Directors: Richard LaGravenese, Ted Demme. With diverse film personalities. (108 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** Trimmed down from its fully justified three-hour length as a TV miniseries, this engrossing documentary explores the whys and wherefores of a boom in art-film production by both Hollywood and independent filmmakers in the 1970s era. It's illuminating and nostalgic and for anyone who lined up for American movies in that bygone golden age.
Director: Mark Waters. With Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Harold Gould, Mark Harmon. (93 min.)
Sterritt *** See full review, page 15.
Director: James Ivory. With Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts, Glenn Close, Sam Waterston. (115 min.)
Sterritt *** See full review, page 15.
Director: Dana Brown. With various surfers. (88 min.)
Sterritt ** Hanging ten from Southern California, universally known for surfing, to places like Ireland and Vietnam, totally unknown for surfing, this sun-struck documentary tries to recapture the 1966 magic of "The Endless Summer," which makes sense, since director-writer-editor Brown is son of Bruce Brown, who made that surfboard classic. There are some novelties, like views of people surfing down sand dunes, but there's also far too much self-congratulation by surfers. Don't step into this not-so-new wave unless you're a die-hard surfing buff.
Director: Clark Johnson. With Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J.
Staff ** Farrell, still looking for his breakthrough role, plays a resourceful LAPD cop reduced to weapons clerk for refusing to rat on a buddy in this resurrection of the '70s TV series. The ever-watchable Jackson plays a sergeant who wants Farrell for his super-elite S.W.A.T. unit. Of course, there's a commander who's against everything the Old Sarge stands for. The fresh cast breathes some life into the proceedings, and it looks good on screen, but the formulaic plot gets less and less believable as it goes along. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 4 innuendoes. Violence: 18 scenes, including shootings, chases. Drugs: 8 drinking and smoking scenes. Profanity: 17 harsh profanities.
Director: Jesse Dylan. With Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eugene Levy, January Jones. (102 min.)
Sterritt * Jim and Michelle get married in the third "American Pie" film, and the whole gang gets involved in planning the shindig. Whatever novelty this series ever possessed has gone down the proverbial tube. Actors are on autopilot, and Adam Herz's screenplay panders to its immature target audience so relentlessly it verges on incompetence. Even gross-out films ought to maintain some standards!
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. 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.
Director: Gregor Jordan. With Joaquin Phoenix, Anna Paquin, Ed Harris. (98 min.)
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.
Director: Stephen Frears. With Audrey Tautou, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sergi Lopez, Sophie Okonedo. (107 min.)