Director: Guy Maddin. With Darcy Fehr, Melissa Dionisio, Louis Negin, Amy Stewart. (64 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** Canada's most rollicking and imaginative moviemaker does it again, setting a silent-movie plot about jealousy, insanity, and hands with a murderous mind of their own against backgrounds as different as a beauty salon and a hockey arena that houses a forgotten wax museum. There's a new visual idea every second, each teeming with energy, pitch-dark comedy, and inspired cinematic lunacy. Shown with two zany Maddin shorts, "Sombra Dolorosa" and "Sissy-Boy Slap-Party," and "The Phantom Museum," a typically eccentric stop-motion concoction from the Quay Brothers of England.
Director: Robert Greenwald. With James Wolcott, Peter Hart, Al Franken, Eric Alterman. (77 min.)
Sterritt **** Documentary arguing exactly what the title indicates. It's not "fair and balanced," but why should it be, at a time when that phrase so frequently captions material that's really the Orwellian opposite? This is an op-ed polemic, and it's refreshing to see one so skillfully produced by filmmakers with a shoestring budget and meager access to mainstream distribution. A must-see movie, no matter what your politics are.
Director: Garry Marshall. With Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, John Rhys-Davies, Hector Elizondo. (120 min.)
Staff ** Apart from a scene in which Julie Andrews sings - an all too rare occasion nowadays - this sequel holds few surprises. Princess Mia (Hathaway) is the princess of Genovia, a golf-course-size country on the Continent, which looks about as European as Disneyland Paris (the citizens speak in a SoCal dialect, too). She's set to inherit the throne from Queen Renaldi (Andrews), when Genovia's 10-member parliament rules that the princess must be married before her coronation. Soon Mia has to choose between an arranged marriage with a Prince Charles-like dweeb or a hottie who looks like Rob Lowe Jr. Hathaway is delightful, but this lazily plotted "Bachelorette" for tweens ends with the least dramatic wedding ceremony ever. By Stephen Humphries
Director: Mark Moormann. With Tom Dowd, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Ahmet Ertegun. (82 min.)
Sterritt *** Documentary about a fabled pop-music producer who thought he'd be a nuclear physicist, helped develop nuclear weapons in the Manhattan Project of the 1940s, and then got permanently sidetracked into a technologically innovative career that made him a collaborator of everyone from '40s jazz greats John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie through '50s rock groups like the Coasters and the Drifters to Cream and the Allman Brothers in more recent years. Like its subject, the movie is a tad overzealous, but often fascinating and revealing.
Director: John Curran. With Laura Dern, Mark Ruffalo, Naomi Watts, Peter Krause. (109 min.)
Sterritt *** See review.
Director: Paul Greengrass. With Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles. (110 min.)
Sterritt ** Sequel to "The Bourne Identity," which at least had some psychological tension as the hero learns his identity - namely, a CIA assassin with amnesia. This time it's just chasing and shooting. A disappointment from the director of "Bloody Sunday."