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Director: Doug Liman. With Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox. (113 min.)

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Sterritt ** Damon plays a spy so afflicted by amnesia that he doesn't know his name, much less the assignment he's supposed to carry out. The movie has director Liman's distinctive stamp, with fidgety camera work and flashes of lightning-quick editing. But he hasn't so much transformed the espionage thriller as submitted to its conventions. A truly fresh treatment of Robert Ludlum's novel wouldn't rely so heavily on shootouts, car chases, and boy-meets-girl clich├ęs we've seen a zillion times before.

Staff *** Fresh, entertaining, great casting, good action.

Sex/Nudity: 1 instance implied sex. Violence: 11 scenes, including shooting. Profanity: 6 strong expressions. Drugs: 4 scenes drinking, smoking.

Cherish (R)

Director: Finn Taylor. With Robin Tunney, Tim Blake Nelson, Jason Priestley, Lindsay Crouse. (99 min.)

Staff **1/2 After a few drinks too many, Zoe Adler (Tunney) tries to call a cab on her cellphone, but a carjacker forces her to drive. He flees after she runs over a police officer and crashes, leaving her to face the music. The film's first few minutes throw an annoying array of cinematic distraction at the audience, but a witty little thriller emerges as Zoe, under house arrest, resourcefully stretches her electronic anklet's restrictions. Then, aided by a smitten watchdog deputy, she tries to clear her name by ferreting out her abductor before he can kill her. By M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 3 instances implied sex. Violence: 8 scenes, including fighting. Profanity: 28 strong expressions. Drugs: 7 scenes with drinking, smoking.

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (PG-13)

Director: Peter Care. With Kieran Culkin, Emile Hirsch, Jena Malone, Jodie Foster, Vincent D'Onofrio. (110 min.)

Sterritt *** "Stand by Me" meets "Ghost World." This coming-of-age story centers on two 1970s parochial-school students who express their frustrations by drawing a lurid comic book, but get into trouble when their discontents spill over into the real world. The film's theme is that many adolescents don't draw firm lines between reality and fantasy. It has no profound insights to offer, even when it tackles the grim subject of incest, but nimble performances and lifelike dialogue make it entertaining as well as reasonably thoughtful.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (PG-13)

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.

The Fast Runner (Not rated)

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.

Insomnia (R)

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.

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