Director: Danae Elon. With Danae Elon, Musa Obeidallah, Amos Elon, Mahmoud "Musa" Obeidallah. (79 min.)
Sterritt **** The filmmaker looks for a Palestinian family who lived with her household during her childhood in Israel. Also present is her father, a respected author with strong views on the difference between Israeli security and Zionist goals. It's unlikely there will ever be a more moving portrait of the shared selfhood, usually veiled by politics, common to the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
Director: Damon Dash. With Ebon Moss-Bachrach,
Rashida Jones, Capone, Devon Aoki. (91 min.)
Sterritt *** A white pop-music reporter snoops for gossip about Dash's mostly black record company, and soon becomes comically embroiled in the hip-hop world's internal politics. The picture repeats itself a lot, but Dash is a good sport in poking barbed fun at the PR machinations of today's music business.
Director: Garth Jennings. With Martin Freeman, Zooey Deschanel, Mos Def, John Malkovich. (110 min.)
Sterritt * See review.
Director: Charles Dance. With Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Bruhl, Natasha McElhone. (103 min.)
Sterritt *** Two elderly women find a young musician stranded on shore after a shipwreck during the World War II era and decide, for differing reasons, to nurse him back to health. Dance's directorial debut isn't exciting, but it's deeply felt and engagingly acted. Why doesn't he take more advantage of the story's opportunities for fine music, though?
Director: Slava Tsukerman. With archival material of Josef Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyev. (104 min.)
Sterritt ** Documentary about the Soviet dictator's wife, about whom many mysteries remain. There's interesting material about Soviet history, but searching for answers about the revolutionary's spouse turns out to be less than engrossing. There's no hint of the cinematic gifts Tsukerman showed in "Liquid Sky," his acclaimed science-fiction melodrama. In English and Russian with subtitles.
Director: Kim Ki-duk. With Jae Hee, Lee Seung-yeon, Park Se-jin. (87 min.)
Sterritt **** Enigmatic drama centering on a young Korean man whose hobby is living secretly in the homes of strangers, and an abused wife who abandons her husband to join him. Quiet, mysterious, sometimes violent, ultimately close to sublime. In Korean with subtitles.
Director: Ben Stassen. With Liesl Eichenberger and African wildlife trackers.(40 min.)
Sterritt *** For close-up views of large African animals in the wild, this IMAX spectacle is hard to beat. However, the film takes up too much of its brief running time tracking down the photogenic beasts.
Director: Lee Tamahori. With Ice Cube, Willem Dafoe, Nona M. Gaye, Samuel L. Jackson. (101 min.)
Sterritt ** Sequel to "XXX" with Cube taking over Vin Diesel's role as a supersecret government agent operating on (and beyond) the fringes of the law. This time he needs to save the president from a coup engineered by the secretary of Defense, who thinks the US should flaunt its military strength more aggressively. Most of the movie is standard action fare, but the political commentary is interesting when it's allowed to surface.
Director: Nigel Cole. With Ashton Kutcher, Amanda Peet, Kathryn Hahn, Kal Penn. (107 min.)
Sterritt * This is a story about the on-and-off romance of a young man and woman over several years. Why don't they just settle down with each other and save us all 107 minutes? The movie never makes that clear. What's the point, except to allow Kutcher fans occasional peeks at the acting talent he usually keeps hidden?
Director: Andrew Douglas. With Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Philip Baker Hall, Rachel Nichols. (89 min.)
Sterritt *** Here's what happens when a good Long Island house goes bad. Not to mention a family, a baby sitter, and a doorknob with a mind of its own. This remake stays close to the eponymous 1979 horror movie it's based on, except for being precisely 10,000 times as scary.
Director: Alex Gibney. With Bethany McLean, various Enron executives, voice of Peter Coyote. (110 min.)
Sterritt **** Spellbinding documentary about the rise and fall of Enron, which aspired to be the world's leading business until it was sabotaged by its leaders' outrageous financial fraud. If you followed this scandal as it unfolded, you won't learn much new here. But as real-life stories go, this is as riveting - and as revealing about the dark side of American business - as they come.
