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Movie Guide

May 21, 2004

Control Room (Not rated)

Director: Jehane Noujaim. With Sameer Khader, Lt. Josh Rushing, Deema Khatib. (84 min.)

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Sterritt **** See review.

Love Me If You Dare (Not rated)

Director: Yann Samuell. With Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard, Thibault Verhaeghe. (90 min.)

Sterritt *** Two kids play a nonstop game of daring each other to do impulsive things, then continue it as adults with complicated results for their could-be love affair. Much of the style strains too hard to be cute, but true romantics may shed copious tears of sympathy and empathy. Originally called "Jeux d'enfants." In French with subtitles

Shrek 2 (PG)

Directors: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon. With voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz. (92 min.)

Sterritt *** The gentle ogre is dragged by his new spouse, Fiona, to meet her royal mom and dad, stirring up trouble with a fairy godmother who's furious with him for beating Prince Charming in the race for Fiona's hand. At its best, this "Shrek" sequel draws up a brilliant new blueprint for all-ages animation, blending fairy-tale whimsy with edgy social satire. Too bad it ends with worn-out homilies far less imaginative than the story as a whole.

S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (Not rated)

Director: Rithy Panh. With Vann Nath, and former guards in the S21 prison. (101 min.)

Sterritt **** The prison designated S21 was the scene of the torture and slaughter of some 17,000 victims after the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia in 1975. Panh's documentary explores its bloody history through statements and reenactments by former guards and the only two survivors he could find. The result is a history lesson both invaluable and horrific. In Khmer with subtitles

Breakin' All the Rules

Director: David Taplitz. With Jamie Foxx, Morris Chestnut, Jennifer Esposito, Peter MacNicol. (85 min.)

Staff **1/2 Magazine editor Quincy Watson (Foxx) gets a shock at his engagement party: His fiancée is eloping to Paris with somebody else. Quincy's so upset he writes a sort of Breaking Up for Dummies manual, resulting in a romantic mix-up involving at least seven people, including his cousin Evan (Chestnut), who wants to dump his girlfriend Nicky. Snappy dialogue and a charming cast largely make up for lightweight material and scattered direction. By M.K. Terrell

Carandiru (R)

Director: Hector Babenco. With Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos, Ivan de Almeida, Milhem Cortaz. (146 min.)

Sterritt *** The inventive though uneven Brazilian filmmaker turns a fictionalized spotlight on an overcrowded São Paulo prison where more than 100 inmates were killed by police during a 1992 riot, picturing events that led up to the slaughter through the eyes of a sympathetic physician. Harrowing, realistic, humanistic. In Portuguese with subtitles

Coffee and Cigarettes (R)

Director: Jim Jarmusch. With Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Joie Lee, Steve Buscemi. (96 min.)

Sterritt *** A series of vignettes, starting with a "Saturday Night Live" sketch from 1986, about conversations taking place as people consume (or reject) the title substances. Some are weak, some are superb - there's a priceless one with Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan as Brits with different feelings about learning they're cousins - but they get better as they go along, ending with the most understated and touching of all, featuring Taylor Mead and Bill Rice as cultural rebels who've outlived their rebellions.

Laws of Attraction (PG-13)

Director: Peter Howitt. With Julianne Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Parker Posey, Michael Sheen. (87 min.)

Sterritt * Two top-notch divorce attorneys (Moore and Brosnan) fall for each other while battling in the courtroom. This sort of legal-eagle premise worked beautifully in the bygone Tracy and Hepburn days, declined when the Coen brothers made "Intolerable Cruelty," and hits rock bottom here. Poor writing and directing.