Movie Guide

NEW RELEASES
Brothers (R)

Director: Susanne Bier. With Connie Nielsen, Ulrich Thomsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Sarah Juel Werner (117 min.)

Sterritt **** See review.

Double Dare (Not rated)

Director: Amanda Micheli. With Zoe Bell, Jeannie Epper, Lucy Lawless, Quentin Tarantino. (81 min.)

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Sterritt *** Entertaining documentary about stuntwomen who do risky business for a living, standing in for everyone from "Xena: Warrior Princess" to Uma Thurman in the "Kill Bill" movies. They had to leap, plunge, and crash into a male-dominated profession, and the movie shows how family and sheer derring-do have helped them along the way.

The Girl From Monday (Not rated)

Director: Hal Hartley. With Sabrina Lloyd, Bill Sage, Tatiana Abracos, James Urbaniak. (84 min.)

Sterritt *** One of the few truly independent filmmakers with an ongoing career, Hartley dives into science-fiction allegory with this story about a future when consumerism is the law and counterrevolutionaries want to fight it any way they can. There's heavy influence from the "Brave New World" brand of dystopian fantasy, but engaging performances and a stylized visual approach lend it originality.

House of Wax (R)

Director: Jaume Serra. With Elisha Cuthbert, Jared Padalecki, Paris Hilton, Chad Michael Murray. (105 min.)

Sterritt *** This remake of the 1953 horror classic, minus Vincent Price and the 3-D effects, brings a group of college kids to a haunted town where wax rules, along with terror, derangement, and other nasty things. As a frightfest it's better than today's average.

Kingdom of Heaven (R)

Director: Ridley Scott. With Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, David Thewlis, Jeremy Irons. (138 min.)

Sterritt ** See review.

A Man's Gotta Do (Not rated)

Director: Chris Kennedy. With John Howard, Alyssa McClelland, Gyton Grantley, Rebecca Frith. (94 min.)

Sterritt ** A young Australian woman feuds with her somewhat shady father as he sets arbitrary household rules, resists her marriage plans, and worst of all, reads her diary! McClelland is a joy to watch, even when the story strains too hard for lovable whimsy, which happens much too often.

Mysterious Skin (Not rated)

Director: Gregg Araki. With Brady Corbet, Elisabeth Shue, Bill Sage, Joseph Gordon Levitt. (99 min.)

Sterritt **** Two young men cope with the indelible scars of homosexual abuse they suffered as children. This thoughtful, troubling drama is leagues above the sensationalistic stuff Araki peddled in earlier films. Be strongly warned that it's extremely candid about its disturbing subject.

Writer of O (Not rated)

Director: Pola Rapaport. With Dominique Aury, John de St. Jorre, Catherine Mouchet, Barney Rosset. (80 min.)

Sterritt *** Documentary, with reenacted portions, about the French writer (Aury) who revealed herself late in life as the author of "Story of O," the well-known erotic novel. Touching and sentimental. In English and French with subtitles.

CURRENTLY IN RELEASE
A Lot Like Love (PG-13)

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 peeks at the acting talent he usually keeps hidden?

The Amityville Horror (R)

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 10,000 times as scary.

Another Road Home (Not rated)

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 Palestinians and Israelis.

Death of a Dynasty (R)

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.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (Not rated)

Director: Alex Gibney. With Bethany McLean, various Enron executives. (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.

Fever Pitch (PG-13)

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 of costumed Trekkie at a sci-fi convention. A date movie that should appeal to men and women alike, the film uses gentle comedy to explore the nature of compromise in a relationship. By Stephen Humphries

Guess Who (PG-13)

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 contrived remake, about an African-American woman whose father has trouble accepting her white fiancé, is almost too flat to sit through.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (PG)

Director: Garth Jennings. With Martin Freeman, Zooey Deschanel, Mos Def, John Malkovich. (110 min.)

Sterritt * An ordinary man is beamed to safety by an interstellar friend just before Earth is demolished by aliens who need room for their new hyperspace highway. This long-awaited movie adaptation of the late Douglas Adams's book, TV, and radio franchise is surprisingly bland. Die-hard fans should enjoy it.

The Interpreter (PG-13)

Director: Sydney Pollack. With Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, 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.

Ladies in Lavender (PG-13)

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?

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, but the screenplay is trite, intermittently vulgar, and 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.

XXX: State of the Union (PG-13)

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.

OUT ON DVD
Gilmore Girls: Season 3 (Unrated)

Director: Various. With Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson, Edward Herrmann. (955 min.)

Staff *** Remember those lotion ads on TV where a beautiful mother looks so youthful that she's mistaken for her daughter? Such is the premise of "The Gilmore Girls," a TV drama about the relationship between Lorelai, a young single mother and her teenage girl, Rory, who live in a small Connecticut town where the rhythms of life mirror that of a 1950s screwball comedy. Season 3 is as good a place as any to pick up the series's leisurely, often repetitive, story lines. Apart from a delightful featurette about the actors' childhoods and a booklet guide to the show's numerous references to pop culture, the set is noticeably stingy on extras. By Stephen Humphries

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