Director: Nick Guthe. With Alec Baldwin, Nikki Reed, Carrie-Ann Moss. (91 min.)
Writer-director Nick Guthe's black comedy is a riff on such movies as "Lolita," "Heathers," "Poison Ivy," and "Pretty Poison" – all far better films than this. Nikki Reed ("Thirteen") plays Mini, a high school hottie who gets back at her gold-digging mother (Moss) by carrying on an affair with her rich stepfather (Baldwin). What begins as a twisted sex romp turns film noir-ish. Guthe is so anxious to show us what a larcenous tramp Mini is that he never shows us any other sides to her. We have her pegged from the get-go, even if no one in the movie does. Grade: C
– Peter Rainer
Director: Keenan Ivory Wayans. With Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans. (90 min.)
Jewel thief Calvin (Marlon Wayans) is so small that when a stolen diamond winds up in the home of a yuppie couple (Shawn Wayans, Kerry Washington), he poses as an abandoned baby to retrieve it. The couple's acceptance of him leads to nonstop slapstick, potty jokes, and sexual gags. The film stays within its PG-13 rating – barely. Grade: C–
– M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 10 instances of innuendo, 2 of implied sex. Violence: 25 instances, mostly cartoonish. Profanity: 1 strong expression, 30 milder. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 5 scenes with drinking, 1 with smoking, 1 drug reference.
Director: François Ozon. With Melvil Poopaud, Jeanne Moreau. (85 min.)
Writer-director François Ozon's best film, "Under the Sand," starred Charlotte Rampling as a woman who suddenly and inexplicably loses her husband. Her despair suffused the screen. In this new film, Ozon is working similar terrain. It's about Romain (Poupaud), a gay man with terminal cancer who attempts to come to terms with his condition. What makes the film intriguing, and somewhat off-putting, is that Romain is deliberately portrayed as a heel; he strains his relations with his lover and his family, except for his grandmother (Moreau), to the breaking point. His illness has given him license to be brutally honest with everyone, including, in the end, himself. Grade: B
Director: Gore Verbinski. With Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley. (150 min.)
The surprise success of the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" was due almost entirely to Johnny Depp's campy, vampy portrayal of Capt. Jack Sparrow. In the disappointing sequel, Depp doesn't figure in a large part of the action. Instead, we are given interminable scenes featuring Will (Bloom) and Elizabeth (Knightley), who are arrested on their wedding day for facilitating Jack's escape from the law. Even Depp is a letdown. He seems to be impersonating Jack instead of inhabiting him. This is a franchise movie that is pretending to be a lot hipper than it is. Grade: B–
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 37 scenes. Language: 1 mild expression. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 6 instances of drinking.