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Freeze Frames: The Monitor Movie Guide

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Movies containing violence (V), sexual situations (S), nudity (N), and profanity (P) are noted. Ratings and comments by the panel reflect the sometimes diverse views of at least three other viewers. Look for more guidance in our full reviews.

o Forget It

+ Poor

++ Fair

+++ Good

++++ Excellent

New Releases

BEAN (PG-13)

+++ To get rid of its dopiest security guard, a British museum dubs him an authority on painting and sends him to Los Angeles, where the arrival of "Whistler's Mother" has the art world in a tizzy. This knockabout comedy centers on the physical antics of English comedian Rowan Atkinson, who conveys the creepiness of the main character so convincingly that he comes off as rather creepy himself. But there's no denying the movie's frequent hilarity, abetted by Mel Smith's superbly laid-back directing and on-target performances by an excellent supporting cast. Contains a good deal of bathroom humor and other vulgarities. P

CREMASTER 5 (Not rated)

+++ Matthew Barney, a rising young star on the art-gallery scene, directed and performs in this avant-garde video spectacle, centering on a lavish musical performance, a bevy of mythological figures, and a series of dreamlike incidents that are as utterly mysterious as they are sumptuously staged. Ursula Andress heads the supporting cast. Jonathan Bepler's music is performed by the Budapest Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra. N V

CRITICAL CARE (R)

+++ A young physician grapples with life-and-death issues at a hospital that cares more about technology and profit than health and compassion. Directed by the prolific Sidney Lumet from Steven Schwartz's intelligent screenplay, this biting social satire scores telling points against shortcomings in today's health-care system, and shows unexpected depth when fantasy scenes put these issues into philosophical and religious perspective. The expertly chosen cast includes James Spader, Helen Mirren, Albert Brooks, Kyra Sedgwick, Wallace Shawn, Anne Bancroft, Jeffrey Wright, and Edward Herrmann. S N V P

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