Film Clips 

Capsule reviews for recently released movies

Opening Friday

CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR 4 stars (R) See review.

JUNO 4 stars (PG-13) See review.

THE KITE RUNNER 3 stars (PG-13) See review.

NATIONAL TREASURE 2: BOOK OF SECRETS (PG) In the sequel to National Treasure, treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) follows clues in a mystery involving John Wilkes Booth and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Jon Turteltaub directs.

P.S. I LOVE YOU (PG-13) When Holly Kennedy's (Hilary Swank) husband dies from an illness, she is left grief-stricken. She discovers her late husband has planned out 10 monthly messages to guide her through recovery, which help her slowly transition to a new life. Directed by Richard LaGravenese.

THE RED BALLOON/WHITE MANE (NR) The classic French short film The Red Balloon is the charming story of a boy befriended by an expressive red balloon, which proceeds to follow him around throughout his day. The film is co-featured with White Mane, the story of a boy's love for a wild horse that only he can tame.

STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING (NR) Frank Langella stars as Leonard Schiller, a once-famous New York writer who is both shaken and emboldened when a beautiful grad student invades his isolation for her thesis about his novels. Andrew Wagner directs.

SWEENEY TODD 5 stars (R) See review.

WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY (R) John C. Reilly stars in Jake Kasdan's film about the tumultuous life of fictional singer Dewey Cox.

Opening Tuesday

THE DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY (PG-13) Julien Schnabel directs in the remarkable true story of French Elle editor-in-chief Jean-Dominique Bauby whose sudden stroke at age 43 leaves his entire body paralyzed except for his left eye.

THE GREAT DEBATERS (PG-13) Denzel Washington stars and directs in the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College in Texas. In 1935 Tolson created the school's first debate team, leading them to challenge Harvard in the national championship.

THE SAVAGES (R) Two siblings (Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman) grown apart emotionally and geographically must come together to care for an elderly parent. Tamara Jenkins directs.

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR 2: REQUIEM (R) The follow-up to Alien vs. Predator features the iconic monsters waging yet another brutal battle in a Colorado town.

Duly Noted

MEDIUM COOL (1969) (R) Set in Chicago during the tumultuous week of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Haskell Wexler's film combines documentary with fiction to examine the role of the media in determining what makes the news. Wed., Dec. 26. 14th St. Playhouse, 173 14th St. 404-733-4738.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) (R) The cult classic of cult classics, the musical horror spoof follows an all-American couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick) to the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a drag queen/mad scientist from another galaxy. Midnight, Fri. at Plaza Theatre, and Sat. at Peachtree Cinema & Games, Norcross.


3:10 TO YUMA 4 stars (R) Christian Bale plays a tough but indebted rancher hired out to help escort a ruthless, charismatic outlaw (Russell Crowe) to the prison train that gives the film its title. After such revisionist Westerns as Unforgiven and HBO's "Deadwood," director James Mangold (Walk the Line) offers a pleasingly old-fashioned oater full of horses, six-guns, rugged landscapes and even more rugged actors. Crowe has the plum part, but Bale doesn't let him steal the movie. -- Curt Holman

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE 3 stars (PG-13) A handful of young Americans and one Liverpudlian sing Beatles songs amid the tumult of the 1960s in this trippy musical from director Julie Taymor (Titus, Frida). The trope of naming characters after Beatles songs, such as central lovers Jude (Jim Sturgess) and Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), can be ridiculously heavy-handed, but the film's gorgeous visuals, appealing musical numbers and unstated Iraq war subtext keep it from being a baby boomer wallow in nostalgia. -- Holman

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS 3 stars (PG) This fluffy film chronicles the Chipmunks' rise to hyperpitched harmonizing fame and their narrow escape from the pitfalls of child stardom. On the human side, Jason Lee as Dave Seville looks uneasy living life in a partially CGI world, whereas David Cross, playing an exploitative record exec, basks in his screen time. Here, modernization and re-imagining turn out to be not such distasteful concepts, and even allow for a dash of satire most appreciated by fans of the earlier TV series. -- Allison C. Keene

AMERICAN GANGSTER 3 stars (R) This sprawling crime drama set in Vietnam War-era Harlem pits Denzel Washington's fastidious rising mob boss against Russell Crowe's doggedly honest narcotics cop. As usual, director Ridley Scott crafts images that mark him as an artist of color and light, but the premise's shades of gray elude him, particularly the implication that the mobster's success represents a triumph of African-American enterprise. The cast ultimately lives up to the film's sweeping social statements that emulate the gritty idealism of Serpico more than the bloody melodrama of Scarface. -- Holman



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