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Movie Guide

July 8, 2005

Crónicas (R)

Director: Sebastian Cordero. With John Leguizamo, Leonor Watling, José Maria Yazpik. (98 min.)

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Sterritt *** Leguizamo plays his first Spanish-language movie role (with English dialogue as well) in this timely thriller about journalists who come across a violent mob, a repentant prisoner, and a puzzling mystery while tracking down a serial killer. The film begins strongly and violently, then simmers down to a standard-issue suspense story. In English and Spanish with subtitles.

Dark Water (PG-13)

Director: Walter Salles. With Jennifer Connelly, Tim Roth, John C. Reilly, Pete Postlethwaite. (104 min.)

Sterritt ** See review, at right.

Doing Time, Doing Vipassana (Not rated)

Directors: Eliona Ariel, Ayelet Menahemi. With Kiran Bedi, inmates of Tihar Prison. (52 min.)

Sterritt *** Documentary about Bedi's successful effort to transform a prison in India by introducing classes in meditation. Earnest, if not as informative as it might have been.

Fantastic Four (PG-13)

Director: Tim Story. With Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Kerry Washington. (106 min.)

Sterritt ** The Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, The Thing, and Mr. Fantastic himself join forces for the Marvel Comics tale of astronauts who gain exotic powers from a radiation storm in outer space. It's fun to watch superheroes who aren't quite at ease with their abilities, but "The Incredibles" - last year's similarly themed animated film - is livelier and funnier.

Murderball (R)

Directors: Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro. With Keith Cavill, Joe Soares, Mark Zupan. (86 min.)

Sterritt **** The game of the title is a sort of rugby, and the players are quadriplegics tucked into wheelchairs customized for the sport. This is a lively, life-affirming documentary no viewer is likely to forget.

Saraband (R)

Director: Ingmar Bergman. With Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Julia Dufvenius, Borje Ahlstedt. (107 min.)

Sterritt **** See review on page 15

A Sidewalk Astronomer (Not rated)

Director: Jeffrey Jacobs. With John Dobson, amateur astronomers. (78 min)

Sterritt ** Diverting documentary about Dobson, an ardent popularizer of astronomical ideas. Some of his theories seem cockamamie compared with current intellectual norms, though, so it's too bad the filmmakers don't give him time to make a coherent case.

Yes (R)

Director: Sally Potter. With Joan Allen, Simon Abkarian, Shirley Henderson, Sam Neill. (100 min.)

Sterritt *** A laboratory researcher has an affair with a Lebanese physician who's emigrated to London and become a chef. Ambitious as ever, the director of "Orlando" tackles everything from geopolitical conflict to relations between science and religion, with all the dialogue in verse. The results are visually striking, but conceptually they oscillate between poetic, pretentious, and philosophically dubious.

Batman Begins (PG-13)

Director: Christopher Nolan. With Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman. (141 min.)

Sterritt ** How a young man became the Caped Crusader instead of just Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy. Neeson plays a ninja, which shows how desperately the story stretches for angles. But you finally get good answers to the Joker's excellent question: "Where does he get those wonderful toys?!!?"