Beauty and the Beast (Not rated)Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Jean Cocteau. With Jean Marais, Josette Day, Michel Auclair, Mila Parély. (93 min.)
Sterritt **** The timeless fairy tale about a young woman who agrees to dwell with a mysterious monster, as interpreted in 1946 by one of cinema's most brilliant visual stylists and mythmakers. Cocteau's helpers include the great cinematographer Henri Alekan, the adventurous composer Georges Auric, and matinee idol Marais in no fewer than three roles.
Director: John Stockwell. With Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis, Mika Boorem. (103 min.)
Sterritt ** They're chambermaids by night, surfin' girls by day, and one of them has the makings of wave-riding stardom. Moviegoing tip: Skip the first hour or so, but grab a seat in time for the surfing contest that climaxes the picture, complete with mile-high waves and the most graceful ocean-gliding this side of "The Endless Summer."
Director: David Jacobson. With Jeremy Renner, Bruce Davison, Artel Kayaru, Dion Basco. (101 min.)
Sterritt *** Based on the life and crimes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, this intelligently directed drama explores the troubled man's personality without claiming to have psychological explanations for his horrific actions. The performances are excellent and the filmmaking is remarkably restrained, although moments of perverse violence are necessary to the real-life story being told.
Director: Edouardo de Oliveira. With Michel Piccoli, Catherine Deneuve, John Malkovich. (90 min.)
Sterritt **** An aging actor relies on work to balance his life after a family tragedy takes a great toll on him, but he eventually finds himself facing the end of his career with mingled nostalgia and regret. Piccoli gives one of the most nuanced performances of his distinguished career, but the primary star of the movie is de Oliveira, who unfolds the story with unfailing skill and sensitivity.
Director: Neil LaBute. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Ehle, Jeremy Northam. (102 min.)
Sterritt * See review, page 15.
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 filmmakers' minds is how much box-office power they can tap into by blitzing viewers 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. Profanity: 32 mostly mild expressions. Drugs: 2 instances drinking.
Director: Clint Eastwood. With Eastwood, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Daniels. (115 min.)
Sterritt *** An aging cop tracks down the serial killer who murdered the donor of his newly transplanted heart. Eastwood plays the sleuth a sort of geriatric Dirty Harry with the same physically taut, emotionally walled-up personality that has typified most of his characters. He still gets the girl, too. In the director's chair, Eastwood takes a conservative approach, telling the tale efficiently but with few of the imaginative touches that have made some of his films so memorable.
Staff **1/2 Spotty acting, utterly predictable, well-crafted.
Sex/Nudity: 1 scene implied sex. Violence: 13 scenes, including shootouts. Profanity: 24 strong expressions. Drugs: 5 scenes with drinking.
Director: Steven Soderbergh. With Julia Roberts, Catherine Keener, Blair Underwood. (101 min.)
Sterritt ** Soderbergh tries a freewheeling experiment in this comedy-drama about people making a film and rehearsing a play; it takes place during 24 hours and unfolds in loosely strung scenes that drift in different directions. The focus is on mercurial moods rather than logic-driven causes and effects. It's refreshingly different, even if it's low on energy, and too eager to be quirky at moments when a little old-fashioned storytelling would come in handy.