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Movie Guide

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Sterritt ** The life and times of singer Bobby Darin, from his music-filled childhood to his untimely death, using the same kind of memoir storytelling as "De-Lovely," the Cole Porter biopic released slightly earlier. Spacey is almost as swinging as Darin was, but his filmmaking leans toward tried-and-true formulas.

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Darkness (PG-13)

Director: Jaume Balagueró. With Anna Paquin, Giancarlo Giannini, Lena Olin. (88 min.)

Sterritt *** A family haunted by its past moves to a house in Spain that's haunted by its own past. The thriller makes up in moody weirdness what it lacks in horror-tale originality.

Hotel Rwanda (PG-13)

Director: Terry George. With Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix. (121 min.)

Sterritt ** Fact-based drama about a hotel manager (Cheadle) who starts a sort of "Schindler's list" by giving shelter to displaced members of the Tutsi tribe under siege from Hutu fighters. The subject is crucially important, but the movie dilutes its impact with by-the-numbers filmmaking, and Cheadle's one-note performance displays few of his acting gifts.

Staff ***1/2 Depressing, educational, terrifying, heroic.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 21 scenes of gruelling violence. Profanity: 13 harsh profanities. Drugs: 14 scenes with alcohol, 5 scenes with smoking.

In Good Company (PG-13)

Director: Paul Weitz. With Dennis Quaid, Scarlett Johansson, Topher Grace, Marg Helgenberger. (109 min.)

Sterritt *** A middle-aged businessman (Quaid) gets demoted when his company is acquired by an international media mogul, and things get worse when his embarrassingly young new boss (Grace) starts dating his daughter (Johansson) during her first year at college. Lively acting and timely humor are the main assets of this garden-variety comedy.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG)

Director: Brad Silberling. With Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Jude Law. (108 min.)

Sterritt * The fictional author narrates peril-filled adventures of the Baudelaire orphans and their guardians, none of whom guard them very well. You needn't be per-Snickety to find this an unfortunate lemon of a movie, flawed by Carrey's overacting.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (R)

Director: Wes Anderson. With Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston. (118 min.)

Sterritt **** A publicity oriented oceanographer (Murray) and his could-be illegitimate son (Wilson) begin a "Moby-Dick"-style hunt for a so-called jaguar shark. What might have a self-consciously quirky comedy is humanized by its performances, especially from Murray, who keeps getting better and better.

A Love Song for Bobby Long (R)

Director: Shainee Gabel. With John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriel Macht, Deborah Kara Unger. (119 min.)

Sterritt *** Travolta reinvents his screen persona once again, playing a dissolute codger who lives with a former student from his English-professor days in a ramshackle Louisiana house that takes on a new atmosphere when its new owner (Johansson) decides to reside there too. Rambling, meandering, likable. Playing in limited release.

Meet the Fockers (PG-13)

Director: Jay Roach. With Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman. (115 min.)

Sterritt * Sequel to "Meet the Parents," with an engaged couple hoping their respective parents - including a tough-as-nails CIA retiree on one side, a touchy-feely sex therapist on the other - will get along. De Niro and Hoffman almost give comic life to this brainless, vulgar farce.

The Merchant of Venice (R)
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