Movie Guide

New in Theaters
The Curse of the Golden Flower (R)

Director: Zhang Yimou. With Gong Li, Chow Yun-Fat. (114 min.)

Zhang Yimou's latest extravaganza is about palace intrigue during the Tan Dynasty, and it's exhaustingly action-packed. Gong Li is the scheming empress whose husband, played by Chow Yun-Fat, appears to be poisoning her. Yimou has made some remarkable small-scale dramas, especially "Raise the Red Lantern," but in the past few years, with "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers," he seems intent on being the leading practitioner of high-style martial arts epics. Those last two films were often great fun, but here, the action spins out of control and the bright-hued cinematography can only be described as tutti-frutti. Grade: B
– Peter Rainer

Sex/Nudity: 4 scenes of innuendo. Violence: 15 scenes of martial arts and sword fighting, sometimes bloody. Profanity: None. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: None.

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Night at the Museum (PG)

Director: Shawn Levy. With Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson. (109 min.)

Anyone not responding to the trailer for this "Jumanji"-style fantasy-adventure with, "That looks stupid," should enjoy this light entertainment. Ben Stiller plays a loafing, divorced dad whose job as a night guard at New York's Museum of Natural History makes him privy to the magical, nocturnal life of the place. The script by "Reno 911!" creators Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon gives hyperkinetic life to both a fantastic set and comedy legends Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney. Kudos to Robin Williams for playing an over-the-top character like Teddy Roosevelt with uncharacteristic restraint. Grade: B
– Robert Newton

Rocky Balboa (PG)

Director: Sylvester Stallone. With Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young. (102 min.)

"Ludicrous" may come to moviegoers' thought when contemplating yet another Rocky film. When they realize that, yes, he's going to fight again, the absurdity becomes palpable. That said, Stallone's writing and direction pull off a considerable level of pathos and suspense as Rocky mourns his wife's passing and tries to develop a closer relationship with his resentful son. The supporting cast lends credence, with Young returning as Rocky's trainer, Paulie, and real-life boxing champ Antonio Tarver just fine as his opponent. You may enjoy this Rocky more if you missed some of the previous sequels. Grade: B–
– M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 scenes of boxing. Profanity: 19 mild expressions. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 6 scenes with cigarettes or cigars, 9 scenes with drinking.

We Are Marshall (PG)

Director: McG. With David Strathairn, Matthew McConaughey. (127 min.)

On Nov. 14, 1970, the football team of Marshall University in West Virginia was flying home from a game in North Carolina when the plane crashed, killing 75 players, coaches, and supporters. "We Are Marshall" shows what happened when the university president (Strathairn) hired a coach (McConaughey) to keep the tradition – and the town – alive. It's a powerful subject, but director McG and screenwriter Jamie Linden haul out every cliché in the playbook. Grade: C+
– P.R.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 15 scenes. Profanity: None. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 1 scene with drinking.

Still in Release
Eragon (PG)

Director: Stefen Fangmeier. With Edward Speleers, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Sienna Guillory. (104 min.)

Ruthless Galbatorix (Malkovich), became king of a mystical kingdom by killing all the dragons and most of their riders. His prized dragon egg will only hatch when it finds its predestined rider, who turns out to be a farm boy with knightly ambitions (Speleers). Throw in a grizzled former rider (Irons) as mentor, a telepathic dragon (voiced by Rachel Weisz), and a maiden to rescue, and you have all the elements of a medieval fantasy. Considering that Christopher Paolini started writing his "Eragon" novels at age 15 and his protagonist is 17, the adolescent tone is appropriate, but the film shouldn't look as if teenagers made it. Grade: C
– M.K.T

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 15 scenes. Profanity: None. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 1 scene with drinking.

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