Staff ***1/2 Martha is a perfectionist chef in Hamburg who can't quite cope when her 8-year-old niece unexpectedly comes to live with her. There's no recipe for raising Lina, but slowly Martha finds a new rhythm especially when she gets over feeling threatened by a free-spirited chef who joins the staff at her restaurant. Not to be seen on an empty stomach, this beautiful film is equal parts drama and humor, seasoned with a hint of romance. By Stacy A. Teicher
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance innuendo. Violence: 1 scene with slapping. Profanity: 5 mild expressions. Drugs: 3 smoking scenes. 9 scenes with drinking or cooking with alcohol.
Director: Mark Romanek. With Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen. (98 min.)
Sterritt ** Williams plays a seemingly bland photo-booth clerk who's become dangerously obsessed with a local family whose pictures he's been processing for years. Williams's acting is as chilling as it is restrained, but Romanek's directing damps down the drama's psychological impact, making it look as glossy and two-dimensional as the snapshots that run through the photo man's finely calibrated machines.
Staff ** Overdone, twisted, unnecessarily violent, creepy and vacuous.
Sex/Nudity: 6 instances, including innuendo, photos of sex, graphic sex scene. Violence: 3 instances, 1 graphic. Profanity: 17 strong expressions. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol.
Director: Neil LaBute. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Ehle, Jeremy Northam. (102 min.)
Sterritt * Two scholars (Paltrow, Eckhart) unearth a long-ago love affair between two Victorian poets whose strait-laced morality supposedly ruled out illicit adventures like this. The movie is based on A.S. Byatt's novel, which presents a kaleidoscopic array of Victorian-style prose and poetry alongside lively accounts of modern-day literary sleuthing. LaBute's adaptation extracts the bare bones of her plot for purposes of bland Hollywood romance, filmed and acted with lots of glamour but precious little depth.