Film Capsules

Capsule reviews by Desson Thomson unless noted. A star ({sstar}) denotes a movie recommended by our critics.

Openings

THE ADVENTURES OF SHARKBOY & LAVAGIRL IN 3D (PG) -- See capsule review on Page 38.

THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY (PG) -- See capsule review on Page 38.

EATING OUT (Unrated) -- See capsule review on Page 38.

HIGH TENSION (R) -- See review on Page 36.

THE HONEYMOONERS (PG-13) -- See review on Page 33.

HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE (PG) -- See review on Page 36.

MR. & MRS. SMITH (PG-13) -- See review on Page 33.

TELL THEM WHO YOU ARE (R) -- See review on Page 34.

TORREMOLINOS 73 (Unrated) -- See review on Page 34.

First Runs & Revivals

{sstar} BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE (PG, 100 minutes) -- In Wayne Wang's family-friendly charmer, a feisty preteen called Opal (AnnaSophia Robb) gets a new friend in her life when she adopts the fuzzball pooch Winn-Dixie, named after the store she finds him in. The dog, a Picardy shepherd, wins over Opal's preacher father (Jeff Daniels) and, eventually, the whole sleepy town of Naomi, Fla. There are sweet supporting performances from Eva Marie Saint, Cicely Tyson and musician Dave Matthews as an eccentric pet store clerk. But the sweetest one of all is Robb. As Opal, she's a puckery scamp without a false note in her performance. She even out-charms the Picardy. Contains mild obscenity and the theme of alcoholism. University Mall Theatres.

{sstar} THE BEST OF YOUTH (R, 366 minutes, in two parts) -- Yes, the film is really six hours long (presented in two, roughly three-hour installments), but I've sat through 90-minute movies that felt longer. Covering almost 40 years, the saga from director Marco Tullio Giordana follows Italian brothers Nicola (Luigi Lo Cascio) and Matteo (Alessio Boni) through career changes, travels, romantic entanglements and emotional upheavals, all against a backdrop of recent Italian history. But it's so much more than one of those nostalgic miniseries about a bygone era that American TV seems to do so well (which is too say all too glibly). At its best, "The Best of Youth" gets beneath the embarrassing hairstyles, retro fashions and soundtrack oldies to tell a story of family that feels universal and timeless. Contains obscenity, sexuality, brief nudity, drug references and some violence. In Italian with subtitles. AFI Silver Theatre.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

{sstar} BORN INTO BROTHELS (Unrated, 85 minutes) -- British photographer Zana Briski comes to Sonagachi, Calcutta's red light district, and teaches photography to the children of prostitutes. As these boys and girls, who range in age from 10 to 14, learn how to frame pictures, load film and accept Briski's critiques, they also start to see their world differently. And Briski never loses her soft-spoken determination, whether she's teaching the children or trying to steer them through India's unwieldy bureaucracy to get them an education and to a photographic exhibition abroad. The movie, which Briski directed with Ross Kauffman, is really about changing the perspectives of eight children in a hopeless world, and Briski's moral involvement in her subjects' lives. Contains obscenity and footage of a sex trade district. Cineplex Odeon Dupont Circle.

{sstar} BROTHERS (R, 110 minutes) -- Danish director Susanne Bier's biblically charged, absorbing drama is about two brothers whose lifelong rivalry explodes when the oldest, Michael Lundberg (Ulrich Thomsen), a soldier who apparently returns from the dead. Presumed killed after his helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, he has a dark survivor's tale to tell. But he's too traumatized to confess and, in the meantime, his younger brother Jannik (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) has taken up with Michael's wife (Connie Nielsen). Predictably, the brothers face each other on a powerful, atavistic level. If the later stages of "Brothers" become almost too melodramatic to accept, they are always laced with the high qualities of Dogme 95 filmmaking. At its best, this Danish movement (a style of filmmaking co-founded by Bier, Lars von Trier and many others) is a fusion of low-tech and high-theatrical purpose, where inspired actorly performances combine with quasi-documentary, emotionally alert camerawork. Contains brutal (off-frame) violence, emotional intensity, nudity and obscenity. In Danish with subtitles. Landmark's E Street Cinema.

