Directors: James Cameron, Steven Quale. With James Cameron, Pamela Conrad, Kevin Hand. (47 min.)
Sterritt **** See review.
Director: Sarah Goodman. With Sara Miller, Nelson Reyes, Thaddeus Ressler (71 min.)
Sterritt **** Concise, humane documentary following three young people through their early days as US Army recruits post-9/11. Contains truly eye-opening moments.
Director: Nicholas Winding Refn. With John Turturro, Deborah Kara Unger, James Remar. (91 min.)
Sterritt **** An ordinary man goes on a creepy quest after his wife's death in what appears to be an accident. Written by Refn and Hubert Selby Jr., this thriller is ingeniously woven with motifs suggesting the difficulty of seeing and understanding truth, and substitutes psychological chills for commonplace gore. Music from Brian Eno adds a crowning touch.
Director: Daniel Burman. With Daniel Hendler, Adriana Aizemberg, Sergio Boris, Diego Korol. (100 min.)
Sterritt *** Jewish life in Argentina is the focus of this comedy-drama about a man whose curiosity about his long-absent father takes a new turn when the faraway dad returns from Israel for a visit. Lively, gentle, smart. In Spanish with subtitles.
Director: Luis Buñuel. With Alfonso Mejía, Alma Delia Fuentes, Miguel Inclán, Roberto Cobo. (80 min.)
Sterritt **** This masterpiece of 1950 is a brutally candid tale of Mexican street life, laced with Bunuel's surrealistic touches. Unforgettable. Also known as "The Young and the Damned." In Spanish with subtitles.
Director: Khyentse Norbu. With Sonam Lhamo, Tsewang Dandup, Deki Yangzom. (108 min.)
Sterritt *** The only feature ever filmed in Bhutan tells the story of a road traveler whose journey to a better life progresses so slowly that he whiles away the time by telling a folk tale that's laden with extra meaning for a companion on the trip. Colorful, if not exciting. In Dzongkha with subtitles.
Director: Brian Levant. With Ice Cube, Nia Long, Philip Bolden, Aleisha Allen. (95 min.)
Sterritt ** You may be asking yourself the title question as you watch a kid-phobic man take an unwanted road trip with the children of a single mom he wants to woo. Cube is cute and Long is lovely, but the youngsters are too brash and smug to bear. At least there's a heartwarming end to the excursion.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 14 scenes of comic violence. Profanity: 4 mild profanities. Drugs: 1 scene with alcohol.
Director: Niels Mueller. With Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle. (95 min.)
Sterritt **** Fictionalized account of a real-life businessman named Samuel Byck, whose frustration with getting nowhere led him to a mental breakdown and a crazy plot to kill the president in 1974. This is one of the rare movies to explore American materialism through the eyes of an all-too-ordinary person who isn't up to the challenges of everyday life.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 6 scenes of gun violence. Profanity: 30 harsh profanities. Drugs: 5 scenes with alcohol, 4 scenes with smoking.
Director: Jean-François Richet. With Ethan Hawke, Maria Bello, Laurence Fishburne, Drea de Matteo. (109 min.)
Sterritt ** Remake of John Carpenter's popular 1976 thriller about a broken-down jailhouse under siege by a gang of very bad guys. The cast is impressive, but admirers of the original will miss its crisp, clean style.
Director: Martin Scorsese. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale. (170 min.)
Sterritt *** Large-scale epic about the life and times of Howard Hughes, focusing on his experiences as a filmmaker, flier, aircraft designer, and world-class eccentric. DiCaprio is excellent as Hughes and Blanchett is even better as movie star Katharine Hepburn, one of his lovers. The film largely lacks the personal, idiosyncratic touches that distinguish Scorsese's greatest work, though.
Director: Thomas Carter. With Samuel L. Jackson, Ashanti, Robert Richard. (136 min.)
Sterritt ** Fact-based story of a high-school basketball coach who demands a great deal - some feel far too much - of the hard-boiled kids who play on his team. The movie's moral messages are all on target. Too bad the movie is much, much too long and Jackson gives one of his dullest performances ever.
Sex/Nudity: 4 instances of innuendo. Violence: 8 scenes. Profanity: 30 harsh profanities. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol, 2 scenes with smoking, 3 scenes with drugs.
Director: Christophe Barratier. With Gérard Jugnot, Marie Bunel, François Berléand. (97 min.)
Sterritt *** In the late 1940s, a failed musician grudgingly takes a job at a school for difficult boys and uses his musical gifts to engage and uplift them. Extremely goodhearted, if not exactly original or exciting. In French with subtitles.
Director: Rob Bowman. With Jennifer Garner, Terence Stamp. (96 min.)
Staff * Another conflicted Marvel Comics hero, Elektra (Garner, who also played this character in "Daredevil"), wants a vacation between assassinations, but must combat the Order of the Hand, a band of supernatural ninja warriors doing the dirty work of an evil board of directors. If that's not enough, she also has to deal with a teenage apprentice, obsessive-compulsive disorder (or is it feng shui?), and an inane script. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 21 scenes. Profanity: 10 profanities. Drugs: 3 scenes with drinking.
Director: Terry George. With Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix. (121 min.)
Sterritt ** Fact-based drama about a hotel manager (Cheadle) who starts a sort of "Schindler's list" by giving shelter to displaced members of the Tutsi tribe under siege from Hutu fighters. The subject is crucially important, but the movie dilutes its impact with by-the-numbers filmmaking, and Cheadle's one-note performance displays few of his acting gifts.
Staff ***1/2 Depressing, educational, terrifying, heroic.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 21 scenes of gruelling violence. Profanity: 13 harsh profanities. Drugs: 14 scenes with alcohol, 5 scenes with smoking.
Director: Paul Weitz. With Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson, Marg Helgenberger. (109 min.)
Sterritt *** A middle-aged businessman (Quaid) gets demoted when his company is acquired by an international media mogul, and things get worse when his embarrassingly young new boss (Grace) starts dating his daughter (Johansson) during her first year at college. Lively acting and timely humor are the main assets of this garden-variety comedy.
Staff *** Heartwarming, escapist, honest.
Sex/Nudity: 2 suggestive scenes. Violence: 3 scenes including a fistfight. Profanity: 32 profanities, occasionally harsh. Drugs: 4 scenes with drinking.
Director: Shainee Gabel. With John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriel Macht, Deborah Kara Unger. (119 min.)
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.
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 farce.
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.
Staff *** Poignant, masterpiece, tender moments.
Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of innuendo. Violence: 13 fight scenes, often grisly. Profanity: 48 profanities, often harsh. Drugs: 2 scenes with drinking.
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.
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. Not as funny as it wants to be.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 mild scenes. Profanity: 2 mild profanities. Drugs: 1 scene with drinking.
Director: Alexander Payne. With Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church. (123 min.)
Sterritt **** Two friends, a recently divorced writer and a marriage-bound actor, spend a weekend together in rural California, running into more complications of the heart than they ever expected. This bittersweet comedy-drama positively crackles with wit, intelligence, and flair, and Giamatti cements his status as the smartest, savviest actor of his generation. Bravo.
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 and McNeice is excellent as his oddball mentor.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 7 scary scenes. Profanity: 4 profanities, often harsh. Drugs: 2 scenes with drinking.