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Film Clips 

Capsule reviews for recently released movies

Opening Friday

10,000 B.C. (PG-13) Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) directs this epic tale of a man's quest into new territory to rescue the object of his affection from a band of raiders. While amassing troops along the way, he discovers new civilizations, prehistoric animals and tyrannical gods, and discovers his destiny to save all of mankind in the process.

ALICE'S HOUSE (Not Rated) See review.

THE BANK JOB (R) See review.

COLLEGE ROAD TRIP (G) Melanie (Raven Symone) is excited to spread her wings and travel to prospective universities on a girls-only road trip. But her plans are shattered when her overprotective police-chief father (Martin Lawrence) insists on accompanying her instead.

DIVA (NR) See review.

EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE ITALIAN (R) Jay Jablonski and Cerina Vincent star in this romantic comedy about two non-Italians who pretend to be Italian to impress each other. Jason Todd Ipson writes and directs.

MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY (PG-13) Set in the late 1930s, this romantic film focuses on Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand), a laid-off governess who decides to seize the day and apply for a position as a social secretary for an actress and singer, Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams). Also staring Lee Pace, Ciarán Hinds, Shirley Henderson, Mark Strong and Tom Payne.

Duly Noted

PASSPORT TO GREEK FILM See review.

SPORTS AND CHANGE FILM SERIES This Emory film series features mostly 35 mm films dealing with race in the context of athletics, every Thursday night through March 20. All films start at 8 p.m. and are shown in White Hall, room 205, Emory campus. 404-727-6761. www.filmstudies.emory.edu.

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.

Continuing

4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS 5 stars (NR) Heralded as more evidence of the Romanian New Wave, Cristian Mungiu's taut, disturbing drama is set in 1987, when Nicolae Ceausescu's misguided social policy virtually outlawed abortion. Anamaria Marinca gives a complex performance as a polytechnic student trying to help her friend procure an illegal abortion, and caught up in the country's nightmarish bureaucracy and corruption. It could be science fiction, but the film's grounding in recent Eastern European history and the ongoing battle over reproductive issues makes it especially eerie. -- Felicia Feaster

27 DRESSES 1 star (PG-13) From the reprehensible subgenre of chick flicks that delight in the humiliation of a stereotypically girly heroine, this dim little comedy stars Knocked Up's Katherine Heigl as Jane, a secretary who is always the bridesmaid and never the bride, and in love with her boss (Edward Burns). She attracts the attention of a newspaper reporter (James Marsden) who wants to blow the lid off of the wedding racket by writing an article about Jane. Not even a guilty pleasure. -- Feaster

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATED SHORT FILMS (NR) Now you can actually see those obscure but accomplished short live-action and animated films that you see win statuettes at the Oscar show every year. Highlights include the live-action Western romance "The Tonto Woman," based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, as well as "At Night's" tale of friendship among three women on a Danish cancer ward. The animated shorts mostly snub humor and computer animation for more serious fare, with "Madame Tutli-Putli's" nightmarish train ride being the most impressive of the lot. -- Holman

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR 2: REQUIEM 3 stars (R) The residents of a sleepy Colorado town become trapped in a grudge match between the deadly title roles of the Alien and Predator movies. It's not exactly a good movie, but it's a lot better at being a bad movie than the previous Alien vs. Predator, creating a fast pace and a moody atmosphere that make up for the flat acting and dialogue. See it in a grindhouse frame of mind. -- 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 is 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

ATONEMENT 4 stars (R) An intelligent but confused adolescent girl (Saoirse Ronan) tells a lie that separates two young lovers (Keira Knightley and James McAvoy). Joe Wright crafts an insightful adaptation of Ian McEwan's acclaimed novel that begins with an intimate look at the passions and frustrations at an English country estate, and expands to include the destruction of World War II. Playing the same character at different ages, Ronan, Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave offer a devastating portrayal of guilt and the inability of words to undue their power to harm. -- Holman

BE KIND REWIND (PG-13) A lovable loser (Jack Black) accidentally erases all the videos at the rental store where his best friend (Mos Def) works. The duo decides to recreate any movie that the loyal customers ask for, filming their own versions of classic films. Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) directs.

