Movie Guide


Assisted Living (Not rated)

Director: Elliot Greenebaum. With Michael Bonsignore, Maggie Riley, Hance Purcell, Kathy Hogan. (77 min.)

Sterritt *** Comedy-drama about a lackadaisical young man who works in a nursing home and develops a complicated friendship with a sadly disoriented old woman who lives there. Gently filmed, quietly thoughtful, sometimes almost heartbreaking.

Freak Weather (Not rated)

Director: Mary Kuryla. With Jacqueline McKenzie, John Carrol Lynch, Aida Turturro, John Heard. (89 min.)

Sterritt ** A young woman seeks a measure of emotional stability for herself and her young son during a turbulent two days. A promising feature-film debut.

Rory O'Shea Was Here (R)

Director: Damien O'Donnell. With James McAvoy, Brenda Fricker, Steven Robertson, Romola Garai. (104 min.)

Sterritt *** Two disabled Irishmen, one too introverted and the other too extroverted, learn to live independent lives. Superbly acted.

Swimming Upstream (PG-13)

Director: Russell Mulcahy. With Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis, Tim Draxl, Jesse Spencer. (98 min.)

Sterritt *** Drama based on the early life of a real Australian swimming champion who rose to success despite domestic challenges posed by his alcoholic father, his abused mother, and his brother, who's his keenest competitor as well as his best friend. Rush and Davis shine, and the drama is engrossingly told until it turns sadly sentimental in the last minutes.

Watermarks (Not rated)

Director: Yaron Zilberman. With Trude Hirschler, Elisheva Susz, Hanni Lux, Greta Stanton. (77 min.)

Sterritt *** Israeli documentary about a Jewish women's swimming team during the Nazi era. Not a great movie, but contains fascinating historical material.

The Wedding Date (PG-13)

Director: Clare Kilner. With Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Jack Davenport, Amy Adams. (89 min.)

Sterritt * See review.

Aliens of the Deep (G)

Directors: James Cameron, Steven Quale. (47 min.)

Sterritt **** Cameron pursues the undersea fascinations that led him to make "Titanic" in this Imax 3-D documentary about the astounding things one finds in deep-sea exploration, and how such discoveries help pave the way for exploration in other parts of the solar system. A treat for the eyes, although the ratio of genuine oceanographic material to animated space-travel fantasy could have been stronger.

Are We There Yet? (PG)

Director: Brian Levant. With Ice Cube, Nia Long.(95 min.)

Sterritt ** You may ask yourself that question as you watch a kid-phobic man take a road trip with the kids of a single mom he wants to woo. Cube is cute and Long is lovely, but the youngsters are too smug to bear. At least there's a heartwarming end to the excursion.

S/N: 2 instances of innuendo. 14 scenes of comic violence. P: 4 mild profanities. D: 1 scene with alcohol.

Assault on Precinct 13 (R)

Director: Jean-François Richet. With Ethan Hawke, Maria Bello, Laurence Fishburne, Drea de Matteo. (109 min.)

Sterritt ** Remake of John Carpenter's popular 1976 thriller about a broken-down jailhouse under siege by a gang of very bad guys. The cast is impressive, but admirers of the original will miss its crisp, clean style.

The Aviator (PG-13)

Director: Martin Scorsese. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale. (170 min.)

Sterritt *** Large-scale epic about the life and times of Howard Hughes, focusing on his experiences as a filmmaker, flier, aircraft designer, and world-class eccentric. DiCaprio is excellent as Hughes and Blanchett is even better as movie star Katharine Hepburn, one of his lovers. The film largely lacks the personal, idiosyncratic touches that distinguish Scorsese's greatest work, though.

Coach Carter (PG-13)

Director: Thomas Carter. With Samuel L. Jackson, Ashanti, Robert Richard. (136 min.)

Sterritt ** Fact-based story of a high-school basketball coach who demands a great deal - some feel far too much - of the hard-boiled kids who play on his team. The movie's moral messages are all on target. Too bad the movie is much, much too long and Jackson gives one of his dullest performances ever.

Sex/Nudity: 4 instances of innuendo. Violence: 8 scenes. Profanity: 30 harsh profanities. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol, 2 scenes with smoking, 3 scenes with drugs.

Elektra (PG-13)

Director: Rob Bowman. With Jennifer Garner, Terence Stamp. (96 min.)

Staff * Another conflicted Marvel Comics hero, Elektra (Garner, who also played this character in "Daredevil"), wants a vacation between assassinations, but must combat the Order of the Hand, a band of supernatural ninja warriors doing the dirty work of an evil board of directors. If that's not enough, she also has to deal with a teenage apprentice, obsessive-compulsive disorder (or is it feng shui?), and an inane script. By M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 21 scenes. Profanity: 10 profanities. Drugs: 3 scenes with drinking.

