Movie Guide

Capsule reviews of current movies and new releases.

New in theaters Black Book (R)

Director: Paul Verhoeven. With Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch. (145 min.)

Paul Verhoeven began his career in his native Netherlands with terrific, swashbuckling dramas such as "Soldier of Orange." Then he went Hollywood and became best known for "Basic Instinct" and the ineffable "Showgirls." Returning to the Netherlands to film for the first time in 20 years, Verhoeven has made a movie that is like a hybrid of his fine Dutch work and his Hollywood hackwork. Set mostly in World War II-era Holland and based in part on true events, it's about a young Jewish woman (Carice van Houten) whose family is murdered, and who then seeks revenge by covertly cozying up to the local Gestapo chief (Sebastian Koch, of "The Lives of Others"). The action is nonstop and often harrowing and well staged. But van Houten, while a charmer, doesn't adequately convey the disgust (and connivance) that her character would inevitably feel in such a situation. Grade: B
ā€“ Peter Rainer

Are We Done Yet? (PG)

Director: Steve Carr. With Ice Cube, Nia Long, John C. McGinley. (92 min.)

Desperate to get his family into better accommodations than an inner-city apartment, Nick Persons (Ice Cube) buys a beautiful country house. This sequel to "Are We There Yet?" is based on the 1948 classic "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." Nick, his bride (Nia Long), and two stepchildren soon learn two lessons in home buying: Have an independent inspector check the place out and know that realtors represent sellers, not buyers. Pretty much everything goes wrong. It's not as funny as it could be, but it's laudable that Ice Cube is making family-friendly movies. Grade: C+
ā€“ M.K. Terrell

The Reaping (R)

Director: Stephen Hopkins. With Hilary Swank, Stephen Rea, David Morrissey. (96 min.)

Professor Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank) specializes in finding scientific explanations for miracles. A remote Louisiana village calls on her to investigate their river, which has turned to blood. Townspeople believe it's a plague brought on by a little girl's supernatural murder of her brother. After about four more biblical plagues hit the area, Katherine starts to believe the child is indeed the devil's spawn. This creepy thriller has atmosphere to spare, and the effects are good, but it relies all too typically on nonsensically skewed religious ideas. Grade: Cā€“
ā€“ M.K.T.

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