BEE MOVIE 2 stars (PG) After discovering life outside the hive and meeting a human florist (Renee Zellweger), a young bee (Jerry Seinfeld) sues the human race for the honey industry's exploitative practices. The closer Bee Movie hovers to Seinfeld's appealing brand of observational humor, the bigger laughs it finds, but the script flits in so many different directions, we can't help but remember that story wasn't always the strong suit of Seinfeld's eponymous "show about nothing." -- Holman

BONNEVILLE 2 stars (PG) Not inoffensive, just a little on the corny side, this sistahood-is-powerful road movie follows a trio of middle-aged friends (Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen) driving to California so Arvilla (Lange) can deliver her dead husband's ashes to his daughter. It's about friendship. It's about saying goodbye. It's about appealing to the Chico's and "Oprah" crowd and getting them into the theater with a kinder, gentler Thelma & Louise. -- Feaster

THE BUCKET LIST 3 stars (PG-13) A high-maintenance zillionaire (Jack Nicholson) and a dignified mechanic (Morgan Freeman) become mismatched buddies as roommates on a cancer ward, then decide to live their last months crossing items off "the bucket list" of things to do before death. Despite both actors' penchant for self-parody, here they play off each other like old pros, and director Rob Reiner, improving significantly from flops such as Rumor Has It..., makes the predictable humor and platitudes go down easy. -- Holman

CARAMEL 3 stars (NR) A Beirut beauty shop provides a central meeting place for five diverse, vivacious women in writer/director Nadine Labaki's agreeable chick flick. Like the films of Pedro Almodovar, Caramel's camera gravitates to expressive female faces and warm, richly colored cinematography, and the film's charming, loose structure compensates for its predictability. -- Holman

CHARLIE BARTLETT (R) Anton Yelchin stars as Charlie Bartlett, a rich kid joining the ranks in public school after being kicked out of multiple private schools. Using the advice, and prescription medication, given to him by his own shrink, Charlie becomes the self-appointed school psychiatrist, setting up shop in the boys' bathroom.

CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR 4 stars (R) In the early 1980s, a playboy congressman (Tom Hanks) resolves to fund the Afghan rebels against the Soviet invaders, and finds allies including a former Texas beauty queen (Julia Roberts) and a grumpy CIA operations guy (Philip Seymour Hoffman). If you miss "The West Wing," writer Aaron Sorkin's script will provide you with a bracing cocktail of screwball comedy and policy-wonk detail. The film's American point of view keeps it at arm's length from some of the third-act drama, but its witty, wise perspective on foreign policy shows how good intentions can reap short-term triumphs and subsequent disasters. -- Holman

CITY OF MEN 3 stars (R) See review.

CLOVERFIELD 4 stars (PG-13) A Manhattan yuppie's going-away party gets an inconvenient interruption when a giant monster lays waste to New York City. Once the bad stuff starts going down, no one in the theater takes a breath for an hour, and Cloverfield easily lives up to months of online hype and even offers a fairly touching story of callow Manhattanites who find love and meaning in the teeth of disaster. The single-camera POV gimmick works brilliantly at generating terror and immediacy, but if you're prone to motion sickness, sit in the back row. -- Holman

DEFINITELY, MAYBE 2 stars (PG-13) If you're into men as bland as a mayonnaise sandwich, then this limp rom-com piffle starring the strapping slab of white bread Ryan Reynolds might be supertasty. Essentially a chick flick for dicks, Reynolds is a sweetly bland about-to-be-divorced dad recounting the highs and lows of his romantic life to his adorable 11-year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin). Once this was called a lack of boundaries. Now it's called cute. -- Feaster

