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Director: Steven Spielberg. With Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow. (145 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt *** The year is 2054, when clairvoyant "precogs" enable police to arrest murderers before they murder. Cruise plays a dedicated cop who's inexplicably accused as the would-be killer of someone he's never heard of. Most of the movie is clever, imaginative, and savvy in its questions about social anxiety and government power. Too bad Spielberg also indulges the kiddie side of his talent, cooking up a silly chase sequence that only video-game nuts will be able to watch without wincing.
Staff ***1/2 Politically relevant, complex but lucid, future-noir, well-paced.
Sex/Nudity: 4 scenes with sex, 2 with innuendo. Violence: 20 (often extended) scenes. Profanity: 3 harsh words. Drugs: 3 scenes with alcohol. 1 with smoking and 8 with drug use.
Director: Steven Brill. With Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, John Turturro. (91 min.)
Staff * No matter what name Adam Sandler assumes he's the same persona in every movie: the ultimate village idiot savant. In the latest vehicle for his personality a remake of Frank Capra's "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" Sandler plays Mr. Deeds, a simpleton from Vermont who is whisked to New York to collect a $40 billion inheritance. Deeds finds himself in a palatial environment manned by more butlers than you could cram into Gosford Park. But nefarious interests are sniffing around. A butler (Turturro) provides this joyless movie's one good running gag with his uncanny ability to sneak up on people. Though the movie has a "wealth doesn't equal happiness" message, it's clear filmmakers put more thought into product placement than storytelling. By Stephen Humphries
Staff ** Silly, uninspired, dumb, earnest
Sex/Nudity: No nudity, some innuendo. Violence: 5 scenes comic violence. Profanity: 22 expressions. Drugs: 14 scenes drinking and smoking.
Director: Raja Gosnell. With Freddy Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini.
Staff *** The wild and droll canine Scooby-Doo and his villain-chasing friends reunite for a spooky adventure in this live-action adaptation of the animated TV series. A theme-park owner calls on the Mystery gang to uncover the reason visitors leave the park as monster-possessed zombies. Many clues lead them through fun-house twists and turns as they seek the desperado behind it all. The characters are well portrayed, but some scenes are clichés and others grotesque. The qualities that enable this quintet to succeed include adaptability and an appreciation of friends. The story offers incentive for adults to stay and kids to watch so give yourself a Scooby Snack! By Chase Clements (age 13)
Staff *** Fresh, funny, frenzied
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes innuendo. Violence: 18 scenes with cartoonish violence. Profanity: 2 instances of mild profanity. Drugs: 2 scenes with drinking.
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 on screen, this film imagines the US after a terrorist nuclear blast destroys Baltimore. It arrived amid much speculation about America's readiness to see terrorism on screen, but the director chose to show little damage. More chilling may be the US president's calm willingness to deploy government agents to assassinate the bad guys, rather than bring them to face the law.
By Gloria Goodale
Staff **1/2 Thrilling, gripping, unrealistic.
Sex/Nudity: 2 mild scenes. Violence: 13 scenes, including a hanging. Profanity: 7 harsh expressions. Drugs: 8 scenes drinking, smoking.
Director: John Sayles. With Edie Falco, Timothy Hutton. (141 min.)
Sterritt ** This ambitious drama sweeps through a Florida town with a skeptical eye, focusing on a civic booster with an artificial smile, an unhappy motel manager with too many men in her life, and an African-American woman revisiting her home after years away. Sayles has assembled an impressive cast, but he's so busy orchestrating these lives together that he doesn't manage to give each individual the fine details a persuasive portrait needs.
Staff *** Down-to-earth, insightful, leisurely.
Sex/Nudity: 6 scenes, including implied sex. Violence: 3, including arson. Profanity: 24 harsh expressions. Drugs: 20 scenes with smoking and drinking.