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Staff *** A grumpy clownfish searches for his missing son after the youngster is scooped up and plopped into the 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.Skip to next paragraph
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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: Claude Berri. With Jean-Pierre Bacri, Emilie Dequenne, Catherine Breillat, Brigitte Catillon. (90 min.)
Sterritt **** A middle-aged engineer falls in love with his young housekeeper. Berri is experienced enough to know that ill-starred affection and May-December romance have been treated in plenty of other films, so he takes a subdued and sensitive approach, allowing the emotions of the story to blossom in a gradual, organic way, culminating in a bittersweet final scene that's as precisely on target as the movie's excellent cast. In French with English subtitles.
Director: Clare Kilner. With Mandy Moore, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher, Nina Foch. (109 min.)
Sterritt ** Moore turns in a smart, restrained performance as a 17-year-old girl whose dysfunctional friends and family - a mom hurt by divorce, a dad about to marry a bimbo, a classmate whose boyfriend dies after getting her pregnant - make her so skeptical about romance that she resists the handsome guy who wants to date her. The story is more like a TV soap opera, and the filmmakers don't walk the comedy-drama tightrope skillfully.
Sex/Nudity: 4 scenes, including implied sex, innuendo. Violence: 1 car crash. Profanity: 4 profanities. Drugs: At least 11 scenes of drinking, smoking.
Director: Tim Fywell. With Romola Garai, Henry Thomas, Rose Byrne, Bill Nighy. (113 min.)
Sterritt *** Cassandra is a 17-year-old girl living in an old English castle with her sister Rose and their very eccentric parents. The rent is so far overdue that Rose cooks up a scheme to marry the American landlord, but complications ensue when Cassandra starts falling for him. Fywell keeps the funny-sad story moving at a steady clip, and the atmosphere of the marvelously awful castle helps fend off the sentimentality and overstatement that occasionally threaten to capture the movie. In all, an enticing and unpredictable tale.
Staff ***1/2Literate, romantic, terrific script.
Sex/Nudity: No sex; 2 scenes of nudity. Violence: 3 scenes with family fights. Profanity: 3 profanities. Drugs: 7 scenes of drinking; 3 smoking scenes.
Director: Peter Howitt. With Rowan Atkinson, John Malkovich, Natalie Imbruglia, Ben Miller. (87 min.)
Sterritt ** Just what we needed, another James Bond spoof. The hero is a bumbling secret agent who mingles ineptitude with self-confidence that never quits as he tries to stop a French villain (Malkovich) from replacing Queen Elizabeth and turning her country into real estate for his jail business. There are clever scenes, but Atkinson was funnier in his earlier "Bean." The screenplay falls back on stale scatological jokes. Bring back the real 007 - or better yet, Inspector Clouseau!
Sex/Nudity: 1 brief scene of nudity; 2 innuendoes. Violence: 8 scenes, including shootings. Profanity: 9 mild expressions. Drugs: 4 scenes of drinking.
Director: Stephen Norrington. With Sean Connery, Peta Wilson, Shane West, Jason Flemyng. (112 min.)
Sterritt * A band of 19th-century adventurers familiar from other yarns - submariner Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, vampire huntress Mina Harker, and so on - agree to help the British Empire by thwarting the villainous Fantom's plan to blow up a conclave of world leaders. The mighty Nautilus surging through the sea is an impressive sight to behold, but most of the picture is standard action-movie stuff. Extraordinary? Balderdash!
Sex/Nudity: 2 innuendoes. Violence: 23 scenes, including shootings and fights. Profanity: 5 profanities. Drugs: At least 4 drinking and smoking scenes.
Director: Lukas Moodysson. With Oksana Akinshina, Artiom Bogucharskij, Elina Benenson. (109 min.)