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Director: Jean-François Richet. With Ethan Hawke, Maria Bello, Laurence Fishburne, Drea de Matteo. (109 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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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.