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Movie Guide

January 31, 2003

Chaos (Not rated)

Director: Coline Serreau. With Catherine Frot, Vincent Lindon, Rachida Brakni, Line Renaud. (109 min.)

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Sterritt **** See review.

The Guru (R)

Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer. With Jimi Mistry, Heather Graham, Marisa Tomei. (95 min.)

Sterritt * See review.

Lost in La Mancha (R)

Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe. With Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Jean Rochefort, Jeff Bridges. (93 min.)

Sterritt **** Bridges narrates this hugely entertaining documentary about the unmaking of Gilliam's dream project, "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," which went before the cameras in Spain only to be knocked out of production by problems including a sick star, a flood that washed away sets and scenery, and noise from military planes that flew training runs overhead. This is a sad and funny true-life tale that speaks volumes about the difficulties of independent filmmaking.

The Recruit (PG-13)

Director: Roger Donaldson. With Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht. (105 min.)

Sterritt ** See review.

A Guy Thing (PG-13)

Director: Chris Koch. With Jason Lee, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, Diana Scarwid. (105 min.)

Sterritt * After his bachelor party, a groom-to-be wakes up in bed with a woman he doesn't know, then finds out she's his fiancée's favorite cousin and a lot more fun than the fiancée herself. The screenplay has a lot of talk about people being "right for each other," but the characters are so shallow and generic it's hard to care who winds up with whom. This may be a "guy thing," but a "good romantic comedy thing" it's not.

Staff * Predictable, painfully bad, overacted.

Sex/Nudity: 1 implied sex scene; 7 instances of innuendo. Violence: 9 scenes of gratuitous violence, including a fight. Profanity: 37 expressions. Drugs: 5 scenes of drinking. 1 scene with illegal drugs.

About Schmidt (R)

Director: Alexander Payne. With Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Kathy Bates. (125 min.)

Sterritt *** After his wife's unexpected death, a retired man rethinks his future and reevaluates his past while traveling across the Midwest to his daughter's wedding. Nicholson's acting is awesome, and Payne and co-writer Jim Taylor haven't lost their ear for the empty aphorisms of middle-class speech.

Staff *** Jack is back, bittersweet, touching.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of partial nudity. Violence: 1 brief tussle. Profanity: 12 expressions. Drugs: 8 scenes with drinking; 1 with prescription drugs.

Amen. (Not rated)

Director: Costa-Gavras. With Mathieu Kassovitz, Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe, Michel Duchaussoy. (130 min.)

Sterritt ** A repentant German officer and a young Jesuit priest mount a vain effort to alert Pope Pius XII to the Nazi genocide campaign, hoping the pontiff will take a public stand against it. Based on Rolf Hochhuth's play "The Deputy," this ambitious drama contains powerful messages about religious hypocrisy and the moral lassitude that allowed the Holocaust to continue even after its reality began filtering into public consciousness. Regrettably, though, director Costa-Gavras puts more of his storytelling energy into simplistic psychology and suspense-movie action than historical depth and philosophical insight.

Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary (PG)

Directors: André Heller and Othmar Schmiderer. With Traudl Junge. (90 min.)

Sterritt **** This documentary presents a long interview with a personal assistant to Adolf Hitler who lived in his bunker during his final days. She candidly admits her failure to recognize the profound evil of a man she found personable and even kind during their daily interactions. Her testimony is a salutary reminder that Hitler was a person - not a supernatural monster whose malevolence sprang from unearthly, inexplicable sources - and that the evil he manifested could visit us again if more civilized humans don't remain watchful.

Catch Me If You Can (PG-13)

Director: Steven Spielberg. With Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nathalie Baye. (140 min.)

Sterritt *** The mostly true story of a master impostor (DiCaprio) who passes himself off as everything from a Pan Am copilot to a Harvard-trained physician, cashing bad checks along the way - to the consternation of an FBI agent (Hanks) who spends years tracking him down. Spielberg doesn't have much talent for psychological suspense, but DiCaprio underplays nicely. Walken is superb as the con artist's downtrodden dad.