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Movie Guide

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Sterritt ** A nosy businesswoman (Nielsen) runs into formidable and sometimes inscrutable foes as she traces the connections between a multinational company and a website worthy of "Videodrome" for nastiness. Assayas has directed some fine French films, but while this ambitious epic takes a finely cynical attitude toward the excesses of our media-saturated age, it never quite jells into a coherent statement. Or a coherent film. In French and English with English subtitles.

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Sex/Nudity: 12 scenes, including seminudity, sex, innuendo. Violence: 20 scenes, including rape, torture. Profanity: 5 profanities. Drugs: At least 25 drinking and smoking scenes.

Duplex (PG-13)

Director: Danny DeVito. With Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Eileen Essel, Harvey Fierstein. (97 min.)

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 turns out to be such a nuisance that the new owners plot her demise. This is not the tribute to "The Ladykillers" it wants to be, but the leads are likable. By M.K. Terrell

The Fighting Temptations (PG-13)

Director: Jonathan Lynn. With Cuba Gooding Jr., Beyoncé Knowles, Mike Epps, Wanda Williams. (123 min.)

Staff ** The Music Man goes gospel in this tale of a New York con man returning to his Georgia roots. Cuba Gooding, Jr. stars as an unemployed advertiser scheming to win an inheritance from his small-town aunt. When he spots sultry jazz singer Lilly in a local club, he decides the sadder but wiser girl is for him. To win her, though, he has to lose his lying ways - and lead their gospel choir to glory. No 76 trombone-calibre acting here, but the music will make you want to stand up and say "Amen." By Mary Wiltenburg

Sex/Nudity: 5 innuendoes. Violence: None. Profanity: 9 profanities. Drugs: 12 scenes of drinking, smoking.

Lost in Translation (R)

Director: Sofia Coppola. With Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Akiko Takeshita. (102 min.)

Sterritt **** Murray and Johansson play two Americans in Tokyo, a movie star doing a tedious photo shoot for a whiskey ad and a young woman whose new husband (Ribisi) loves his work more than her. They cope with loneliness by forming a friendship across generations - but will it blossom into a romance? Not quite a love story and not quite NOT a love story, Coppola's sophomore effort (after "The Virgin Suicides," also excellent) is smart, funny, and splendidly acted.

Staff **** Stylish, witty, thoughtful, layered.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of implied sex; 1 nude scene; some innuendo. Violence: None. Profanity: 5 profanities. Drugs: 16 drinking scenes; 9 with smoking.

Luther (PG-13)

Director: Eric Till. With Joseph Fiennes, Peter Ustinov, Claire Cox, Alfred Molina. (113 min.)

Sterritt ** The life of Martin Luther, from his days as a 16th-century monk to his role in sparking the upheavals of the Protestant revolution. The film diminishes its educational value by minimizing biographical issues like Luther's struggle with depression and his penchant for anti-Semitic thinking. Still, it provides an energetic overview of his career.

Sex/Nudity: 3 innuendoes. Violence: 7 scenes, including brutal killings. Profanity: 6 profanities. Drugs: A few drinking scenes.

Matchstick Men (PG-13)

Director: Ridley Scott. With Nicolas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwell, Bruce Altman. (116 min.)

Sterritt *** A conspicuously neurotic con artist (Cage) gets distracted from a swindle he's pulling off with his partner (Rockwell) when he meets his teenage daughter (Lohman) whose existence he's recently discovered. True to the caper-movie format, deceit and double-dealing run deeper than the plot's surface suggests. Cage plays a difficult character with skill and sympathy, helped by a solid supporting cast. It's mischievous fun.

Staff *** Touching, oddball characters, suspenseful.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene at a nude bar. Violence: 2 scenes, including murder. Drugs: 14 scenes of drinking; 25 smoking.

My Life Without Me (R)

Director: Isabel Coixet. With Sarah Polley, Scott Speedman, Deborah Harry, Mark Ruffalo. (106 min.)

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