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Movie Guide

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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.

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The Man Who Copied (R)

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.

Robots (PG)

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.

Sahara (PG-13)

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.

Save the Green Planet! (Not rated)

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.

Sin City (R)

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.

The Assassination of Richard Nixon (R)

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