DIARY OF THE DEAD 2 stars (R) George Romero's zombie franchise (which began in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead) attempts to make a cutting commentary on video voyeurism when a film student obsessively records his friends' efforts to survive the undead. Cloverfield's scarier use of the camera-as-narrator device beat Diary to the punch, while Romero's leaded speeches and cartoonish characters undermine his serious intentions and the film's fitfully exciting bits. It's the Redacted of horror movies, and that's not a compliment. -- Holman

THE DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY 3 stars (PG-13) Mathieu Amalric stars in painter-turned-auteur Julian Schnabel's third feature. Amalric is the cosmopolitan, lusty editor of French Elle Jean-Dominique Bauby, who at age 43 suffered a stroke that left him utterly paralyzed save for the use of his left eyelid. Bauby managed to wink out his memoir through a complicated dictation system. Schnabel's account of Bauby's real-life struggles begins impressively as Schnabel uses an array of camera and point-of-view tricks to convey Bauby's "locked-in" syndrome. Over time, the film tends to settle into a great-man-triumphs-over-adversity storyline and Schnabel's depiction of both the superbabes who cared for Bauby and the splendor of the French health-care system may invite both jealousy and disbelief. -- Feaster

ENCHANTED 2 stars (PG) The certifiably adorable Amy Adams is cartoon princess Giselle who is plunged into the ugly reality of New York City and ends up with a prince. There are some great comic moments, like the swarm of roaches and pigeons that help Giselle clean up an untidy apartment a la Disney's Snow White, but for the most part the film isn't smart enough to deserve the knowing, meta-Disney approach it cops. -- Feaster

THE EYE (PG-13) In this adaptation from a Japanese supernatural thriller, Sydney (Jessica Alba) is a blind violinist who undergoes a double corneal transplant to restore her sight. The surgery opens her eyes to a world of bone-chilling, haunting images depicting death taking his victims, and Sydney searches to discover whose eyes she has been given. David Moreau and Xavier Palud (Them) direct.

FIRST SUNDAY (PG-13) Ice Cube, Katt Williams and Tracy Morgan star in this caper story about two petty criminals who rob their local church. David E. Talber (Love on Layaway) directs.

FOOL'S GOLD 3 stars (PG-13) Whimsical, tropical farce where a divorcing couple (Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, with great chemistry) are brought back together by the promise of buried treasure. Not many twists in this tale, but you don't need them -- pretty people in pretty places makes the piece fit perfectly with the surroundings -- it's breezy, shallow fun. -- Allison C. Keene

THE GOLDEN COMPASS 2 stars (PG-13) On a parallel Earth where human souls manifest as animal companions, plucky young Lyra (terrific newcomer Dakota Blue Richards) uses a magic artifact to guide her to the frozen north and thwart conspiratorial child-snatchers, led by Nicole Kidman. About a Boy director Chris Weitz presents a well-cast, well-intentioned botch of the first book of Philip Pullman's superb fantasy series. Crafty, heroic Lyra and her appealing armored bear bodyguard (voiced by Ian McKellan) can't rescue the film from rushed plotting, fakey special effects and a confusing cosmology. -- Holman

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 it to challenge Harvard in the national championship.

HOW SHE MOVE (PG-13) Raya Green (newcomer Rutina Wesley) is forced to leave private school and return home to her impoverished neighborhood following her sister's death, where she rediscovers her love for competitive step dancing. This Sundance Film Festival hit features choreography by Hi Hat.

