Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini. With Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Harvey Pekar. (100 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** See full review.
Director: Kevin Costner. With Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Annette Bening, Michael Jeter. (139 min.)
Sterritt ** See full review.
Director: Scott Hamilton Kennedy. With students at a Compton, Calif., high school. (76 min.)
Sterritt *** A creative teacher persuades a group of high-school students to mount a production of Thornton Wilder's classic small-town play "Our Town" in their own community, populated mostly by minority groups and dogged by poverty-related problems. Kennedy documents their efforts with skill and compassion, almost entirely avoiding the pitfalls of sentimentality and victimology. He and his likable "cast" deserve a standing ovation.
Director: Boaz Yakin. With Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Heather Locklear. (90 min.)
Sterritt *** A spoiled but sweet young woman becomes the nanny of a spoiled but not- so-sweet little girl, driving both of them crazy before they learn some valuable life lessons from the ordeal. Murphy is a sensational comic actress and Fanning's talent far exceeds her years. Add marvelously imaginative directing - finally Yakin fulfills the promise he showed in "Fresh" almost a decade ago - and you have a colorful, creative, deliciously frolicsome romp.
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!
Staff *** Sophomoric, crass, zany, playful.
Sex/Nudity: 22 scenes, including sex, nudity, innuendo. Violence: 4 scenes, including whipping. Drugs: 5 drinking scenes.
Director: Claude Lelouch. With Jeremy Irons, Patricia Kaas, Thierry Lhermitte, Alessandra Martines. (133 min.)
Staff *** It is kismet in Morocco. An aging con artist Valentin (Jeremy Irons) wants to forget his past and find his future by sailing around the world. Jane, a lounge singer nobody listens to, wants to leave her love troubles behind by taking a new gig. Thrown off course and thrown out of the new lounge, both wind up in Morocco. While it takes the first quarter of the movie to decipher the plot, your attention is held by mesmerizing filmmaking, quirky people, and exotic locals. Jane's songs weave through the movie like one of the scarves from the marketplace, and it feels like the story might be the conjuring of an oracle. In French and English with English subtitles. By Katie Nesse
Staff *** Complex, artsy, lush, original.
Sex/Nudity: 3 innuendoes. Violence: 5 scenes, including robbery. Profanity: 16 profanities. Drugs: 16 smoking and drinking scenes.
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.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes of implied sex. Violence: 13 scenes, including shootouts. Profanity: 127 mostly strong expressions. Drugs: 27 instances of drug use and smoking; a few scenes of drinking.
Director: Todd Graff. With Daniel Letterle, Joanna Chilcoat, Robin de Jesus. (114 min.)
Staff *** At Camp Ovation, teens and preteens rehearse and put on musicals all summer. Misfits back at school, these kids all like musical comedy, and most of the boys are gay. Here they find acceptance and identity. Charmingly performed by a cast of talented newcomers, "Camp" is reminiscent of "Fame," but it's all the more engaging for its lack of Hollywood gloss. Filmed at the actual Catskills camp where writer-director Graff performed as a child. By M.K. Terrell