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THE FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON 3 stars (NR) The film follows several days in the life of Suzanne (Juliette Binoche), a single mom and temperamental theater artist; her son, Simon (Simon Iteanu); and their new nanny, Song (Fang Song), a Chinese film student. The lovely but languid film presents such commonplace activities, level emotions and long, leisurely takes that it's perfect for mellowing out after a stressful day or a sensory-overload film like Speed Racer. -- Holman
FORBIDDEN KINGDOM (PG-13) Obsessed with kung fu classics, American teenager Jason (Michael Angarano) discovers an ancient Chinese staff and finds himself transported back in time. Jason must return the staff to its rightful owner, the Monkey King. Also starring Jet Li, Yi Fei Liu and Jackie Chan.
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL 3 stars (R) When TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) dumps her longtime boyfriend (Jason Segel, who wrote the script), he goes to a Hawaiian resort -- only to find Sarah already there with her new lover, a fatuous rock star (scene-stealing Russell Brand). Of the seemingly countless comedies produced by Judd Apatow (and featuring supporting roles from the likes of Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill), this overlong but endearing one has enough raunchy laughs to belong in the company of such films as Knocked Up and Superbad. -- Holman
HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY 3 stars (R) Having gone to White Castle in 2004, cannabis aficionados Harold Lee and Kumar Patel (John Cho and Kal Penn) are mistaken for terrorists, shipped to Guantanamo Bay and take a zany trek across the American South. The film pushes its R rating in every conceivable area in the name of rude humor, but also aims to defuse modern-day tensions over profiling and prejudice by taking stereotypes and turning them upside down. Rob Corddry overplays his role as a dim, bigoted Homeland Security representative, but otherwise the film shows affection for its characters and its country, despite the bad habits of either. -- Holman
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL 3 stars (PG-13) The latest Indy flick embraces the franchise's nostalgia for itself, but the sentimental streak seems justifiable given the 19-year interim between chapters. It isn't exactly a fresh film adventure -- an automotive chase through the jungle feels like an undisguised retread of Raiders of the Lost Ark's truck chase. But Crystal Skull comes across not as lazy, but laid-back, as though the filmmakers have too much confidence to panic about trying to top the earlier films, or compete with their younger selves. -- Holman
IRON MAN 4 stars (PG-13) After being kidnapped in Afghanistan, industrialist Tony Stark (an exceptional Robert Downey Jr.) uses a flying metal suit to right the wrongs of his company's munitions wing. Marvel Studios builds a better superhero movie by taking such radical innovations as smart writing, rich acting and a recognizable, real-world setting. Enjoying spectacular special effects without relying on them, Iron Man feels more like an American James Bond film than a wannabe Batman or Spider-Man franchise. -- Holman
KUNG FU PANDA 4 stars (PG) In fairy-tale, talking-animal China, a fat panda named Po (voiced by Jack Black) is improbably chosen to be the all-powerful "Dragon Warrior." The studio that gave us the Shrek movies downplays the pop references and body-function humor for a satisfying CGI action/comedy that features a splendid visual design and surprisingly exciting fight scenes, including a chopstick fight between Po and his diminutive teacher (voiced by Dustin Hoffman). -- Holman
MADE OF HONOR (PG-13) Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan star in this romantic comedy about an engaged woman who asks her best (male) friend to be her maid of honor. He agrees, but only to prevent the wedding and win her heart for himself.
MEET THE BROWNS (PG-13) Writer/director/actor Tyler Perry (Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion) returns with his latest film, based on the stage production of the same name. Brenda (Angela Bassett), a single mother in need of support, moves her family to Georgia to attend the funeral of the father whom she never met and ends up becoming a part of his fun-loving family.
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 and Tom Payne.
NIM'S ISLAND (PG) When Nim's father goes missing from the magical island they live on, Nim must find help from the author of her favorite books. Based on the book by Wendy Orr.