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Movie Guide

December 17, 2004

The Aviator (PG-13)

Director: Martin Scorsese. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale. (170 min.)

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Sterritt *** See review at right.

Beyond the Sea (PG-13)

Director: Kevin Spacey. With Kevin Spacey, Brenda Blethyn, John Goodman, Kate Bosworth. (121 min.)

Sterritt ** The life and times of singer Bobby Darin, from his music-filled childhood to his untimely death, using the same kind of memoir storytelling as "De-Lovely," the Cole Porter biopic released slightly earlier. Spacey is almost as swinging as Darin was, but his filmmaking leans toward tried-and-true formulas.

Flight of the Phoenix (PG-13)

Director: John Moore. With Dennis Quaid, Miranda Otto, Giovanni Ribisi, Tony Curran. (113 min.)

Sterritt *** Or rather, the crash and rebuilding of an oil-company plane that goes down in the Gobi Desert, where constant threats range from sandstorms to smugglers. Effective action, solid suspense, excellent Ribisi, plus enough clichés to equal the grains of Gobi sand that fill the screen.

Imaginary Heroes (R)

Director: Dan Harris. With Sigourney Weaver, Emile Hirsch, Jeff Daniels, Michelle Williams. (111 min.)

Sterritt **** Harris's debut drama shows rare promise as it tracks the engrossing emotional life of a suburban family, which goes through a string of crises after a tragic event that has a shattering impact on all concerned. While the ultimate message is hopeful, Harris's screenplay pulls no punches in its tragicomic portrait of two generations facing challenges they'd assumed their all-too-comfortable circumstances would shield them from. Superbly acted.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG)

Director: Brad Silberling. With Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Billy Connolly, Jude Law. (108 min.)

Sterritt * See review, page 13.

Million Dollar Baby (PG-13)

Director: Clint Eastwood. With Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Margo Martindale. (129 min.)

Sterritt **** See review, page 13.

Santa Smokes (Not rated)

Directors: Till Schauder, Chris Valentien. With Till Terror, Kristy Jean Hulslander, Richard Glover. (85 min.)

Sterritt ** A sidewalk Santa finds romance with a Christmas angel he meets on the job. Forgettable fun.

The Sea Inside (PG-13)

Director: Alejandro Amenábar. With Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Tamar Novas, Lola Dueñas. (125 min.)

Sterritt *** Fact-based story of an articulate Spanish man who fights for the right to die after almost 30 years of lying paralyzed in bed while his family, and two women in his life, take care of him. Bardem is brilliant. In Spanish with subtitles.

Spanglish (PG-13)

Director: James L. Brooks. With Adam Sandler, Paz Vega, Téa Leoni, Cloris Leachman. (131 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, page 13.

A Tale of Two Sisters (Not rated)

Director: Ji-woon Kim. With Su-Jeong Lim, Geun-yeong Mun, Jung-ah Yum, Kap-su Kim. (115 min.)

Sterritt *** Mysteries abound in this gothic fairy tale about young Korean sisters who revisit their father and his wife, a wicked stepmother in the old tradition. Quite restrained for what's basically a horror movie, and very well acted. In Korean with subtitles.

Alexander (PG-13)