Box Office

July 24, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

*** 1/2 ( 3 1/2 STARS)

$77.8

million

$ 158 million

1.5 week

Rated: PG

Running time: 153 minutes

What it's about: Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe, above) must persuade an eccentric potions professor to reveal one source of Voldemort's power.

Our take: As Harry enters the thick of adolescence, the filmmakers reward him with a movie that bubbles and pops with humor and feeling.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

** ( 2 STARS)

$17.5

million

$151.8 million

3.5 weeks

Rated: PG

Running time: 94 minutes

What it's about: The joys and panics of impending parenthood for woolly mammoths inspire Sid the sloth (above) to adopt three dinosaur babies.

Our take: Simon Pegg's weasel adds pizazz, but the regular characters are all used up, and the 3-D makes you feel as if you're caught between the strings of a ukulele.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

* ( 1 STAR)

$13.6

million

$363.8 million

4.5 weeks

Rated: PG-13

Running time: 137 minutes

What it's about: The good-guy robot aliens, the Autobots, team up with a gutsy U.S. military unit - and Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf - to bring down the bad-guy robot aliens, the Decepticons.

Our take: The whirl, bang and general bother of crashing gears and gnashing metals end up suffocating the senses.

Bruno

* 1/2 ( 1 1/2 STARS)

$8.3

million

$49.5 million

2 weeks

Rated: R

Running time: 81 minutes

What it's about: Sacha Baron Cohen's gay fashionista Bruno leaves Austria for Los Angeles, hoping to become a towering international celebrity.

Our take: Yesterday's emperor of movie comedy truly has no clothes. For a portrait of a monomaniac, it's alarmingly random; for an expose of charlatans, it's maddeningly shoddy.

The Proposal

* ( 1 STAR)

$8.2

million

$128 million

4 weeks

Rated: PG-13

Running time: 107 minutes

What it's about: Sandra Bullock (above), a high-powered, Canadian-born book editor, discovers that she must marry her Alaskan-born assistant (Ryan Reynolds) or be deported.

Our take: The movie never gives any reason to buy the conceit that these two careerists grow to share love.

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