Movie Guide

NEW RELEASES
Austin Powers in Goldmember (PG-13)

Director: Jay Roach. With Mike Myers, Michael Caine, Beyoncé Knowles, Robert Wagner, Michael York. (98 min.)

Sterritt * See review.

The Kid Stays in the Picture (R)

Directors: Brett Morgen, Nanette Burstein. With Robert Evans, various Hollywood figures. (92 min.)

Recommended: 'The Godfather': 10 behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the classic films

Sterritt ** Documentary about the active life and checkered career of small-time Hollywood actor and big-time Hollywood producer Robert Evans, based on his autobiography and narrated by the celebrity himself. Admirers will enjoy the inside dope on movies like "The Godfather" and "Rosemary's Baby," while detractors will zero in on his unsavory spell as a drug abuser. The overall effect is too self-worshipping to be of lasting interest. The guy sure isn't shy!

Lan Yu (Not rated)

Director: Stanley Kwan. With Liu Ye, Jun Hu, Jin Su, Li Huatong. (86 min.)

Sterritt ** An architecture student moves to Beijing and becomes sexually involved with a high-powered businessman, with results that change both men's lives. This well-directed Hong Kong drama is at its best when it captures the casual affection that grows between the main characters. It also touches on important Chinese social and political themes, but Kwan understates these so sketchily that they build little psychological power. The screenplay by Jimmy Ngai is based on an anonymously written Internet novel. In Mandarin with English subtitles.

CURRENTLY IN RELEASE
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (PG)

Director: John Stainton. With Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin, Magda Szubanski, David Wenham. (90 min.)

Staff **1/2 Australian naturalist and "Animal World" TV personalities Steve and Terri Irwin play themselves in this comedy involving a crocodile that swallows a top-secret satellite part. As the Irwins try to relocate the croc away from a shotgun-toting rancher, the CIA thinks they're spies, and they think the agents are poachers. This is not a great movie, but you'll learn much about outback wildlife and marvel at Steve's hands-on capture methods and boyish wonderment. Small children may find the critters and action scary – I know I did. By M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 2 instances innuendo. Violence: 19 scenes, including wrestling with a croc. Profanity: 2 expressions. Drugs: None.

Eight Legged Freaks (PG-13)

Director: Ellory Elkayem. With David Arquette, Scarlett Johansson, Doug E. Doug, Kari Wuhrer. (98 min.)

Sterritt * Spiders get humongous after a toxic-waste debacle in a Southwestern town. You can guess the rest. Action freaks may enjoy the chasing and chomping, but there's no hint of human interest or moviemaking imagination. Stick with the 1955 classic "Tarantula," still the best of this creepy-crawly breed.

Group (Not rated)

Director: Marilyn Freeman. With Carrie Brownstein, Kari Fillipi, Vicki Hollenberg, S. Ann Hall. (106 min.)

Sterritt ** Eight characters attend group-therapy sessions for 21 weeks, and we watch selected moments from their highly emotional sessions, where they face down a variety of daunting psychological problems. The movie teeters on a slippery dividing line between realism and fiction. It gains power from the mercurial nature of its improvised acting and split-screen camera work, though.

Halloween: Resurrection (R)

Director: Rick Rosenthal. With Jamie Lee Curtis, Tyra Banks, Busta Rhymes, Sean Patrick Thomas.

Staff ** A "reality" webcaster (Rhymes) sends six college students into Michael Myers's boyhood home – empty for 28 years – to spend the night seeking clues to his behavior. Michael returns to defend his turf, and they all get more than they bargained for. What distinguishes the eighth installment of "Halloween" is that we view the mayhem through the students' headset cameras. A prologue shows how Michael survived beheading at the end of part 7 – call it a slashback – and what became of his sister. By M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 5 instances, mostly innuendo. Violence: 15 sequences, including decapitations. Profanity: 63 expressions. Drugs: At least four scenes of drinking and smoking.

K-19: The Widowmaker (PG-13)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow. With Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard, Joss Ackland. (138 min.)

