Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul. With Min Oo, Jenjira Jansuda, Kanokporn Tongaramj. (125 min.)
Sterritt **** Thai filmmaking continues its renaissance with this moody, offbeat drama about a Burmese refugee and two Thai women in a sleepy border town.
Atmosphere reigns supreme, and it's brilliantly evoked. In Thai with subtitles.
Director: John Waters. With Tracey Ullman, Chris Isaak, Selma Blair, Johnny Knoxville. (88 min.)
Sterritt ** A bonk on the head turns a woman into a sex addict, so she joins a support group with other afflicted folks. The humor is more childish than raunchy, but it's interesting to see that becoming a big-time Broadway impresario hasn't led Waters to sell out his affection for gross-out gags.
Director: Forest Whitaker. With Katie Holmes, Michael Keaton, Marc Blucas, Margaret Colin. (105 min.)
Staff *** Freshman Samantha Mackenzie (Holmes), the president's daughter, just wants to be accepted at college. But she keeps ending up in the tabloids, vexing mom and dad during an election year. This storybook tale shares a similar plot to last winter's "Chasing Liberty," but it's more believable and the father-daughter scenes are sometimes touching, with Keaton strict, but surprisingly laid-back, as president. See it with your own daughters. By M.K. Terrell
Director: Joseph Ruben. With Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodard. (91 min.)
Staff ** Telly Paretta (Moore) is a smart and independent freelance editor whose life seems to have no other purpose than to devotedly remember Sam, her 8-year old son, who passed away a little over a year ago. Grief, however, is quickly replaced by angry despair as she learns that even those closest to her deny her child ever existed. Telly's unrelenting search for the truth, although depressingly predictable at times, does deliver a few good jumps and allows Julianne Moore to display her acting prowess once again. By Gabino Villanueva
Director: Andrew Repasky McElhenny. With Melissa Elizabeth Forgione, Sean Timothy Sexton. (81 min.)
Sterritt * Very loose adaptation of the notorious 1928 novel about three lovers obsessed with one another. Bataille was a serious philosopher as well as a sensation-seeking writer, but you'd never guess his provocative ideas from this updated version. Contains explicit sex.
Director: John Duigan. With Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, Stuart Townsend. (120 min.)
Staff **1/2 A man and two women engage in a sexually hedonistic lifestyle in 1930s Paris until the Nazis begin to threaten Europe. This story of collaboration vs. resistance vs. just plain surviving in wartime is visually ravishing and well-acted. But the cinema has often treated these themes, and with more originality - witness this year's "Bon Voyage." By M.K. Terrell
Director: Jeff Nathanson. With Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Toni Colette, Joan Cusack. (93 min.)
Staff ** A clunky comedy based on the real-life 1980s tragedy of a Hollyweird hanger-on. Struggling writer Steven Schats (Broderick) gets hired to direct his gobbler of a screenplay by a "producer" who is really an undercover FBI agent (Baldwin) bent on ensnaring the Mafia. Once the trap is sprung, though, the feds shut down the production early. A glammed-up Colette steals the show, pulverizing the scenery with her charming overbite, and Cusack devastates as an eat-her-young producer. By Maud Dillingham
Director: Walter Salles. With Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mía Maestro, Mercedes Morán. (126 min.)
Sterritt **** See review at right.
Director: Christian Johnston. With George Calil, Wali Razaqi. (95 min.)
Sterritt ** Documentary-style melodrama about a young man who heads for Afghanistan with hopes of finding and killing Osama bin Laden to avenge his wife's death in the 9/11 attacks. The movie's heart is in the right place, but it looks and sounds regrettably bogus.
Directors: Chris Smith, Dan Ollman, Sarah Price. With members of The Yes Men. (83 min.)
Sterritt **** Documentary about a group of political pranksters who make their points against global corporate culture via public practical jokes. While it's not a great movie, it's a revealing study of how long it often takes for businesspeople to realize they're being freaked out, not flattered.
Director: David R. Ellis. With Kim Basinger, Chris Evans, William H. Macy. (94 min.)
Staff ** When Kim Basinger is kidnapped, she rigs a broken telephone - MacGyver style - so that she randomly dials a cellphone belonging to Ryan (Evans). Fortunately he heeds her call for help and uses his wits to thwart the villains. The story (think "Speed" meets "Phone Booth") may be hokum but it's undeniably fun. By Stephen Humphries.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 20 scenes. Profanity: 51 expressions. Drugs: 4 instances of drinking.
