Director: Jim Jarmusch. With Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, Jeffrey Wright, Chlóe Sevigny. (106 min.)
Staff **1/2 See review, at right
Director: Arie Posen. With Camilla Belle, Ralph Fiennes, Jamie Bell, Glenn Close. (102 min.)
Sterritt **** Suburban teens and their parents grapple with family tensions, antisocial impulses, and each other. At once dreamily surreal, acutely intelligent, and strikingly tough-minded, this pitch-dark dramatic comedy recalls David Lynch and "Donnie Darko" while remaining fresh and original to its core. A stunning directorial debut. - By David Sterritt
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar. With Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Jessica Simpson, Burt Reynolds, Willie Nelson. (106 min.)
Staff * The Duke cousins, Luke and Bo, want to operate an "honest" business running their Uncle Jesse's moonshine, but must battle crooked politician Boss Hogg and his puppet, Sheriff Coltrane. The plot involves the boys' attempt to thwart Hogg's secret plan to turn Hazzard County into an open coal mine, but it's really just an excuse for endless car chases. Updated with cussin', pot smokin', and more sex than fans will remember from the TV series. By M.K. Terrell
Director: Werner Herzog. With Timothy Treadwell, Werner Herzog, Amie Huguenard, Franc G. Fallico. (103 min.)
Sterritt **** Documentary about a highly peculiar nature enthusiast who lived in the woods with bears and recorded his close encounters on video, until one of his wild neighbors decided to eat him. As revealing about Herzog as about his subject, the movie is brilliant, poetic, and utterly unique. - D.S.
Director: Phil Morrison. With Embeth Davidtz, Frank Hoyt Taylor, Amy Adams, Scott Wilson. (107 min.)
Sterritt **** A sophisticated art dealer travels to the South with her husband to check out a half-crazy "outsider" painter, meeting her eccentric in-laws and making unexpected friends in the process. This low-key drama is a miracle of mood, atmosphere, and sensitivity. - D.S.
Director: Ip Kam Hung. With Shawn Yue, Gillian Chung, Anthony Wong, Charlene Choi. (100 min.)
Sterritt *** A young Hong Kong man falls in love while dreaming of the day when he'll take revenge on the gangster he thinks killed his father. A romantic kung-fu comedy with a good heart. In Cantonese with subtitles. - D.S.
Director: Greg Harrison. With Courteney Cox, James LeGros, Anne Archer, Michael Ealy. (78 min.)
Sterritt **** Trying to track down the truth about her boyfriend's murder, a photographer finds a mass of contradictory clues, some of which point back to her. An ingeniously scripted psychological thriller. - D.S.
Director: Michael McGowan. With Adam Butcher, Campbell Scott, Shauna MacDonald, Jennifer Tilly. (98 min.)
Sterritt **** The unlikely hero is a 14-year-old boy with an ailing mother, a penchant for trouble at his parochial school, and an odd notion that if he wins the Boston Marathon he'll receive a miracle to cure his problems. This deliciously offbeat Canadian comedy gets its charm from marvelous acting and from a screenplay bursting with ideas. Great fun. - D.S.
Director: Wong Kar-wai. With Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi. (129 min.)
Sterritt **** Past, present, and future blend into an exquisite whole in this sort-of-sequel to Wong's great "In the Mood for Love," about a writer and an enigmatic train. Filmed to perfection by the great Christopher Doyle and others. In Cantonese, Mandarin, and Japanese with subtitles. - D.S.
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck. With Adrianci Gonzalez, Alexander Guerra Hoez, Alexis Rodriguez, Krudas. (69 min.)
Sterritt *** Documentary about Cuba's restless rap-music scene. An eye-opening movie, both socially and politically. In English and Spanish with subtitles. - D.S.
Director: Richard Linklater. With Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden, Greg Kinnear, Sammi Kane Kraft. (111 min.)
Sterritt *** Remake of the 1976 comedy about a burned-out ballplayer who finally grows up while coaching a seemingly hopeless kids' baseball team. Thornton is excellent as the coach, Kraft is just right as the estranged daughter he eventually bonds with, and the kids in the cast are uniformly fine. Look out for lots of foul language and sleaze-oriented gags, though.
Staff ** Sloppy and redundant.
Sex/Nudity: 7 instances. Violence: 9 scenes of schoolyard fighting. Profanity: 125 strong and mild expressions. Drugs: 16 with drinking/smoking.
Director: Tim Burton. With Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore (116 min.)
Sterritt **** A youngster wins a rare ticket for a guided tour of Willy Wonka's mysterious candy-making outfit, where zillions of surprises are in store. Depp wittily plays Willy as a sort of zoned-out hippie capitalist, and Burton lets his imagination soar to some of the most outlandish heights it's ever reached. It's sometimes a patented Burton frightmare.
