Movie Guide

NEW RELEASES
Dominion Prequel to The Exorcist (R)

Director: Paul Schrader. With Stellan Skarsgard, Clara Bellar, Billy Crawford, Gabriel Mann. (115 min.)

Sterritt **** While grappling with his faith, a Roman Catholic priest battles a demon in an East African outpost. The material is right up Schrader's alley, and while his vision of the first "Exorcist" chapter isn't a masterpiece, it's far superior to the Renny Harlin prequel to "The Exorcist" released last year.

Mojados: Through the Night (Not rated)

Director: Tommy Davis With Guapo, Oso, Viejo. (65 min.)

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Sterritt *** Davis accompanies a small group of Mexicans as they sneak across the US border hoping to find decent jobs. A gripping documentary, although we learn too little of the relationship between the filmmaker and his subjects. In English and Spanish with subtitles.

Nights of Cabiria (Not rated)

Director: Federico Fellini. With Giulietta Masina, Amadeo Nazzari, Franca Marzi, François Périer. (117 min.)

Sterritt **** Masina shines as an Italian prostitute who's as vulnerable as she is goodhearted. One of Fellini's finest, first released in 1957. In Italian with subtitles.

Shake Hands With the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire (Not rated)

Director: Peter Raymont. With Roméo Dallaire and colleagues. (91 min.)

Sterritt **** Documentary about a UN peacekeeper given the assignment of halting the Rwandan genocide in 1994 but not the means to do it. Wrenching on both personal and political levels. In English and French with subtitles.

6ixtynin9 (R)

Director: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. With Lalita Panyopas, Sritao, Black Phomtong. (111 min.)

Sterritt *** Originally called "A Funny Story About 6 and 9," this Thai production uses an old gimmick - an apartment-door number that slides out of position - to spark the story of a young woman mixed up with crooks she's never seen before. Comically grotesque, strikingly filmed. In Thai with subtitles.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (PG-13)

Director: George Lucas. With Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Hayden Christensen. (142 min.)

Sterritt *** Lucas wraps up his second "Star Wars" trilogy, centering on Anakin Skywalker's secret marriage to Padme, his friendship with Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his temptation to use the Dark Side of the Force for personal gain. As spectacle this stands with the best, although it falls flat when corny dialogue takes over.

Tell Them Who You Are (R)

Director: Mark Wexler. With Haskell Wexler, Mark Wexler, Julia Roberts, Jane Fonda. (95 min.)

Sterritt *** Portrait of legendary cinematographer and political activist Haskell Wexler, directed by his son, who has a hard time keeping control of the project with such a forceful dad in front of the camera. A fascinating glimpse of family love and rivalry, if not a deep-digging documentary of "My Architect" quality.

CURRENTLY IN RELEASE
Crash (R)

Director: Paul Haggis. With Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Jennifer Esposito, Matt Dillon. (113 min.)

Sterritt *** Interlocking stories of diverse Los Angeles characters, from cops and crooks to folks caught in between. The writer of "Million Dollar Baby" makes his directing debut with a screenplay that often seems rigged and contrived, but comes to life via excellent acting and a philosophical argument that bigotry and benevolence are inextricably intertwined.

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, though.

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.

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. The thriller is swiftly told and smartly acted, with an idea or two on its mind as a bonus.

Kicking & Screaming (PG)

Director: Jesse Dylan. With Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, Kate Walsh, Mike Ditka. (90 min.)

Sterritt *** Ferrell plays a soccer dad who coaches a preteen squad with his klutzy son as a member and his hotly competitive father (Duvall) determined to lead his own team to the championship. Some scenes are just silly, others are dead-on uproarious. Ditka, a real-life football legend, is a real find as our hero's assistant.

Kingdom of Heaven (R)

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

Sterritt ** Scott turns to history again in this epic about crusaders fighting Muslims in the Holy Land several centuries ago. The screenplay aims for relevance to current world conflicts, but the story's medieval setting and the camera's obsession with action, action, action dilutes its potential as sober commentary. Adventure fans should like it.

Monster-in-Law (PG-13)

Director: Robert Luketic. With Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Vartan, Adam Scott. (102 min.)

Sterritt * A bride to be, who works as a temp, dukes it out with her mother-in-law to be, a former TV star - as the wedding day draws near. The comedy is shamelessly stupid and flagrantly vulgar by turns. Fonda is no great actress, but why did she choose this throwaway trash as her first movie in 15 years?

Unleashed (R)

Director: Louis Leterrier. With Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Kerry Condon. (103 min.)

Sterritt * Preposterously violent thriller about an Asian fighter who's treated like a dog by the Englishman who "owns" him until he's given refuge by a blind piano tuner. The screenplay is dumb, but has enough weird touches to give occasional glimmers of interest.

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.

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