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Sterritt *** Positioned somewhere between "Wayne's World" and "Animal House," with an occasional nod to "There's Something About Mary," this good-natured farce gives the backstory of the 1994 hit "Dumb & Dumber," telling how the dopey heroes met as high school students in a "special class." Olsen and Richardson bear uncanny resemblances to Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, and Levy gives a generous dose of his weird-grownup shtick. In all it's a pleasant surprise.Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun. With Lee Sin-Je, Lawrence Chou, Chutcha Rujinanon. (99 min.)
Staff **** After receiving a cornea transplant to regain her sight, a young Hong Kong woman starts seeing people who aren't there. This horror flick frightens the old-fashioned way by repeatedly exploiting the audience's sense of dread. It's a truly scary and psychologically perceptive film. By Cyndy Patrick
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 11 scenes of violence, including hangings, brutal deaths. Profanity: None.
Director: Andrew Stanton. With Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, Geoffrey Rush. (101 min.)
Staff *** A grumpy clown fish searches for his missing son after the youngster is scooped up by scuba divers and plopped into the office aquarium of an Australian dentist. This exuberant animation is no "Toy Story," but it's the next best thing, with colorful cartooning, imaginative dialogue, and voice performances that mold the finny characters into richly believable figures.
Staff **** Artistic triumph, hilarious, fun.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 scenes of cartoonish violence. Some scenes may scare small children. Profanity: None. Drugs: None.
Director: Ron Shelton. With Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Lena Olin, Martin Landau. (115 min.)
Sterritt * A longtime LAPD detective (Ford) and his somewhat naive partner (Hartnett) try to solve the murder of an entire rap group while moonlighting at other jobs. The film shows some interest in exploring the transition of L.A. from the capitol of an entertainment empire to a grubby battlefield for petty show-biz entrepreneurs. But such interesting angles are thumb-tacked onto the picture like afterthoughts; what it really cares about are summer-movie staples - gunfights, fistfights, and wild driving.
Sex/Nudity: 8 scenes of innuendo, implied sex. Violence: 12 scenes, including shootings, fights. Profanity: 31 profanities. Drugs: At least 9 scenes with drinking and smoking.
Director: F. Gary Gray. With Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Seth Green. (104 min.)
Staff ** This remake of the 1969 crime caper rounds up all the usual clichés. There's a computer genius, an explosives expert, and a veteran safe cracker (Donald Sutherland at his most venerable). The gang plots to retrieve their gold by recruiting an illegally blond safecracker (Theron). Sadly, "Italian Job" lacks the key ingredients of a great heist. The plot is all too easy: Computer hacking and gizmos are used to solve every problem, squandering the potential for suspense. By Stephen Humphries
Staff **1/2 Slick, star vehicle, zippy car chase.
Sex/Nudity: 5 innuendos. 1 scene of implied sex. Violence: 10 extended scenes, including shootings, explosions. Profanity: 17 profanities. Drugs: 10 scenes with smoking, drinking.
Directors: The Wachowski Brothers. With Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss. (138 min.)
Sterritt ** Like its predecessor, this sequel pits a sort of superhero (Reeves) and his trusty right-hand man (Fishburne) against the oppressive agents of machines that sustain their control of Earth by plugging humans into a virtual-reality world that keeps them deluded. The action is fast-paced and the visual effects are impressive. But the occasional hints of philosophical depth are mere window dressing on what is essentially a money-driven franchise film. At least the first film had some degree of originality; the only real surprise here is how abrupt and arbitrary the ending dares to be.
Staff **1/2 Thrilling car chase, video game-ish, too long.