Director: McG. With Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bernie Mac. (111 min.)
Sterritt ** See review.
Director: Ilan Ziv. With Robert Jay Lifton. (54 min.)
Sterritt **** A brief history of suicide attacks, demonstrating that they're far from new and far from homogeneous in the motivations that drive them and the causes they serve. Ziv's documentary is chilling and instructive. In English, Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, and Tamil with English subtitles
Director: Yulie Cohen Gerstel. With Yulie Cohen Gerstel. (58 min.)
Sterritt **** Gerstel's documentary account of her effort to break the cycle of Israel-Palestine violence. She lobbies for the release from prison of a Palestinian man who injured her in a bus attack. Her film provides an intelligent, deeply personal view of social and political issues that are longstanding and complex but not, she insists, intractable. In English and Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Danny Boyle. With Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Eccleston. (113 min.)
Sterritt *** See review.
Director: John Singleton. With Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Cole Hauser, Eva Mendes. (110 min.)
Sterritt * A former cop and his ex-con friend agree to help the feds capture a big-time dope dealer in exchange for clearing their own criminal records. The film has enough wild driving to satisfy any "French Connection" fan or "Bullitt" buff, but there's precious little for anyone else to enjoy. 2 foolish + 2 flashy = 4 get it!
Staff ** 1/2 Adrenaline pumping, flashy, the new "Dukes of Hazzard."
Sex/Nudity: 6 innuendos. Violence: 15 scenes, including multiple car crashes. Profanity: 25 profanities. Drugs: At least 5 scenes.
Director: Rob Reiner. With Luke Wilson, Kate Hudson, Sophie Marceau. (105 min.)
Sterritt *** He's a novelist who must start and finish a new book in one month or face the wrath of loan sharks, and she's a stenographer who begins as his assistant and becomes much more than that. The movie alternates between the author's musty apartment and the 1920s nostalgia-world of the story he's dreaming up, all about wealthy women, penniless tutors, and other archetypes of middlebrow fiction. Wilson and Hudson play a gallery of comic characters without showing off or camping it up, and the story is predictable but amusing.
Staff ** Exhausting sequences of clichés, charming cast, lacks substance.
Sex/Nudity: 3 scenes of innuendo, implied sex. Violence: 2 scenes, including roughing up a man and smashing TV with baseball bat. Profanity: 1 instance. Drugs: 1 instance of drinking.
Director: Tom Shadyac. With Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman. (94 min.)
Sterritt ** Finding himself endowed with divine powers temporarily granted by God, a self-centered local TV reporter gradually learns there are more important things in life than his career woes and petty gripes. The screenplay doesn't ultimately make much sense. Carrey is a unique comic talent, though, and Freeman and Aniston back him up with sensitive supporting performances.
Staff *** Carrey is allllrighty, divinely funny, too sentimental.
Sex/Nudity: 10 scenes, including innuendo and implied sex. No nudity. Violence: 7 scenes of violence, mostly slapstick or fighting. Profanity: 12 profanities. Drugs: 4 scenes with drinking.
Director: Troy Miller. With Eric Christian Olsen, Derek Richardson, Mimi Rogers, Eugene Levy. (95 min.)
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.
Sex/Nudity: 7 instances of innuendo. Violence: 5 instances, including car crash. Profanity: 23 mild instances. Drugs: 1 instance of smoking, 1 of drinking.
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: Claire Denis. With Valérie Lemercier, Vincent Lindon, Hélène de Saint-Père. (90 min.)
Sterritt **** Driving to a dinner engagement, a young Parisian woman gets stuck in the mother of all traffic jams, offers a ride to a handsome pedestrian, and enters a fleeting affair that catches both of them by surprise. What's appealing about this lyrical romance is less its minimalist story than the way Denis unfolds its moment-by-moment events, treating each tiny detail as a lovingly placed fragment of what gradually grows into an enticing mosaic of time, place, and personality. In French with English subtitles.
Director: Robert Iscove. With Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini
Staff *1/2 Kelly Clarkson, the original "American Idol" winner, takes a trip to Miami with two friends for spring break and meets Justin Guarini, the "Idol" runner-up. It's love at first sight, but misconnection is the name of the game for these would-be lovers - and for the audience. Fans may enjoy their "Idol" songs and parents may appreciate its wholesomeness, but there's little else to recommend in this throwback to the '60s "Beach Blanket" movies. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 4 instances of innuendo. Violence: 1 mild instance. Profanity: 8 mild expressions. Drugs: 6 instances of drinking.
