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Movie Guide

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Sterritt *** Travolta reinvents his screen persona once again, playing a dissolute codger who lives with a former student from his English-professor days in a ramshackle Louisiana house that takes on a new atmosphere when its new owner (Johansson) decides to reside there too. Rambling, meandering, likable.

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Meet the Fockers (PG-13)

Director: Jay Roach. With Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman. (115 min.)

Sterritt * Sequel to "Meet the Parents," with an engaged couple hoping their respective parents - including a tough-as-nails CIA retiree on one side, a touchy-feely sex therapist on the other - will get along. De Niro and Hoffman almost give comic life to this brainless, vulgar farce.

Million Dollar Baby (PG-13)

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

Sterritt **** Eastwood gives his deepest performance ever as an aging gym owner who reluctantly agrees to train a female prizefighter, played by Swank in excellent form. Going all the way with both triumph and tragedy, it's as bold as it is engrossing.

Ocean's Twelve (PG-13)

Director: Steven Soderbergh. With George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones. (123 min.)

Sterritt *** Danny Ocean's gang expands to a dirty dozen when he decides to pull off three heists in three European cities. The action is sparkling entertainment most of the way through.

Staff **1/2 Playful, improbable, fresh sequel.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of innuendo. Violence: 1 explosion. Profanity: 2 harsh expressions. Drugs: 6 scenes with cigarettes; 7 scenes with alcohol.

The Phantom of the Opera (PG-13)

Director: Joel Schumacher. With Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver, Simon Callow, Miranda Richardson. (141 min.)

Sterritt ** Hollywood adaptation of the Broadway smash about a demented fiend who skulks, slays, and sings in the Paris Opera's mysterious underbelly. The acting and crooning are sadly uneven.

Racing Stripes (PG)

Director: Frederik du Chau. With Hayden Panettiere, voices of Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg. (93 min.)

Sterritt ** The aptly named hero is a zebra who thinks he's a racehorse, and has the good fortune to be adopted by a teenage girl who's convinced he can outrun any thoroughbred on the track. Cute, not as funny as it wants to be, and anthropomorphic in ways that are too simplistic for comfort.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 mild scenes. Profanity: 2 mild profanities. Drugs: 1 scenes with drinking.

White Noise (PG-13)

Director: Geoffrey Sax. With Michael Keaton, Deborah Kara Unger, Ian McNeice, Chandra West. (98 min.)

Sterritt ** A middle-aged architect believes his recently deceased wife is trying to contact him from "beyond" through VCRs and computer discs operated by a peculiar man he's just met. The story doesn't make much sense, but Keaton is good.

OUT ON VIDEO
Friday Night Lights (PG-13)

Director: Peter Berg. With Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke, Tom McGraw. (117 min.)

Staff *** In 1988, the town of Odessa, Texas, believed that its new high-school quarterback - a teen blessed with the sure arm of John Elway and the fleet foot of Michael Vick - was a football messiah destined to lead their favorite sons to the state championship. But when he was sidelined by injury, the team faced a long, hard, unpredictable season. This stunning, true story focuses on the desperate lives of boys who live in a region where football is all consuming. The invaluable extras include interviews with the actual players. By Stephen Humphries

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