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Movie Guide

January 16, 2004

Along Came Polly (PG-13)

Director: John Hamburg. With Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Debra Messing. (90 min.)

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Sterritt * A neurotically cautious man (Stiller) gets cheated on by his wife (Messing) during their honeymoon, whereupon he inexplicably starts chasing a woman (Aniston) whose life philosophy is the dead opposite of his. If you can swallow that premise, you may be able to tolerate the crass bathroom humor - evidently trying to out-gross "There's Something About Mary" - and the weak acting, even by Hoffman. Aniston is so far above this material she should never, ever have signed on.

Crimson Gold (not rated)

Director: Jafar Panahi. With Hussein Emadeddin, Pourang Nakhael, Azita Rayeji. (97 min)

Sterritt **** See review.

Cuba: Island of Music (Not rated)

Director: Gary Keys. With Gary Keys, Billy Taylor, Candido Camero. (95 min.)

Sterritt *** While visiting Cuba to teach a master class in filmmaking, American jazz-movie specialist Keys travels to a variety of cities and towns to sample, analyze, and just plain dig the diverse musical styles he runs across. The analytical discussions don't run very deep, but eyes will shine and toes will tap whenever this picture is shown.

Japanese Story (R)

Director: Sue Brooks. With Toni Collette, Gotaro Tsunashima, Kate Atkinson. (107 min.)

Sterritt *** See review.

Tokyo Godfathers (PG-13)

Director: Satoshi Kon. With voices of Toru Emori, Aya Okamoto. (90 min.)

Sterritt *** Don't think the mafia kind of godfather - this Japanese animation is loosely inspired by John Ford's western about three fugitives from justice who carry a motherless infant to safety. Here, the setting is Tokyo and the heroes are a homeless man, a drag queen, and a woman who's run away from home. The story is sweet by animé standards, although it has harsh elements as well. In Japanese with English subtitles

Torque (PG-13)

Director: Joseph Kahn. With Martin Henderson, Monet Mazur, Ice Cube, Jay Hernandez. (82 min.)

Sterritt *** A macho motorbiker returns to California for unfinished business with his worst enemy, then gets framed for murdering a member of a rival gang. The movie is as adolescent as it sounds, but Kahn keeps your eyes popping with truly nonstop action and some of the most outlandishly inventive effects you've ever seen. And of course Cube is so supercool it's worth the price of admission just to watch him.

Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: 21 scenes. Profanity: 44 instances. Drugs: 7 scenes of drinking.

The Tracker (Not rated)

Director: Rolf de Heer. With David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Grant Page, Damon Gameau. (90 min.)

Sterritt *** See review.

Big Fish (PG-13)

Director: Tim Burton. With Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup, Alison Lohman. (110 min.)

Sterritt ** A young man (McGregor) tries to understand the life of his estranged, now dying father (Finney) by sifting grains of truth from the mountains of tall tales the old guy was forever telling about himself. Burton spices up the story with touches of his trademarked surrealism, but they're swamped by the sentimentality of John August's screenplay.

Chasing Liberty (PG-13)