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Movie Guide

December 3, 2004

Closer (R)

Director: Mike Nichols. With Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen. (101 min.)

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Sterritt *** See review on page 13.

Conspiracy of Silence (Not rated)

Director: John Deery. With Jonathan Forbes, Brenda Fricker, Hugh Bonneville, Hugh Quarshie. (87 min.)

Sterritt ** A student is expelled from his Roman Catholic seminary for almost no reason at all, and an idealistic reporter finds sinister links with a recent suicide and a history of scandal that's been hushed up all too well. The story meanders, but the subject is timely and important.

Deserted Station (Not rated)

Director: Alireza Raisian. With Leila Hatami, Mehran Rajabi, Nezam Manouchehri, Mahmoud Pak Neeyat. (93 min.)

Sterritt **** Gentle, human-scaled drama about a feisty Iranian jack-of-all-trades who enters the lives of a photographer and his wife when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Intimate and engaging. In Farsi with subtitles.

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine (Not rated)

Director: Vikram Jayanti. With Garry Kasparov, Joel Benjamin, archive material of Anatoli Karpov, Terry Wogan. (90 min.)

Sterritt **** The world's greatest chess player lost a match to IBM's gigantic Deep Blue computer in 1997, and this sensational documentary revisits the games - as well as charges that the IBM team played fast and loose with the rules. Gripping, suspenseful, and spiced with fascinating information about the long history of chess between human and mechanical opponents.

House of Flying Daggers (PG-13)

Director: Zhang Yimou. With Zhang Ziyi, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Dandan Song. (119 min.)

Sterritt **** See review at right.

Sex/Nudity: 5 instances. Violence: 15 Profanity: None. Drugs: 3 scenes with drinking.

Lost Boys of Sudan (Not rated)

Directors: Megan Mylan, Jon Shenk. With Peter Kon Dut, Santino Majok Chuor. (87 min.)

Sterritt **** Documentary about Sudanese refugees who overcome the odds and move to the United States, go through difficult periods of adjustment, and wind up with doubts about how much better off they really are. A riveting movie. In English, Arabic, Dinka, and Swahili, with subtitles.

After the Sunset (R)

Director: Brett Ratner. With Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle. (97 min.)

Sterritt ** A cop chases a crook who covets a huge, exotic diamond. This indirect rehash of "To Catch a Thief" trades Hitchcockian shrewdness for the slickest kinds of Hollywood glitz, gloss, and vulgarity.

Sex/Nudity: 9 instances of innuendo. Violence: 7 Profanity: 27 expressions, mostly mild. Drugs: 15 instances of drinking, 3 of smoking.

Alexander (PG-13)

Director: Oliver Stone. With Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Jared Leto. (172 min.)

Sterritt * The story of Alexander the Great, who wept when he realized there were no more realms for him to conquer. Stone may do the same when he realizes what a dull movie he's directed. It's astounding that the ingenious creator of "JFK" and "Wall Street" could make an epic on war and empire that's so utterly simplistic and unreflective.

Sex/Nudity: 8 instances. Violence: 21 Profanity: 3 mild expressions. Drugs: 10 scenes with drinking.

A Very Long Engagement (R)