Director: Richard Linklater. With Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff, Mariane Plasteig. (80 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** See review.
Director: Pieter Jan Brugge. With Robert Redford, Helen Mirren, Willem Dafoe, Melissa Sagemiller. (94 min.)
Sterritt *** Redford gives one of his best performances ever in this taut, emotionally engrossing thriller about a wealthy businessman kidnapped by a small-time criminal (Dafoe) and held for ransom from his wife (Mirren) and family. Only a sentimental, strung-out ending mars the drama's momentum.
Director: Irwin Winkler. With Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce, Alanis Morissette. (125 min.)
Sterritt **** This music-filled biography portrays legendary songwriter Cole Porter, a bisexual scamp whose marriage to a patient, supportive woman became the most important anchor in his emotional life. The movie is remarkably touching and engrossing, with Kline's spot-on acting and realistically second-rate singing balancing Judd's one-note performance as his wife. It's too bad Jay Cocks's screenplay spends far too long winding Porter's story up, but overall the tuneful comedy-drama is every bit as de-lovely as its title promises.
Director: Sam Raimi. With Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris. (127 min.)
Sterritt *** Our hero (Maguire) takes on Doctor Octopus, a once-benign scientist (Molina) who's lost control of the artificial tentacles he's invented; and in his secret identity as college nerd Peter Parker, he continues his fitful courtship of would-be girlfriend (Dunst) who doesn't think she can wait for him much longer. The sequel is more exciting and surprising than the 2002 original, thanks largely to Molina's excellent acting. Only the strenuously comic scenes fall as flat as one of Spidey's leftover webs.
Director: Frank Coraci. With Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan, Cécile de France, Jim Broadbent. (120 min.)
Sterritt ** Another adaptation of Jules Verne's novel about a 19th-century man circumnavigating the globe to win a wager and demonstrate the progress of modern science. While less ambitious than the 1956 release with David Niven, the film uses the same gimmick of famous faces in cameo roles. Coogan and Broadbent are agile and expressive, but too much time goes to Chan's stunts. A colorful disappointment.
Staff *** Lightweight, kung-fu overload, colorful.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 18 scenes. Profanity: 8 mild expressions. Drugs: 3 instances of drinking.
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber. With Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn. (92 min.)
Sterritt *The owners of rival health clubs enter teams in a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament to win a cash prize. Stiller strives to be a wild and wacky villain, Vaughn endeavors to be a likable and average hero, and both fall flat on their faces, like everything else in this unspeakably stupid comedy.
Director: David Twohy. With Vin Diesel, Thandie Newton, Colm Feore, Judi Dench. (115 min.)
Sterritt *Riddick battles evil crusaders called Necromongers, helped by tips from a virtuous Elemental, and between them they save the galaxy and make Riddick supreme ruler of everything, which we're supposed to think is an excellent outcome. The special effects are extra special, but the screenplay is idiotic, and Diesel speaks his dialogue like a Sylvester Stallone clone who never finished third grade.