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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 HumphriesSkip to next paragraph
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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 and drinking.
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 as it goes along. Don't expect much from the scratch-and-sniff "odorama" gimmick; the mischievous John Waters set a much higher standard for that novelty in "Polyester" (1981).
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 8 scenes of cartoonish violence. Profanity: None. Drugs: 1 scene with drinking.
Director: Jeff Blitz. With children in the National Spelling Bee. (97 min.)
Sterritt **** The characters are a socially and culturally diverse group of kids who share a knack for spelling, and the event is the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., where they're competing in the finals. This spirited documentary would be more valuable if it explored the dark side of its subject, probing rote learning and asking if competition for its own sake is a proper educational tool. But you won't find many films with more sheer suspense. Overall, it's downright spellbinding.
Staff **** Humorous, suspenseful, interesting.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: None. Profanity: 1 profanity. Drugs: None.
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. Pai, played with sensitivity and verve by Castle-Hughes, clashes with her stubborn granddad, the chief who's searching for a male successor. 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: Martin Scorsese. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz. (155 min.)
Sterritt *** Scorsese depicts the physical and psychological mayhem that poisoned relations between European immigrants and American bigots in New York City during the Civil War era. The film offers a wide-ranging portrait of this bitter period, showing how the evils of ethnic bigotry, political corruption, and blind personal ambition helped shape US society. The film is strong in sound and fury, weak in nuance and insight.
Staff *** Daniel Day-Lewis is the scariest villain since Hannibal Lecter; stunning sets; starts strong but loses its way.
Sex/Nudity: 11 scenes, including semi-nudity. Violence: 36 instances of graphic violence. Profanity: 4 expressions. Drugs: 35 scenes of smoking and drinking. 1 scene with opium.