Staff *** Off-kilter, slightly insane, expressionistic.
Sex/Nudity: mild innuendo. Violence: 10 instances. Profanity: None. Drugs: 1 instance of drinking.
Director: Tim Story. With Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Kerry Washington. (106 min.)
Sterritt ** The Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, The Thing, and Mr. Fantastic himself join forces for the Marvel Comics tale of astronauts who gain exotic powers from a radiation storm in outer space. It's fun to watch superheroes who aren't quite at ease with their abilities. "The Incredibles" - last year's similarly themed animated film - is livelier and funnier.
Staff *1/2 Superfluous, miscalculated, some good effects.
Sex/Nudity: some mild innuendo. Violence: 20 scenes. Profanity: 17 profanities. Drugs: 3 scenes with drinking.
Director: Michael Bay. With Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Steve Buscemi. (127 min.)
Sterritt ** The year is 2019, the heroes are escapees from a clone-making operation, and the villains are sinister agents tracking them down. The first half is high-quality science fiction, the rest is a high-tech chase adventure with a gleeful yen for destructive thrills.
Staff **1/2 Snappy, derivative, conscience-tweaking.
Sex/Nudity: 5 scenes. Violence: 23 instances. Profanity: 11 profanities. Drugs: 6 scenes with drinking.
Director: Luc Jacquet. With plenty of penguins, voice of Morgan Freeman. (80 min.)
Sterritt ** Documentary about the mating and chick-raising routines of Emperor Penguins, whose Antarctic habitat makes almost every activity hazardous to their health and even their lives. As a zoological spectacle, the movie is riveting. But the narration tries to make us think of these adorable animals as if they saw the world in human terms, which they obviously don't.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: None. Profanity: None. Drugs: None.
Director: Gary David Goldberg. With Diane Lane, John Cusack, Stockard Channing, Christopher Plummer. (108 min.)
Sterritt ** Prodded by her sisters, a divorced woman reluctantly goes back into the dating game and finds herself attracted to two guys at once. Goldberg films everyone in this strenuous "date movie" so slickly and sentimentally that you'd think he wants us to date a few of them ourselves. Lane and Cusack have some OK moments, though.
Director: Rob Cohen. With Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard. (121 min.)
Staff *1/2 Three Navy flying aces are not happy that a super-smart computer will pilot the fourth plane in their squadron. Most dismaying is that it learns bad habits from its human counterparts - such as not always following orders - and it begins to pursue its own agenda, regardless of the consequences. This movie raises important ethical issues, but treats them with comic-book seriousness. Contains Impressive computer-generated flying sequences - just check all sense of reason at the door. By M. K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 5 scenes of innuendo and implied sex. Violence: 16 instances. Profanity: 34 profanities. Drugs: 7 scenes of smoking cigars or drinking.
Director: David Donkin. With Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Christopher Walken. (113 min.)
Sterritt ** Wilson and Vaughn play immature Washington lawyers who get their kicks by crashing weddings in search of fun and sex. Nuptial horseplay goes sour when they agree to spend a weekend with a powerful politician and his attractive daughters. There are a few good laughs, but not nearly enough clever ideas to keep things hopping for almost two hours.
Staff **1/2 A guilty pleasure, juvenile, nutty.
Sex/Nudity: 24 instances. Violence: 7 scenes. Profanity: 78, ranging in severity. Drugs: 39 scenes.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet: With Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel.Jean-Perre Becker, Dominique Bettenfeld. (134 min.)
Staff *** Though told that her fiancé was killed on the World War I front lines, Mathilde (Tautou) refuses to give in to grief and begins a harrowing journey to discover if the story is true. The film brings to life the best qualities of human perseverance that survive even in the most dire of circumstances. Be forewarned that it does contain fearsome battle scenes, but the violence only accentuates the dedication it takes for Mathilde to maintain hope that her fiancé is still alive. Not to be missed - but keep the kids away. In French with subtitles. By Chelsea Waugaman
Director Michael Tucker. With various US soldiers. (85 min.)
Staff **** Tucker divde into the lives of American soldiers living the nightmare that is Baghdad and let the chaos of their daily reality boil up in the structure of his documentary movie. Following events over 60 days in 2003, he zeroed in on the soldiers he bunked with, letting them tell us their own stories. The men and women of the 2/3 Field Artillery - aka "gunners" - are quartered in Uday Hussein's shelled pleasure palace. What grabs the viewer is the swaggering innocence of these young, young men, and the assumption by their elders that too few at home will care about their sacrifices, once it's all over. By M.S. Mason