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Movie Guide

August 11, 2006



New in Theaters
Accepted (PG-13)

Director: Steve Pink. With Justin Long, Adam Herschman. (90 min.)

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Eight colleges have rejected Bartleby Gaines (Long), and his parents are on his case. Several friends are in the same predicament. Their solution: Set up a fake college Internet site and send themselves acceptance letters, then rent an abandoned mental hospital as a campus. Troubles begin when hundreds of other would-be students find the website and show up waving tuition checks. And then come legal challenges from the elite college up the hill. "Sophomoric" doesn't begin to describe the humor (most of the characters are freshmen after all), but you may find some laughs in spite of yourself. Grade: C
– M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 12 instances of innuendo, 2 images of a phallic sculpture. Violence: 2 instances. Profanity: 111 expressions, including 62 harsh. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 8 scenes of drinking, 1 drug deal.

Conversations With Other Women (R)

Director: Hans Canosa. With Aaron Eckhart, Helena Bonham Carter. (84 min.)

Eckhart and Carter play old lovers who meet up at a wedding reception after many years. She's married, he's involved, but for a night at least they attempt to put the rest of their lives on hold. Gabrielle Zevin's screenplay is second-tier Pinter. The actors, who portray a reunion that is more sparring match than love fest, strike occasional sparks. (But why must Carter always look so chalk white?) The story is shown in split-screen, an effect that has no rationale except artiness. Grade: B–
– Peter Rainer

The House of Sand (R)

Director: Andrucha Waddington. With Fernanda Montenegro, Fernanda Torres.

(103 min.)

Resembling at times the Japanese metaphysical drama "Woman in the Dunes," Waddington's film takes in three generations of mothers and daughters enduring life in the remote northern Brazilian landscape of Maranhao between 1910 and 1969. Mother and daughter are played, in successive stages, by Montenegro and her real-life daughter, Torres. The visuals are often abstractly beautiful – you haven't seen this much sand since "Lawrence of Arabia." Montenegro, the star of "Central Station," and her daughter make a remarkable pair. They hold your attention even when the emptily portentous story does not. Grade: B+
– P.R.

Step Up (PG-13)

Director: Anne Fletcher. With Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan. (98 min.)

Vandalizing a Baltimore arts school gets troublemaker Tyler Gage (Tatum) 200 hours of community service, mopping floors at that very school. Tyler's street-dancing talent wins him a reprieve when a student (Dewan) needs a partner to rehearse for her senior dance recital. Choreographer Fletcher's directorial debut may be a bit clunky, and how many teen flicks like this have we seen? But its themes of commitment and redemption around go down easily. Plus, the dance numbers are worth waiting for. Grade: C+
– M.K.T.

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