NEW IN TOWN (PG-13) An affluent executive from Miami learns to love blue-collar country life when her corporate job relocates her to Minnesota.
TAKEN (PG-13) After his 17-year-old daughter is kidnapped for sex slavery, her father (Liam Neeson) does everything he can to return her to safety.
THE UNINVITED (PG-13) A creepy ghost and mean parents await a young girl when she returns from treatment at a mental hospital.
WALTZ WITH BASHIR See review.
THE ORDER OF MYTHS See review.
MINUTES TO GO A one-night screening presented by Film Love celebrates the 50th anniversary of William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch. On view will be two short films made by Burroughs and Brion Gysin while living in Paris, as well as rare books and other ephemera from the Danowski collection at Emory University. $6. Fri., Jan. 30, 8 p.m. Eyedrum, 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.
GODZILLA, MOTHRA AND KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK 3 stars. (2001) Possessed of one of the greatest titles in film history, this man-in-suit Japanese monster movie features Godzilla as a marauding bad guy who takes on all challengers. Not the best Godzilla movie ever, but a lot of fun. $10, $7 matinee (children under 12 free). Sat., Jan. 31, 1 and 10 p.m. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.
AUSTRALIA 2 stars. (PG-13) An English aristocrat (Nicole Kidman) and an Australian cattle driver (Hugh Jackman) become reluctant partners for a cattle drive across the outback at the eve of World War II. Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann indulges his taste for cartoonish hypberbole for the film's hyperactive, grating first 45 minutes, before settling down into a more conventional, tolerable Old School sprawling epic romance. -- Curt Holman
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON 4 stars. (PG-13) Remarkable special effects show Brad Pitt age backwards from an elderly infant to a middle-aged hunk in this adaptation of an F. Scott Fitzgerald story. Fight Club director David Fincher crafts fascinating and haunting images, and Tilda Swinton shines in the centerpiece romance, set at a wintry Russian hotel. Screenwriter Eric Roth borrows too heavily from his Forrest Gump script, however, particularly in the title characterís lifelong relationship with an inconstant dancer (Cate Blanchett). -- Holman
THE DARK KNIGHT 4 stars. (PG-13) Reopening in conventional theaters as well as IMAX, director Christopher Nolan's follow-up to Batman Begins features such sharp conflicts, gritty locations and breathless action scenes that the flamboyant hero and villain costumes seem almost superfluous. -- Holman
DEFIANCE 4 stars. (R) In Western Poland during World War II, the Bielski brothers (Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber) lead an armed resistance to Nazi invaders while forming a woodland sanctuary for their fellow Jews. Glory and The Last Samurai director Edward Zwick helms the most exciting yet thematically unambiguous of the current wave of Holocaust films, marked more by thrilling combat scenes and beautifully photographed scenes of harsh winters. -- Holman
GRAN TORINO 3 stars. (R) For possibly his last screen role, Clint Eastwood plays a pistol-packing, bigoted Korean war vet who becomes reluctantly involved with his Hmong neighbors. Gran Turino's ideas are about as obvious as a bad Stephen King adaptation, but thereís something irresistible about the filmís middle section, when Eastwood bonds with a young man (Bee Vang) over manual labor. Gran Turino walks a fine line between critiquing vigilante tactics and endorsing them, but Eastwoodís command of the screen ultimately prevails over the filmís clunky qualities. -- Holman
INKHEART 2 stars. (PG) A single dad (Brendan Fraser) who has the power to make characters from books emerge into the real world (and vice versa), tries to find his long-lost wife (Sienna Guillory) while contending with literary characters run wild. Iain Softley directs this adaptation of a popular Young Adult novel but never seems to have a firm grasp on the premise or the magical rules. Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren and especially Andy Serkis (Gollum from The Lord of the Rings) seem to have emerged from a much better film than the one that surrounds them, and the film features amusing references to The Wizard of Oz. -- Holman LAST CHANCE HARVEY 2 stars. (PG-13) While visiting London for his estranged daughter's wedding, Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) finds a shot at love with single airline employee Kate Walker (Emma Thompson). Admirably, director Joel Hopkins gives plenty of breathing room to the two leads, who happen to be two of the finest actors of their respective generations, but the film doesn't give Hoffman or Thompson enough interesting things to do and fritters away its good will on Harvey's career crisis. -- Holman
