Movie guide

By , Film critic of The Christian Science Monitor

New in Theaters
Over the Hedge (PG)

Director: Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick. With the voices of Bruce Willis, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes, William Shatner. (96 min.)

This enjoyable Dreamworks animated comedy is well timed. It's about what happens when woodland animals emerge from hibernation and discover that a large hedge has subdivided their habitat. On the other side of the hedge lies a suburban sprawl of cellphone-squawking humans who dump mounds of half-eaten food into the garbage and have yappy pets. Bruce Willis is the voice of RJ, the con artist raccoon who enlists the woodlanders in raids to the other side, and some of the other voices belong to Steve Carell as a hyperactive squirrel and Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara as a porcupine couple. For those who are keeping count, it's their second pairing since "Best in Show." Grade: B+

Shakespeare Behind Bars (Unrated)

Director: Hank Rogerson. With male inmates at a Kentucky prison. (93 min.)

Recommended: Default

Filmed over a period of about nine months at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, a medium-security prison in Kentucky, this documentary follows a production of "The Tempest" as performed by convicts. The up-close interviews with the prisoners, many of whom are in jail for murder, are the heart of the film. One of the men, who is cast as Caliban, says that criminals ought to be natural actors since they are used to disguising their emotions, and yet it is that very quality that makes it so hard for them to act. Director Hank Rogerson casts a sympathetic eye on the proceedings. Grade: B

Still in Release
Mission: Impossible: III (PG-13)

Director: J.J. Abrams. With Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman. (126 min.)

Secret agent Ethan Hunt has retired from active service in the Impossible Mission Force but, of course, keeps signing on for new missions anyway. He is also set to marry the love of his life, a smiley nurse named Julia. Hoffman is Owen Davian - a bad-boy billionaire who makes most Bond villains look like wusses - who is behind a plot to incinerate the world with a substance code-named "rabbit's foot." "M:I:III" is an expertly engineered popcorn movie that also tries (and fails) to be a love story for the ages. Grade: B+

Poseidon (PG-13)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen. With Richard Dreyfuss, Kurt Russell. (99 min.)

A luxury cruise ship is hit by a rogue wave, rolls completely upside down, and begins to sink, leaving a band of stalwarts to try to work their way through all 13 passenger decks in order to escape. Director Petersen sticks to the bare bones of the plot and provides little comic relief. "Poseidon" would have been better if it was over the top. Grade: B+

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