Staff *** The true story of a near nuclear meltdown aboard a cold-war era Soviet submarine might not seem likely engaging material for 21st-century American audiences. But history and geopolitics provide only a backdrop here. A fine corps of actors, led by Ford as the strong-willed captain and Neeson as his good-hearted executive officer, make this an uplifting tale of survival against a powerful new technology run amok. Bigelow deftly blends gripping action sequences with dramatic moments amid the leaks and groans of a fatally flawed ship. By Gregory M. Lamb

Sex/Nudity: 2 instances innuendo. Violence: 6 scenes, including disturbing scenes of radiation exposure. Profanity: 2 mild expressions. Drugs: At least 6 scenes with drinking and smoking.

Les Destinées (Not rated)

Director: Olivier Assayas. With Emmanuelle Béart, Charles Berling, Isabelle Huppert. (180 min.)

Sterritt ** A well-to-do Protestant clergyman falls in love with a younger woman, complicating his passage through the World War I era and subsequent years of changing social conditions. Assayas has made more exciting films, and this drama is longer and more leisurely than it needs to be. It's very elegant, though, with strong acting by a distinguished cast. Originally entitled "Les Destinées Sentimentales." In French with English subtitles.

Sex/Nudity: 1 sex scene, 1 brief nudity, 1 implied sex scene, 3 instances innuendo. Violence: 1 violent scene. Profanity: 1 expression. Drugs: 16 scenes tobacco and alcohol.

Like Mike (PG)

Director: John Schultz. With Bow Wow, Morris Chestnut, Jonathan Lipnicki, Anne Meara. (100 min.)

Staff **1/2 Some may see this as a feature-length commercial for the NBA. Or as a starmaking vehicle for diminutive 15-year-old rapper Bow Wow. They'd be right. But it's also a good-hearted fairy tale about finding a family and your dreams. An orphan (Bow Wow) discovers a pair of magic sneakers that make him a basketball phenomenon. But what he wants even more is a home. There's a genuine chuckle or two here – and bring a hanky for the sentimental scenes. By Gregory M. Lamb

Sex/Nudity: Few instances innuendo. Violence: 10 instances, including fistfights and rough basketball play. Profanity: A few harsh expressions. Drugs: 1 scene with drinking.

Lovely & Amazing (R)

Director: Nicole Holofcener. With Catherine Keener, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Mortimer. (89 min.)

Staff *** What is most lovely and amazing about this story of a family of confused women is director Holofcener's wit, timing, and affection for her highly flawed characters. The white mother (Blethyn) of two grown daughters (Keener and Mortimer) has adopted an 8-year-old African-American girl who is beginning to show signs of the family obsession with looks. Her oldest sister is even jealous of the child, but when a health crisis arises with the mom, the women rally, and it becomes evident how they keep each other in balance. Some nudity, adult situations, and rough language. By M.S. Mason

Staff *** Fresh, engaging, well-paced.

Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes with full nudity. 3 scenes with allusions to sex but nothing graphic. Violence: None. Profanity: 26 strong expressions. Drugs: At least five instances smoking, drinking.

Men in Black II (PG-13)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld. With Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle, Tony Shalhoub. (88 min.)

Sterritt ** Agent J needs Agent K to help him combat Serleena, a Victoria's Secret model who's really an insidious alien; but K has lost all memory of his top-secret career, and the high-tech gizmo they need to retrieve it is in the hands of a guy who's weird even by MIB standards. That's just the starting point of this moderately amusing sequel, which is best when it relies on dead-pan acting by the stars, worst when it drags in summer-movie stupidities like an incessantly talking dog.

Staff ** Nutty, obvious jokes, OK sequel.

Sex/Nudity: 7 instances, mostly innuendo. Violence: 11 scenes, including attempted rape. Profanity: 17 mild expressions. Drugs: At least 3 scenes with drinking and smoking.

Minority Report (PG-13)

Director: Steven Spielberg. With Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow. (145 min.)