NOTORIOUS 2 stars. (R) Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. (played by likeable newcomer Jamal 'Gravy' Woolard) rises from the violence of 1980s Brooklyn drug dealing to the violence of the 1990s hip-hop scene. The film captures some of Biggieís hip-hop excitement without replicating the charisma such figures as Tupac Shakur (Anthony Mackie), and the details of the East Coast/West Coast rap rivalry prove disappointingly sketch. Antonique Smith and Naturi Naughton offer sultry support as Faith Evans and Lil' Kim, respectively. -- Holman
OUTLANDER 3 stars. (R) Vikings vs. aliens! A human from another planet (Jim Caviezel of The Passion of the Christ) crashes his spaceship in Norway circa the Iron Age, and must enlist the suspicious mead-swillers against a glowing, whip-tailed beastie called a Morwen. Director Howard McCain deserves his own Hollywood action franchise for helming a film that's just silly enough to be fun, while taking it just seriously enough to be exciting and kinda cool. -- Holman
THE READER 4 stars. (R) A German law student (David Kross) discovers that his older-woman fling (Kate Winslet) from his teenage years was a former guard at Auschwitz. The Hours' Stephen Daldry directs one of the seasonís richest and most challenging films, in which the central relationship unfolds as a powerful, two-pronged character study as well as providing sturdy metaphors for a nationís guilt, responsibility and forgiveness. Playing the same character in different decades, Kross and Ralph Fiennes show how short relationships can reverberate across a personís life, but Kate Winslet owns the film with her career-best leading performance. -- Holman
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD 2 stars. (R) A young, miserably married couple (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) seek to escape the suburban rat race of 1950s America in this adaptation of Richard Yates' acclaimed novel. Seldom has such an intelligent, impeccably-mounted production seemed so out of sync with the cultural zeitgeist: DiCaprio and Winslet dig deeply in their performances, but its hard to feel sorry for such superficial, prosperous characters at a time of foreclosures and layoffs. Director Sam Mendes (Winslet's husband) returns to themes he explored in his Oscar-winner American Beauty, but humorlessly hammers ideas handled with more wit and subtlety on "Mad Men." -- Holman
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE 3 stars. (R) Police suspect a young man (Dev Patel) of cheating his way to the brink of victory on India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" although he's motivated by reconnecting to his long-lost sweetheart (Freida Pinto). Trainspotting director Danny Boyle transplants his trademark narrative velocity to sprawling Mumbai for a harrowing, Dickensian tale of children in the Indian underworld. Slumdog Millionaire builds to such a thrilling, uplifting climax that it's hard to resist the manipulative nature of its first hour. -- Holman
THE WRESTLER 4 stars. (R) Mickey Rourke justly earns his heralded comeback with his humble, dignified performance as Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, a washed-up 1980s pro wrestler wondering if his life will have a second act. Director Darren Aronofsky makes the most of Rourke's ravaged features and pumped-up physique by capturing the showbiz-style beauty treatments of wrestlers and the horrible punishment they can inflict on each other. In the last moments, Aronofsky overturns cliches like a wrestler hitting you upside the head with a folding chair. -- Holman
VALKYRIE 2 stars. (PG-13) Tom Cruise dons a much-maligned eye-patch to play wounded German Col. Claus von Stauffenberg who led a coup and assassination attempt on Adolph Hitler in the waning months of World War II. Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer creates an effective mood of paranoia as the conspirators (including Kenneth Branagh and Bill Nighy) seek allies for their treasonous plan. Despite some heist-style thrills, the characters remain too one-dimensional for audiences to invest much emotion in their fates. -- Holman
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