2002 Mega Movie Guide
(Page 27 of 49)
Sterritt ** Frodo and Sam head for the dark land of Mordor to destroy the ring of power before evil Sauron can use it to enslave Middle Earth forever. The second installment in Jackson's trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien's marvelous novels is more effective than "The Fellowship of the Ring" partly because it isn't weighed down with plodding exposition. But its greatest asset is Gollum, almost as creepy on the screen as he was in Tolkien's pages.Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Nicole Holofcener. With Catherine Keener, Brenda Blethyn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Mortimer. (89 min.)
Sterritt *** Two sisters cope with personal problems while fretting over the latest whims of their eccentric mother and the insecurities of the African-American preteen she adopted. Holofcener makes good on the promise she showed in her 1996 comedy "Walking and Talking," neatly balancing humor and poignancy while eliciting splendid performances from her gifted cast.
Staff *** Fresh, engaging, well-paced.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes with full nudity. 3 scenes with allusions to sex but nothing graphic. Violence: None. Profanity: 26 strong expressions. Drugs: At least 5 instances smoking and drinking.
Director: Vicente Aranda. With Pilar Lopez de Ayala, Danielle Liotti. (120 min.)
Staff ***1/2 Juana "the Mad," daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand, succeeded her mother to the throne in 1504. But her insanity kept her from ruling, and she spent 47 years in a remote castle. This lavish telling of the story suggests that Juana wasn't mad - just desperately in love with her unfaithful husband - but that medieval minds weren't ready for her Renaissance behavior. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 12 instances innuendo and implied sex, including full nudity. Violence: 3 scenes. Profanity: 2 expressions. Drugs: 3 scenes of drinking.
Director: Denis Villeneuve. With Marie-Josée Croze, Jean-Nicolas Verreault, Stephanie Morgenstern. (86 min.)
Sterritt *** Bibiane is a French-Canadian woman whose comfortable life goes sour while she's still shy of 30. Things get bleakest when she runs down a stranger with her car; hope returns when she meets his grieving son, who likes her but could turn against her if he discovers her ties to his late father. This eccentric melodrama would be more effective if it didn't have so many self-conscious directorial touches. In French with English subtitles.
Director: Wayne Wang. With Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci, Bob Hoskins. (105 min.)
Sterritt ** Lopez plays the title character, a single mom who cleans hotel rooms while dreaming of a better life she doesn't think she'll really achieve, and Fiennes plays the handsome politico who sweeps her into his arms. The stars of this toned-down "Pretty Woman" clone don't exude much romantic chemistry, but Wang moves the action along smoothly and has the good sense to make Manhattan itself one of the most prominent attractions.
Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of implied sex; some innuendo. Profanity: 12 expressions. Violence: 1 mild scene.
Director: George Hickenlooper. With Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, James Coburn, Mick Jagger. (106 min.)
Staff *** Desperate to find a way to support his family, struggling novelist Byron Tiller (Garcia) accepts employment from a well-tailored stranger (Jagger). When Byron's wife learns that the source of the family's newfound prosperity is the Elysian Fields escort service, she leaves him. Through this sad experience, Byron finds his voice as a writer, along with hope and redemption. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 13 scenes innuendo, implied sex. Violence: 2 mild scenes. Profanity: 20 strong expressions. Drugs: At least 12 scenes of drinking, smoking.