Director: Billy Wilder. With Ray Walston, Kim Novak, Dean Martin, Felicia Farr, Cliff Osmond. (126 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** This scalding 1964 comedy was one of the great Wilder's last major films. Martin plays a singing star who falls into the clutches of two small-town songwriters when they sabotage his car and hire him a hooker with a heart of gold, hoping he'll buy some of their ditties. Hollywood censors made Wilder reshoot one scene, but the original version has been rediscovered; while it's tame by today's standards, it makes the movie's caustic social commentary more potent than ever.
Directors: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois. With voices of Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, Ving Rhames. (85 min.)
Sterritt *** See review, page 15.
Director: Steven Spielberg. With Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow. (145 min.)
Sterritt *** See review, page 15.
Director: Doris Kornish. With Rudy Burckhardt, Jacob Burkhardt, Yushiko Chuma, Alex Katz. (85 min.)
Sterritt ** Kornish spent a decade filming this documentary visit with the late painter, photographer, and filmmaker. The best parts are excerpts from brief Burkhardt movies like "Square Times" and "Lurk," which show his offbeat artistry in full flower. The film would be better if it devoted more time to showing his work, though, and less to talking heads telling us how great it is.
Director: John Sayles. With Edie Falco, Timothy Hutton, Angela Bassett, Miguel Ferrer, Jane Alexander. (141 min.)
Sterritt ** See review, page 15.
Director: Joe Maggio. With Clint Jordan, Kirsten Russell, Greg Amici, Anthony Gorman. (93 min.)
Sterritt *** Virgil is determined to start a new life after finishing his prison term, but he falls into bad company despite his good intentions. A few miscalculated scenes aside, this low-budget drama is stunningly smart and powerful, with real-as-life lead performances and a style as gripping as it is unpretentious. Maggio is definitely a filmmaker to watch.
Director: Christian Frei. With James Nachtwey, Christiane Amanpour, Denis O'Neill. (96 min.)
Sterritt **** Nominated for best feature documentary in the 2002 Oscar race, this strikingly original movie chronicles Nachtwey's career as a news photographer in countries torn by war and poverty, often situating its own video lens directly behind his camera. Indelible images and brilliant use of unconventional music make this a nonfiction film that must be seen and heard to be believed.
Director: Joel Schumacher. With Chris Rock, Anthony Hopkins, Garcelle Beauvais, Brooke Smith. (120 min.)
Sterritt ** A streetwise hustler is drafted by the CIA to replace his killed-in-action twin on a mission to seize a contraband nuclear device, helped by a CIA veteran and threatened by a terrorist team. Rock and Hopkins give performances so different you'd think they were spliced together from two separate movies. This is fun to watch for a while, but the picture runs much too long, and most of the comedy writing is lame.
Sex/Nudity: 2 mild scenes. Violence: 10 scenes, including shooting. Profanity: 26 harsh expressions. Drugs: 8 scenes of smoking and drinking.
Director: Jonathan Parker. With David Paymer, Crispin Glover, Glenne Headly, Joe Piscopo. (82 min.)
Staff ** Glover is remarkably consistent as the stonefaced new hire in a public-records office, who "would prefer not" to do anything but filing, and then not to do anything at all, even leave after he's fired. This snide commentary on government work is perfectly cast with Paymer as the frustrated boss of an office full of kooks. But it runs out of gas as it moves faithful to its source, Herman Melville's 1853 "Bartleby the Scrivener" to a sad conclusion. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 5 instances, mostly innuendo. Violence: None. Profanity: 5 mild expressions. Drugs: 2 scenes with drinking.