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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.Skip to next paragraph
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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.
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 directing gets ample assistance from superb dancing by the real-life Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.
Staff *** Documentary-like, slow, revealing, exhilirating.
Sex/Nudity: 5 instances of innuendo. 1 scene of toplessness. Violence: None. Profanity: 12 instances. Drugs: 10 scenes of drinking, 2 scenes of smoking.
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.
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.
Staff *** Flawed plot, beautifully shot, epic.
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.)