Hide and Seek (R)

Director: John Polson. With Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Elisabeth Shue, Famke Janssen. (101 min.)

Sterritt *** After his wife's violent death, a psychologist moves to a new country home with his daughter, who starts playing very sinister games. The acting is excellent in this gory psychological thriller.

Hotel Rwanda (PG-13)

Director: Terry George. With Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix. (121 min.)

Sterritt ** Fact-based drama about a hotel manager (Cheadle) who starts a sort of "Schindler's list" by giving shelter to displaced members of the Tutsi tribe under siege from Hutu fighters. The subject is crucially important, but the movie dilutes its impact with by-the-numbers filmmaking, and Cheadle's one-note performance displays few of his acting gifts.

Staff ***1/2 Depressing, educational, terrifying, heroic.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 21 scenes of gruelling violence. Profanity: 13 harsh profanities. Drugs: 14 scenes with alcohol, 5 scenes with smoking.

In Good Company (PG-13)

Director: Paul Weitz. With Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson, Marg Helgenberger. (109 min.)

Sterritt *** A middle-aged businessman (Quaid) gets demoted when his company is acquired by an international media mogul, and things get worse when his embarrassingly young new boss (Grace) starts dating his daughter (Johansson) during her first year at college. Lively acting and timely humor are the main assets of this garden-variety comedy.

Staff *** Heartwarming, escapist, honest.

Sex/Nudity: 2 suggestive scenes. Violence: 3 scenes including a fistfight. Profanity: 32 profanities, occasionally harsh. Drugs: 4 scenes with drinking.

Meet the Fockers (PG-13)

Director: Jay Roach. With Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman. (115 min.)

Sterritt * Sequel to "Meet the Parents," with an engaged couple hoping their respective parents - including a tough-as-nails CIA retiree on one side, a touchy-feely sex therapist on the other - will get along. De Niro and Hoffman almost give comic life to this farce.

Million Dollar Baby (PG-13)

Director: Clint Eastwood. With Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Margo Martindale. (129 min.)

Sterritt **** Eastwood gives his deepest performance ever as an aging gym owner who reluctantly agrees to train a female prizefighter, played by Swank in excellent form. Going all the way with both triumph and tragedy, it's as bold as it is engrossing.

Staff *** Poignant, masterpiece, tender moments.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of innuendo. Violence: 13 fight scenes, often grisly. Profanity: 48 profanities, often harsh. Drugs: 2 scenes with drinking.

The Phantom of the Opera (PG-13)

Director: Joel Schumacher. With Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver, Simon Callow, Miranda Richardson. (141 min.)

Sterritt ** Hollywood adaptation of the Broadway smash about a demented fiend who skulks, slays, and sings in the Paris Opera's mysterious underbelly. The acting and crooning are uneven, making this a shaky comeback vehicle for the old-fashioned screen musical.

Racing Stripes (PG)

Director: Frederik du Chau. With Hayden Panettiere, voices of Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg. (93 min.)

Sterritt ** The aptly named hero is a zebra who thinks he's a racehorse, and has the good fortune to be adopted by a teenage girl who's convinced he can outrun any thoroughbred on the track. Not as funny as it wants to be, and anthropomorphic in ways that are too simplistic for comfort.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 mild scenes. Profanity: 2 mild profanities. Drugs: 1 scene with drinking.

Sideways (R)

Director: Alexander Payne. With Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church. (123 min.)

Sterritt **** Two friends, a recently divorced writer and a marriage-bound actor, spend a weekend together in rural California, running into more complications of the heart than they ever expected. This bittersweet comedy-drama positively crackles with wit, intelligence, and flair, and Giamatti cements his status as the smartest, savviest actor of his generation. Bravo.

Ray (PG-13)

Director: Taylor Hackford. With Jamie Foxx and Regina King. (153 min.)

Staff **** Director Hackford has said he considers this an original film, not just the theatrical release with some add-ons. The new material goes further into the difficult and contradictory side of Charles's personality. It shows, for example, his firing of a drugged-out band member after a performance, despite his own struggle with drugs. The extras are compelling, including a jam session between Foxx and Ray Charles himself before his death. Rated a very strong PG-13 for intense drug-related scenes and sexuality. By Gloria Goodale

Vanity Fair (PG-13)

Director: Mira Nair. With Reese Witherspoon and Gabriel Byrne. (137 min.)

Staff ** This adaptation of Thackeray's 19th-century novel fares better on DVD than it did in theaters. Thoughtful commentary adds depth, color, and context to a film that could be seen as merely another over-stuffed period piece. In the commentary portion, some straining is visible by the cast and crew to present this film as an archetypal "everyman" tale. Watch the clunky and awkward alternate ending if you're in the mood for a laugh. By Elizabeth Owuor

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