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Movie Guide

August 9, 2002

Blood Work (R)

Director: Clint Eastwood. With Clint Eastwood, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Daniels. (115 min.)

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Sterritt *** See review.

Caravaggio (Not rated)

Director: Derek Jarman. With Nigel Terry, Tilda Swinton, Sean Bean, Robbie Coltrane. (93 min.)

Sterritt *** This color-filled 1986 biopic looks at the legendary 17th-century painter through the eyes of a filmmaker long fascinated by art, cultural history, and sexual adventuring. It's often beautiful to watch, although it's more interested in visual style than philosophical depth. Jarman's most far-reaching ideas are on better display in films like "The Last of England" and "Blue."

The Good Girl (R)

Director: Miguel Arteta. With Jennifer Aniston, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tim Blake Nelson. (93 min.)

Sterritt **** What's a well-meaning young woman to do when she's stuck in a miserable marriage, a tedious town, and a boring job, and the only chance for escape is a love affair she can't bring herself to resist? Aniston and Reilly give the best of many excellent performances. A few plotty scenes aside, this quietly directed drama paints a sensitive, sympathetic portrait of modern malaise, and has a smart sense of humor as a bonus.

Secret Ballot (G)

Director: Babak Payami. With Nassim Abdi, Cyrus Abidi, Youssef Habashi, Gholbahar Janghali. (105 min.)

Sterritt **** On a remote island in the Persian Gulf, a young woman combs the countryside for people to cast votes in the ballot box she carries with her, accompanied by a grumpy soldier who – like many of the folks they run across – knows this is all very important but isn't quite certain what elections are for. Payami's gentle comedy captures a subtle range of human feelings through a quietly inventive visual style that embodies the best life-affirming tendencies of modern Iranian film. In Farsi with English subtitles.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (PG)

Director: Robert Rodriguez. With Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara. (100 min.)

Staff *** Rodriguez crafts an imaginative sequel for kids that reflects his own creative urge to play. There are enough nifty gadgets to make 007 drool, like RALPH, a bug robot that can tie a bow tie and crawl his way into secret meetings. There's also a snazzy dragon fly submarine, and lunch boxes that cook up your favorite fast food in flash. The story picks up with the Cortez family as part of a global spy organization. Amid stiff competition, tension, and sibling bickering, a vital mission arises: to find a device that, in the wrong hands, could destroy the world. The trail leads to an island filled with hybrid animals – a genetically re-engineered Jurassic Park of sorts. At times this colorful, fast-paced adventure causes sensory overload. But the film teaches valuable lessons such as the importance of family and integrity. Like its predecessor, it promises to be a crowd pleaser. By Stephanie Cook

24 Hour Party People (R)

Director: Michael Winterbottom. With Steve Coogan, Chris Coghill, Paddy Considine, Shirley Henderson. (115 min.)

Sterritt **** See review.

XXX (PG-13)

Director: Rob Cohen. With Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson, Marton Csokas. (120 min.)

Sterritt * See review.

Austin Powers in Goldmember (PG-13)

Director: Jay Roach. With Mike Myers, Michael Caine, Beyoncé Knowles, Robert Wagner, Michael York. (98 min.)

Sterritt * Our hero battles Dr. Evil and a villain he's recruited from 1975 to help him destroy the world. The third Powers movie wants to be a flashy, funny satire on the swinging '70s and the science-fiction spy stories that embodied the era's fashions and foibles. What's really on the filmmakers' minds is how much box-office power they can tap into by blitzing moviegoers with even larger doses of repetitive sex jokes and insipid scatological gags than before.

Staff ** Sophomoric, funny, repetitive

Sex/Nudity: 19 instances of innuendo. Violence: 11 scenes, including fighting, but mostly comic violence. Profanity: 32 mostly mild expressions. Drugs: 2 instances drinking.

The Country Bears (G)

Director: Peter Hastings. With Christopher Walken, Stephen Tobolowsky. (88 min.)