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Movie Guide

October 24, 2003

Balseros (Cuban Rafters) (Not rated)

Directors: Carles Bosch, Josep M. Doménech. With Rafael Cano, Miriam Hernández, Guillermo Armas. (120 min.)

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Sterritt *** Thoughtful, ambitious documentary that travels between Havana and American cities as it traces the lives of several underprivileged Cubans who emigrate to the United States and try to carve out new lives. Poignant, spirited, revealing.

The Bread, My Sweet (Not rated)

Director: Melissa Martin. With Scott Baio, Kristin Minter, John Amplas, Rosemary Prinz. (105 min.)

Sterritt ** A feisty wheeler-dealer takes enough time off from his family's Pittsburgh bakery to return an estranged daughter to his elderly best friend, pretending he's going to marry the young woman to make the old lady happy. Do they eventually fall in love? Guess. Although this "Moonstruck" knockoff is diverting to watch, it's basically a low-budget loaf of Italian-American movie clichés.

Brother Bear (G)

Directors: Aaron Blaise, Robert Walker. With voices of Joaquin Phoenix, Joan Copeland, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rick Moranis. (85 min.)

Sterritt ** This old-fashioned animation tells the story of three native American brothers, one of whom is mysteriously turned into a bear as a path to redemption from his human faults. All the old Disney trademarks are here, except the wit and surprise that were once the studio's stock in trade. There's little appeal to grownups, but kids should enjoy it.

Elephant (R)

Director: Gus Van Sant. With Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson, Carrie Finklea. (81 min.)

Sterritt **** See full review, page 15.

In the Cut (R)

Director: Jane Campion. With Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh,

Kevin Bacon. (113 min.)

Sterritt *** See full review, page 15.

Radio (PG)

Director: Mike Tollin. With Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ed Harris, Alfre Woodard, Debra Winger. (109 min.)

Sterritt * In a small Southern town, a mentally slow African-American man (Gooding) comes under the wing of a high-school football coach (Harris) who helps him achieve a happier and more trusting relationship with the everyday world. This fact-based drama is very well-meaning but also cloying, sentimental, and simplistic. Gooding's fake-toothed grin deserves an Oscar for best makeup, though.

The Singing Detective (R)

Director: Keith Gordon. With Robert Downey Jr., Mel Gibson, Robin Wright Penn, Katie Holmes. (109 min.)

Sterritt ** See full review, page 15.

Scary Movie 3 (PG-13)

Director: David Zucker. With Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Denise Richards, Jeremy Piven, Queen Latifah. (90 min.)

Staff *** Acting? Minimal. Character development? Nil. Plot? Barely: A young anchorwoman has seven days to discover the source of a mysterious videotape before she is killed. Elsewhere, an Appalachian farmer wants to know who is planting crop circles in his fields that spell out "ATTACK HERE" even as his white brother competes in an inner-city rap contest. If any of this sounds familiar, it should; the franchise is a satire of urban culture and film genres. Thanks to director Zucker, this is by far the best installment yet - there's less bathroom humor and more "Airplane!"-type lunacy. By Alex Kaloostian

Dopamine (R)

Director: Mark Decena. With John Livingston, Sabrina Lloyd, Bruno Campos, Reuben Grundy. (79 min.)

Staff **1/2 Sure, you and your date have "chemistry," but how many people who say that mean it literally? Rand (Livingston) does - the hopeless antiromantic spends his whole first date with the lovely Sarah (Lloyd) prattling about the power of pheromones. While his analysis of attraction carries the couple through a date or two, they start to feel something more like ... well, could it be love? A catatonic mother, an irascible playboy, and a cloying artificial bird fill out the relatively predictable plotline, but Livingston's character raises interesting questions, and his acting carries the day. By Mary Wiltenburg

Good Boy! (PG)

Director: John Robert Hoffman. With Liam Aiken, Kevin Nealon, Molly Shannon. (89 min.)

Staff * Talking dogs were cute, once. It's a tad disconcerting, however, when a canine starts lip syncing to the voice of Carl Reiner so it can complain about flatulence. That's typical of the dialogue in this ho-hum story about a lonely boy (Aiken) who discovers a UFO with a dog who comes from a planet ruled by mutts. By Stephen Humphries