The Monitor Movie Guide

Article excerpt

Reviews in this weekly guide are written by Monitor critic David Sterritt (the first set of '+' marks in each review) unless otherwise noted. Ratings and comments by the Monitor staff panel (the second set of '+' marks in each review) reflect the sometimes diverse views of at least three other viewers. Information on violence, drugs, sex/nudity, and profanity is compiled by the panel.

++++Excellent

+++1/2 Very Good +++ Good ++ 1/2 Average ++ Fair +1/2 Poor + Worst New Releases THE BORROWERS (PG) Director: Peter Hewitt. With John Goodman, Jim Broadbent. (83 min.) + A 10-year-old boy discovers a family of miniature people in his house, and when crooked lawyer Ocious P. Potter wrongly repossesses the place, the tiny "borrowers" fight to get it back. While the special effects are admirable and children may be amused, there's no enduring lesson or moral impact in the poorly developed plot. By Mariah Gardner Sex/Nudity, Profanity: None. Violence: A few instances, but very mild. Drugs: One instance with a cigar. +++1/2 Magical, wholesome, superb special effects. DANGEROUS BEAUTY (R) Director: Marshall Herskovitz. With Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Jacqueline Bisset, Oliver Platt, Moira Kelly, Jeroen Krabbe, Joanna Cassidy, Fred Ward. (114 min.) + The setting is Venice in the 16th century; the heroine is a young woman who becomes a courtesan on the advice of her mother, gets involved in high-level political intrigue, and lands in perilous trouble when a would-be lover wields the power of the Inquisition against her. The camera work is pretty, but the drama is flat and lifeless, more concerned with titillating its audience than illuminating its historical background. MRS. DALLOWAY (PG-13) Director: Marleen Gorris. With Vanessa Redgrave, Rupert Graves, Michael Kitchen, Alan Cox, Natascha McElhone. (97 min.) +++ A few years after World War I, a well-heeled London woman prepares for a party she's giving, encounters a long-ago suitor who's returned from India, and hears of a tragedy affecting a shellshocked veteran whose image has been haunting her. Vanessa Redgrave is almost too radiant as the title character of Virginia Woolf's virtuosically written novel, intelligently adapted by screenwriter Eileen Atkins. PALMETTO (R) Director: Volker Schlondorff. With Woody Harrelson, Elisabeth Shue, Gina Gershon, Chloe Sevigny, Michael Rapaport, Tom Wright. (114 min.) +++ Just out of jail on a trumped-up charge, a Florida reporter gets involved in a phony kidnapping cooked up by a millionaire's greedy wife. Harrelson hits just the right sardonic note in this self-mocking crime drama, but look out for grisly touches along the way. THE WEDDING SINGER (PG-13) Director: Frank Coraci. With Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore. (95 min.) +++ Comedy about a wedding singer whose career flops after he's abandoned at the altar; a waitress who's about to marry an unfaithful man; and how they complicate their lives by falling in love. The movie is surprisingly strong despite its potentially flaky plot, combining '80s-style humor with a sincere romantic story. An entertaining debut from filmmaker Coraci. By Mariah Gardner ++1/2 Nostalgic, hilarious, silly but sweet. Sex/Nudity: No sex or nudity, but many jokes are mildly sexual in nature. Profanity: 33 mild expletives. Violence: Two scenes: one punch to the nose, one mini-brawl at a wedding. Drugs: Seven scenes with alcohol, often with drunkenness used as humor; 3 scenes involving tobacco use. Currently in Release AYN RAND: A SENSE OF LIFE (Not rated) Director: Michael Paxton. With Ayn Rand, Mike Wallace, Sharon Gless, Leonard Peikoff. (141 min.) + Documentary about the Russian-born writer who emigrated to the United States, wrote provocative novels like "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged," and developed her Objectivist philosophy based on capitalism, atheism, and selfishness as the highest moral good. The subject is fascinating, but the movie is less a thoughtful exploration than an uncritical commercial for Rand's notions. …