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Sterritt ** A rapper called Rabbit lives an unhappy life in a trailer with his amoral mom, spending his time with a racially mixed group of friends and learning to express his anger in rhythmic rhymes that win the big rap competition (surprise!) that climaxes the story. Eminem plays his movie-debut role with a sullen naiveté that's not very interesting, and Hanson's directing has little vigor apart from kinetic camerawork and very, very, very large amounts of yelling on the soundtrack.Skip to next paragraph
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Staff *** Gritty, compelling story, sympathetic.
Sex/Nudity: 3 sex scenes, fairly graphic, but no nudity. Some innuendo in rap songs. Violence: 9 scenes, including violent fights. Profanity: About 240 harsh expressions. Drugs: 3 drinking scenes; at least 12 smoking scenes. 1 instance of drugs.
Director: Todd Haynes. With Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson. (107 min.)
Sterritt **** The time is the 1950s, and the heroine is a well-to-do housewife struggling to understand her feelings and find a pathway back to happiness after her husband realizes he's gay and her friendship with a black gardener causes vicious gossip among her friends. Haynes works cinematic and emotional miracles in this near-remake of Douglas Sirk's masterpiece "All That Heaven Allows," reviving conventions of '50s melodrama that have gone out of fashion but haven't lost their ability to touch moviegoers' minds and hearts.
Director: Brian De Palma. With Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote. (110 min.)
Sterritt ** A glamorous woman participates in a conspicuously spectacular French diamond heist, assumes an incognito life in America, and then heads to Paris, where she and a crafty photographer (Banderas) wend their way toward a predictably unpredictable finale. The story doesn't make much sense, and the actors are more like pieces on De Palma's chessboard than three-dimensional characters. The action is crammed with flamboyant images and frisky cinematic pranks, though, so De Palma's fans will be amused.
Sex/Nudity: 10 sex scenes, including seminudity. Violence: 14 scenes of violence, including shootings and beating. Profanity: 34 strong expressions. Drugs: At least 8 scenes of drinking, 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.
Staff **1/2 Imaginative, colorful, passionate.
Sex/Nudity: 18 scenes innuendo, implied sex. Violence: 8 scenes, including brawls. Profanity: 12 expressions. Drugs: 29 scenes of smoking, drinking. 2 scenes morphine abuse.
Director: Chris Smith. With Bill Tregle, Linda Beech, Darlene Satrinano. (66 min.)
Sterritt *** If one's domestic environment is a kind of autobiography, then the five households visited by this entertaining documentary reveal fascinating lives indeed. One couple lives in a converted missile silo, another in a home designed more for their pet cats than for themselves. Other folks live in a treehouse, an alligator-friendly boathouse, and a suburban house crammed with mechanized gadgets. Home, sweet home, was never like this!
Director: Betty Thomas. With Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Gary Cole. (96 min.)
Staff *1/2 Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson are both masters of comic patter, and pairing them in a buddy film does result in some entertaining comic riffs. But everything else here is strictly spy by the numbers. Secret agent Alexander Scott (Wilson) must stop a stolen US super "stealth" airplane from being sold to evildoers. Boxing champion Kelly Robinson (Murphy) is recruited to help him. But can these two bickering teammates blend as buddies, stop the villain, and save the world? "I Spy" grabs its title, but little else, from the '60s TV show, which emphasized cool, witty repartee. Murphy and Wilson are more inspired by the "Dumb and Dumber" school of comedy. There are chuckles, but far too few. By Gregory M. Lamb