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Sterritt *** Duvall is terrific as an American hit man who learns to tango in Argentina while waiting for the return of a general he's been hired to murder. As usual in the films he writes and directs, Duvall blends a fictional story with authentic background details and performances by cast members who aren't trained actors. There's plenty to please the eye and the ear, but Pedraza's acting skills don't equal her excellence as a dancer.Skip to next paragraph
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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.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 15 scenes, including bloody fights. Profanity: 69 profanities. Drugs: 9 scenes of drinking, smoking.
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.
Staff **1/2 Joyous, innocent, predictable.
Sex/Nudity: 1 mild sex scene. Violence: Mild violence on the soccer field. Profanity: 7 instances of profanity. Drugs: 8 scenes of drinking; 1 with smoking.
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 Colosseum 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
Staff ** Core-ny, explosive, good effects.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 14 scenes, including explosions. Profanity: 3 harsh expressions. Drugs: 11 scenes of smoking, drinking.
Director: Lawrence Kasdan. With Morgan Freeman, Jason Lee, Tom Sizemore, Donnie Wahlberg. (131 min.)
Sterritt ** Four young men with a knack for mind-reading battle aliens in the New England woods. Also present is a macho military man who's supposed to stop the invasion but may be the loosest cannon of all. The main characters are compendiums of Gen-X clichés, and most of the cast is too unseasoned to transcend the silly screenplay.
Staff ** Odd, clichéd, gross.
Sex/Nudity: 4 instances of innuendo. Violence: 25 scenes, including burning aliens. Profanity: 52 expressions. Drugs: 6 scenes of drinking.
Director: Chris Rock. With Rock, Bernie Mac, Robin Givens. (95 min.)
Sterritt ** Rock plays a black alderman who's coaxed into running for president by an underhanded politico who really wants him to lose. You can guess the rest - he speaks his mind, charms average citizens, and sweeps in from behind. But along with painfully predictable gags the film has moments of sharp social satire, and Rock makes a promising directorial debut. Chris Rock 4 President.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 8 violent scenes, including shootings.
Director: Lisa Cholodenko. With Frances McDormand, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale. (103 min.)
Sterritt *** Fresh from medical school, a conscientious young man and his fiancée move into the southern California home of his mother, an aging flower child whose domicile does extra duty as recording studio for her young lover's rock band. The story doesn't ultimately live up to its technical polish, but it paints a vivid picture of emotional vibes emanating from the Hollywood Hills.