(Page 3 of 3)
Sterritt **** During the Napoleonic Wars, Captain "Lucky Jack" Aubrey plays an oceanic cat-and-mouse game from Brazil to the Galápagos Islands as he tries to get the better of an enemy ship. Based on novels by Patrick O'Brian, this rip-roaring epic combines edge-of-your-seat battle scenes with vivid historical details and more fascinating characters than most action movies dream of. Add heartfelt acting and superbly atmospheric camera work and you have the adventure movie of the year.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Staff *** Captivating, masterfully atmospheric, gory.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 15 scenes of extended warfare, including flogging, amputation. Profanity: 9 profanities. Drugs: 11 instances of drinking, 1 of smoking.
Directors: The Wachowski Brothers. With: Keanu Reeves, Jada Pinkett Smith, Laurence Fishburne. (129 min.)
Sterritt ** The trilogy concludes with lots of fighting between the machines - who've trapped humanity in a computer-controlled reality - and humans, struggling for freedom. This is basically a war movie decked out in sci-fi duds, plus touches of New Age hokum to make it seem profound.
Staff *** Stellar special effects, thrilling, poor dialogue.
Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of topless nudity. Violence: 12 scenes of extended violence. Profanity: 20 profanities. Drugs: 1 scene of drinking, 3 of smoking.
Director: Ron Howard. With: Cate Blanchett, Tommy Lee Jones, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd. (130 min.)
Sterritt ** A frontier physician (Blanchett) and her estranged father (Jones) search for her young daughter, who's been kidnapped by a native American shaman with evil intentions. Blanchett provides a forceful center of gravity for the western, and Jones projects affecting sadness as a white man who has lived with Indians so long he's no longer certain of his own identity. Still, the screenplay often contradicts its supposed celebration of strong women and condemnation of anti-Indian oppression, and the last third is a lackluster barrage of fighting and shooting.
Staff *** Epic, entertaining, gruesome.
Sex/Nudity: 3 instances of innuendo, 1 scene of implied sex. Violence: 23 scenes of violence, including kidnappings, attempted rape. Profanity: 4 profanities. Drugs: 3 scenes with smoking, 5 with drinking.
Director: Richard Donner. With: Paul Walker, Frances O'Connor, Billy Connolly, Anna Friel. (116 min.)
Staff * In this "Stargate" redux, a Yale history professor rides a wormhole back to 14th century France. When he gets stuck there, a group of students time travel to rescue him, landing amid the clanking metal and flying arrows of a Anglo-French battle. Based on Michael Crichton's bestseller, this action film plays more like a comedy filled with TV acting and cliché one-liners. ("They made history together.") See another film, or you'll find yourself wishing you could travel back to change your ticket. By Stephanie Cook Broadhurst
Director: Lauren Lazin. With: Tupac Shakur. (90 min.)
Staff *** The talented and charming rapper Tupac Shakur tells of his rise to fame in an extended interview illustrated by clips from concerts, dramatic films, and news footage. The MTV documentary style can be maddeningly superficial at times, but it can't blunt the eloquence as Tupac narrates his tragic march toward a violent and untimely death. By M.K. Terrell
Staff *** Passionate, intimate, one-sided
Sex/Nudity: 10 instances. Violence: 21 scenes of violence, including beatings and shootings. Profanity: 60. Drugs: 9 instances of drug use, 8 of alcohol, 10 of smoking.