The Monitor Movie Guide

The Christian Science Monitor, November 20, 1998 | Go to article overview

The Monitor Movie Guide


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 CELEBRITY (R) Director: Woody Allen. With Kenneth Branagh, Judy Davis, Melanie Griffith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joe Mantegna, Winona Ryder, Michael Lerner, Famke Janssen, Bebe Neuwirth, Charlize Theron, Hank Azaria. (113 min.) ++ A journalist drifts away from his marriage while cultivating acquaintances with various celebrities who cross his path for professional and personal reasons. The idea of a Woody Allen movie about fame is enticing, given the complexities of his real-life media image, but a meandering screenplay and uninspired acting make this one of his thinnest, tinniest films. CENTRAL STATION (R) Director: Walter Salles. With Fernanda Montenegro, Vinicius de Oliveira, Marilia Pera, Othon Bastos, Matheus Nachtergaele. (115 min.) +++ A feisty Brazilian widow meets a little boy with no home, takes him under her wing, and helps him find elusive family members deep in the country's interior. The performances are engaging and the views of rural Brazil are captivating, making the film a solid audience-pleaser even though its story often seems familiar and sentimental. ENEMY OF THE STATE (R) Director: Tony Scott. With Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Regina King, Loren Dean, Lisa Bonet, Jake Busey, Gabriel Byrne, Barry Pepper. (128 min.) ++ After a congressman is murdered, a piece of deadly evidence comes into the hands of an easygoing lawyer who doesn't even know he has it, and can't imagine why a rogue security agent has mustered all the high-tech power of the US government to track him down and ruin his life. The movie itself has plenty of high-tech power, spinning out action so explosive you'll hardly notice how preposterous the story is or how cardboard-thin the characters are. HARD CORE LOGO (NOT RATED) Director: Bruce McDonald. With Callum Keith Rennie, Hugh Dillon, John Pyper-Ferguson, Julian Richings, Bernie Coulson. (92 min.) ++ The adventures of a punk-rock band fueled more by lunkheaded energy than genuine talent. The music has lots of edgy drive, but the humor never approaches the hilarity of "This Is Spinal Tap," obviously the model for this fictional "rockumentary." THE RUGRATS MOVIE (G) Directors: Norton Virgien, Igor Kovalyov. With E.G. Daily, Kath Soucie, Whoopie Goldberg, David Spade, Tim Currey, Melanie Chartoff. (87 min.) ++ A new baby enters the Pickles family, sparking jealousy in his big brother and danger for his friends when they load the newcomer into a wagon and lose their way in the woods. The animation is rough around the edges, and the sometimes vulgar jokes lack the wit of a good "Simpsons" episode, but fans of the TV series will find much to please them. SUE (NOT RATED) Director: Amos Kollek. With Anna Thompson, Tahnee Welch, Matthew Powers, Tracee Ross, Robert Kya Hill, John Ventimiglia, Austin Pendleton. (91 min.) ++ A young New Yorker drifts into depression while navigating through the day-to-day challenges of finding a job, paying the rent, and dodging at least some of the men who want to take advantage of her open nature. Thompson's acting has an interesting mixture of toughness and vulnerability, and might be truly impressive if the screenplay gave her more meaningful material to work with. TEN BENNY (NOT RATED) Director: Eric Bross. With Adrien Brody, Sybil Temchen, Frank Vincent, Michael Gallagher, Tony Gillian. (101 min.) + A young salesman's dream of a better tomorrow goes sharply downhill when he falls dangerously in debt to a neighborhood loan shark on the eve of his engagement to the woman he loves. …

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