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Movie Guide

July 25, 2003

Buffalo Soldiers (R)

Director: Gregor Jordan. With Joaquin Phoenix, Anna Paquin, Ed Harris, Elizabeth McGovern. (98 min.)

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Sterritt *** The year is 1989, the setting is an American army base in West Germany, and the subject is rampant corruption orchestrated by a young officer and participated in by more soldiers and other people than you'd like to think. The irony and skepticism of this dark comedy-drama are closer to "Catch-22" and "M*A*S*H" than to movies with more reverent views of the military, and at its best it's as refreshing as it is daring. Superbly acted.

Hotel (Not rated)

Director: Mike Figgis. With John Malkovich, Salma Hayek, Burt Reynolds, Lucy Liu. (93 min.)

Sterritt *** Filming a movie version of a classic play in Italy, a British production crew interacts with a documentary crew shooting a film about them, all in the peculiar environment of a very odd hotel. Figgis cooks up fewer memorable cinematic tricks here than in "Time Code," his previous picture, but he still deserves credit for taking more artistic chances than a dozen ordinary directors.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (PG-13)

Director: Jan de Bont. With Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Chris Barrie. (118 min.)

DUD See full review.

Mondays in the Sun (R)

Director: Fernando León de Aranda. With Javier Bardem, Nieve de Medina, José Ángel Egido, Luis Tosar. (115 min.)

Sterritt *** Bardem conveys his familiar brand of understated sensitivity in this drama about a small group of newly unemployed Spanish men whose lives grow lonelier and edgier day by day. The story's rambling, meandering style is just right for the melancholy subject being explored, and all the acting is excellent.

Seabiscuit (PG-13)

Director: Gary Ross. With Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Tobey Maguire, William H. Macy. (129 min.)

Sterritt * See full review.

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (PG)

Director: Robert Rodriguez. With Daryl Sabara, Ricardo Montalban, Salma Hayek, Sylvester Stallone. (83 min.)

Sterritt ** See full review.

Bad Boys II (R)

Director: Michael Bay. With Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union. (87 min.)

Staff ** Miami PD's mismatched partners, family man Marcus (Lawrence) and bachelor Mike (Smith), return to find themselves in the middle of a Russian-Cuban-Haitian drug war and in a contest between Miami's finest and the feds to bring down the combatants. Their captain is into meditation, enabling him to rationalize putting them back on the street after every gun battle and destruction derby car chase. Clever ideas and hilarious moments drown in a flood of violence and profanity. By M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 10 scenes, including innuendo, implied sex. Violence: 19 scenes, including explosions, shootings. Profanity: 236 profanities. Drugs: 9 scenes of drinking, smoking, and drug use.

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (PG-13)

Director: McG. With Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bernie Mac. (111 min.)

Sterritt ** The woman warriors must retrieve two metal rings encoded with secret information about a witness-protection program. Their enemies include an Angel's former boyfriend and a retired member of Charlie's flock who's thrown in her lot with the villains. The spunky cast is the only reason to see this lively but forgettable action farce.

Staff ** Fun cast, scant plot, flashy.

Sex/Nudity: 13 innuendos. Violence: 16 extended scenes, including fights. Profanity: 1 harsh profanity. Drugs: 4 drinking scenes. 2 with smoking.

The Cuckoo (PG-13)

Director: Alexander Rogozhkin. With Viktor Bychkov, Anni-Christina Juuso. (100 min.)

Sterritt ** Isolated from their units in the remote countryside during World War II, two soldiers from the rival Soviet and Finnish armies seek refuge with a Lappland peasant woman. Language problems compound the emotional complications that result. The situation hardly provides an original metaphor for the communication failures that plague the human race, but the drama's heart is in the right place. In Russian, Finnish, and Sami with English subtitles.

Sex/Nudity: 5 scenes. Violence: 5 scenes. Profanity: 3 profanities. Drugs: 1 instance.

Finding Nemo (G)

Director: Andrew Stanton. With Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey Rush. (101 min.)