By EW Staff
Updated December 12, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Reading is fundamental! Movie fans took to the books with Mona Lisa Smile’s sophisticated women, who dressed up our latest movie preview (#737, Nov. 14). ”If this issue came out in the ’90s,” notes era-aware Jason P. Schankman of St. Louis, ”I would describe the cover in one word schwiiiing! This gathering of cinematic ladies will help me have a happy holiday indeed!” Our profile on another brainy leading lovely garnered a favorable review from Lynda Kruss of Bettendorf, Iowa: ”The way writer Karen Valby used language to capture Diane Keaton’s personality was outstanding. Valby showed that EW can be entertaining, informative, and well-written.” But followers of classical wunderkind Josh Groban felt our critique of his new CD warranted a revise. ”Scott D. Paulin failed to recognize the depth and beauty of Groban’s material on Closer,” says Valerie Sooky of Glenview, Ill. ”I think that Mr. Paulin should be one step ‘closer’ to pursuing a new career.” No need to read between those lines.

Holiday Rapping

Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, and Maggie Gyllenhaal on one cover! It’s times like this I feel I’m paying too little for my subscription! MICHAEL SHERMAN Merrick, N.Y.

Bravo on a job well done! Your Holiday Movie Preview was the best of its kind. How delightful to find documentaries (Just an American Boy, My Architect) and foreign films (El Bonaerense, The Trilogy) included among the big-budget blockbusters. Keep up the great work! SUSANNA KING Arlington, Va.

I bet the parents of children with birth defects and those who participate in the Special Olympics got a real chuckle out of Ben Affleck’s wisecracks regarding his EW cover photo in 1998. Maybe his next cover photo will be so embarrassing he’ll say it looks like he has cancer. This guy has future political ambitions? Now I’m laughing. MIKE SCRIBNER Grafton, Wis.

I was very happy that you recognized Evan Rachel Wood in your Holiday Movie Preview. She is undeniably one of today’s most talented young actors and has a great career ahead. I sure hope to hear her name called at Oscar-nomination time. CARISSA PINEDA Piscataway, N.J.

‘Matrix’ a Treat

Ever since Lisa Schwarzbaum’s dead-on review of The 13th Warrior, I’ve believed her to be among the few critics able to write from the heart in concert with the material rather than public opinion or massive PR. How is it that she missed so badly on The Matrix Revolutions, one of the most stunning sci-fi films ever devised (Movies)? The sheer magnitude of the machine city and the insane things the Wachowskis did with rain effects alone deserve accolades. A C+…really, Lisa? DAVE HALVERSON Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Golden ‘Rules’

Apparently Ken Tucker has never been a teenager dealing with the sudden loss of a parent. I lost my father to a heart attack at 16 and could completely relate to the emotions brought forth on 8 Simple Rules (Television). Instead of big speeches, it was the little things, like the kids asking each other if they had eaten. And the high school rival coming to offer support. All of us experienced the loss of John Ritter; ABC did a wonderful job of giving us a public memorial service. KAREN BELGRAD Schaumburg, Ill.