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2002 Mega Movie Guide

(Page 37 of 49)

Sterritt ** Reading a stack of decades-old letters she's found, a woman learns about 1940s life in the Mississippi Delta through the words of her aunt, whose adventures included giving birth to a baby out of wedlock and having an African-American best friend. This low-key drama is always warm and mellow, although it doesn't build much of an emotional charge.

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Road to Perdition (R)

Director: Sam Mendes. With Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law. (119 min.)

Sterritt ** Hanks plays a 1930s hit man seeking revenge against the mobsters who killed his wife and son. Mendes surrounds the slow-moving plot with a lonely, dreary view of middle America in the Depression. The cinematography provides much moody atmosphere, and Law is terrific as an enticingly weird thug; but the plot has huge holes, and it's hard to swallow the notion that we should love an assassin because his heart is full of family values.

Staff ***1/2 Well-acted, dark, visually stunning.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene. Violence: 16 extremely violent scenes. Profanity: 20 expressions. Drugs: About 20 scenes with drinking and smoking.

Roger Dodger (R)

Director: Dylan Kidd. With Campbell Scott, Isabella Rossellini, Jesse Eisenberg, Jennifer Beals. (105 min.)

Sterritt **** After getting dumped by his latest girlfriend, a womanizer named Roger and his 16-year-old nephew Nick set off on a quest for 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; so is everyone else.

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.

Rollerball (PG-13)

Director: John McTiernan. With: Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J. (99 min.)

Staff *1/2 Jonathan is the best player in the world's most dangerous game, a confusing mix of skates, motorcycles, balls, and fireworks. Even players don't understand it. LL Cool J as Jonathan's buddy and Reno as a franchise owner who'd kill his star to boost ratings, are watchable, but why not just rent the '75 original? By M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 7 instances, mostly innuendo. Violence: 16 scenes. Profanity: 27 expressions. Drugs: 13 scenes of drinking and smoking.

The Rookie (G)

Director: John Lee Hancock. With Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez. (129 min.)

Staff ***1/2Quaid plays a teacher-turned-Major League Baseball player in this Disney movie based on the true story of Jim Morris. While coaching a losing season of high school baseball, Morris cuts a deal: If his players start winning, he'll try out for the majors. For adults who think G stands for "goofy," Quaid's intense performance will convince them to take this film seriously. By Ben Arnoldy

Staff ***1/2 Home run, avoids clichés, inspiring.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: None. Profanity: None. Drugs: 5 scenes with alcohol.

The Rules of Attraction (R)

Director: Roger Avary. With James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Faye Dunaway. (110 min.)

Sterritt * Sex and love meet fear and loathing on a college campus in this hyperactive adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel. Most of the characters are one-dimensional, and Avary's over-the-top directing doesn't make them interesting for more than a few isolated moments.

Russian Ark (Not rated)

Director: Alexander Sokurov. With Sergey Dreiden, Maria Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy. (96 min.)

Sterritt **** A time traveler and a 19th-century French aristocrat ponder the vicissitudes of Russian and European history as they wander the corridors and galleries of a monumental Russian palace, witnessing large and small scenes from the country's turbulent past. Filmed in a single 90-minute-plus shot that makes cinema history this sumptuous masterpiece is an unforgettable treat for the eyes, ears, and mind. In Russian with English subtitles.

Sade (Not rated)