Director: Matt Dillon. With Dillon, Natascha McElhone, James Caan, Gérard Depardieu. (116 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt ** Dillon makes his directorial debut with this thriller about a con artist dueling with his accomplice in Bangkok, which is photographed as a web of rich exoticism and decadent sleaze. He also plays the leading role. The film has plenty of shortcomings, but it's fun to see Caan back in action.
Director: James Foley. With Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia, Dustin Hoffman. (98 min.)
Sterritt * A con artist plans his last big scam, motivated by revenge and dogged by mobsters who feel he owes them. The film is as tricky and superficial as its low-life characters, using visual flimflam to mask its lack of substance. The confidence-game scenes work reasonably well, since they allow characters to interact with a little intensity; the rest is awful.
Director: Matthew Barney. With Matthew Barney, Ursula Andress, Richard Serra, Norman Mailer. (397 min.)
Sterritt *** A major figure in the New York art scene, Barney mixes ancient legends, contemporary myths, dreamlike visions, and his distinctive visual stylistics in this five-part series of plotless meditations on the human imagination. At its best it's evocative and riveting. Too bad its longest portion, the three-hour "Cremaster 3," is also the weakest.
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky. With Julia Vysotsky, Bryan Adams, Sultan Islamov, Elena Fomina. (104 min.)
Sterritt ** The setting is an out-of-the-way mental hospital beset with even more chaos than usual by the violence of the Chechen war; the main character is a lovelorn woman who keeps despair at bay with daydreams of the pop icon she idolizes. Konchalovsky keeps the action reasonably quick, but sentimental storytelling eventually swamps the picture. In Chechen and Russian; English subtitles.
Director: James Mangold. With John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Ray Liotta, Rebecca de Mornay. (90 min.)
Sterritt *** See full review, page 15.
Staff **1/2 Cliché, Cusack is watchable, mystery fans will enjoy.
Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of implied sex. Violence: 22 scenes, quite gory. Profanity: 23 profanities. Drugs: 3 smoking scenes; 2 with drinking.
Director: Fred Schepisi. With Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Rory Culkin, Bernadette Peters. (109 min.)
Sterritt ** See full review, page 15.
Director: Jordan Malamed. With Don Cheadle, Zooey Deschanel. (100 min.)
Sterritt * Spoiled adolescents fill a mental institution with whining, pouting, and tantrums, and we're supposed to feel their pain. What really hurts is the movie's shallow screenwriting, self-indulgent acting, and woozy camerawork.
Director: Bahman Ghobadi. With Shahab Ebrahimi, Faegh Mohammadi. (97 min.)
Sterritt **** Surrounded by chaos in the violent aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War, a popular Kurdish musician and his sons hunt for his missing wife, keeping up their spirits with melodies and carousing. A mix of war film, road movie, and romantic comedy-drama, this peripatetic yarn is less resonant than Ghobadi's beautiful "A Time for Drunken Horses," but it has enough energy to keep your eyes popping and your toes tapping. In Kurdish with English subtitles.
Director: Don Algrant. With Al Pacino, Kim Basinger, Ryan O'Neal, Téa Leoni. (95 min.)
Sterritt *** See review, page 15.
Director: Rick de Oliveira. With 16 American college students. (96 min.)
Staff ** Reality TV comes to the big screen. Concept: Recruit a few van loads of college men and women to spend their spring break in Cancún, roll film, and see what happens. Throughout the movie relationships form, break up, or fail to happen. But much is filler (wet T-shirt contests, nighty parties), and a lot seems contrived - the camera always happens to be there at key moments. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 27 scenes, including nudity, sex, wet T-shirt contest, and innuendo. Violence: 1 mild scene. Profanity: 156 profanities. Drugs: Smoking and extreme drinking throughout.