Director: Noah Baumbach. With Laura Linney, Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin. (80 min.)
Writer-director Noah Baumbach's squiggly semiautobiographical comedy "The Squid and the Whale" has the freshness of firsthand observation. It's about the break-up of a marriage between a self-infatuated novelist (a bearded Jeff Daniels) and his headstrong wife (Laura Linney) as seen through the eyes of their two sons, 16-year-old Walt (Jesse Eisenberg, the nephew from "Roger Dodger") and his younger brother Frank (the precociously gifted Owen Kline). Baumbach captures the ways in which children takes sides in a war they can't even begin to comprehend. Grade: A-
- Peter Rainer
Director: D.J. Caruso. With Al Pacino, Rene Russo, Matthew McConaughey. (122 min.)
A hotshot quarterback (McConaughey) wins a big bowl game, but injury ends his hopes of going pro. However, his knowledge of the game begins to earn him fame and fortune as a prognosticator for a New York betting service - until he becomes so full of himself that he loses his touch. You know the filmmakers are manipulating the viewer when they intercut game footage with big dramatic scenes, but the acting (especially Pacino as the boss and Russo as his wife) is good enough that you don't mind too much. Grade: B-
- M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 9 instances, including sex scene. Violence: 2 scenes, including a fight. Profanity: 123 harsh profanities. Drugs: 17 scenes with smoking. 7 scenes with alcohol.
Director: Rob McKittrich. With Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Dane Cook.(80 min.)
I would not wholeheartedly recommend "Waiting" to anyone who has ever eaten in a restaurant, or plans to. Written and directed by Rob McKittrick, this gross-out comedy takes place almost entirely inside a generic chain restaurant, and what happens inside the kitchen isn't pretty. Neither is the look of the film, which is so bleary it should have been pulled over for a sobriety test. But the young cast members, including Justin Long and Ryan Reynolds, are often spirited and funny, and restaurantgoers are left with a valuable lesson: Don't diss the food servers; you never know what they might do to your order behind closed doors. Grade: B-
Directors: Steve Box, Nick Park. With Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes. (85 min.)
In their first feature film, the animated duo of Wallace, a cheese-obsessed inventor, and Gromit, his innovative dog, become a town's only protection from the infestation of rabbits that threaten to destroy its annual vegetable-growing contest. When a gigantic "were-rabbit" materializes, it's up to Wallace and Gromit to save the competition. Despite elements of predictability, Gromit's lovable personality makes the film a delight. Grade: A-
- Jennifer Moeller
Directors: Bill Paxton. With Shia LeBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Peter Firth. (120 min.)
No one but Harry Vardon has ever won the British Open 6 times. But at the 1913 US Open in Brookline, Mass., Francis Ouimet, an amateur who had only caddied at The Country Club and who idolized Vardon, beat him. Both these working class men broke barriers in what was then a "gentleman's" game. This charming film (editing tricks aside), is rich in humor and period detail, and amazingly suspenseful considering we already know the outcome. Grade: B
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 1 scene. Profanity: 3 mild profanities. Drugs: 10 scenes with alcohol, 11 scenes with smoking.