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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 tangled web of rich exoticism and decadent sleaze. He also plays the leading role. The film has shortcomings, but it's fun to see Caan back in action.Skip to next paragraph
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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 lowlife 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.
Staff **1/2 Great twists, flashy, lacks substance.
Sex/Nudity: 6 sex scenes with nudity; 2 scenes of innuendo. Violence: 14 harsh scenes. Drugs: 19 drinking scenes; 18 smoking; 2 with drugs.
Director: John Malkovich. With Javier Bardem, Laura Morante, Juan Diego. (135 min.)
Sterritt ** Bardem plays a Latin American police detective who tracks down a revolutionary zealot while mooning over his daughter's dance teacher. Malkovich's directorial debut is intellectually ambitious, but his meandering style dilutes the story's emotional effectiveness, and Nicholas Shakespeare's screenplay deals more in vague qualities of Latin culture than in the specific conditions that drive the plot about revolutionary violence. But Bardem delivers a sensitive performance.
Director: Elia Suleiman. With Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader, Nayef Fahoum Daher. (92 min.)
Sterritt *** This is a film about the adventures of a Palestinian man called E.S., based on writer-director Suleiman, as he copes with his ailing father, woos a girlfriend who lives on the other side of an Israeli checkpoint, and gets through daily life in his neighborhood. While much of the material is handled in a spirit of sardonic humor, occasional bursts of bitingly sarcastic material give the movie a controversial ideological edge. In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.
Staff **1/2 Slow, severe, political.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 9 scenes, including explosions and gunfire. Profanity: 21 harsh expressions. Drugs: At least 9 scenes with smoking.
Director: Andrew Davis. With Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Patricia Arquette, Shia LeBeouf. (111 min.)
Staff *** This honky-tonk tale hews closely to Louis Sachar's Newbery-winning children's book. LaBeouf plays Stanley Yelnats IV, a teen who's wrongly convicted of stealing a pair of sneakers. He's shipped off to Camp Green Lake, a detention center that, despite its name, lacks foliage and natural water of any sort. Stanley and the other boys are forced to shovel holes in the desert ostensibly "to build character," says the warden, played chillingly by Weaver. Like most children's films, everything wraps up predictably in the end. But overall, "Holes" digs deeper than other movies of its ilk, probing racism, children not fitting in, and the value of friendship. By Stephanie Cook Broadhurst
Staff ***1/2 Adept adaptation, entertaining, 'Hole'-some.
Staff *S/N: 1 scene with innuendo. Violence: 12 scenes, including shootings and fights. Profanity: 10 mild profanities. Drugs: None.
Director: James Mangold. With John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Ray Liotta, Rebecca de Mornay. (90 min.)
Sterritt *** A ramshackle motel hosts a motley crew of stranded travelers on a rain-drenched night - including a mad killer on his way to a hearing just hours before his execution. Soon, corpses start piling up like crazy. The movie has wild mood-swings, from "Psycho" to "Scream" and back again, but it's just loopy enough to be tantalizing, involving, and fun if you're willing to leave your brain at the popcorn counter.
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 ** The ailing patriarch of a wealthy New York clan (Kirk D.) copes with emotional issues revolving around a successful son (Michael D.) who's facing his own challenges: problem kids, deaths in the family, and a near miss with an extramarital love affair. The screenplay is ragged around the edges, weaving in more story threads than it's prepared to handle. But the film is worth a visit if you're fond of the terrific Douglas duo.