Director: Bobby & Peter Farrelly. With Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, Jason Spevack. (101 min.)
Staff *** Lindsey, a hard-working city woman, starts dating Ben, a sweetly attentive schoolteacher, during Boston's winter. Come spring, a different side of Ben emerges. The one devoted to the Red Sox with an obsessiveness - not to mention geekiness - matched only by costumed Trekkies at a sci-fi convention. Lindsey soon realizes that Ben is too wedded to the baseball team to ask her to marry him. A date movie that should appeal to both men and women, "Fever Pitch" uses gentle comedy to explore the nature of compromise in a relationship. By Stephen Humphries
Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan. With Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher, Zoë Saldaña, Judith Scott. (106 min.)
Sterritt * Updated version of the 1967 hit "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," which broke cultural ground by putting Hollywood's stamp of approval on interracial marriage. The trite and contrived remake, about an African-American woman whose father has trouble accepting her white fiancé, is almost too flat and stilted to sit through, much less be inspired by.
Director: Sydney Pollack. With Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Sydney Pollack. (123 min.)
Sterritt *** Kidman plays a UN interpreter who says she overheard a death threat against an African tyrant - whom she turns out to have reasons for hating. Penn plays a Secret Service agent determined to head off the deadly embarrassment of an assassination in the UN building. The thriller is swiftly told and smartly acted, with an idea or two on its mind as a bonus.
Director: Jorge Furtado. With Lázaro Ramos, Leandra Leal, Pedro Cardoso, Luana Piovani. (125 min.)
Sterritt *** A photocopy clerk falls in love with a woman he spies on across the street, and his desire to impress her leads to risky business that eventually turns criminal. Furtado's comic thriller is a telling commentary on modern avarice in Brazil and elsewhere, which touches on everything from "The Simpsons" to "Rear Window" along the way. Too bad it runs out of ideas before the overlong story is over. In Portuguese with subtitles.
Director: Chris Wedge. With the voices of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Jennifer Coolidge. (89 min.)
Sterritt ** The animated adventures of a young robot with big ambitions, and an old robot who's been kicked out of his own business by a profit-hungry upstart. The visuals are spectacular at times, but the screenplay is trite, intermittently vulgar, and just not funny.
Director: Breck Eisner. With Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, Steve Zahn, William H. Macy. (127 min.)
Sterritt * American adventurers (McConaughey, Zahn) search for a Civil War ship that's wound up buried in an African desert, teaming up with a humanitarian physician (Cruz) and stumbling on a plague of toxic chemicals in the process. The action thriller takes place in Nigeria and Mali, which are little more than exotic backdrops for standard buddy-movie maneuvers - lots of chasing, shooting, and wise-cracking; little of anything else.
Jun-Hwan Jeong. With Ha-kyun Shin, Yun-shik Baek, Jeong-min Hwang, Ju-hyeon Lee. (118 min.)
Sterritt *** A demented man who's even crazier than he seems incarcerates and tortures his former boss, convinced he's protecting Earth from an alien invasion. Very inventive, but stay away if you can't stomach over-the-top violence. In Korean with subtitles.
Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez. With Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson. (126 min.)
Sterritt ***Interlocking stories of crime, revenge, and horror based on Miller's comic books and graphic novels. The cast is excellent and the computer-generated visuals are consistently stunning. Too bad the narration sounds like a string of clichés from creaky old detective novels, and that the movie never comes within hailing distance of a moral perspective on its hyperviolent material.
Director: Niels Mueller. With Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle, Jack Thompson. (95 min.)
Staff *** Sam Bicke, a disillusioned, down-and-out salesman, is in hot pursuit of the American Dream. When Bicke can't reconcile achieving material success with his desire to be an honest man, he plots to assassinate Nixon, thus eradicating a politically corrupt system. A painfully visceral, heartbreaking film to watch, it does an excellent job of juxtaposing Bicke's personal tragedies with the nation's own trials during the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. By Elizabeth Owuor