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Director: Sydney Pollack. With Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Sydney Pollack. (123 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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