I AM LEGEND 4 stars (PG-13) Will Smith plays the sole human inhabitant of New York City after a genetically engineered virus wipes out most of mankind and turns the rest into blood-crazed mutants. The film offers nearly unbearable suspense scenes and stunning images of postapocalyptic Manhattan, overrun with wild animals with grass growing up through the streets. Despite some heavy-handed, ineffectual philosophizing in the last act, Smith delivers one of his best performances and I Am Legend turns out to be the best "summer movie" of 2007. ­-- Holman

IN BRUGES 3 stars (R) Two Irish hitmen (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) lay low in Belgium's preserved medieval town of Bruges in this hipster thriller from brash young playwright Martin McDonagh. McDonagh proves that his knack for compelling, profanely funny dialogue can transfer from stage to screen, although at times he traffics in disposable themes that don't quite justify the savage behavior on screen. In a good way, In Bruges suggests the "Royale with Cheese" scene from Pulp Fiction, if we'd followed John Travolta to Europe. -- Holman

INTO THE WILD 4 stars (R) Emile Hirsch stars as affluent Emory University grad Chris McCandless, who died at age 24 after dropping off the grid to live on his own in the Alaskan wilderness. A surprising amount of transcendence and hopefulness infuses the normally dour Sean Penn's fourth directorial effort about McCandless' physical and interior journey based on Jon Krakauer's nonfiction account. Marked by nods to '60s and '70s cinema, Penn's film also has relevance to our own times as growing eco- and global-awareness have made more and more people take a McCandless look at the bad path "civilization" is on. -- Feaster

JUMPER (PG-13) Backed by director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), and screenwriters David S. Goyer (Batman Begins), Jim Uhls (Fight Club) and Simon Kinberg (Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Jumper is a science-fiction thriller about a man (Hayden Christensen) who can teleport anywhere, anytime. Co-stars Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Samuel L. Jackson and Diane Lane.

JUNO 4 stars (PG-13) An insanely funny script by Diablo Cody and bone-dry comic timing provided by Ellen Page make Juno feel like the breakout indie of the year. Page is a knocked-up 16-year-old who decides to hand over her child to a couple (Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner) she thinks are desperate for a baby. Things turn out to be more complicated, and much sweeter than this attitudinal comedy initially suggests. -- Feaster

MAD MONEY (PG-13) Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes and Queen Latifah star in this comedy about three working-class women who plan to rob the Federal Reserve Bank. Callie Khouri (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) directs.

MEET THE SPARTANS (PG-13) From screenwriters Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer who cranked out Scary Movie, Date Movie and Epic Movie comes another mockery: today's film industry. Meet the Spartans is a spoof of 300 but takes hits at other popular flicks and movie icons, as the invading Persian army includes Paris Hilton, Transformers and Rocky Balboa.

MICHAEL CLAYTON 4 stars (R) George Clooney stars in this re-release as Michael Clayton, a metaphorical janitor, serving as custodian of the dirty secrets of New York's masters of the universe. Tony Gilroy directs this slick conspiracy thriller that harks back, like a recurring nightmare, to the paranoia of Three Days of the Condor and other 1970s suspense films. -- Holman

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.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN 4 stars (R) The Coen brothers make a rousing return to form in this Texas crime drama that strips away their trademark irony for brilliant, suspenseful set pieces. Josh Brolin's Vietnam vet, Tommy Lee Jones' aging sheriff and Javier Bardem's ruthless hitman engage in a three-way chase on either side of the Rio Grande. Don't let the anticlimactic ending sour you on the superb filmmaking. ­-- Holman

ONE MISSED CALL (PG-13) The English remake of a Japanese thriller about a group of young people who start receiving voice mails from the future detailing their deaths.

THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL (PG-13) Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson star as the Boleyn sisters, whose ambitious family drives them to compete for King Henry VIII's affections as a pathway to the throne. The Other Boleyn Girl is based on the novel by Philippa Gregory.

