Director: Danny DeVito. With Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Eileen Essel, Harvey Fierstein. (97 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Staff ** Newlyweds Alex and Nancy (Stiller, Barrymore) can't believe the gem of a townhouse they find. It even has an income-generating unit upstairs. But the sweet little tenant pays only $88 a month under rent control and is such a nuisance that the new owners start plotting her demise. This is not the tribute to "The Ladykillers" it wants to be, but the leads are likable - and try hard. By M.K. Terrell
Director: Eric Till. With Joseph Fiennes, Peter Ustinov, Claire Cox, Alfred Molina. (113 min.)
Sterritt ** See full review.
Director: Isabel Coixet. With Sarah Polley, Scott Speedman, Deborah Harry, Mark Ruffalo. (106 min.)
Sterritt * See full review.
Director: Peter Berg. With The Rock, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Walken. (105 min.)
Sterritt ** A big-muscled "retrieval expert" visits Brazil to kidnap a mobster's son, then makes a deal with a revolutionary leader to help find an artifact that's also coveted by an American capitalist who runs a slave-labor operation. This is basically a 10th-tier rehash of the Indiana Jones genre, laced with moments that are actually clever and exciting. Dawson is alluring, Scott is smug and bratty, Walken is terrific, and The Rock is, well, The Rock.
Director: Audrey Wells. With Diane Lane, Raoul Bova, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan. (113 min.)
Staff *** Lane plays Frances Mayes, a divorced San Francisco writer in search of a new start. When her best friends give her a 10-day trip to Tuscany, it turns out to be the right ticket. While touring the Italian countryside, Frances spots a charming villa and buys it. While restoring the villa, she meets colorful characters, including an eccentric older woman who teaches her how to let loose. A handsome Italian man also sweeps her off her feet. But thankfully, it's not a by-the-numbers romantic comedy. Lane does a superb job. Kudos also go to director Wells for delivering a delightful, clever script. By Lisa Leigh Connors
Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini. With Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Harvey Pekar. (100 min.)
Sterritt **** This movie breaks all the rules, offering a partly fictionalized look at the life and times of Pekar, a writer of underground comic books who earns most of his living as a file clerk and finds an equally idiosyncratic comics fan, Brabner, to be his wife. Pekar and Brabner are played by Giamatti and Davis, but also appear as themselves in interview sequences. It's emotionally poignant, socially revealing, and wildly entertaining.
Staff ***1/2 Wry humor, ode to an antihero, triumphant.
Sex/Nudity: 2 innuendoes. Violence: 1 slap. Profanity: 20 profanities. Drugs: 2 drinking, smoking scenes.
Director: Woody Allen. With Allen, Jason Biggs, Stockard Channing, Christina Ricci. (108 min.)
Sterritt ** A rising comedy writer (Biggs) has oddball conversations with an older colleague (Allen) while dealing with a girlfriend (Ricci) who's almost as eccentric as both of them. This is a quintessential Allen comedy: squirmy relationships, dark Jewish humor, an assumption that everybody in Manhattan has money and a touch of glamour, and - as with most of Allen's films since the first few years of his career - not nearly as many laughs.
Sex/Nudity: 16 scenes, including innuendo and implied sex. Violence: 3 scenes. Profanity: 2 profanities. Drugs: 19 drinking, smoking, and drug scenes.
Director: Vladimir Michalek. With Vlastimil Brodsky, Stella Zázvorková. (97 min.)
Sterritt ** Part caper movie and part scenes from a marriage, this Czech comedy-drama focuses on an elderly man who escapes from his tedious old marriage by pulling off small-time con jobs with a cantankerous old crony. The acting is wonderful and the story is engrossing until it takes a wrong turn in its final scenes, leading to a sentimental ending that's out of tune with the film's earlier, more emotionally complex moods. In Czech with English subtitles.