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Director: Dylan Kidd. With Campbell Scott, Isabella Rossellini, Jesse Eisenberg, Jennifer Beals. (105 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** After getting dumped by his latest girlfriend, a 40-ish womanizer named Roger gets an unexpected visit from his 16-year-old nephew Nick, and together they set off on a quest for seduction and romance in the bars and byways of Manhattan, where Roger's temerity and Nick's timidity prove a predictably poor combination. As shaggily comical as it often is, this sharply directed satire deals with two serious themes - the age-old clash between innocence and experience, and the amazing powers of self-delusion. Scott is excellent, and so is everyone else. See this with a date ... if you dare.
Staff *** Superior acting, Inventive, cynical.
Sex/Nudity: 11 scenes of innuendo and implied sex. Violence: 1 fight. Profanity: 25 harsh expressions. Drugs: 16 instances of smoking and drinking.
Director: Michael Lembeck. With Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson. (105 min.)
Sterritt ** Allen reprises his 1994 role as an ordinary guy who's taken over Santa's job. This time he has to marry a Mrs. Claus, get his misbehaving son off the "naughty" list, and save his workshop from a malfunctioning Santa robot, all before a Christmas Eve deadline rolls around. Allen does well with all three of his roles, ably helped by the Disney makeup department. The rest of the acting is bland, but the movie's preteen target audience won't mind, and adults will find occasional grown-up jokes to chuckle at.
Director: Jonathan Demme. With Thandie Newton, Mark Wahlberg, Tim Robbins, Lisa Gay Hamilton. (104 min.)
Sterritt *** The widow of a recently deceased adventurer learns she's the heiress to millions of hidden dollars and meets threatening people who believe they have a right to it. Newton and Wahlberg are well cast, but there's little chemistry between them, and the story is so busy springing surprises, it forgets to develop much feeling. Ultimately this remake of 1963's "Charade" is just a razzle-dazzle chase picture, not the romantic thriller it might have been. But film buffs will enjoy tributes to France's New Wave filmmaking era of the '60s.
Staff **1/2 Stylish, jumpy, OK remake, artistic.
Sex/Nudity: 9 scenes, including innuendo, implied sex, partial nudity. Violence: 14 scenes, including shootings. Profanity: 2 expressions. Drugs: At least 8 scenes of drinking, smoking.
Director: Peter Care. With Kieran Culkin, Emile Hirsch, Jena Malone, Jodie Foster. (110 min.)
Sterritt *** "Stand by Me" meets "Ghost World." This coming-of-age story centers on two 1970s parochial-school students who express their frustrations by drawing a lurid comic book, but get into trouble when their discontents spill into the real world. The film's theme is that many adolescents don't draw firm lines between reality and fantasy. It has no profound insights to offer, even when it tackles the grim topic of incest, but nimble performances and lifelike dialogue make it entertaining and thoughtful.
Staff *** Dark, captures the struggles of youth.
Sex/Nudity: 11 instances, including innuendo. Violence: 12 scenes, including violent drawings. Profanity: 49 harsh expressions. Drugs: 13 scenes with drinking, smoking, drugs.
Director: Callie Khouri. With Ellen Burstyn, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock, Maggie Smith. (118 min.)
Sterritt * A mother flies into a Louisiana tizzy when her daughter criticizes her in a magazine interview, so her kooky old friends kidnap the erring offspring, convinced she'll change her ungrateful tune if they reveal how many challenges her mom faced during her own salad days. Flashbacks follow, depicting childish mischief and girlish romance along with alcoholism and mental illness. Full of cardboard characters and logic-defying leaps between farce and melodrama, it is rarely effective.
Staff **1/2 Tender, well-paced, an acting fest.
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance innuendo. Violence: 1 scene with child beating. Profanity: 42 expressions. Drugs: 20 scenes with drinking, smoking.