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Movie Guide

August 20, 2004

Alien vs. Predator (PG-13)

Director; Paul W.S. Anderson. With Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner. (87 min.)

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Staff ** For a matchup between two of the most fearsome creatures in moviemaking history, this movie is surprisingly tame. Humans are drawn down to Antarctica to serve as bait in a contrived battle between Hollywood's best-grossing aliens. The big winners in this contest may be those who avoid going to see the film in the first place. By Sheera Frenkel

Almost Peaceful (Not rated)

Director: Michel Deville. With Simon Abkarian, Clotilde Courau, Vincent Elbaz, Lubna Azabal. (90 min.)

Sterritt *** The year is 1946 and the characters are mostly Jews concerned about the stability of their society and their still-uncertain place within it. The gently told comedy-drama is more colorful than you'd expect, using wry humor and lively music to keep sentimentality at bay. In French with subtitles

Bright Young Things (R)

Director: Stephen Fry. With Emily Mortimer, Dan Aykroyd, Stockard Channing, Peter O'Toole. (105 min.)

Sterritt *** See review at right.

End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones (Not rated)

Directors: Michael Gramaglia, Jim Fields. With The Ramones, Rodney Bingenheimer, Deborah Harry. (95 min.)

Sterritt *** Documentary about the rock group, which has worked its way through an amazing number of members in its long career - not including anyone actually named Ramone, incidentally - while serving up music so free of thought that the best of it seems to crystallize our thoughtless, tightly wound era.

It's Easier for a Camel (Not rated)

Director: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. With Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Chiara Mastroianni, Denis Podalydès. (116 min.)

Sterritt *** Difficult facts, tempting fancies, and complicated memories affect the outwardly comfortable life of a French-Italian woman whose conscience is nagged by the unearned wealth she was born into. A diverting dramatic comedy. In French with subtitles

The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg (Not rated)

Director: Jerry Aronson. With Allen Ginsberg, Joan Baez, William S. Burroughs, William F. Buckley. (86 min.)

Sterritt **** Expanded, updated version of the 1993 documentary about the great American poet who overcame a sea of troubles to inspire three generations from the '50s to the '70s, never allowing international respect to undermine the imaginativeness of his public and private personae. His readings of his own work are especially thoughtful, moving, and provocative in the best possible ways.

Mean Creek (R)

Director: Jacob Aaron Estes. With Rory Culkin, Joshua Peck, Scott Mechlowicz, Carly Schroeder. (89 min.)

Sterritt *** An adolescent prank goes horribly wrong during a boy's birthday party near a small Pacific Northwest town. Imagine a bolder "Bully" blended with a more probing "River's Edge" and you'll have some idea of this little drama's strong dramatic and emotional power.

Nicotina (R)

Director: Hugo RodrĂ­guez. With Diego Luna, Marta Belaustegui, Lucas Crespi, Carmen Madrid. (90 min.)

Sterritt **** A diamond thief, a computer geek spying on the woman next door, a barber with a dead customer in his chair, and a pharmacist who's determined to quit smoking are among the characters of this quick-moving Mexico City caper movie. Supercharged with an energy and ingenuity that "Run Lola Run" once had a patent on. In Spanish with subtitles

Rosenstrasse (PG-13)