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Movie Guide

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Staff *** Evocative setting, shocking, quirky.

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Sex/Nudity: 9 scenes, including 3 with nudity and 6 of sex. Violence: 1 scene. Profanity: 50 profanities. Drugs: 20 scenes of smoking, drinking.

Lawless Heart (R)

Directors: Neil Hunter, Tom Hunsinger. With Tom Hollander, Bill Nighy, Douglas Henshall. (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.

Nowhere in Africa (Not rated)

Director: Caroline Link. With Karoline Eckertz, Merab Ninidze, Juliane Köhler, Regine Zimmermann. (141 min.)

Sterritt *** The story begins in 1938, when a Jewish refugee from Germany's Nazi violence moves to a lonely farm in Kenya, then sends for his wife and daughter, resulting in major adjustment problems. The film focuses on the girl as she grows into adolescence. It also shows the difficulties her parents face in their new world. If lush landscapes and exotic wildlife are what you're after, this isn't the safari for you. But many viewers will respond to its understated mix of family drama and Holocaust-era history.

Staff **** Enriching, absorbing, artful.

Sex/Nudity: 8 scenes, including innuendo, partial nudity, and 2 sex scenes. Violence: 2 scenes with slapping. 3 graphic scenes with dead animals. Profanity: 4 expressions. Drugs: 15 scenes of drinking, smoking.

Piglet's Big Movie (G)

With (voices): John Fiedler, Jim Cummings, Ken Sansom. (75 min.)

Staff *** "Piglet's Big Movie" is a lot bigger - and better - than its predecessor, "The Tigger Movie." OK, so a 5-year-old may not see the nuance in the always dear, always pastel Pooh pals in either Disney riff, but parents will recognize a whole new level of plot development. Piglet's kindness is sorely tested by his honey-obsessed friends - until he gets lost and they realize he's a hero who may be small, but in the "biggest, helpfulest way." By Clara Germani

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 very mild scenes. Profanity: None. Drugs: None.

Spun (Not rated)

Director: Jonas Akerlud. With Jason Schwartzman, Mena Suvari, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke. (96 min.)

Staff **1/2 Unlike other films that have come out recently about drugs, "Spun" takes on the unglamorous lifestyle of crystal-meth addicts. With the help of a washed-out color scheme and Billy Corgan's hollow crooning and watery guitar riffs, the "Spun" experience - played out among a circle of speed junkies in the Los Angeles area - is a draining one. No detail is spared (from a prolonged toilet sequence to animated pornographic fantasies), and you are certain to walk away with a nagging queasiness. This makes "Spun" a thematic success but likely a failure at the box office. By Elizabeth Armstrong

Staff ** Gritty, manic, punishing.

Sex/Nudity: 23 scenes, including nudity, violent sex. Violence: 11 scenes, including shootings and a woman left handcuffed to a bed for days. Profanity: 250 profanities. Drugs: At least 35 scenes, including drug use, drinking, smoking.

Till Human Voices Wake Us (R)

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 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.

View from the Top (PG-13)

Director: Bruno Barreto. With: Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Applegate, Rob Lowe. (88 min.)

Staff **1/2 The movie opens with a red balloon drifting into the sky, setting the tone for the next hour and a half: light and airy, and overall a lot of fun. Paltrow's character is charming, and one can almost buy her act as a small-town girl who aspires to become a flight attendant. Mike Myers is especially funny as Paltrow's teacher. Overall, this view is clear and uncomplicated - with few clouds and plenty of sunshine. By Sasha Brown

Staff **1/2 cheerful, fluffy, disappointing.

Sex/Nudity: 3 instances of innuendo. Violence: 1 scene. Profanity: 5 profanities. Drugs: 9 scenes.

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