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Sterritt **** Kilmer does his best acting ever in this fast-moving suspense story about a Secret Service agent hunting for a powerful American politician's missing daughter, racing from New England to the Midwest, and ultimately the Middle East, on an endlessly twisting trail. Thrillers don't come more taut, tense, and terrific. Be warned that the story's violence is sometimes savage, though.Skip to next paragraph
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Staff *** Fast, provocative but flawed plot, involved.
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: 11 scenes, including murder. Profanity: 28 instances, often harsh. Drugs: 5 scenes with alcohol, 3 instances of smoking.
Director: Todd Phillips. With Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, Juliette Lewis. (99 min.)
Sterritt ** Stiller and Wilson play an odd couple of cops - one so conscientious he's more of a menace than the criminals he's chasing, the other believing that if you can't beat the crooks you might as well join 'em. The stars make the most of their characters, borrowed from the '70s TV show, bumbling their way to success with a tenacity that would impress Inspector Clouseau. Dogg is a riot as Huggy Bear, their streetwise informant, and '70s icon Fred Williamson plays their long-suffering commander perfectly.
Staff ** Fun but not funny, forgettable, Stiller excels.
Sex/Nudity: 25 instance of innuendo. Violence: 7 scenes of violence. Profanity: 24 instances, often strong. Drugs: 7 scenes with drinking or smoking, 2 with cocaine.
Director: Philip Kaufman. With Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, David Strathairn. (97 min.)
Sterritt * A policewoman (Judd) hunts for a serial killer whose victims are men she's slept with recently, and starts to fear she may be the villain, eliminating former lovers in an alcoholic daze. The screenplay is hackneyed, the acting half-hearted, and the surprise ending is no surprise if you've been paying attention.
Director: Stephen Frears. With Audrey Tautou, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sergi López, Sophie Okonedo. (107 min.)
Staff ***1/2 Directed by British filmmaker Stephen Frears, this is a gem of novelistic filmmaking. Understated and quirky, this story chronicles a sordid scheme to barter body parts for political freedom, taking a compassionate look at the hard choices faced daily by illegal immigrants in London. The bonus material is negligible - an audio commentary by Frears and a behind-the-scenes feature. Own this DVD to savor a film that deserves to live well beyond its brief theatrical release. By Gloria Goodale.
Director: Ron Howard. With Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, and John Candy. (109 min.)
Staff ***1/2 This film launched the careers of star Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard, and it holds up well on its 20th anniversary. The stars are charming, as is the story of a mermaid who comes to New York. The extras are pretty slim - after all, this was filmed long before DVD featurettes needed to be prepared. The audition tapes for Hanks and Daryl Hannah, available because an assistant saved them by chance, are an interesting bit of film history, as is the "making of" story from the producer, writers, and director. - G.G.