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Sterritt *** Who would have guessed that a wildly refreshing take on the teenage-nerd genre would come from small-town Idaho, where the title character tangles with his weirded-out family and pushes for an equally uncharismatic friend to become president of their high-school student body? This minimalist comedy may not make you laugh out loud, but you'll be smiling without a break, and sometimes grinning with amazement at the quiet ingenuity of everyone concerned.Skip to next paragraph
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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.
Staff *** Worthy sequel, playful, slam-dunk finish.
Sex/Nudity: 6 instances of innuendo. Violence: 12 scenes. Profanity: None. Drugs: 3 instances of drinking, 1 of drugs.
Director: Frank Oz. With Nicole Kidman, Christopher Walken, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick. (95 min.)
Sterritt * A remake of the 1975 science-fantasy fable about menfolk of a Connecticut community who battle the threats of "women's lib" by transforming their spouses into stereotypes of picture-perfect housewives. The message of Ira Levin's 1972 novel is drowned in a flood of cheap and easy gags that suggest feminism has Hollywood more stumped than ever.
Sex/Nudity: 7 instances of innuendo, 1 of implied sex. Violence: 4 scenes, none too graphic. Profanity: 14 mild expressions. Drugs: 5 instances of smoking and drinking.
Directors: Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falomi. With Janchiv Ayurzana, Chimed Ohin, Zeveljamz Nyam. (93 min.)
Sterritt **** Blurring all the lines between fiction and documentary, this gentle and amusing movie blends real, unrehearsed material with delightful storytelling scenes focusing on a Mongolian family that faces a problem when a camel in its herd takes a dislike to a newborn calf and refuses to nurse it. The action takes place in Gobi Desert locations, which provide a striking background for drama involving humans, animals, and nature itself. In Mongolian with subtitles
Directors: Eric Chaikin, Julian Petrillo. With Marlon Hill, Joel Sherman, Joe Edley, Matt Graham. (80 min.)
Sterritt *** A documentary portrait of four men who play Scrabble not only as a pastime in city parks but also in big-time tournaments with big-time money at stake. Light, lively, informative, fun.
Director: Kevin MacDonald. With Brendan Mackey, Aaron Nicholas, Joe Simpson, Simon Yates. (107 min.)
Staff **** A snowy survival story that puts "The Day After Tomorrow" to shame, this docudrama recounts the gripping mountaineering adventure of Joe Simpson, left for dead (and with a broken leg) on a 21,000-foot Peruvian peak in 1985. MacDonald skillfully alternates between interviews with the humbled climbers and scenes of the restaged expedition by their stunt doubles. The cinematography is breathtaking, the mishaps are hair-raising, and Simpson's painful descent turns the stomach. The tale is more thrilling than anything Hollywood could devise, and the DVD extras - including a making-of featurette and a piece that answers any lingering questions - actually add to the overall experience. By Marie Ewald