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Sterritt **** After an unpromising start, this unpredictable comedy-drama becomes a dazzlingly funny-sad account of a man's attempt to avoid an arranged marriage despite his family's insistence on keeping traditions alive in the Republic of Georgia. The acting is superb, the filmmaking is imaginative, and the story never goes where you expect. In Georgian, Hebrew with English subtitles.Skip to next paragraph
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Directors: Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook. With voices of Matt Damon, James Cromwell, Daniel Studi. (84 min.)
Sterritt ** The adventures of a wild stallion who wants to stay wild, the young Indian who befriends him, and a mean-tempered cavalry captain who wants to break his will and hold him in captivity. The proudly traditional style of this kid-friendly animation seems rather tame in the age of "Shrek" and "Monsters, Inc.," but the action is mild enough for fairly young children, and grownups may enjoy its old-fashioned spirit.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 11 scenes, none graphic. Profanity: None. Drugs: 1 instance cigar smoking.
Director: George Lucas. With Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman 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 probes a threat from Dark Side enemies. The film 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?
Staff **1/2 Cheezy dialogue, uninspired acting, technologically dazzling, Yoda is fantastic!
Sex/Nudity: Mild innuendo. Violence: 12 scenes, some long. Profanity: None. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol-like drinks.
Director: Phil Alden Robinson. With Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber.
Staff **1/2 The fourth in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series to make it to the screen, this film imagines the US after a terrorist nuclear blast destroys Baltimore. The film arrived amid much speculation about America's readiness to see terrorism as entertainment, but the director chose to show little actual damage. More chilling may be the US President's calm willingness to deploy top government agents to assassinate the bad guys, rather than bring them to face the rule of law. By Gloria Goodale
Sex/Nudity: 2 mild scenes. Violence: 13 scenes, including a hanging. Profanity: At least 7 harsh expressions. Drugs: 8 scenes with drinking, smoking.
Director: Jill Sprecher. With Alan Arkin, Matthew McConaughey, Amy Irving, John Turturro. (94 min.)
Staff ***1/2 A series of interrelated vignettes in the lives of several New Yorkers begins with a successful prosecutor who is haunted by his own hidden crime. Arkin is especially poignant as an aging middle manager who finds his life crumbling around him. Some viewers may decide the film is about whether fortune or luck exists. Others may decide it shows that love and good deeds are the only things that give life meaning. The stories are both frustratingly and satisfyingly open-ended. By Gregory M. Lamb
Staff **1/2 Creative, maudlin dialogue, probing
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 instances. Profanity: 11 harsh expressions. Drugs: 3 scenes with drinking, 2 with smoking and 1 with illegal drugs.
Director: Malcolm Lee. With Eddie Griffin, Chris Kattan, Denise Richards. (88 min.)
Staff * "Undercover Brother" should have stayed undercover, brother. Imagine "Shaft" meets "Austin Powers," but not as cool or as funny. Our jive-talking hero (Griffin) is recruited by a group of vigilantes trying to bring down "the Man" after discovering that he is distributing mind-controlling drugs through a fried chicken fast-food chain. After infiltrating the "whitey" world, Brother is seduced by White She-Devil, played by Denise Richards, and forgets his mission. Thankfully, the vigilantes help him remember Roots both the TV series and his own. Unfortunately, you quickly realize you've heard all these jokes before. By Stuart S. Cox Jr.