Movie Guide

New in Theaters
Candy (R)

Director: Neil Armfield. With Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush. (108 min.)

Movies about junkies always seem to resemble one another, probably because the clinical nature of addiction is so predictable. There has to be a good reason to put yourself through yet another junkie odyssey and "Candy" flunks the test. Heath Ledger plays a sort of poet who gets romantically involved with the beautiful Candy (Abbie Cornish), a painter who comes from an upscale, conservative background. In between shooting up, they romp and haggle. Rehab comes not a moment too soon. Grade: C
– Peter Rainer

The Nativity Story (PG)

Director: Catherine Hardwicke. With Keisha Castle-Hughes, Oscar Isaac. (101 min.)

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The Vatican recently hosted the world première of this film, the first time the Holy See has officially approved a mainstream Hollywood production. From an ecclesiastical standpoint, there is certainly less to object to here than, say, "The Da Vinci Code," but it's a rather lifeless re-telling of the Nativity, with greeting-card imagery and stiff performances. Keisha Castle-Hughes, who was so wonderful in "Whale Rider," plays Mary, and she seems pinioned by the filmmaker's blandly reverential approach. Grade: C+
– P.R.

Still in Release
Casino Royale (PG-13)

Director: Martin Campbell. With Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green. (144 min.)

"Casino Royale" unveils Craig as the new James Bond, and, except for Sean Connery, he's the best. Craig makes you aware of something that the Bond series, in its pursuit of steamy sex and cartoon action, quickly lost sight of: 007 is a killer. That's what he's licensed to do. Bond's first mission pits him against Le Chiffre (Mikkelsen), banker to the world's terrorists. By bringing "Casino Royale" into the age of global terrorism, director Campbell risks turning the Bond franchise into a real-world fright show instead of an escape hatch for our action fantasies. But in the end, it's still Bond, James Bond. Grade: B+
– P.R.

Happy Feet (PG)

Director: George Miller. With the voices of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams. (108 min.)

Dropped on his head while still in the egg, Mumble the emperor penguin (Elijah Wood) is "differently abled." He tap dances, but he can't sing the pop tunes that will attract a mate. His dancing is such a break with custom that the flock's elders claim it's driving fish away. Mumbles thinks that humans' overfishing of the seas is the cause and sets out to get them to stop. Much indebted to "March of the Penguins," this animated feature ranges from cartoon cute to spectacularly beautiful to environmentally aware. Scary encounters with predators may be too intense for some younger children, though. Grade: B
– M.K. Terrell

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