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2002 Mega Movie Guide

December 20, 2002

8 Mile (R)

Director: Curtis Hanson. With Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer. (111 min.)

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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.

Staff *** Gritty, compelling story, sympathetic.

Sex/Nudity: 3 graphic sex scenes. Innuendo in rap songs. Violence: 9 scenes, including fights. Profanity: 240 harsh expressions. Drugs: 3 drinking scenes, 12 smoking scenes. 1 with drugs.

8 Women (R)

Director: François Ozon. With Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant. (113 min.)

Sterritt **** The setting is a fine French country house. The mystery: which of several excellent suspects murdered the aging gentleman who owned it? Ozon fills the screen with suspense and surprises in this colorful comedy-thriller-musical-romance, helped by a superb cast and a mischievous sense of fun that keeps you guessing whether the next moment will bring a triumph, a tragedy, or a little song and dance. In French with English subtitles.

Staff **1/2 Bizarre, creative, lush, stage-like.

Sex/Nudity: Mostly innuendo. Violence: 11 scenes, including suicide. Profanity: None. Drugs: 7 scenes of drinking, smoking.

13 Conversations About One Thing (R)

Director: Jill Sprecher. With Alan Arkin, Matthew McConaughey, Amy Irving, John Turturro. (94 min.)

Sterritt **** A smug lawyer, a spunky cleaning woman, a cynical businessman, and other diverse characters grapple with personal and professional problems that challenge their ideas about the nature of happiness and fulfillment. Arkin is the standout in the superb cast, and the screenplay by Sprecher and co-writer Karen Sprecher doesn't flinch from discussing science, philosophy, and other things that grownups actually talk about.

Staff **1/2 Creative, maudlin dialogue, probing.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 instances. Profanity: 11 harsh expressions. Drugs: 3 scenes with drinking, 2 with smoking and 1 with illegal drugs.

24 Hour Party People (R)

Director: Michael Winterbottom. With Steve Coogan, Chris Coghill. (115 min.)

Sterritt **** This lively look at the rock scene in Manchester, England, begins with impresario Antony Wilson's discovery of the Sex Pistols in 1976 and ends with the demise of his influential Factory Records label in the early '90s. Coogan is dazzling as Wilson, and candid treatment of the era's problem with drugs and violence keeps the film from partying too much for its own good.

Sex/Nudity: 26 scenes, mostly innuendo. Partial, not full nudity. Violence: 15 scenes, mostly fights and gun scenes.

25th Hour (R)

Director: Spike Lee. With Edward Norton, Rosario Dawson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brian Cox. (134 min.)

Sterritt **** A young drug dealer tries to come to terms with his past on the day before he leaves for a seven-year prison term. The movie is flawed by implausible psychology and moments of weak acting. But it's more than redeemed by Lee's passionate ideas about America today, which he sees as plagued by evils of violence and materialism, yet unbounded in its possibilities and unquenchable in its spirit. He's a unique filmmaker, and this uneven drama is truly one of a kind.

40 Days and 40 Nights (R)

Director: Michael Lehmann. With Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Maggie Gyllenhaal. (110 min.)