Movie capsules

May 12, 2007|By Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach

The Condemned

What it's about: -- The "condemned" are 10 killers drawn from death rows all over the world, set down on an island to kill one another off as Internet entertainment.

Rated: -- R

The scoop: -- Stone Cold Steve Austin plays one of the condemned with a slablike deadpan that's often funny, but the film is part gory joke, part gasbag moralist and part WWE propaganda.

Grade: -- D+

Disturbia

What it's about: -- When a disgruntled adolescent (Shia LaBeouf), under house arrest for hitting a teacher, cracks open a missing-person case with his binoculars, The Breakfast Club meets Rear Window.

Rated: -- PG-13

The scoop: -- On its own teen-horror terms, it has the cozy delectability of a flapjack flipped just right; the result should satisfy dating crowds from high school to night school.

Grade: -- B+

Fracture

What It's About: -- A really smart guy tries to kill his wife, then crosses wits with the hot-shot assistant D.A. who gets assigned the case.

Rated: -- R

The Scoop: -- Anthony Hopkins, as the would-be killer, and Ryan Gosling, as the egocentric prosecutor, are great fun to watch, even if the narrative tends to stretch beyond the breaking point at times.

Grade: B-

Hot Fuzz

What It's About: -- London's best cop gets reassigned to the pastoral village of Sandford, where real mayhem is in short supply. But with luck, maybe he can do something about that.

Rated: -- R

The Scoop: -- The Brits who lovingly skewered zombie films with Shaun of the Dead try their hands at big-budget Hollywood blow-'em-ups, with similarly hilarious results.

Grade: -- B+

In the Land of Women

What it's about: -- A 26-year-old writer (Adam Brody) flies to Michigan to care for his ailing grandmother (Olympia Dukakis) after a painful breakup and snags the attention of the women in the house across the street.

Rated: -- PG-13

The scoop: -- As long as it keeps everyone suspended in intoxicating yearning, writer-director Jonathan Kasdan's first movie gives off the wistful zing of a ruined-romance tune from the '60s songbook.

Grade: B

Lucky You

What it's about: -- Eric Bana plays a Vegas card shark having a bad run right before the 2003 World Series of Poker; Drew Barrymore plays a bar singer and Robert Duvall his fractious dad.

Rated: -- PG-13

The scoop: -- The smart and sensitive director, Curtis Hanson, swiftly fills us in on the Las Vegas scene but rarely connects us deeply to the characters.

Grade: C

Spider-Man 3

What it's about: -- Spidey, Black Spider, Venom, the New Goblin, the Old Goblin, the Sandman, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson.

Rated: -- PG-13

The scoop: -- This jam-packed saga, more hyped-up parade than adventure, is a crash-and-bawl movie.

Grade: -- B-

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