Director: Betty Thomas. With Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell, Gary Cole. (96 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Staff *1/2 See review.
Director: Godfrey Reggio. (89 min.)
Sterritt **** See review.
Director: Michael Lembeck. With Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson. (105 min.)
Sterritt ** See review.
Director: Hilary Birmingham. With Anson Mount, Julianne Nicholson, Bob Burrus, Glenn Fitzgerald. (102 min.)
Sterritt **** This is a quietly told drama of two young men, their troubled father, and their efforts to carve out a satisfying life on their modest farm as financial and emotional problems loom. Such understated storytelling, sensitive directing, and avoidance of easy filmmaking tricks are all too rare in American movies. This is truly one from the heart.
Director: Stephen Gaghan. With Katie Holmes, Benjamin Bratt, Charlie Hunnam. (99 min.)
Staff ** A promising college senior (Holmes), under pressure to win a plum job after graduation, is being harassed by a former boyfriend, who has been missing and presumed dead for two years. This first directing effort by screenwriter Gaghan ("Traffic") generates a few suspenseful moments, but its leaps between past, present, and future are more confusing than artful. The student's romance with a much older cop (Bratt) is unconvincing, and the muddled surprise ending lacks much punch. By Gregory M. Lamb
Sex/Nudity: 6 scenes of implied sex and innuendo. Violence: 3 instances, including drowning. Profanity: 7 harsh expressions. Drugs: 1 scene with drugs; 4 with alcohol, 2 with smoking.
Director: Mike Leigh. With Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Alison Garland, James Corden. (127 min.)
Sterritt *** A downbeat portrait of Britain's working poor, focusing on an unhappy cab driver, his common-law wife, and their two grown kids, who make up in girth what they lack in civility. Leigh is at his best when etching their daily experiences and showing how a sudden catastrophe delivers a crushing blow to their meager amount of hard-won comfort, and then encourages them toward new levels of loyalty and understanding. Unfortunately, the last portion isn't quite convincing in its elements of uplift and redemption.
Director: Paul Schrader. With Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Rita Wilson, Ron Leibman. (107 min.)
Sterritt *** This movie documents the rise and fall of Bob Crane, popular star of the '60s TV sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," who ruined his life and career when he befriended a technology wonk and participated in living-room orgies recorded by his sleazy companion with then-innovative video equipment. Kinnear gives a pitch-perfect performance as the self-destructive actor, and Schrader offers one of his most harrowing explorations of the temptations and dangers of sensuality, a theme that has fascinated him throughout his career.
Director: Michael Moore. With Moore, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson. (120 min.)
Sterritt *** Contemporary film's most freewheeling documentarymaker turns his sights on the longtime American love affair with guns, including a living-room confrontation with National Rifle Association leader Heston and a discussion with goth-rocker Manson that's amazingly articulate. Moore turns the camera on himself too often for comfort, but he provides an eye-opening array of revelations.
Staff ***1/2Biting, intelligent, relevant, polemic.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 38 scenes, nearly all are brief news clips of violence. Profanity: 8 harsh expressions. Drugs: 1 scene smoking.
Director: Julie Taymor. With Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush, Ashley Judd. (120 min.)
Sterritt * The legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo had a colorful life great achievements in painting, a turbulent marriage with fabled muralist Diego Rivera, even a close relationship with Leon Trotsky, the communist leader. This biopic gets the facts on screen, but that's about it. Perhaps intimidated by the strength of Kahlo's own artistic personality, Taymor shows isolated flashes of the storytelling inventiveness she brought to "Titus." Hayek doesn't have the acting skills such a multifaceted character calls for.