 scenes. Profanity: 8 strong expressions. Drugs: 9 scenes with drinking and smoking.Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Callie Khouri. With Ellen Burstyn, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock, Maggie Smith, Shirley Knight. (118 min.)
Sterritt * A mother flies into a Louisiana tizzy when her daughter criticizes her in a magazine interview, so her kooky old friends kidnap the erring offspring, convinced she'll change her ungrateful tune if they reveal how many challenges her mom faced during her own salad days. Flashbacks follow, depicting childish mischief and girlish romance along with alcoholism and mental illness. Full of cardboard characters and logic-defying leaps between farce and melodrama, the movie is rarely effective on its own sentimental terms.
Staff **1/2Tender, well-paced, an acting fest.
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance innuendo, no nudity. Violence: 1 scene with child beating. Profanity: 42 expressions. Drugs: 20 scenes with drinking and smoking.
Director: Michael Apted. With Jennifer Lopez, Bill Campbell, Juliette Lewis, Dan Futterman. (111 min.)
Staff *1/2 "Slim" (Lopez) is a hardworking waitress who marries a wealthy stranger she meets while serving burgers and coleslaw. Mitch whisks her away into an ostensibly picture-perfect life but when Slim discovers Mitch is a philanderer and confronts him, he starts beating her. With help, she musters the courage to escape from his possessive grip. This disturbing story highlights major flaws in the legal system and the dire struggles abuse victims face: from a lack of money and housing to a lost sense of security. It's exploitative at times, especially when the victim learns martial arts, then aggressively channels her newfound might against Mitch. The ending may seem justified, but unfortunately it teaches the only way to fight violence is with violence. By Stephanie Cook
Sex/Nudity: 7 scenes, mostly innuendo, 1 with nudity. Violence: 6 scenes. Profanity: 11 expressions. Drugs: 2 scenes with drinking.
Director: Zacharias Kunuk. With Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq. (172 min.)
Sterritt *** The adventures of an Inuit nomad over 20 years, starting with a mysterious event during his childhood and then detailing his feud with a rival over a woman they both love. There's as much unbridled passion and violent conflict as melodrama fans could ask for. You feel the power of the Arctic setting in every scene, from frantic chases to intimate conversations, and the story's refusal to draw solid lines between "good" and "evil" characters shows striking psychological sophistication.
Director: Oliver Parker. With Rupert Everett, Frances O'Connor, Reese Witherspoon. (94 min.)
Staff *** If a dreamy romp and Oscar Wilde don't seem as if they should go together, then British director Oliver Parker has a surprise for fans of one of Wilde's great comedies. This late Victorian-era farce, the first film rendition of this play in 50 years, is based on the slimmest of conceits: that only a man named Earnest is marriage material to two English lasses, played winningly by Witherspoon and O'Connor. On the heels of his successful "An Ideal Husband," this film is a nice addition to the updating of classic British theater works. By Gloria Goodale
Staff ***1/2 Freshly frivolous, witty, well-acted.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: None. Profanity: None. Drugs: 11 scenes with drinking and smoking.
Director: Christopher Nolan. With Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Maura Tierney. (118 min.)
Sterritt *** The aging detective played by Pacino believes a cop can't sleep if he's stuck on a case or bothered by his conscience. He has both problems as he hunts the killer of a teenage girl in a small Alaskan town . Good acting and slow but steady dramatic rhythms lend moody power to this well-written thriller, which becomes something of a horror movie as the lead character's mental disorientation transforms the plot from whodunit mystery to psychological nightmare.
Staff ***Smart, gripping, great cinematography
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 11, including beatings and shooting. Profanity: 30 harsh expressions.
Director: Dover Kosashvili. With Lior Ashkenazi, Ronit Elkabetz, Moni Moshonov. (100 min.)