Movie Guide

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New in Theaters
The King (Unrated)

Director: James Marsh. With Gael García Bernal, William Hurt. (105 min.)

Gael García Bernal plays Elvis Valderez, newly discharged from the Navy, who makes his way to a small Texas town and presents himself to the local pastor (Hurt) as the son he never knew. The offspring of a relationship between a prostitute and the priest in his pre-born-again days, Elvis also takes a shine to his half sister (Pell James). The first-time director, James Marsh, and his co-writer Milo Addica (who wrote "Monster's Ball"), sustain a black-comic tone, and the performances, as far they go, are quietly chilling. But they don't go far enough, and neither does the movie. It's a sick joke inflated to parable size. Grade: B

The Omen (R)

Director: John Moore. With Julia Stiles, Liev Schreiber. (110 min.)

Recommended: Default

There was no reason to have remade "The Omen" and so, of course, it has been remade. This is one of those movies that profits from very low expectations. If you go in expecting something dreadful, be assured: It's only near dreadful. Liev Schreiber, looking like he has just emerged from a root-canal job, plays the Gregory Peck role of the US ambassador to Britain who can't accept the fact that his Damien is really the son of Beelzebub. Or is it just that Schreiber can't accept the fact that he's in this movie, which has the temerity to include 9/11 footage in its panoply of horrors? In an amusing piece of casting, Mia Farrow plays the boy's nanny. Grade: C

Still in Release
The Break-Up (PG-13)

Director: Peyton Reed. With Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston. (105 min.)

Gary (Vaughn), a tour-bus operator in Chicago, spots Brooke (Aniston), an upscale art-gallery employee, at a Cubs game and puts the rush on her with his motormouth come-ons. They end up sharing an elegant condo, but eventually the relationship sours. Because both Gary and Brooke want to remain in the condo, they end up living in separate battle zones around a common area. "The Break-Up" may be about relationships, but it looks like it was made by people who have never been in one. Grade: D+

Clean (R)

Director: Olivier Assayas. With Maggie Cheung, Nick Nolte. (111 min.)

Most movies about junkies tend in the same direction - downward. "Clean" is a rare example of a film where the drug addict secures a second chance. Emily (Cheung), who has just lost her longtime rock musician boyfriend, Lee, to a heroin overdose, decamps to her old bohemian stomping grounds in Paris - only to fall back into drug dependency. This is one movie where a character's spiritual redemption doesn't seem like a plot convenience. Grade: A-

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