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: Ang Lee. With Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott. (137 min.)
Sterritt *** Cerebral scientist Bruce Banner becomes a modern-day Dr. Jekyll after gamma rays wreak havoc on his cellular system, morphing him into a hulking green giant. As a character, the Hulk is no more interesting here than in the Marvel Comics that spawned him, and some of his exploits - hopping through the American desert like a superfrog, for instance - are as silly as can be. But the movie adds a poignant plot element by making Bruce's father responsible for his predicament, allowing a current of pop-Freudian psychology to run through the yarn.
Staff ** Intense, surprisingly well acted, atrocious screenplay.
Sex/Nudity: 1 brief instance of posterior nudity. Violence: 23 scenes including brutal fights and gunfire. Profanity: 6 mild expressions. Drugs: 1 instance of drug use and 1 instance of drinking.
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. 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.
Staff **1/2 Thrilling car chase, video game-ish, too long.
Sex/Nudity: 1 sex scene with nudity; 1 scene of dirty dancing. 2 innuendos. Violence: 17 extended scenes, including battles. Profanity: 24 profanities. Drugs: 1 drinking scene.
Directors: Norton Virgien, John Eng. With voices of Bruce Willis, Nancy Cartwright, Tim Curry. (85 min.)
Sterritt *** The suburban Rugrats meet the wild Thornberrys when their boating vacation takes a wrong turn and lands them on a faraway island. Not surprisingly, the Thornberrys scenes are more fun than the Rugrats material, but the film turns into an enjoyable enough trip. Don't expect much from the scratch-and-sniff "odorama" gimmick; the mischievous John Waters set a higher standard for that novelty in "Polyester" (1981).
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 8 scenes of cartoonish violence. Profanity: None. Drugs: 1 scene of drinking.
Director: Chen Kaige. With Peiqi Liu , Hong Chen, Zhiwen Wang, Chen Kaige, and Yun Tang. (117 min.)
Staff **** A 13-year-old boy and his father take off to Beijing in the hopes of finding a suitable violin teacher to affirm and encourage the adolescent's genius. Young Xiaochun, reserved at all times save when bow hits string, struggles silently with a simmering attraction to the woman next door, a longing for his father's affection, and a confusion about the role success plays in his own happiness. "Together" is a breathtaking exploration of the relationship between people and music, between longing and need, whose culmination is both delicate and explosive. By Elizabeth Armstrong
Staff **** Endearing, familial, quirky, artful.
Sex/Nudity: Some innuendo. Violence: 2 tussles. Profanity: None. Drugs: 15 scenes of smoking, drinking.
Director: Niki Caro. With Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton. (105 min.)
Staff *** Caro's film chronicles a New Zealand girl's determination to become chief of her Maori tribe, a position traditionally reserved for men. The film pits tradition against modern-day ideas and offers a window on the Maori culture. There's also breathtaking footage of New Zealand's coastline. By Stephanie Cook Broadhurst
Staff *** Life-affirming, tender, deeply moving.
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: 3 minor scenes. Profanity: 3 expressions. Drugs: 6 scenes, mostly smoking.
Director: Ron Shelton. With Kurt Russell, Lolita Davidovich, Scott Speedman, Ving Rhames. (116 min.)
Sterritt *** Russell plays a Los Angeles cop who sees bending the rules as an everyday aspect of bringing the bad guys down. Speedman plays his partner, a rookie who isn't fully indoctrinated into this hard-boiled mind-set. This could have been a routine police-corruption drama, but it gains dramatic energy from Russell's passionate acting.
Director: Donald Petrie. With Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Adam Goldberg. (114 min.)
Staff *1/2 The title of this film would more accurately read: "How to Lose an Audience in 10 Minutes." Andie (Hudson) is the "how to" girl for a women's magazine who writes a feature on how to ditch a clingy guy. But her subject has his own agenda. Ben (McConaughey) bets his friends that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. The setup allows filmmakers to stage all sorts of slapstick scenarios. By Stephanie Cook Broadhurst
Staff **1/2 Silly, biting, insipid, funny at times.
Sex/Nudity: 2 sexually suggestive scenes. Innuendo throughout. Profanity: 39 harsh expressions. Drugs: 7 scenes of drinking. 1 with smoking