Director; Paul W.S. Anderson. With Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner. (87 min.)
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
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
Director: Stephen Fry. With Emily Mortimer, Dan Aykroyd, Stockard Channing, Peter O'Toole. (105 min.)
Sterritt *** See review at right.
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.
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
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.
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.
Director: Hugo Rodríguez. 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
Director: Margarethe von Trotta. With Maria Schrader, Martin Feifel, Katje Riemann, Jürgen Vogel. (136 min.)
Sterritt **** The intertwined stories of women affected by the Holocaust in very different ways. The movie is woven with care and complexity, again confirming von Trotta's place as one of the world's greatest female filmmakers. In German and English, with subtitles
Director: Robert Greenwald. With David Kay, Patrick Eddington, John Dean, Scott Ritter. (86 min.)
Sterritt **** An astonishing, articulate parade of former intelligence analysts, Republican officials, and military officers reveal an astounding array of facts, figures, and perspectives relating to terrorism and the Iraq war that are downright invisible in newspapers, TV reports, and everywhere else. This documentary strives to fill the gap, and the result is memorable; viewing is mandatory.
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."
Staff *** Intriguing, riveting, colorful.
Sex/Nudity: 9 scenes. Violence: 11 scenes. Profanity: 10 expressions. Drugs: 7 instances of drinking, 1 of smoking.
Director: Michael Winterbottom. With Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Om Puri, Nina Fog. (92 min.)
Sterritt *** A couple feels romantic in a future society where pervasive human cloning makes some sexual relationships too risky to be allowed. Not always compellingly made, but intelligent and perhaps prophetic.
Director: Michael Mann. With Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo. (120 min.)
Sterritt *** A hit man shanghais a cab driver to be his assistant for one long, bloody night. Stylishly made, if less intellectually resonant than first-rate Mann films like "Ali" and "The Insider."
Staff *** Thoughtful, classy, engaging.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes. Violence: 15 scenes. Profanity: 42 expressions. Drugs: 3 scenes.
Director: Guy Maddin. With Darcy Fehr, Melissa Dionisio, Louis Negin, Amy Stewart. (64 min.)
Sterritt **** Canada's most imaginative moviemaker does it again, setting a silent-movie plot about hands with a murderous mind of their own against vivid backgrounds such as a hockey arena that houses a forgotten wax museum. There's a new visual idea every second, each teeming with energy and inspired cinematic lunacy. Shown with two zany Maddin shorts, "Sombra Dolorosa" and "Sissy-Boy Slap-Party," and "The Phantom Museum," a eccentric stop-motion concoction from the Quay Brothers of England.
Director: Alex Proyas. With Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, James Cromwell, Chi McBride. (115 min.)
Sterritt *** In a future when robots are standard, a cop investigates a possible murder committed by a robot, although the "laws of robotics" makes it seemingly impossible. Inspired by Isaac Asimov, the movie has a few ideas, but it's more interested in action. Still, science-fiction fans may find it an instant classic.
Staff *** Thoughtful, classy, engaging.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes. Violence: 15 scenes. Profanity: 34 expressions. Drugs: 2 scenes.
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 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.)
Sterritt ** 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, which looks about as European as Disneyland Paris. But before she inherits the throne from Queen Renaldi (Andrews), the parliament rules that she must marry. Mia has to choose between an arranged marriage with a Prince Charles-like dweeb or a hottie. Hathaway is delightful, but this lazily plotted "Bachelorette" for tweens ends with the least dramatic wedding ceremony ever. By Stephen Humphries
Staff ** Fun, naive, unchallenging.
Sex/Nudity: 1 innuendo. Violence: 3 mild scenes. Profanity: none. Drugs: 2 scenes.
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, and then got permanently sidetracked into a career that made him a collaborator of everyone from '40s jazz greats John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie to Cream and the Allman Brothers in recent years. Like its subject, the movie is a tad overzealous, but often revealing.
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.
Staff *** Atmospheric, tense, beautifully scored.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes. Violence: 11 scenes. Profanity: 1 mild expression. Drugs: 2 scenes.
Director: John Curran. With Laura Dern, Mark Ruffalo, Naomi Watts, Peter Krause. (109 min.)
Two suburban couples grow increasingly confused and upset as adulterous relationships complicate their households. Gracefully filmed, acted with heartfelt emotion, and skillfully written by Larry Gross, it is based on two Andre Dubus novellas.
Director: Peter Howitt. With Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Frances Fisher (87 min.)
Sterritt * With dialogue as sharp as a marshmallow and actors who seem to sleepwalk through these dull proceedings, this ostensibly romantic comedy rings false. Brosnan and Moore star as opposing divorce lawyers who, we are meant to believe, fall in love by default after boozing it up one night and accidentally tying the knot. Other than a gleefully odious Fisher, a total waste of talent. DVD extras included deleted scenes and an alternate ending. By Maud Dillingham