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Movie guide

December 19, 2003

The Butterfly (Not rated)

Director: Philippe Muyl. With Michel Serrault, Claire Bouanich, Pierre Poirot, Nade Dieu. (85 min)

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Sterritt ** An elderly butterfly collector tracks down a rare species while minding a little girl who's run away from her single mom. It's all very sweet and occasionally touching. More lasting shots of more beautiful butterflies would have added a lot, though. In French with English subtitles.

Calendar Girls (PG-13)

Director: Nigel Cole. With Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Linda Bassett, John Alderton. (108 min)

Sterritt ** See review, page 18.

Cinemania (Not rated)

Directors: Angela Christlieb, Stephen Kijak. With Jack Angstreich, Harvey Schwartz, Roberta Hill. (83 min)

Sterritt **** What if nothing on earth interested you except going to the movies, and you had the leisure time to do it? The impassioned New Yorkers profiled in this documentary aren't critics or film profs, just folks who think the good life means racing from one screen to another as many hours each day as possible. Think of the intricate schedules to be drawn up and split-second travel routes to be plotted out! You may become a cinemaniac yourself after sitting through this beauty.

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara (PG-13)

Director: Errol Morris. With Robert S. McNamara, Errol Morris. (107 min.)

Sterritt **** Morris turns his unblinking documentary eye on the controversial secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, punctuating interview segments with archival footage and other historical material. Among the film's many revelations is the fact that Robert McNamara today has far more complex and conflicted views of the Vietnam War - which he helped orchestrate and direct - than either his champions or detractors may expect. As in Morris movies like "Gates of Heaven" and "The Thin Blue Line," the filmmaking is meticulous and the ideas are endlessly thought-provoking.

House of Sand and Fog (R)

Director: Vadim Perelman. With Jennifer Connolly, Ben Kingsley, Ron Eldard, Shohreh Aghdashloo. (126 min.)

Sterritt ** A county mistakenly evicts a troubled woman from her family home and auctions it off to a conservative Iranian immigrant, sparking a fierce battle over conflicting rights that threatens to turn violent when a cop in love with the woman gets involved. The first hour is excellent, spinning an ethically and emotionally compelling tale. Narrative logic fades during the second half, though, reducing the movie's impact on every level - and it's worse if you've read the novel by André Dubus III, which carries its grim premise to a more tough-minded conclusion.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (PG-13)

Director: Peter Jackson. With Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd. (201 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, this page.

Mona Lisa Smile (PG-13)

Director: Mike Newell. With Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal. (118 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, page 18.

Warrior of Light (Not rated)

Director: Monika Treut. With Yvonne Bezerra de Mello, Alváro Bezerra de Mello. (91 min)