PENELOPE 1 star (PG) Christina Ricci is Penelope, a rich girl saddled with a family curse that has endowed her with a pig snout in this badly mangled attempt at fairy-tale whimsy. Her mother's (Catherine O'Hara) efforts to find Penelope a blue-blood husband despite the piggy mug unearth sensitive hunk James McAvoy, but this film's tween-directed message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is a joyless washout in the end. -- Feaster

PERSEPOLIS 4 stars (PG-13) Marjane Satrapi co-directs the animated adaptation of her graphic-novel memoir about growing up in Iran and witnessing the Shah's tyranny, the war with Iraq and life under Islamic fundamentalists. The simplicity of the primarily black-and-white animation superbly captures her childlike perspective, although the film's second half, chronicling her battles with depression as a young woman, loses some of its political sweep. -- Holman

THE PIRATES WHO DON'T DO ANYTHING: A VEGGIETALES MOVIE (G) In the latest VeggieTales film, three lazy misfits dream of putting on a show about pirates, but their timidity, lack of confidence and laziness relegate them to waiting tables at a pirate-themed restaurant. The plot twists when they travel back in time on a quest and learn about being pirates.

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.

RAMBO 2 stars (R) Vietnam vet/killing machine John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) journeys to genocide-ravaged Burma to rescue some American missionaries -- especially the blonde one (Julie Benz) -- and blow a bunch of ethnic-cleansing bad guys to smithereens. At 61, Stallone directs his seventh film (and first in the Rambo franchise) like he's trying to prove he's got the chops for today's violent torture-porn franchises such as Hostel. Implicitly homophobic and xenophobic, Rambo offers an astonishingly violent revenge fantasy for audiences who want their kills in quantity more than quality. -- Holman

ROMULUS, MY FATHER (R) Based on Raimond Gaita's memoir, this film tells the story of a young boy, Raimond, his father Romulus, and his depressed mother Christina. Focusing on the family's struggles with mental illness and immigration, Romulus, My Father is about the bond between father and son.

THE SAVAGES 4 stars (R) Two self-absorbed intellectual siblings (superbly played by Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman) find themselves forced to care for the ailing, demented father (Philip Bosco) who abandoned them years ago. Writer/director Tamara Jenkins' razor-sharp sophomore film (after Slums of Beverly Hills) manages to be at once gentle and merciless, encouraging us to laugh at the characters' childishness while empathizing with their unhappiness. The Savages' mix of comedy, insight and fear of mortality play almost like a subplot to Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections. -- Holman

SEMI-PRO 3 stars (R) Just how many times can Will Ferrell make the same comedy about a flailing, pasty, self-deluded athlete and/or broadcaster? Following Anchorman et al, this spoof of the 1970s American Basketball Association is Farrell's laziest and most predictable yuck fest. I'm not proud to admit that it provided me with the bare minimum of laughs to be enjoyable, but if the name "Flint Michigan Tropics" or the idea of a team striving for fourth place fail to amuse you, don't even give Semi-Pro a shot. -- Holman

THE SIGNAL 3 stars (R) A mysterious signal sends TV viewers and phone users into homicidal fits in this indie success story from Atlanta filmmakers David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry and Dan Bush. The three filmmakers each directed a different third of the movie and the radical shifts in tone, particularly an off-kilter bid for dark satire, undermine the film's effective, economical dread. Definitely see it to support local filmmakers and actors (including Justin Welborn and Anessa Ramsey). -- Holman

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES 3 stars (PG) The Grace kids (Sarah Bolger, and Freddie Highmore playing twins) stop worrying about their parents' separation when one of them discovers an ancestor's field guide to magical creatures. Too intense and violent for pretweens, The Spiderwick Chronicles' fast-paced adventure scenes evoke 1980s family adventures such as Gremlins and The Goonies without being quite so obnoxious, and retains the books' more serious themes of broken homes. -- Holman

STEEP Mark Obenhaus' documentary features big mountain skiing in North America and details the skiers who risk their lives to ski mountains considered challenging even just to climb.

STEP UP 2 THE STREETS (PG-13) In this sequel to Step Up, street dancer Andie (Briana Evigan) finds herself at an elite school of the arts. While trying to bridge the gap between her two lives, Andie creates a team of dancers to compete in an underground dance-off. Jamal Sims, Step Up's original choreographer, returns with help from Hi-Hat (How She Move) and Dave Scott (Stomp the Yard).

