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Director: Andy Cadiff. With Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Annabella Sciorra, Mark Harmon. (109 min)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt ** Romantic comedy about a fictional president's teenaged daughter who can't escape the Secret Service chaperons who follow her everywhere - until she makes a getaway with help from a handsome young Englishman who's secretly a Secret Service guy as well. There aren't many laughs despite game efforts by the overhyped Moore. Teens may enjoy it, though.
Staff ** Teeny-bopper chick flick, predictable, cute, rote.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. 2 with brief nudity. Violence: 1 brief scene. Profanity: 4 instances. Drugs: 10 scenes of drinking, 4 scenes smoking.
Director: Shawn Levy. With Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, Piper Perabo. (95 min.)
Sterritt ** Remake of the 1950 comedy about a couple with almost more kids than they can count, focusing on how football-coach dad (Martin) and book-writing mom (Hunt) learn they've got to spend more time at home. Soft, sentimental, and as unlike real family life as you can get.
Director: Anthony Minghella. With Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Renée Zellweger. (155 min.)
Sterritt ** Just as the Civil War is breaking out, a young couple fall in love, and the man (Law) deserts the Confederate army for a long trek home to his love, who's been struggling for survival. The story builds some melodramatic momentum, but it's interrupted by episodes of suffering that smack more of sensationalism than candor. The fine cast is also misused and Zellweger does a job of overacting that might have gotten rejected by "The Beverly Hillbillies."
Staff *** Zellweger adds verve, poetic, book is better.
Sex/Nudity: 5 instances, including nudity. Violence: 19 scenes including bloody battles. Profanity: 14 instances. Drugs: 5 scenes of drinking.
Director: Robert Altman. With Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell, Susie Cusack. (112 min.)
Sterritt **** Campbell started her career as a dancer, and she's just right for this colorful tale about a young ballerina with high ambitions. Like many Altman movies, this is less a dramatic story than an atmospheric environment. His virtuoso directing gets ample assistance from superb dancing by members of the real-life Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.
Director: Peter Webber. With Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Judy Parfitt. (95 min.)
Sterritt **** A young woman (Johansson) signs on as a servant in the home of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, becoming his model when he becomes fascinated by her beauty. What makes the movie distinctive is that it's photographed in imitation of Vermeer's style - an approach that could have seemed gimmicky but is redeemed by the filmmakers' integrity. Johansson may have been born to play this role.
Staff ***1/2 Understated, lush, sumptuous visuals.
Sex/Nudity: 1 sex scene, 1 attempted rape, 5 scenes of innuendo. Violence: 6 scenes, including graphic ear piercing. Profanity: None. Drugs: 10 scenes with drinking.
Director: Edward Zwick. With Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Timothy Spall, Billy Connelly. (144 min.)
Sterritt ** A down-and-out Civil War veteran accepts an offer to teach Japanese troops how to shoot so they can subdue Japan's remaining samurai swordsmen. But his loyalties shift when he's held captive in a samurai village. The slow-moving movie puts more weight on pretty pictures than on historical issues.