Director: Woody Allen. With Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Woody Allen. (96 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Woody Allen's second consecutive film set and shot in England – his first was last year's "Match Point" – is a very mixed bag. Scarlett Johansson plays Sondra, an American journalism student visiting friends in London who finds herself pursuing a hot tip about a serial killer. The catch is, the tip is being provided to her by a late British journalist (Ian McShane) from beyond the grave. Parts of the film plays as a straight thriller – "Match Point," in fact – while the rest is more like "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion." The collision of sleek melodrama and old Woody Allen stand-up routines is at times oddly effective and at other times just odd. Grade: B
– Peter Rainer
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo, 3 scenes of implied sex. Violence: 2 scenes. Profanity: 13 mild expressions. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 6 scenes with drinking, 2 with smoking.
Director: Heather MacDonald. With Marion Coles, Elaine Ellis, Cleo Hayes. (81 min.)
MacDonald had the winning idea to make a documentary about the Silver Belles, '30s-era hoofers who danced together at such legendary Harlem emporiums as the Apollo and Cotton Club. Now in their 80s and 90s, they have reassembled and perform in New York concert halls as audiences cheer them on. The film could be more adept and probing, but the ladies – Cleo Hayes, Marion Coles, Elaine Ellis, Fay Ray, and Geri Kennedy – are delightful. The oldest in the bunch, the late Bertye Lou Wood, who once led the Apollo chorus line in a groundbreaking strike that established a performers' union, is radiant. Grade: B
Director: John A. Davis. With the voices of Nicolas Cage, Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep. (80 min.)
The ants call him "Lucas the Destroyer." Ten-year-old Lucas Nickle, frustrated over regular beatings from the neighborhood bully, takes it out on the anthill in his yard. The ants retaliate by shrinking him to their size. They want to eat him, but their queen sentences him to learn their culture. ("Discover your inner ant," his mentor advises.) Resisting at first, Lucas eventually becomes a team player and saves the colony. The art direction and animation are superb, but it may be worth the extra bucks to see it in IMAX 3-D. Grade: B–
– M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: none. Violence: 10 instances. Profanity: 1 mild expression. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 2 instances of smoking.