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Movie Guide

November 10, 2005

New in Theaters
Derailed (R)

Director: Mikhal Håfström. With Jennifer Aniston, Clive Owen. (100 min.)

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"Derailed" is a penny dreadful with A-list stars. Clive Owen, who really should have tried harder to be cast as the next James Bond, plays a Chicago ad executive who meets a magnetically friendly commuter, played by Jennifer Aniston, on the morning train to work. Though both are married with children, they soon find themselves booking a seedy hotel room. Enter Vincent Cassel, who one might think had his fill of this kind of thing after starring in "Irréversible." What happens next shall remain a secret, but here's a hint: Retribution awaits. Here's another: Stay home. Grade: C
- Peter Rainer

Get Rich or Die Tryin' (R)

Director: Jim Sheridan. With 50 Cent, Joy Bryant, Terrence Howard. (134 min.)

Lightning didn't strike twice. Eminem made an improbably strong movie debut in "8 Mile" but now there's "Get Rich or Die Tryin'", which stars his rapper protégé Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. I had high hopes - its director is Jim Sheridan ("My Left Foot," "In America"); and Terence Howard, who's on a roll, has a meaty part in it. But this thinly autobiographical gangsta odyssey never achieves liftoff, and Jackson is unconvincing. Even if you are playing (essentially) yourself, it helps if you're an actor first. Grade: C-
- P.R.

Sex/Nudity: 11 scenes including nudity and sex Violence: 19 scenes, including torture. Profanity: 295 harsh expressions. Drugs: 5 scenes with drinking, 7 scenes with smoking, and 11 scenes with drug use or selling.

Zathura: A Space Adventure (PG)

Director: Jon Favreau. With Tim Robbins, Frank Oz, Jonah Bobo. (113 min.)

Two squabbling brothers, home alone for a few minutes, find an old board game in the basement with mysterious, not to mention dangerous, properties. Once the duo sets the game in motion, they not only find their home adrift in outer space, but also have to learn teamwork to cope with a demented robot and attacks by Zorgons (meat-eating, pyromaniac lizard-men). Here, appropriately retro effects and family values outweigh an episodic script. After the screening, a preteen next to this critic asked his mom, "Why did you think I wouldn't like this?" There's your endorsement. Grade: B-
- M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of mild innuendo. Violence: 15 scenes. Profanity: 5 mild expressions. Drugs: None.

Still in Release
The Legend of Zorro (PG)

Director: Martin Campbell. With Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones. (100 min.)

"The Legend of Zorro," starring Antonio Banderas as the masked one, made me long to re-watch "Zorro the Gay Blade," the great spoof starring George Hamilton. In that film, the Spanish accents were meant to sound deliberately fake. (Zorro kept referring to "the people" as "the pipple." ) Here, even Banderas sounds like he's having a hard time sounding authentic. Catherine Zeta-Jones, as Zorro's swashbuckling wife Elena, looks fetching but doesn't have much to do otherwise. Zorro's nemesis, a French aristocrat played by Rufus Sewell, sports heavy eyeliner and has plans to blow up America. He seems to be under the misapprehension that Zorro is James Bond. Grade: C-
- Peter Rainer

Paradise Now (PG-13)

Director: Hany Abu-Assad. With Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman. (90 min.)

Said (Nashef) and his friend Khaled (Suliman) are recruited as human bombs by an underground Palestinian terrorist organization in the West Bank in the intermittently powerful "Paradise Now," which was directed and co-written by Hany Abu-Assad. He attempts with mixed results to get inside the psyches of men who would blow themselves up for the cause. The film is better than the recent "The War Within," which tried for the same things, but ultimately, and perhaps unavoidably, we are left face to face with the unknowable. Grade: B+
- P.R.

Domino (R)

Director: Tony Scott. With Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Lucy Liu. (127 min.)

The real-life Domino, a Bounty Hunter who died in June of an apparent overdose, was the daughter of actor Laurence Harvey and supermodel socialite Pauline Stone. Clearly what lured director Tony Scott, who knew Domino, is the massive contradiction of her life: Born into the glamour of London and Beverly Hills, she ended up a female Rambo. Whatever reality the actual Domino may have possessed has been sliced and diced by Scott's usual barrage of whiplash camera work and rat-a-tat editing, complete with flashbacks, flash forwards, and flash in-betweens. Grade: C-
- P.R.