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Movie Guide

April 16, 2004

Connie and Carla (PG-13)

Director: Michael Lembeck. With Nia Vardalos, Toni Collette, David Duchovny, Stephen Spinella. (97 min.)

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Staff DUD See review.

Johnson Family Vacation (PG-13)

Director: Christopher Erskin. With Cedric the Entertainer, Lil' Bow Wow, Shannon Elizabeth, Steve Harvey. (97 min.)

Staff ** To have any hope of winning the Family of the Year award, Nate Johnson (Cedric the Entertainer) must make peace with his estranged wife and pack everybody up for a three-day drive to the family reunion. "Family of Five in Search of a Script" might be a better title, but this road picture gets better as it goes along, and the upbeat ending redeems it considerably. By M. K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 6 instances of innuendo. Violence: 8 mild scenes. Profanity: 4 mild expressions. Drugs: 2 instances.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (R)

Director: Quentin Tarantino. With Uma Thurman, David Carradine. (96 min.)

Sterritt ***See review.

The Punisher (R)

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh. With John Travolta, Thomas Jane, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Will Patton. (123 min)

Sterritt ** A violent, well-acted vigilante tale about a muscleman (Jane) with a high IQ tracking down the suave psychopath (Travolta) who killed his family, calling it not "revenge" but "punishment," as if that makes his exploits morally admirable. The most entertaining scenes focus on the lovable louts and losers who share the boardinghouse where the protagonist - based on a comic-book character billed as a superhero without superpowers - prepares his grisly exploits. The rest is mayhem.

Young Adam (NC-17)

Director: David Mackenzie. With Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Peter Mullan, Emily Mortimer. (93 min)

Sterritt *** The setting is Glasgow in the 1950s, and the story centers on a young wanderer (McGregor) and his seasoned boss (Mullan) who find a woman's corpse floating in the water near the barge they operate. This leads to revelations about the drifter's past, his connection with the dead woman, and the steamy romance that's blooming between him and his boss's wife, played by Swinton with her usual finesse. Rich atmospherics and an all-star British cast make this a superior melodrama if you can handle the heavy-breathing sex scenes.

The Alamo (PG-13)

Director: John Lee Hancock. With Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric, Dennis Quaid, Emilio Echevarría. (136 min.)

Sterritt * Yet another last stand for the beleaguered fortress, where Republic of Texas forces died in 1836 defending what they thought (wrongly, as the movie shows) was the last bastion between Mexican tyranny and good Texan "values," including slavery. Thornton is good as Davy Crockett, but overall the movie is dull, derivative, and as lifelike as a heap of historical figurines. Few will remember this "Alamo" for long.

Ella Enchanted (PG)

Director: Tommy O'Haver. With Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Minnie Driver. (95 min.)