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Movie Guide

July 29, 2005



NEW RELEASES
The Aristocrats (Not rated)

Director: Paul Provenza. With Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Bill Maher, the Smothers Brothers. (92 min.)

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Sterritt ** Comedians tell, discuss, and banter about their profession's most notorious dirty joke. Mighty monotonous after a while.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Not rated)

Director: Dai Sijie. With Zhou Xun, Liu Ye, Chen Kun, Wang Hong Wei. (110 min.)

Sterritt ** Friendship, rivalry, and romance blossom in a Chinese reeducation camp during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. The story is winning but the telling, with Dai adapting and directing from his own novel, is too sentimental in the long run. In Mandarin and French with subtitles.

The Conformist (R)

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci. With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Clémenti, Stefania Sandrelli. (115 min.)

Sterritt **** One of the great Bertolucci's most acclaimed films, this 1970 political thriller focuses on a man whose wish to be part of the crowd makes him first a Mussolini follower and then a potential assassin. Trintignant gives a legendary performance. In Italian with subtitles.

Edgar G. Ulmer: The Man Off-Screen (Not rated)

Director: Michael Palm. With Peter Bogdanovich, Roger Corman, Ann Savage, Joe Dante. (77 min.)

Sterritt *** Nonfiction look at the enormously gifted maker of ultralow-budget movies like "The Black Cat" and "Detour," along with less brilliant efforts. The subject and the film clips are great, although the documentary as a whole is a bit gimmicky.

Must Love Dogs (PG-13)

Director: Gary David Goldberg. With Diane Lane, John Cusack, Stockard Channing, Christopher Plummer. (108 min.)

Sterritt ** See review.

9 Songs (Not rated)

Director: Michael Winterbottom. With Kieran O'Brien, Margo Stilley, Michael Nyman, the Dandy Warhols. (69 min.)

Sterritt ** A man and woman share their hankering for sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. It's always hard to predict what Winterbottom will try next, but this experiment isn't worth repeating, the lively concert scenes notwithstanding. Be forewarned that the sexual scenes aren't simulated.

Tony Takitani (Not rated)

Director: Jun Ichikawa. With Issey Ogata, Rie Miyazawa, Shinohara Takahumi, voice of Nishijima Hidetoshi. (75 min.)

Sterritt **** The haunting tale of a commercial artist, his couture-conscious wife, and their struggle with modern materialism. The movie's underlying theme is the complex relationship between objects and memories, worked out through a taut, compelling story and superbly understated acting. Ryuichi Sakamoto composed the atmospheric score.

CURRENTLY IN RELEASE
Bad News Bears (PG-13)

Director: Richard Linklater. With Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden, Greg Kinnear, Sammi Kane Kraft. (111 min.)

Sterritt *** Remake of the 1976 comedy about a burned-out ballplayer who finally grows up while coaching a seemingly hopeless kids' baseball team. Thornton is excellent as the coach, Kraft is just right as the estranged daughter he eventually bonds with, and the kids in the cast are uniformly fine. Look out for lots of foul language and sleaze-oriented gags, though.

Staff ** Sloppy, redundant, waste of talent.

Sex/Nudity: 7 instances. Violence: 9 scenes of schoolyard fighting. Profanity: 125 strong and mild expressions. Drugs: 16 with drinking/smoking.

Batman Begins (PG-13)
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