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Staff *** Flawed plot, beautifully shot, epic.Skip to next paragraph
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Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 21 scenes of bloody battle. Profanity: 4 instances. Drugs: 10 scenes of drinking, 2 scenes smoking.
Director: Peter Jackson. With Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellan, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler. (301 min.)
Sterritt **The popular series comes to a close as Frodo and Sam struggle toward Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring in the fires where it was forged, ending an evil threat. This is one of the rare times when a trilogy's third chapter is the best of the bunch.
Staff **** Incredible, stunning, built to last forever.
Sex/Nudity: None Violence: 97 scenes, including intense instances of battle gore. Profanity: None. Drugs: 2 scenes of drinking, 4 scenes with smoking.
Director: Mike Newell. With Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal. (118 min.)
Sterritt ** The time is 1953, the place is a tradition-bound women's college in New England, and the heroine is an ornery Berkeley grad who takes a job teaching art history. Roberts contributes wit and energy but sentimentality trumps substance at every opportunity.
Sex/Nudity: 9 instances of innuendo including implied sex. Violence: None. Profanity: 16 mild profanities. Drugs: 15 scenes of smoking, 10 instances of drinking.
Director: John Woo. With Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti. (118 min.)
Sterritt ** Affleck plays an engineer who returns from his latest job with no memories of the three years he worked on the project and plenty of evidence that someone wants to kill him right now. Woo's action-film pyrotechnics gather more substance than usual from the inventive plot.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes of innuendo. Violence: 10 scenes of violence. Profanity: 9 profanities. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol, 4 scenes with smoking.
Director: Nancy Meyers. With Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet. (121 min.)
Sterritt *** An aging businessman (Nicholson) realizes that the 20-something he's wooing (Peet) is less interesting than her mother (Keaton). While it's a standard romantic comedy in most respects, Meyers's movie deserves extra credit for teaming up Nicholson and Keaton, whose chemistry bubbles off the screen.
Staff **1/2 Lovably cast, long-winded, Keaton is radiant.
Sex/Nudity: 4 scenes with nudity, 2 sex scenes, 3 innuendos. Violence: None. Profanity: 19 profanities. Drugs: 14 scenes with drinking. 4 scenes with smoking.
Director: François Ozon. With Charlotte Rampling, Charles Dance, Ludivine Sagnier. (102 min.)
Staff **If there's a common complaint about French movies, it's this: nothing much happens. That's pretty much true of 'Swimming Pool,' a movie about an English murder-mystery novelist whose quiet writing time in a French countryside villa is interrupted by the arrival of its owner's brazen, sexually voracious daughter. True, there is a murder near the pool and there's a vague, ambiguous ending (how French!) but mostly this trifle seems to be a voyeuristic study of topless sunbathing (yep, it's most definitely French). If director Ozon had included a commentary with the negligible extras, he might have explained what it's all about. By Stephen Humphries