Sterritt * After his fiancée is tragically killed, a young man moves into her parents' home, where he gets caught between the conflicting goals of pleasing needy friends or being true to his own desires. This fuzzy-minded drama fails to build much emotional power, and its '70s time period is evoked so wanly you'll hardly recognize it. What's a superstar like Hoffman doing in a meandering soap opera like this?
Staff *** Hopeful, well paced, detailed, poignant.
Sex/Nudity: 3 instances, mostly innuendo. 1 implied sex scene. Violence: 1 discussion of murder. Profanity: 67, with some strong expressions. Drugs: 14 scenes drinking and smoking.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson. With Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman. (95 min.)
Sterritt *** A small-time businessman copes with a nagging family, eludes a predatory con artist, woos a woman who's as kooky as he is, and wonders how he can attain a happy life when he knows he's nerdy and whiney to his bones. Anderson's filmmaking is quirky and original, but his biggest creative coup is drawing on submerged aspects of Sandler's usual screen persona a wounded insecurity, a sense of repression that's almost violent in its emotional effects to give the comedy an edgy undertone that's truly one of a kind.
Director: Brett Ratner. With Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson. (125 min.)
Sterritt *** Hopkins makes his third appearance as Hannibal Lecter, psychiatrist and cannibal, joined by Norton and Keitel as FBI agents tracking down a new serial killer (Fiennes) with Lecter's grudging help. The story is a rehash of "The Silence of the Lambs" featuring Norton in the Jodie Foster role, with solid acting and hardly a special effect in sight. The violence level is a lot lower than in "Hannibal," but don't expect a gentle ride.
Staff **1/2Good thriller, better than "Hannibal," disturbing.