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Director: Neil Burger. With Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel. (110 min.)
Steven Millhauser's short story about a stage magician in turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna has been expanded by writer-director Neil Burger into an overly stately affair that often substitutes production values for imagination. Norton is Eisenheim, the illusionist who gets on the bad side of power-mad Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) while romancing the prince's betrothed, Duchess Sophie (Biel). Giamatti, in a Masterpiece Theater voice that sounds dubbed, plays the chief inspector who secretly sympathizes with Eisenheim. Eisenheim's magic tricks don't really carry much weight on screen because the movie medium is itself a hall of illusions. We can't respond to his effects the way we might if we were watching him live in a theater. Grade: B–
– Peter Rainer
Director: Bart Freundlich. With David Duchovny, Julianne Moore. (103 min.)
This so-so New York comedy is reminiscent of a million others from directors ranging from Woody Allen to Neil Simon to – big drop here – Ed Burns. Writer-director Freundlich likes lots of jabber, and his talented cast members do their best to comply. Moore (Freundlich's wife) and Duchovny play a married couple on the rocks; Billy Crudup and the omnipresent Maggie Gyllenhaal are an unmarried couple on the rocks. If a movie that uses the word "relationship" 7,000 times puts your teeth on edge, stay away. Grade: B–
Director: Jim Sonzero. With Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder. (90 min.)
Two hackers unwittingly doom the world when they unleash a computer virus that turns every electronic device into a conduit for deadly ghosts. Among the first to be killed is Mattie Webber's ex-boyfriend, one of the hackers. Mattie (Bell) teams up with a new friend (Somerhalder) in a desperate race to shut down the program. The film cleverly attempts to make technology as scary as the ghosts, but those most likely to fear technology are least likely to see it. Grade: C
– M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of mildly implied sex. Violence: 16 instnaces. Profanity: 8 strong expressions, 12 milder. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 4 scenes of smoking and/or drinking.
Director: Peter Hewitt. With Tim Allen, Courteney Cox, Chevy Chase. (83 min.)
A superhero, nicknamed "Concussion," has been in suspended animation for 30 years after a misguided experiment turned him into a villain. Now he's loose, bent on revenge toward the government installation that transformed him. His brother, retired superhero "Zoom" (Allen), gets the call to train a crew of superhero kids to neutralize the threat. It's OK entertainment for preteens, while Cox adds some slapstick and love interest as a klutzy psychiatrist. Grade: C+
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: 10 scenes. Profanity: 3 mild expressions. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: none.