Movie Guide

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Freedomland (R)

Director: Joe Roth. With Julianne Moore, Samuel L. Jackson, Edie Falco. (113 min.)

If "Freedomland" reminds you of Spike Lee's "Clockers," that's not by accident. Like that film, it's adapted by Richard Price from his novel and is set in the neighboring Northern New Jersey communities of Dempsy, predominantly poor and African-American, and the largely white blue-collar suburb of Gannon. And like Lee's film, it's terribly overwrought and overacted. Samuel L. Jackson is a detective investigating a woman, played by Julianne Moore, who claims to have been carjacked by a black man. It turns out her son was asleep in the back seat when the car was stolen. Director Joe Roth pumps up the hysteria and the racial rumbles, but a cooler hand would have made for a hotter movie.Grade: B-

Neil Young: Heart of Gold (PG)

Director: Jonathan Demme. With Neil Young, Emmylou Harris. (103 min.)

Jonathan Demme is perhaps the premier director of music documentaries - his Talking Heads film "Stop Making Sense" is a classic - and so it's a great pleasure to have this new film about Neil Young, filmed last summer in Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on the occasion of his "Prairie Wind" concert. Young is accompanied by Emmylou Harris; his wife, Pegi Young; and steel-guitarist Ben Keith, and Demme keeps the focus intently on Young's interaction with them. There are no intrusive cutaways to the audience. The music of "Prairie Wind," Young's latest album, is followed by songs taken mostly from the heartbreakingly beautiful "Harvest" and "Harvest Moon" albums. All in all, a visual and musical feast. Grade: A-

Still in Release
The Pink Panther (PG)

Director: Shawn Levy. With Steve Martin, Kevin Kline. (93 min.)

Steve Martin puts his own distinctive spin on Inspector Clouseau, the bumbling French detective. The staging of the physical comedy in "The Pink Panther" is not always adept, but Martin, who co-wrote the screenplay about the murder of a French soccer coach and the mysterious disappearance of the Pink Panther diamond, keeps spinning in his own orbit anyway. And what an orbit it is. Grade: A-

Sex/Nudity: 6 instances of innuendo. Violence: 8 instances of comic violence. Language: 4 mild expressions. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 3 instances of drinking.

Firewall (PG-13)

Director: Richard Loncraine. With Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany. (105 min.)

Harrison Ford plays a computer-security specialist who has to outwit a team of bank robbers when they take his family hostage. Ford has become a haggard exemplar of aging-man heroics. In "Firewall," he is once again called upon to go mano a mano with the bad guys, although, truth be told, he's getting a bit long in the tooth for such sport. Grade: C-

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