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Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes. Violence: 15 scenes. Profanity: 34 expressions. Drugs: 2 scenes.Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Nick Hurran. With Brittany Murphy, Holly Hunter, Stephen Tobolowsky, Kathy Bates. (98 min.)
Sterritt ** A would-be TV producer uses her entry-level position as a lever for prying into her boyfriend's personal affairs. A spicy critique of tabloid TV is buried in romantic-comedy material that strains too hard for cuteness. Ditto for Murphy's acting.
Sex/Nudity: 6 scenes with innuendo. Violence: 1 scene. Profanity: 23 expressions, including harsh. Drugs: 6 scenes of smoking, drinking.
Director: Chris Kentis. With Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein, Estelle Lau. (80 min.)
Sterritt **** Two vacationing scuba divers are stranded in a shark-infested sea when their companions inadvertently return to shore without them. A thrilling, tough-minded plunge into no-holds-barred storytelling and boldly minimalist filmmaking.
Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of nudity. Violence: 6 scenes. Profanity: 19 harsh expressions. Drugs: 1 instance of drinking.
Director: Bronwen Hughes. With Thomas Jane, Ashley Taylor, Deborah Kara Unger, Dexter Fletcher. (111 min.)
Sterritt ** A cop in apartheid South Africa becomes a bank robber as a sideline. The story is so eager to highlight macho action scenes that it loses track of the important historical and political issues it raises.
Director: Jonathan Demme. With Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber, Jeffrey Wright. (130 min.)
Sterritt *** Remake of the political thriller about a woman using a mind-controlled war veteran to manipulate an election through violence. Where the 1962 version had humor, the 2004 version has flat-out paranoia - a telling sign of the times. Washington is wonderful, as usual.
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. The sequel is more exciting than the 2002 original, thanks largely to Molina's excellent acting.
Staff *** Satisfying, pumped-up, melodramatic.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 18 scenes. Profanity: 4 mild expressions. Drugs: 3 instances of drinking, 3 of smoking.
The Village (PG-13)
Director: M. Night Shyamalan. With Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, Bryce Dallas Howard, William Hurt. (106 min.)
Sterritt ** Hardships beset an isolated town that lives in fear of sinister creatures in the surrounding woods. Shyamalan remains a stilted screenwriter, but Roger Deakins's cinematography is spooky, creepy, eerie all the way.
Director: Martha Coolidge. With Julia Stiles, Luke Mably, Miranda Richardson, James Fox. (111 min.)
Staff ** The prince of Denmark (no, not that one) decides to quietly enroll in a Wisconsin college to meet American girls after seeing a "Girls Gone Wild" type show on TV (yes, the PG rating is deceptive). But a no-nonsense Julia Stiles soon has him smitten, leaving her to question whether a royal wedding will cramp her style. This fairytale has a dash more gravitas and spark than the similiarly themed "Princess Diaries 2" now in cinemas. By Stephen Humphries