Sterritt *** The year is 2054, when clairvoyant "precogs" enable police to arrest murderers before they murder. Cruise plays a dedicated cop who's inexplicably accused as the would-be killer of someone he's never heard of. Most of the movie is clever, imaginative, and savvy in its questions about social anxiety and government power. Too bad Spielberg also indulges the kiddie side of his talent, cooking up a silly chase sequence that only video-game nuts will be able to watch without wincing.

Staff ***1/2 Timely, politically relevant, future-noir, well-paced.

Sex/Nudity: 4 scenes with sex, 2 with innuendo. Violence: 20 (often extended) scenes. Profanity: 3 harsh words. Drugs: 3 scenes with alcohol. 1 with smoking and 8 with drug use.

My Wife is an Actress (R)

Director: Yvan Attal. With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Terence Stamp, Yvan Attal, Lionel Abelanski. (93 min.)

Staff ***1/2 A happy heart is the first casualty when an ordinary man's affection for his movie-star wife is bedeviled by pangs of jealousy for her role in an arousing screenplay. This humorous French film is exquisite, handling the drama of a suffering marriage with delicacies of character that save the plot from being yet another formulaic lechery-fest. You'll find the crisp dialogue and personable characters refreshing, and the emphasis on substance over sensation a welcome relief. By Aaron Bingham

Sex/Nudity: 6 scenes, including sex, nudity. Violence: 2 instances. Profanity: 23 harsh expressions. Drugs: 20 scenes with drinking and smoking.

Read My Lips (Not rated)

Director: Jacques Audiard. With Emmanuelle Devos, Vincent Cassel, Olivier Gourmet. (115 min.)

Sterritt ** A young woman with a hearing disorder strikes up an uneasy friendship with a recently released convict who takes a low-level job at the office where she works and then starts slipping back toward crime. The first half is a well-acted psychological drama, but the second half is standard thriller fare with more action than insight. In French with English subtitles.

Reign of Fire (PG-13)

Director: Rob Bowman. Starring Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco. (100 min.)

Staff ** How do you reinvent the monster movie? How about casting a mythological creature that is as much a part of biblical lore as ancient Chinese culture: the dragon. Here, hibernating dragons reawaken and, by 2020, have reduced mankind to little bands of feudal refugees. But, when one such group in England meets a group of US soldiers, they join forces to vanquish the beasts. Result? Ridiculous macho posturing, as McConaughey's soldier chews more scenery than even the toothiest of the dragons. Still, there's enough action to keep undemanding monster-movie fans distracted. By Stephen Humphries

Road to Perdition (R)

Director: Sam Mendes. With Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law. (119 min.)

Sterritt ** Hanks plays a 1930s hit man seeking revenge against the mobsters who killed his wife and son. Mendes surrounds the slow-moving plot with a lonely, dreary view of middle America in the Depression era. The cinematography provides much moody atmosphere, and Law is terrific as an enticingly weird thug; but the plot has huge holes, and it's hard to swallow the notion that we should love an assassin because his heart is full of family values.

Staff ***1/2 Well-acted, dark, epic, visually stunning.

Sex/Nudity: 1 instance. Violence: 16 extremely violent scenes. Profanity: 20 expressions. Drugs: About 20 scenes with drinking and smoking.

Stuart Little 2 (PG)

Director: Rob Minkoff. With Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Melanie Griffith, Jonathan Lipnicki. (70 min.)

Staff ***1/2 America's unlikeliest action hero is a five-inch mouse with a heart as big as Central Park. As voiced by the incomparable Michael J. Fox, Stuart Little – now the middle Little in a family of five – is struggling with fitting in at school and his mom's suffocating over-protectedness. Just as Stuart is wishing for a friend, an adorable canary falls from the sky into his lap – and into his heart. Nathan Lane is again hilarious as the cat Snowbell. The character design, digital animation, and action sequences are all stunning, and the love that grows between the two new friends is convincing and touching. A winner for kids and parents alike. By John Kehe

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: None. Profanity: None. Drugs: None.

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