A listing of movies accompanying the Family Filmgoer column in yesterday's Weekend section failed to identify "The Minus Man," "Mumford," "Stigmata" and "Stir of Echoes" as R-rated movies. (Published 09/25/1999)
JAKOB THE LIAR (PG-13, 120 minutes)
Robin Williams gives a subtle and surprisingly unsentimental performance in the title role of this harrowing yet often humorous film, set in a Jewish ghetto in Poland during the Nazi occupation. "Jakob the Liar" (based on a novel by Jurek Becker) offers a fine opportunity for teens (and mature kids 10 to 12) to gain insight into the Holocaust. The film is more grounded than "Life Is Beautiful" (PG-13, 1997), less complex and frightening than "Schindler's List" (R, 1993). There are chilling moments -- the sight of Jews who were hanged or died of disease, much talk of suicide and one actual one. Jakob is held underwater and hit by Gestapo officers.
He is a widower, caught out after curfew. While in the Gestapo office, he hears on the radio that Soviet troops are closing in -- liberation's at hand! To raise spirits in the ghetto, he tells a few friends and the little girl he's hiding in his flat -- an escapee from a deportation train. Word travels and hope rises. Noting the value of his stories, he makes up more -- a heroic liar.
DOUBLE JEOPARDY (R, 106 minutes)
Good acting and a roller-coaster plot don't disguise the fact that "Double Jeopardy" tells a story more full of holes than a doily. High-schoolers may find it slick and entertaining, but they'll catch the illogic of it, too. "Double Jeopardy" isn't for younger kids; it contains an explicit sexual situation, strong profanity and briefly violent gunplay, along with verbal sexual innuendo, smoking and drinking, and the sad separation of a mother and child. Claustrophobics should be warned of a scene in which the heroine is locked in a coffin -- with a corpse.
Ashley Judd plays a contented upper-middle-class woman whose life collapses when her faithless husband (Bruce Greenwood) frames her for his own faked murder and makes off with their young son. Once out of prison, she's obsessed with finding her child and getting revenge. Tommy Lee Jones, gritty as usual, plays the parole officer bent on stopping her.
AMERICAN BEAUTY (R, 118 minutes)
"American Beauty" depicts the disintegration of a miserable suburban family and the ultimate redemption of some of its members. It begins as a razor-edged -- and very adult -- comedy of manners but shifts into a poetic contemplation of the divine spark in us all. Only mature high-schoolers will be equipped to handle the film's explicit sexuality along with its deeper meanings. The rating reflects the graphic portrayal of masturbation as well as other sexual situations, the sexual fantasies of a middle-aged man about a teenage girl, semi-nudity, selling and using marijuana, strong profanity and sexual language, a father beating his son and a climactic shooting death.
Kevin Spacey plays the father who narrates the story, recounting how he was caught in a job he hated and a loveless marriage to a brittle woman (Annette Bening), with a daughter (Thora Birch) who hated him. He becomes sexually obsessed with his daughter's best friend, his wife begins an affair and a boy next door videotapes everything and gets high on pot to survive a martinet of a father. Wise beyond his years, the boy is the catalyst of the film.
Okay for 6 and Up
"Dudley Do-Right" (PG). Brendan Fraser as the dim Canadian Mountie in painfully arch live-action comedy based on popular TV 'toons; slapstick may please tots. Final battle unnecessarily violent; some crude language.
"For Love of the Game." Kevin Costner as pitcher aiming for perfect game at end of career, mulls over retirement, loss of girlfriend in long, soapy sports saga. Implied affairs; drinking, smoking; talk of teen pregnancy.
"Blue Streak." Martin Lawrence in amusing caper comedy as thief who impersonates police detective. Not-too-bloody shootings; profanity, crude language; hygiene humor; chain smoking, maniacal driving; hint that crime pays.
"Mickey Blue Eyes." Hugh Grant as wan Britisher in New York, co-opted by fiancee's mobster kin in droll comedy. One gory death; profanity; sexual innuendo; ethnic stereotypes; painting shows Jesus with gun.
"Bowfinger." Riotous farce with Steve Martin as sleazy director who secretly films movie star played by Eddie Murphy, for cheap horror flick. Lewd sexual references will go over many preteen heads; profanity.
"The Sixth Sense." Bruce Willis as psychologist helps boy tormented by ghosts in subtle, slow thriller that builds to fab ending. Off-camera suicide; ghosts show wounds from violent deaths, even hanging; rare crude language; drinking.
"The Minus Man." Seemingly innocuous young man moves to town and people start disappearing in clever, quirky tale of psychopath on the loose. Little on-screen violence; strong language; drug use, drinking; non-explicit sexual situation that gets briefly rough. High-schoolers.
"Mumford." Psychotherapist in small town treats eccentric array of folks, harbors secret himself in gentle, sometimes lethargic comedy about truth-telling. Female nudity in fantasy sequences; strong sexual innuendo; profanity; marijuana, drinking, smoking. High-schoolers.
"Stigmata." Gabriel Byrne as priest investigating Patricia Arquette as woman afflicted with stigmata in glitzy, pretentious, silly thriller; some believers will be offended. Graphic wounds, intercut with portrayal of crucifixion; profanity; sexual innuendo; cigarettes. High-schoolers.
"Stir of Echoes." Kevin Bacon as blue-collar guy contacted by ghost in taut, disturbing tale of crime, obsession. Non-graphic, but strong implication of sexual assault, violent hallucinations; brief nudity; explicit sexual situation; marijuana gag; profanity; drinking. High-schoolers.