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Movie Guide

September 13, 2002

Alias Betty (Not rated)

Director: Claude Miller. With Sandrine Kiberlain, Nicole Garcia, Mathilde Seigner, Èdouard Baer. (101 min.)

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Sterritt *** See review, page 17.

Barbershop (PG-13)

Director: Tim Story. With Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve. (102 min.)

Staff **1/2 The best part of this movie is the characters. The plot is predictable, but it's rescued by an abundance of boisterous personalities that transcend stereotypes and snappy dialogue that addresses social issues. The barbershop is the center of life for a group of neighborhood guys, although its owner, Calvin, sees the shop as a money drain. When an ATM is stolen from the store across the street by a modern Laurel and Hardy, the shop becomes gossip central. If every barbershop were this much fun, there would be a lot more well-trimmed men. By Katie Nesse

Igby Goes Down (R)

Director: Burr Steers. With Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Claire Danes. (98 min.)

Staff **1/2 See review, page 16.

The Last Picture Show (Not rated)

Director: Peter Bogdanovich. With Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid. (118 min.)

Sterritt **** In the years after World War II, youngsters reach for grown-up lives in a small Texas community whose waning vitality is symbolized by the imminent shutdown of the only movie theater in town. Bogdanovich became a directorial star with this 1971 drama, which blends a nostalgic view of the American past with a full-blooded reverence for the films embodying that past in the American imagination.

Stealing Harvard (PG-13)

Director: Bruce McCulloch. With Tom Green, Jason Lee, Megan Mullally. (83 min.)

Staff *** John has a great fiancee, a decent job, and has finally saved enough to buy a house and get married. Everything seems perfect – until his niece gets accepted to Harvard and reminds him of a pledge he made years ago to pay her tuition. Running out of time and options, he turns to an ill-fated career in crime, along with his mentally unstable friend. Zany antics ensue. At first glance, this seems to be another cookie-cutter gross-out movie, but it surprises by being low on gross-out and big on heart, not to mention genuinely funny almost from start to finish. By Alex Kaloostian

Swimming (Not rated)

Director: Robert J. Siegel. With Lauren Ambrose, Joelle Carter, Jennifer Dundas, Jamie Harrold. (98 min.)

Sterritt *** The setting is a South Carolina resort town, and the main characters are a discontented working girl, her party-girl best friend, and a sexy new girl who's just arrived on the scene. Sprightly acting, understated emotions, and lovingly detailed ambience make this amiable comedy-drama an easygoing indie pleasure.

Ted Bundy (Not rated)

Director: Matthew Bright. With Michael Reilly Burke, Boti Bliss, Steffani Brass, Marina Black. (96 min.)

Sterritt ** Fact-based melodrama about the appallingly productive serial killer. It's grisly going, but no more exploitative than a lot of mainstream TV reporting about violent crime. The last scenes etch one of the most revealing depictions of capital punishment ever put on the wide screen.

Blue Crush (PG-13)

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."

Staff **1/2 Good surf footage, exhilarating, insipid dialogue.

Sex/Nudity: 6 instances innuendo; 1 scene implied sex. Violence: 12 scenes, including near drownings and surfing injuries. Profanity: 22 expressions. Drugs: 4 scenes with drinking and smoking.

City by the Sea (R)

Director: Michael Caton-Jones. With Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand. (105 min.)

Sterritt ** A cop faces the prospect of arresting his son for murder, stirring up memories of his own father's execution for homicide and muddling his relationships with his girlfriend and former wife. This melodrama would be more powerful if it stayed with the story's character-driven aspects instead of surrounding them with overdone action and suspense scenes. De Niro is excellent for an hour, but doesn't seem fully involved with his role in the last part.