Cinema: Titus

STARRING: Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Laura Fraser, Harry Lennix DIRECTOR: Julie Taymor OPENS: Dec. 25 in N.Y.C. and L.A.; wide in Jan.

Shakespeare has caught a few breaks at the movies lately. Romeo and Juliet and Richard III became vigorous films that did honor to both the Bard and the medium. Now Julie Taymor, the magician who on Broadway turned The Lion King menagerie into masked enchanters on stilts, takes Shakespeare's goriest play, Titus Andronicus, and makes it vivid, relevant and of elevating scariness.

A boy, his face hidden by a paper-bag helmet, plays an improvised war game with...

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