Director: Michael Mann. With Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx. (120 min.)
Sterritt *** A hit man shanghais a cab driver to be his assistant for one long night. Stylishly made, if less intellectually resonant than Mann films like "Ali" and "The Insider."
Staff *** Thoughtful, engaging, classy.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes. Violence: 15 scenes. Profanity: 42 expressions. Drugs: 3 scenes.
Director: Zhang Yimou. With Jet Li, Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung, Chiu-Wai. (99 min.)
Sterritt **** In ancient China a warrior visits an emperor to receive praise for killing the ruler's enemies, describes his exploits, then faces unexpected questions that cast a new light on everything we've seen. Pure excitement, pure cinema. In Mandarin with subtitles.
Staff *** Rich, rewarding, intricately woven.
Sex/Nudity: 3. Violence: 15 scenes. Profanity: none. Drugs: 1 scene.
Director: Charles Stone III. With Bernie Mac, Paul Sorvino, Angela Bassett, Chris Noth. (104 min.)
Staff *** Milwaukee slugger Stan Ross (Mac) retires from baseball midseason after reaching 3,000 hits. Nine years later, statisticians discover that he scored only 2,997 hits. To be eligible for The Hall of Fame, Stan must shape up, return to the lineup as a real team player, and get three more hits - at age 47. The subtlety of Mac's acting in this unusual, coming-of-age comedy may surprise some fans. By M.K. Terrell
Director: Jared Hess. With Jon Heder, Tina Majorino, Efren Ramirez, Sandy Martin. (86 min.)
Sterritt *** Who would have guessed that a wildly refreshing take on the teenage-nerd genre would come from small-town Idaho, where the title character tangles with his weirded-out family and pushes for an equally uncharismatic friend to become president of their high-school student body?
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (PG)
Director: Garry Marshall. With Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, John Rhys-Davies, Hector Elizondo. (120 min.)
Staff ** Princess Mia, the princess of Genovia, discovers that she must marry before she can inherit the throne. This lazily plotted "Bachelorette" ends with the least dramatic wedding ceremony ever. By Stephen Humphries.
Staff ** Fun, naive, unchallenging.
Sex/Nudity: 1 innuendo. Violence: 3 mild scenes. Profanity: none. Drugs: 2 scenes.
Director: Alexander B. Witt. With Jared Harris, Milla Jovovich, Thomas Kretschmann. (94 min.)
Staff ** After surviving a trip into a zombie-infested "hive," in a previous film, Alice wakes up in a hospital to find authorities have sealed off her city because a virus that turns creatures and humans into zombies has escaped a corporate lab. Banding together with several survivors, Alice searches for a way to escape the super zombies. The action is entertaining, but be prepared to be startled repeatedly - if not terrified. This film's true monster, however, is the ruthless Umbrella Corporation. By Tim Rauschenberger
Director: Kerry Conran. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi. (107 min.)
Sterritt * A newspaperwoman and a pilot race across continents to find an evil scientist and stop a robot invasion in 1939. A combination of stilted acting and computer-generated effects, this piece of soulless merchandise is no less mechanical than its own automatons, and no more intelligent.
Staff *** Uneven pace, cold story, stunning effects.
Sex/Nudity: 3 innuendos. Violence: 13 scenes. Profanity: 6 mild expressions. Drugs: None.
Director: Richard Loncraine. With Paul Bettany, Kirsten Dunst, Celia Imrie, Bernard Hill. (100 min.)
Staff ** A British tennis player in the twilight of his mediocre career (Bettany) meets Lizzie (Dunst), one of the best players on the women's circuit. (Dunst may be plucky but can you imagine her taking on Serena?) She becomes his muse on the court, inspiring him to play the best tennis of his career even as the romance distracts her from her game. Bettany is in winning form but Dunst isn't a convincing match - either on or off the court. By Stephen Humphries
Director: George Lucas. With Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones. (387 min.)
Staff **** The original three episodes of the now six-episode long "Star Wars" are finally out on DVD. This package, complete with four extra hours of featurettes, trailers, and a teaser for the last episode due next May, is the ultimate boomer home-theater event. To keep it fun, Lucas has added scenes he didn't have the technology to create the first time around (including shots of whole civilizations in remote parts of that galaxy far, far away). The color has been scrubbed, the sound has been tweaked, and a documentary about the impact of "Star Wars" is a good reminder of what Lucas achieved. By Gloria Goodale