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Movie Guide

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Staff **** Artistic triumph, hilarious, fun.

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Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 scenes of cartoonish violence. Some scenes may scare small children. Profanity: None. Drugs: None.

The Hard Word (R)

Director: Scott Roberts. With Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffiths, Damien Richardson, Joel Edgerton. (102 min.)

Sterritt ** This film is about three brothers who've built a joint career as robbers and thieves. Sprung from the slammer for one last job, they take on the challenge of stealing millions from the Melbourne Cup racing sweepstakes. If they'd spent enough time out of jail to see a proper ration of caper pictures, they'd know better than to trust new associates they don't really know - anyone named Tarzan is a psycho for sure - or to expect their sleazy attorney to keep his hands off the sexy wife one of them has managed to marry. The offbeat characters keep the story mildly engrossing, if a bit slow-moving at times.

The Heart of Me (R)

Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan. With Helena Bonham Carter, Paul Bettany, Olivia Williams. (96 min.)

Sterritt *** Carter plays a romantic Englishwoman who has the bad fortune to fall in love with her brother-in-law, embarking on a long-term affair that entails keeping the hapless wife and sister in the dark. The power of this moving and intelligent drama grows from its dark-toned portrayal of the World War II era and from its evocative use of flashbacks as the plot leaps to and fro in time, caring more about the characters' emotional lives than story devices such as surprise and suspense.

Hollywood Homicide (PG-13)

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 merely thumb-tacked onto the picture; what it really cares about are summer-movie staples - gunfights, fistfights, wild driving.

Sex/Nudity: 8 scenes of innuendo, implied sex. Violence: 12 scenes, including shootings. Profanity: 31 harsh profanities. Drugs: 9 scenes of drinking, smoking.

Hulk (PG-13)

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; 1 instance of drinking.

The Italian Job (PG-13)

Director: F. Gary Gray. With Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Seth Green. (104 min.)

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