Director: Lee Hirsch. With Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masakela, Thandi Modise. (108 min.)Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Sterritt ** A look at the role played by popular music in the war against apartheid during 40 years of South Africa's history. There are lots of lively tunes in an excellent cause, but in the end you wish you'd either probed more deeply into historical events or heard more uninterrupted minutes of inspired performing. In English, Xhosa, and Zulu, with English subtitles.
Director: Ron Shelton. With Kurt Russell, Lolita Davidovich, Scott Speedman, Ving Rhames. (116 min.)
Sterritt *** See review, page 15.
Directors: Susan Seidelman, Amos Kollek, Jos Stelling. With Mira Sorvino, Aida Turturro, Victor Argo, Ruth Maleczech. (76 min.)
Sterritt ** Three brief comedies filmed in English for a German television series. The most thoughtful is Seidelman's contribution, "The Dutch Master," about a working woman who becomes transfixed by a painting in a museum. "Angela" views an aging man's wish for companionship with an elusive stranger, and "The Waiting Room" glances at fleeting relationships in a public place.
Director: Chantal Akerman. With Mexican immigrants to the United States. (103 min.)
Sterritt ** Akerman's concern for a Mexican woman who disappeared after moving to Los Angeles sparked this documentary about the dangers faced by undocumented immigrants who evade American immigration laws. Akerman is among the most imaginative filmmakers in her native Belgium or anywhere else, but here she doesn't get very far beneath the surface of her subject. In English, French, and Spanish, with English subtitles.
Director: Ronald F. Maxwell. With Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, Stephen Lang, Mira Sorvino. (225 min.)
Sterritt * See review, page 15.
Directors: Neil Hunter, Tom Hunsinger. With Tom Hollander, Bill Nighy, Douglas Henshall, Clementine Celarie. (110 min.)
Sterritt *** After a friend's untimely death, three men rethink the other relationships in their lives. What's essentially a commonplace story is broadened and deepened by the filmmakers' strategy of telling it multiple times from multiple points of view. Solid acting and engaging characters round out the neatly assembled tale.
Director: Alan Parker. With Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Gabriel Mann, Laura Linney. (130 min.)
Sterritt ** See review, page 15.
Director Todd Phillips. With Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Juliette Lewis. (90 min.)
Staff * Ferrell, Wilson, and Vaughn play middle-aged men who yearn for a return to the frolics of student life. What better solution than to purchase a house and set up a fraternity next to an institution of higher learning. "Old School," then, is another entry in the oddly enduring genre spawned by "Animal House": the campus comedy. The conventions are all too familiar: booze, sex, ribald hijinks, a fight against a college administration, and coming-of-age moments. In this case, the latter element is noticeably absent. So is the comedy. The three men are capable comics but the material is so weak that it makes one almost yearn for the inadequacy of a Police Academy sequel. "Old School" flunks on every level. By Stephen Humphries
Director: Michael Petroni. With Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham Carter, Frank Gallacher. (101 min.)
Sterritt ** Visiting his Australian hometown after his father's death, a man remembers a romance of his teenage years and develops an enigmatic relationship with a mysterious woman who can't remember her own past. Petroni's directorial debut is too bittersweet and atmospheric for its own good, wrapping a potentially strong story in too many layers of misty emotion.
Director: Mark Steven Johnson. With Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Garner. (96 min.)