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By Times Staff Writer
Published March 25, 2004

Shattered Glass


CAST: Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Zahn, Hank Azaria, Rosario Dawson

SYNOPSIS: How "journalist" Stephen Glass managed to write fiction that appeared as nonfiction in the prestigious New Republic magazine during the late 1990s.

WHAT WE SAID: "Shattered Glass is a movie smarter than almost everyone it depicts, a journalism horror flick that will give plenty of editors nightmares," wrote Times film critic Steve Persall, who gave it an A.

MPAA RATING: PG-13; profanity, sexual references, brief drug use


Dirty Pretty Things

DIRECTOR: Stephen Frears

CAST: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou

SYNOPSIS: Nigerian-born illegal immigrant Okwe (Ejiofor) drives a cab in London by day, and works the night shift as a hotel desk clerk. His friend and co-worker Senay (Tautou), a devout, virginal Muslim from Turkey, falls into an illicit trade in human organs that Okwe, a former doctor, discovers.

WHAT WE SAID: Times reviewer Philip Booth gave Dirty Pretty Things an A-, calling it "a sad, disturbing movie with a social conscience, one that resonates."

MPAA RATING: R; sexual content, disturbing images, language


The Rundown

DIRECTOR: Peter Berg

CAST: The Rock, Seann William Scott, Christopher Walken, Rosario Dawson, Ewen Bremner

SYNOPSIS: The Rock plays a "retrieval expert" sent to the Amazon to track down a mob boss' errant son, only to discover that his quarry isn't such a bad guy. The two team up to find a treasure stored in a mine, but the evil operator of the mining town stands in their way.

WHAT WE SAID: "The Rundown is junk food cinema, no doubt about it," wrote Persall, who gave it a B. "But between the Rock's personality, director Peter Berg's cravings for fresh mayhem and a grand, hammy performance by Christopher Walken as the bad guy, The Rundown is more fun than most of the action flicks that wasted our summer."

MPAA RATING: PG-13; violence, profanity

RUNNING TIME: 104 min.

The Magdalene Sisters

DIRECTOR: Peter Mullan

CAST: Dorothy Duffy, Nora-Jane Noone, Geraldine McEwan

SYNOPSIS: The Magdalene Laundries were institutions of the Catholic Church in Ireland where young women were incarcerated for "moral crimes," made to work without pay and frequently abused. This film tells the story of three Dublin women in 1964, fictional composites of real cases. One is blamed for her own rape, the second has given birth out of wedlock, the third is a beauty who flirts with boys. All, along with their fellow inmates, endure their tormentors with varying degrees of damage and, occasionally, triumph.

WHAT WE SAID: The Times did not review this film.

MPAA RATING: R; violence/cruelty, nudity, sexual content, language

RUNNING TIME: 119 min.

The Singing Detective

DIRECTOR: Keith Gordon

CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Robin Wright Penn, Carla Gugino, Jeremy Northam, Katie Holmes, Mel Gibson, Adrien Brody

SYNOPSIS: Pulp novelist Dan Dark (Downey) suffers from a debilitating skin disease. Full of painkillers, Dan hallucinates about characters from his life and his novel, The Singing Detective, turning fiction into a reflection of past and present troubles. Penn plays Dan's estranged wife and various dames in his film noir imaginings. Gugino is the other half of Dan's problem with women, a mother whose infidelity destroyed his childhood. A barely recognizable Gibson plays Dan's psychologist.

WHAT WE SAID: "The Singing Detective veers from brilliance to frustration, often in the same scene, yet it's undeniably fascinating for viewers with enough patience and gray matter," wrote Persall, who gave it a B+.

MPAA RATING: R; strong sexual content, language, some violence

RUNNING TIME: 109 min.

Beyond Borders

DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell

CAST: Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen, Linus Roache

SYNOPSIS: Jolie plays pouty Sarah Jordan, whose British blue blood husband (Roache) is a good, but bland, provider. Sarah's passions are stirred by handsome Dr. Nick Callahan (Owen), who is part of an itinerant group of relief workers battling the worst health conditions on Earth.

WHAT WE SAID: Times reviewer Janet Keeler gave Beyond Borders a C-, noting Jolie's impossibly polished dress and makeup throughout her adventures abroad, and, especially, "the exploitive and imperialistic overtones of a love story set against a backdrop of Third World suffering."

MPAA RATING: R; profanity, violence, mature themes

RUNNING TIME: 127 min.


DIRECTOR: Mathieu Kassovitz

CAST: Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Penelope Cruz, Charles S. Dutton, John Carroll Lynch, Kathleen Mackey

SYNOPSIS: Dr. Miranda Grey (Berry), a psychologist at a penitentiary/mental hospital, drives home one night and nearly hits a traumatized girl (Mackey). The next thing Miranda knows, she's an inmate in her own asylum charged with the gory slaying of her husband (Dutton), the hospital coordinator.

WHAT WE SAID: Persall, who gave it a C-, wrote, "It's all so overwrought and hastily convenient that nothing, not even the gross stuff, can be taken seriously."

MPAA RATING: R; Violence, sexual situations, nudity, profanity



DIRECTOR: Bille Woodruff

CAST: Jessica Alba, Lil' Romeo, Mekhi Phifer, Missy Elliott

SYNOPSIS: A music video choreographer (Alba) wants to be a celebrity. She's got the moves and the moxie, but she also has a boss demanding sex from her. Whatever will she do?

WHAT WE SAID: The Times didn't review this film.

MPAA RATING: PG-13; drug content, sexual references


[Last modified March 24, 2004, 10:20:19]

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