Page 2 of 4
FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER 2 stars (PG) If it weren't for the bad casting, dialogue and direction, this sequel about a surrogate family of super-powered celebrities might be a pretty good movie. The extraterrestrial menace from the Silver Surfer (Doug Jones, with voice by Laurence Fishburne) gives some urgency and scope that's faithful to the classic Marvel Comics series, but unfortunately it's not enough to redeem the film's awful sense of humor. -- Holman
GOLDEN DOOR 3 stars (PG-13) Members of a deeply superstitious Sicilian family experience drastic levels of culture shock while emigrating to America in the early 20th century. Despite its slow pace, the film deserves attention for its sympathetic (at times surreal) portrait of the cruelties of the immigration experience. -- Holman
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX 4 stars (PG-13) Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) attempts to defend against evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) are hindered when cruel but cutesy-voiced Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) seizes control of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Low on jokes and wonder, Phoenix offers the tightest, most focused film in the franchise, that plays like a taut, anti-authority thriller rich with political metaphors. It's The Empire Strikes Back of the franchise. -- Holman
IMAX THEATER Hurricane on the Bayou (NR) Shot before and after the unprecedented devastation of Hurricane Katrina by director Greg MacGillivray, this documentary brings into focus the startling loss of Louisiana's rapidly disappearing coastal wetlands that are New Orleans' first line of defense against deadly storms. Starring Meryl Streep, Allen Toussaint II and Tab Benoit. Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France (NR) explores the minds of cyclists training for the Tour de France and studies the effects of the race on their brains. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300. www.fernbank.edu.
INTRODUCING THE DWIGHTS (R) Tim Dwight (Khan Chittenden) learns to deal with the volatile emotions of the women in his life when his dream girl, (Emma Booth) and his overbearing mother (Brenda Blethyn) clash in director Cherie Nowlan's comedy.
JOSHUA 2 stars (R) Director George Ratliff's (Hell House) devil-child Manhattan Gothic borrows heavily from Rosemary's Baby in telling the story of an eerily perfect 9-year-old prep schooler whose creepy behavior begins to scare his yuppie parents after they bring home his newborn sister. Beyond updating the semi-cheesy demonic kid horror genre with a gloss of indie cool (hep cats Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga star), Ratliff doesn't appear to have much of consequence to say and his psychological thriller ends up a silly muddle. -- Feaster
KNOCKED UP 4 stars (R) On the foundation of just two films, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and now Knocked Up, writer/director Judd Apatow is rewriting the adolescent sex comedy a la Porky's and American Pie with smarter, more incisive -- and hilarious -- results. The story of an overachieving beauty (Katherine Heigl) whose one-night stand with overgrown slacker Seth Rogen leaves her with child, the gimmick is a little creaky, but the humor and generational read on savvy women and Peter Pan men is spot-on. -- Feaster
LA VIE EN ROSE 5 stars (PG-13) An extraordinary, transcendent biopicture treating the trauma-plagued life of parental neglect, drug addiction and loss but also the amazing artistic legacy of French national icon and chanteuse Edith Piaf. Olivier Dahan's direction is stunning and star Marion Cotillard disappears into the role with remarkable ease. -- Feaster
LICENSE TO WED 1 star (PG-13) This toxic-waste comedy, offensive in its idiocy, places loathsome characters in absurd situations. Under the disinterested supervision of director Ken Kwapis, four writers jury-build a premise that finds engaged couple Ben (John Krasinski) and Sadie (Mandy Moore) forced to pass a marriage-preparation course supervised by the cruel and voyeuristic Rev. Frank (Robin Williams). Williams is in his manic, whoring mode here, an approach well past its expiration date. Williams has made so many one-star comedies it's impossible to keep count at this point. But rest assured there's a multiplex in hell that screens them on a perpetual loop. -- Matt Brunson
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD 3 stars (PG-13) In the fourth Die Hard film, supercop John McClane (Bruce Willis) and a scruffy hacker (Justin Long, the "I'm a Mac" guy) thwart the plan of an evil genius (Timothy Olyphant) to crash America's computer, banking and utility services. Director Len Wiseman offers a series of loud, elaborate 1980s-style action scenes (not to mention some old-school misogyny), but can't measure up to director John McTiernan's two efforts in the series. -- Holman