STRANGE WILDERNESS (R) In an attempt to turn around poor ratings of his wildlife TV show, "Strange Wilderness," Peter (Steve Zahn) and his sidekick Fred (Allen Covert) set out to document Bigfoot.

SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET 5 stars (R) A wrongfully accused barber (Johnny Depp) returns to Victorian London to wreak bloody vengeance on an evil judge (Alan Rickman). And it's a musical! In adapting Stephen Sondheim's Broadway classic, director Tim Burton casts movie stars whose lack of musical experience doesn't interfere with the show's skin-crawling intimacy and grand passions. Sweeney Todd proves lushly operatic, grotesquely violent and at times darkly funny, with one number suggesting a cannibalistic version of "Food, Glorious Food" from Oliver! -- Holman

THERE WILL BE BLOOD 5 stars (R) Drawing from Upton Sinclair's 1927 oil-man opus Oil!, Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) has created a film of stunning sweep and grandeur. In an Oscar-worthy performance, Daniel Day-Lewis plays a dementedly ambitious petroleum titan whose quest for riches comes at the cost of his humanity. A troubling and still-relevant examination of the consuming American dream for wealth turned cancerous, this glorious epic could be the apogee of Anderson's career. -- Feaster

THIS CHRISTMAS 3 stars (PG-13) Preston A. Whitmore writes and directs this dramedy about the holiday reunion of an extended African-American family, which includes an indebted musician (Idris Elba) and an abused wife (Regina King). The plotting's a bit familiar and the first act relies almost entirely on exposition, but the likable cast -- particularly Elba, King and Delroy Lindo -- help make This Christmas low-key but pleasing holiday fare. -- Holman

UNTRACEABLE (R) A serial killer with a knack for technology creates a website depicting his violent murders. Gregory Hoblit directs.

VANTAGE POINT 2 stars (PG-13) An assassination attempt on the U.S. president (William Hurt) unfolds from multiple points of view, including a veteran secret service agent (Dennis Quaid), an American tourist with a camcorder (Forest Whitaker) and a cable news producer (Sigourney Weaver). Vantage Point's multiple-eyewitness shtick takes too long to pay off and its minidramas play as painfully hackneyed, including Whitaker protecting a young bystander and the use of improbably identical "doubles." So why did so many Oscar winners and nominees sign on for such a clunky thriller? Maybe it's some kind of conspiracy. -- Holman

WELCOME HOME ROSCOE JENKINS (PG-13) Martin Lawrence stars as Roscoe Jenkins, a big-shot talk-show host who has all but forgotten his humble beginnings growing up in the Deep South. When he returns for his parents' 50th wedding anniversary, Roscoe starts to rethink his current situation.

WITLESS PROTECTION (PG-13) Larry the Cable Guy stars as a small-town sheriff who stumbles upon what he believes to be the kidnapping of a beautiful woman (Ivana Milicevic). After he rescues her, he learns that her "kidnappers" are really FBI agents sworn to protect her until she can testify in a Chicago crime case, and he must drive her to Chicago himself to keep her safe and solve the case.

YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH 3 stars (R) One of the American cinema's most celebrated auteurs, Francis Ford Coppola has not directed a feature in 10 years. Film types waited with bated breath for his latest, a time-tripping, surreal treatise on death, faith and perception that shows Coppola hasn't lost his taste for experimentation. Tim Roth is an elderly Romanian professor who is struck by lightning and has his youth restored. Despite a dense, twisted plot (critics received a glossy "cheat sheet" addressing the film's symbols and themes) based on the writings of Romanian novelist Mircea Eliade that often gets lost on its cerebral, at times pompous journey, it is refreshing to see a director still enjoying, at age 68, the possibilities of cinema and offering such an intriguing meditation on time's passage. -- Feaster

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