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Movie Guide

April 4, 2003



NEW RELEASES
A Man Apart (R)

Director: F. Gary Gray. With Vin Diesel, Larenz Tate, Timothy Olyphant, Jacqueline Obradors. (109 min.)

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Sterritt * See review, page 15.

The Good Thief (R)

Director: Neil Jordan. With Nick Nolte, Tchéky Karyo, Emir Kusturica. (110 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, page 15.

The Guys (PG)

Director: Jim Simpson. With Sigourney Weaver, Anthony LaPaglia. (88 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, page 15.

Levity (R)

Director: Ed Solomon. With Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter. (100 min.)

Sterritt *** Leaving jail after serving 23 years for a murder he committed as a teenager, a lonely man (Thornton) takes a job in a forlorn community center run by an enigmatic preacher (Freeman). He strikes up hesitant relationships with a troubled young woman (Dunst) and the sister of the man he killed (Hunter). Solomon keeps the drama generally clear and interesting, though some touches make the film-noir plot seem too pretentious.

Manna From Heaven (PG)

Directors: Maria and Gabrielle Burton. With Louise Fletcher, Frank Gorshin, Seymour Cassell. (119 min.)

Sterritt ** Out of nowhere, a cascade of cash rains down on a working-class neighborhood, changing the lives of those who run outside to gather it up - and changing them even more years later, when a moral-minded member of the group decides this was only a heaven-granted loan that must now be repaid with interest. This non-Hollywood production, made by five Burton sisters and their parents in their hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., is colorful and cute. It would be better if it weren't quite so sitcommy and if it didn't outlast its ideas.

The Man Without a Past (PG-13)

Director: Aki Kaurismäki. With Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Annikki Tähti, Sakari Kousmanen. (97 min.)

Sterritt **** An ordinary man gets beaten and robbed by thugs, develops a walloping case of amnesia, and spends the rest of the film rebuilding his life with help from the kindness of strangers and the love of a good woman. Kaurismaki is Finland's greatest filmmaker, and never has he more artfully balanced his patented blend of deadpan humor, low-key melodrama, and toe-tapping music. In Finnish with English subtitles.

Phone Booth (R)

Director: Joel Schumacher. With Colin Farrell, Katie Holmes, Forest Whitaker, Kiefer Sutherland. (81 min.)

Sterritt *** See review, page 15.

What a Girl Wants (PG)

Director: Dennie Gordon. With Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, Eileen Atkins. (103 min.)

Sterritt * See review, page 15.

CURRENTLY IN RELEASE
Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (PG-13)

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.

Agent Cody Banks (PG)

Director: Harald Zwart. With Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff. (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.

Assassination Tango (R)

Director: Robert Duvall. With Duvall, Luciana Pedraza. (114 min.)

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