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Movie Guide

July 9, 2004

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (PG-13)

Director: Adam McKay. With Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd. (94 min.)

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Sterritt * In the days before cable, a TV news host juggles infatuation and intolerance when a female reporter joins his journalistic team. Imagine a movie where every character is more self-centered than Ted Baxter in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" of old, add a caboodle of idiotic jokes, and you have some idea of this ugly, unfunny farce. Its only interesting aspect is its willingness to dispense with even one competent, appealing character. Dumb, dumber, dumberest!

The Inheritance (Not rated)

Director: Per Fly. With Ulrich Thomsen, Lisa Werlinder, Lars Brygmann, Ghita Norby. (110 min.)

Sterritt *** A man's life grows more complicated and less pleasant after he inherits his father's Danish factory and finds that firings and cutbacks are the only way to keep it profitable. The acting is fine, the filmmaking is honest, and the class-conscious story couldn't be more timely. In Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and French with subtitles.

King Arthur (PG-13)

Director: Antoine Fuqua. With Clive Owen, Keira Knightley, Ioan Gruffud, Stellan Skârsgard. (129 min.)

Sterritt * The unflinching monarch leads his followers against the Saxons, the Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic church. Focusing on what the filmmakers claim was the real Arthur, not the legendary king who flourished later in the medieval era, the movie gives us a Round Table and a flashing Excalibur but no magic, no mystery, no mythic resonance. Mostly there's a lot of slashing swordplay that should appeal to the picture's target audience of young males.

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (Not rated)

Directors: Bruce Sinofsky, Joe Berlinger. With James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo. (130 min.)

Sterritt ** A veteran team of nonfiction filmmakers turns its attention to heavy-metal rock, chronicling Metallica's effort to resurrect itself after various setbacks have taken a terrible toll. The quartet appears to be mightily lacking in the brains and judgment departments, but at least it tries to do something about its failings, employing a traveling psychotherapist whose interventions and ruminations provide some of the film's most unwittingly amusing moments.

Sleepover (PG)

Director: Joe Nussbaum. With Mika Boorem, Alexa Vega, Jane Lynch, Scout Taylor-Compton. (97 min.)

Sterritt * Mischief reigns as a pajama party turns into a scavenger hunt, with rewards that seem less than trivial to girls on the verge of high school. Viewers of that age may overlook the contrived situations and the awful acting, which consists mainly of frozen grins. Nobody else will.

Before Sunset (R)

Director: Richard Linklater. With Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff, Mariane Plasteig. (80 min.)

Sterritt **** Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset" follows-up the 1995 comedy-drama "Before Sunrise," where aspiring American writer (Ethan Hawke) and French graduate student (Julie Delpy) get acquainted and take a nighttime walk together, only to part the next morning, leaving us to wonder if they'll ever meet again. "Before Sunset" takes place in Paris nine years later, where we learn that Jesse and Céline haven't been in touch since that special night. Linklater is one of today's most versatile American filmmakers, and "Before Sunset" finds his light shining as brightly as ever.

Staff **** Luscious, enjoyable, TK