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Movie Guide

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Sterritt **** Documentary about Barney Frank, the openly gay Massachusetts congressman whose own sex scandal didn't prevent him from being a major figure in the fight over whether President Bill Clinton should be impeached. Feisty, funny, and smart.

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Maria Full of Grace (R)

Director: Joshua Marston. With Catalina Sandino Moreno, Jhon Alex Toro, Yenny Paola Vega, Patricia Rae. (101 min.)

Sterritt **** A young Colombian woman agrees to smuggle a large load of narcotics secreted in her stomach in order to reach the US and escape hardships back home. Timely, pointed messages about oppression and opportunity come poignantly through in strongly dramatic terms. In English and Spanish with subtitles

Planet Earth: Dreams (Not rated)

Director: D.J. Mendel. With Cynthia J. Hopkins, Fred Neumann, Justine Priestley, Lisa Hickman. (85 min.)

Sterritt **** Richard Foreman scripted this deliciously off-kilter comedy about a young woman whose experiences with a mad scientist blur the boundaries between reality and the realms of the imagination. One of a kind, turning Foreman trademarks such as self-satirical acting and out-of-nowhere music into powerful elements of an outlandish story.

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 awful acting, which consists mainly of frozen grins. Nobody else will.

Staff ** Juvenile, chaste, segregated.

Sex/Nudity: 1 instance. Violence: 5 scenes. Profanity: 1 mild expression. Drugs: 1 instance of drinking.

Spider-Man 2 (PG-13)

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; while in his secret identity 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 than the 2002 original, thanks to Molina's excellent acting. Only the comic scenes fall as flat as one of Spidey's leftover webs.

Staff *** Satisfying, pumped-up, melodramatic.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 18 scenes. Profanity: 4 mild expressions. Drugs: 3 instances of drinking, 3 of smoking.

Touch of Pink (R)

Director: Ian Iqbal Rashid. With Jimi Mistry, Kyle MacLachlan, Suleka Mathew, Kristen Holden-Ried. (91 min.)

Sterritt * A gay Pakistani-Canadian man discusses his dilemmas with his imaginary confidant, Cary Grant's ghost when his traditional Muslim mother comes to visit. You're on the right track if the title reminds you of "That Touch of Mink," the 1962 comedy with Grant and Doris Day, but the resemblance ends there. Even MacLachlan's surprisingly witty performance can't compensate for the trite screenplay and Mistry's lack of charisma.

OUT ON VIDEO

Sherman's March (Not rated)

Director: Ross McElwee. With Ross McElwee, Charleen Swansea, Michael Moore, Burt Reynolds. (155 min.)

Staff ****Finally released on DVD just before McElwee's "Bright Leaves" heads for theaters, this wildly entertaining 1986 documentary is worth the wait. Revisiting his native South to explore a Civil War event, the filmmaker gets sidetracked by everything from romance to family affairs, winding up with a far more personal movie. Extras include a McElwee interview, and letters of William Tecumseh Sherman.

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