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Movie Guide

January 23, 2004

The Butterfly Effect (R)

Directors: J. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress. With Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz. (113 min.)

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Sterritt * See review.

Empathy (Not rated)

Director: Amie Siegel. With Tracy Thorpe, Dr. David Solomon, Gigi Buffington, Aria Knee. (92 min.)

Sterritt *** Part drama, part documentary, part deconstruction, this offbeat movie oscillates between interviews with psychoanalysts - full of cheeky questions, like what they really think about while their patients drone away on the couch - and the story of a fictional woman having psychotherapy, plus screen-test shots of actresses trying out for this role. Siegel calls it a talking-heads film about the talking cure, and that pretty well sums it up. The nonfiction scenes

are most interesting, and could have easily sustained the whole picture.

Piccadilly (Not rated)

Director: E.A. Dupont. With Anna May Wong, Gilda Gray, Cyril Ritchard, Charles Laughton. (93 min.)

Sterritt **** First released in 1929 as the silent-film era was approaching its final fadeout, this silent musical melodrama stars Gray as an unhappy Piccadilly Club entertainer who feuds with her jealous partner, opening the way for a Chinese dishwasher at the nightspot to try her own unlikely rise to fame and fortune. Wong has acquired a loyal cult following over the years, and Dupont's exquisitely filmed episodes show why. The movie has been restored to its full visual glory, although the added music is sometimes disappointing.

Touching the Void (Not rated)

Director: Kevin Macdonald. With Joe Simpson, Simon Yates, Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron. (106 min.)

Sterritt **** See review.

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton (PG-13)

Director: Robert Luketic. With Kate Bosworth, Josh Duhamel, Topher Grace, Nathan Lane. (96 min.)

Sterritt *** See review.

Along Came Polly (PG-13)

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

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.

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.

Staff *** Shallow story, bizarre at times, longish.

Sex/Nudity: 3 innuendoes, 2 scenes of brief nudity. Violence: 4 scenes, including a fight. Profanity: 9 instances. Drugs: 2 scenes of drinking, 4 scenes of smoking.

Cheaper by the Dozen (PG)

Director: Shawn Levy. With Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, Piper Perabo. (95 min.)