Movie capsules

May 19, 2007|By Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach

Black Book

What it's about: -- A Jewish woman living in the Netherlands during World War II uses her wits and her wiles to stay alive.

Rated: -- R

The scoop: -- Dutch actress Carice van Houten gives an award-worthy performance in this relentless and relentlessly entertaining film from director Paul Verhoeven.

Grade: -- A

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+

The Ex

What it's about: -- A former chef (Zach Braff) and his attorney wife (Amanda Peet) reach crisis-point after the birth of their first child.

Rated: -- PG-13

The scoop: -- The premise takes a back seat to the subplot about Jason Bateman, Peet's one-night high-school lover, who's determined to replace Braff in Peet's bed.

Grade: -- D+

Georgia Rule

What it's about: -- Three generations of a messed-up family: Georgia (Jane Fonda), granddaughter Rachel (Lindsay Lohan) and Rachel's mother, Lily (Felicity Huffman).

Rated: -- R

The scoop: -- Director Garry Marshall positions Fonda as a bat-toting figure of temperance and wisdom able to straighten out one girl-woman and one grown woman back to back.

Grade: -- D-

The Hip Hop Project

What it's about: -- An educational program, the Hip Hop Project aims to rescue rapping from gangsta fantasies filled with violence, misogyny and materialism - and save at-risk teens.

Rated: -- PG-13

The scoop: -- As a documentary, it's woefully undeveloped; the movie rarely connects you intimately enough to the group's educational strategizing or its music-making.

Grade: -- C+

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 and inchoate yearning, writer-director Jonathan Kasdan's first movie gives off the wistful zing of a ruined-romance tune from the '60s songbook.

Grade: -- B

Killer of Sheep

What it's about: -- L.A.'s Watts ghetto in the early '70s as seen through the eyes of Stan (Henry Gayle Sanders), who earns just enough money at a slaughterhouse to maintain a decent household.

Rated: -- Unrated

The scoop: -- Director Charles Burnett surrounds scrappy alleyway action with a nimbus of tender comic feeling. The result will give you the experience of visiting a long-lost family home.

Grade: -- A+

Spider-Man 3

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

Rated: -- PG-13

The scoop: -- Harmonic convergence is one thing, but this is ridiculous. This jam-packed saga, more hyped-up parade than adventure, is a crash-and-bawl movie, a four-hankie demolition derby.

Grade: -- B-

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