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Sterritt *** The friends and fiancée of a young British soldier brand him a coward when he quits the military rather than fight in the Sudan, so he heads for the desert to redeem his honor by assisting his former comrades from the sidelines, helped by an African mercenary. Kapur fills the screen with color, action, and authenticity. What he doesn't do is clarify the psychology of his main character, or ask whether fighting to shore up the British Empire is a good idea in the first place.Skip to next paragraph
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Staff **1/2 Beautiful scenery, epic, simplistic.
Sex/Nudity: 1 sex scene. No nudity. Violence: Contains graphic violence. Profanity: A few expressions. Drugs: 5 scenes drinking, 4 smoking scenes.
Director: Burr Steers. With Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Claire Danes. (98 min.)
Staff **1/2 This alluring and sometimes unsettling comedy traces the coming of age of the blue-blooded yet rebellious Igby (Culkin). The story begins with Igby and his brother trying to poison their mother and then rewinds to explain how they could do such a thing. Igby, who has worn out his welcome at every East Coast prep school, is shipped off to a military academy by his mother. Igby is miserable and manages to escape to New York, where he enters a world of misfit characters. Overall, the film is an entertaining ride with its uncommon blend of seriousness and humor. But in the end, there's not much of a meaningful destination. By Judy Nichols
Violence: 6 scenes, including aided suicide, beatings. Drugs: 12 scenes with smoking, 10 with drinking, 8 with drugs.
Director: Gabriele Muccino. With Stefano Accorsi, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Stefania Sandrelli. (115 min.)
Staff *** A couple's announcement that they're expecting their first child seems to trigger an upheaval in the lives of family and friends. Giulia's mother (Sandrellli) thinks she needs to leave her husband. Carlo's buddies get the notion that they want to drive a camper the length of Africa. Beneath a farcical surface, abetted by quicksilver editing and snappy dialogue, is a serious exploration of commitment and fidelity, along with a tip of the hat to the great Italian cinematic tradition. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 3 instances innuendo. 3 sex scenes with seminudity. Violence: 4 scenes, including a tussle. Profanity: 29 strong expressions. Drugs: 20 scenes of drinking, smoking, and drug use.
Director: Bruce Neibaur. Narrator: Jeff Bridges. (42 min.)
Staff *** This historical documentary takes full advantage of the large-screen format to tell the story of the first American expedition to cross North American: 8,000 miles over 28 months. The explorers encountered hazardous weather and daunting terrain, but were aided at key points by native Americans. They brought back important new information on just what lay between the Mississippi River and the Pacific. Gorgeous aerial views of landscapes and huge buffalo herds are interspersed with dramatically reenacted scenes of running rapids or being chased by a grizzly, as a band of brothers (and a 16-year-old native American girl named Sacagawea) heads West. By Gregory M. Lamb
Director: Brad Silberling. With Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Holly Hunter. (112 min.)
Sterritt * After his fianceé is tragically killed, a young man moves into her parents' home, where he gets caught between the conflicting goals of pleasing needy friends or being true to his own needs and desires. This fuzzy-minded drama fails to build much emotional power, and its '70s time period is evoked so wanly you'll hardly recognize it. What's a superstar like Hoffman doing in a meandering soap opera like this?
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.
Staff *** Sassy, quirky, disturbing.
Sex/Nudity: 12 scenes, including bondage and full nudity. Violence: 14 instances, including self mutilation. Profanity: 7 instances profanity. Drugs: 5 drinking scenes. 1 with smoking.