Director: Robert Duvall. With Duvall, Luciana Pedraza, Ruben Blades, Kathy Baker. (114 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt *** See review.
Director: John McTiernan. With John Travolta, Connie Nielsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Giovanni Ribisi. (98 min.)
Sterritt * A retired military man (Travolta) investigates the murder of a brutal sergeant (Jackson) in a chaotic training situation where too many people had too many motives and opportunities for the crime. Travolta and Jackson have some effective scenes, but Nielsen is lacking in charisma, and James Vanderbilt's screenplay ought to be court-martialed.
Director: Jon Amiel. With Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci. (136 min.)
Staff * It's the end of the world as we know it when a military experiment ends up destabilizing Earth's core. Before long, subpar fire-and-brimstone special effects are raining on postcard scenery such as the Coliseum in Rome and the Golden Gate in San Francisco. In an attempt to restore gravity to the planet and add gravitas to the lightweight story, a distinguished cast is gathered to journey to Earth's center. The actors tackle their roles with laughable temerity, and the result, though hardly laudable, is still better than "Armaggedon." By Stephen Humphries
Director: Chris Rock. With Rock, Bernie Mac, Robin Givens. (95 min.)
Sterritt ** See review.
Director: Steve James. With Stephen Fielding, Steve James, Verna Hagler, Tonya Gregory. (140 min.)
Sterritt **** See review.
Director: Jia Zhang-ke. With Wei Wei Zhao, Hong Wei Wang, Ru Bai, Qiong Wu. (113 min.)
Sterritt ** The life and times of two teens in provincial China, where every pursuit from romantic longing to family life is tinged with a deeply felt, utterly ignorant envy of Western wealth and culture. This sequel to Jia's excellent 1997 drama "Xiao Wu" is less original and absorbing than its predecessor, and less visually impressive than "Platform," his 2000 look at Chinese sociopolitical change. It offers a lot of commentary about life in China, however. In Mandarin with English subtitles.
Director: Lee Hirsch. With Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masakela, Thandi Modise. (103 min.)
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.
Staff *** Rousing, toe-tapping, interesting slice of history, could have offered more depth.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 12 scenes of violent historical footage, including shootings. Profanity: 4 profanities. Drugs: 6 scenes of smoking, drinking.
Director: Harald Zwart. With Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, Angie Harmon. (110 min.)
Sterritt * An ordinary high-schooler becomes a junior James Bond when the CIA recruits him for an assignment only Hollywood could dream up: dating a pretty girl so he can spy on her dad, a scientist whose schemes could destroy the world. The name-brand cast doesn't muster much entertainment value because the repetitious script shows interest in nothing beyond action-centered plot gimmicks and romantic shenanigans.
Sex/Nudity: At least 2 scenes with innuendo. Violence: 12 scenes with violence, including explosions, fighting. Profanity: 10 expressions. Drugs: None noted.
Director: Gurinder Chadha. With Parminder K. Nagra, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Keira Knightley. (112 min.)
Sterritt ** The heroine is a soccer-loving Indian teen living in London with her highly traditional family; they believe nice young women shouldn't chase after balls in front of ogling crowds, and their conservatism may prevent her from fashioning her future on her own terms. The film isn't original or exciting, probing territory already explored in pictures like "East Is East," but its look at cultural clashes is always well-meaning and good-humored.