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Movie Guide

December 6, 2002

Adaptation (R)

Director: Spike Jonze. With Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox. (114 min.)

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Sterritt *** See review.

Analyze That (R)

Director: Harold Ramis. With Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Joe Viterelli. (94 min.)

Sterritt * See review.

Blackboards (Not rated)

Director: Samira Makhmalbaf. With Said Mohamadi, Gahman Ghobadi. (85 min.)

Sterritt **** Two teachers, seeking students in the mountains along the border between Iran and Iraq, find new uses for the blackboards they've been toting when a military attack separates them from their colleagues and puts them into close contact with hard realities of existence in the region. Makhmalbaf continues her rise as Iran's most promising young female filmmaker, and Iranian cinema extends its reign as one of the world's most exciting cultural phenomena. In Kurdish with English subtitles.

Massoud, the Afghan (Not rated)

Director: Christophe de Ponfilly. With Ahmed Shah Massoud, Christophe de Ponfilly. (90 min.)

Sterritt **** This documentary about an Afghan resistance leader who struggled against the Taliban despite crushing odds led de Ponfilly to look more deeply at his own fascination with brutal warfare in far-flung places. The movie doesn't reach any deep insights, but its mixture of psychology, philosophy, and realpolitik is downright riveting. In French and Pashtu with English subtitles.

Currently in release
Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights (PG-13)

Director: Seth Kearsley. With (voices) Adam Sandler, Jackie Titone, Jon Lovitz, Tyra Banks. (86 min.)

Staff ** Bitterness over losing both parents 20 years ago has turned Davey Stone into the town drunk. Yet as Hanukkah begins, Whitey, the basketball league's retiring referee, sees through the Grinch-like façade and hopes to make Davey his replacement. Sandler provides voices for the characters and co-wrote the screenplay and songs. This is hardly classic holiday material, as tasteless gags and language undermine the moments of warmth and comic brilliance. See it if you must, but leave the kids at home. Staff ** **** **• • **

Sex/Nudity: 7 instances innuendo. Violence: 7 scenes of cartoonish, dark violence. Profanity: 12 harsh expressions. Drugs: At least 7 scenes of drinking.

Ararat (R)

Director: Atom Egoyan. With David Alpay, Arsinée Khanjian, Christopher Plummer, Elias Koteas. (116 min.)

Sterritt ** A young man explains to a troubled customs official why a film he's making - about the horrific treatment of Armenians by Turks in the World War I era - has strong reverberations in his own Armenian-Canadian family; this sparks a densely structured series of flashbacks, film-within-a-film scenes, and episodes from present day. Egoyan is one of Canada's most ambitious filmmakers, but the power of this intricate drama falls short, despite his personal investment in the subject, since he is of Armenian ancestry himself.

Sex/Nudity: 4 scenes of nudity and sex. Violence: Violence includes rape and torture. Profanity: 5 harsh expressions.

Die Another Day (PG-13)

Director: Lee Tamahori. With Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, John Cleese, Judi Dench. (132 min.)

Sterritt ** The suave British agent starts his 20th screen adventure by falling into enemy hands and getting kicked out of Her Majesty's Secret Service. But don't fret - he's running true to form within a scene or two, wowing everyone with fast escapes, jaunty wisecracks, and amorous escapades. Tamahori both humanizes the hero and surrounds him with so many visual effects that you might think you're watching a sci-fi fantasy rather than an espionage epic. Brosnan is in top form, though, making the 007 role more his own than anyone since Sean Connery called it quits.

Staff **1/2 Predictable but entertaining, Berry is a tough match, action galore.

Sex/Nudity: 13 instances of innuendo or implied sex. Violence: 18 scenes of extended violence, including explosions and shootings. Profanity: 1 harsh expression. Drugs: 11 scenes of drinking, smoking; several bar scenes.

The Emperor's Club (PG-13)

Director: Michael Hoffman. With Kevin Kline, Emile Hirsch. (115 min.)