Movie Guide

New in Theaters

The Peaceful Warrior (PG-13)

Director: Victor Salva. With Scott Mechlowitz, Nick Nolte, Amy Smart. (120 min.)

Based on the New Age nonfiction bestseller "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman, this woozily uplifting saga is big on homilies and deficient in just about everything else. The young Millman (Mechlowicz) is a promising gymnast at the University of California, Berkeley, who suffers a shattering motorcycle accident and, with the help of a garage mechanic guru named Socrates (Nolte), gets his life back. I prefer the original Socrates to this half-baked Obi-Wan. Grade: D
- Peter Rainer

The War Tapes (Unrated)

Director: Deborah Scranton. With soldiers of the US military. (97 min.)

This eye-opening documentary about the Iraq war was filmed primarily by National Guardsman during their tour of duty. The principal filmmakers were Zack Bazzi, a Lebanese-American college student; Steve Pink, a carpenter who also keeps a written diary of the war; and Mike Moriarty, a father of two who says he joined the National Guard following 9/11 on the condition that he be sent to Iraq. The women they left behind - a mother, a wife, a girlfriend - are also interviewed. We also observe the soldiers' uneasy return to civilian life. This film is apolitical in the best sense - it bears witness to a time and a place. Grade: B+
- P.R.

Still in Release
Keeping Up with the Steins (PG-13)

Director: Scott Marshall. With Jeremy Piven, Darryl Hannah, Daryl Sabara. (99 min.)

In Tinseltown it's not the bar mitzvah that counts; it's the party afterward. With his rite of passage just weeks away, Benjamin Fiedler (Sabara) is having enough trouble with stage fright and learning the haphtara. He doesn't need more pressure from his father (Piven), a Hollywood agent who is trying to outdo a rival who held his son's bash on a cruise ship. Benjamin is becoming a man, but it's his dad who needs to grow up. Marshall's directorial debut neatly balances reverence, farce, and family values. Grade: B
- M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: 4 instances of innuendo, 1 instance of posterior nudity. Violence: none. Profanity: 1 strong term, 12 milder. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 6 instances of alcohol use, including 1 by preteens

X-Men: The Last Stand (PG-13)

Director: Brett Ratner. With Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen. (104 min.)

In "X-Men: The Last Stand," a cure has been developed for mutancy. Magneto (McKellen) leads the charge against the antidote by annexing the Mutant Brotherhood and intoning, in his plummiest Shakespearean tones: "Nobody is going to cure us. We are the cure." I had a reasonably good time at "The Last Stand," the third film in a trilogy, but these comic-book movies all tend to look the same. The "heart" of the story - the choice these mutants must make about whether to stay as they are or become "normal" - rarely comes into play. Grade: B-
- P.R.

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