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Movie Guide

September 20, 2002

The Banger Sisters (R)

Director: Bob Dolman. With Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn, Geoffrey Rush, Erika Christensen. (97 min.)

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Staff **1/2Former rock groupie Suzette (Hawn) wants to reconnect with her friend "Vinny" (Sarandon) in Phoenix. Problem is, it's 20 years later and Vinny isn't a wild woman anymore. Known to family and friends as Livinia Kingsley, she lives in a big house with her lawyer-husband, two daughters, and a golden retriever. Vinny is wound up as tightly as the curls pinned up in her daughter's hair. Adding another dimension to the film is Geoffrey Rush. He's brilliant as a neurotic writer whom Suzette picks up on her way to Phoenix. This hilarious romp looks like a shallow film on the surface, but it addresses family tensions, peer pressure, and the need to just let loose later in life. Contains harsh language and frank sexual talk. By Lisa Parney Connors

8 Women (R)

Director: François Ozon. With Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant. (113 min.)

Sterritt **** See review.

The Four Feathers (PG-13)

Director: Shekhar Kapur. With Heath Ledger, Kate Hudson, Wes Bentley, Djimon Hounsou. (125 min.)

Sterritt *** See review.

Secretary (R)

Director: Steven Shainberg. With James Spader, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Patrick Bauchau. (111 min.)

Sterritt ** A woman with a self-punishing streak takes a job with a lawyer who spanks her for spelling mistakes. The movie works hard to be naughty, but its sub-David Lynch style doesn't quite click. Gyllenhaal is excellent and Spader effectively adds to his roster of creepy characters.

Spirited Away (PG)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki. With voices of Daveigh Chase, David Ogden Stiers, Suzanne Pleshette. (125 min.)

Sterritt *** See review.

All About Lily Chou-Chou (Not rated)

Director: Shunji Iwai. With Hayato Ichihara, Shûgo Oshinari, Yû Aoi, Ayumi Ito. (146 min.)

Sterritt **** Lily Chou-Chou is a pop star we hardly see, and the key characters are Japanese adolescents who use idealized fantasies of her as respite from the routines and power games that oppress them at school and play. Iwai's ambitious drama is strikingly shot, poignantly acted by a splendid young cast, and enriched by surprising use of Debussy classics on the soundtrack. It's remarkable for digital video and chat-room messages to look so richly cinematic. In Japanese with English subtitles.

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

Sex/Nudity: 6 instances innuendo. Violence: 9 scenes, including car crash and punching. Profanity: 66 expressions. Drugs: At least 1 instance 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.