{sstar} CINDERELLA MAN (PG-13, 144 minutes) -- Forced to work as a longshoreman to feed his family (including his wife, played by Renee Zellweger) during the Depression, down-and-out boxer Jim Braddock (Russell Crowe) jumps at the chance to take on a heavyweight boxer. When he wins, he faces world champion Max Baer (Craig Bierko). In a way, "Cinderella Man," based on a true story, is "Seabiscuit" in boxing gloves. But there's more to it than that: a Runyonesque glow, thanks to director Ron Howard and scriptwriters Cliff Hollingsworth and Akiva Goldsman. Crowe's burly poignancy hits you foursquare in the ribs, right above the ticker. The abstract dance between his softness and physical power is the heartbeat of the movie, and it takes you through financial hardship, terrible times and some bloody battles with special grace. Contains boxing violence. Area theaters.

{sstar} CRASH (R, 100 minutes) -- The aftermath of Rodney King and 9/11 seems to sear the nostrils of every Los Angeleno in Paul Haggis's white-knuckle hatefest among characters of almost every ideological, cultural or religious stripe. Asians, Latinos, whites, blacks, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian all clash in this multi-character story that features Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Ryan Phillippe, Jennifer Esposito and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges. If "Crash" only showed the dark side of humanity, it would barely be worth the viewing. But the movie is also about the best in people. As soon as we think we have some characters' number they turn around and do something quite astonishing. We're all so hopelessly human, and writer-director Haggis, who wrote the screenplay for "Million Dollar Baby," gives this truism a deeply lyrical dimension. Contains sexual scenes, obscenity and violence. Area theaters.

{sstar} ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM (Unrated, 120 minutes) -- Based on Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind's "The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron," Alex Gibney's blow-by-blow documentary retelling of what was, at the time, the largest corporate bankruptcy in history is by turns harrowing and hilarious. And nauseating, too. When you're not aghast in horror at the allegations of misdeeds by Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow, three of Enron's highest executives, or laughing at the sheer chutzpah of what they've been accused of, you might be sickened by the reminders that this wasn't a victimless crime, but that thousands of employees and investors in the company lost far more than their shirts. Contains obscenity, a non-graphic reenactment of a suicide and strip club footage. Landmark's Bethesda Row, Alexandria Old Town Theater and Landmark's E Street Cinema.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

{sstar} FRANK MILLER'S SIN CITY (R, 124 minutes) -- Comprising three edge-of-your-seat sagas, this brilliant adaptation of Miller's cult graphic novel series is co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez. (Quentin Tarantino guest-directs one scene.) Miller and Rodriguez have achieved the near-impossible: reproducing the pictorial reality of those comic book stories onto the screen with digital enhancement, darkly perfected sets and masterful makeup. The performers look part cartoon and part human and thoroughly convincing. But all the visual fandango in the world means nothing without effective performers. Everyone is terrific here, including tough guys Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Clive Owen and Benicio Del Toro. And those are just the guys. The women are equally formidable, including Jessica Alba, Brittany Murphy and Rosario Dawson as an Uzi-packing hooker. Contains obscenity, violence, nudity and sexual scenes. Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse.

{sstar} HITCH (PG-13, 114 minutes) -- Will Smith is his usual peppy self as Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, an undercover love consultant in New York who takes on a new client: the fire-hydrant- shaped Albert (Kevin James), an accountant who is desperate to get romantic with his glamorous celebrity client Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta). Hitch's secret life and his heart are threatened by Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), a gossip writer on the trail of this secret love doctor and quite taken with Hitch. Smith and Mendes are funny and engaging, but it's James who steals the movie. Watch him on the dance floor and you'll see what I mean. He's bullishly elegant and very funny. Contains some obscenity and sexual situations. Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse and University Mall Theatres.

{sstar} THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (PG, 110 minutes) -- It was a wonderful television miniseries, radio series and a five-book "trilogy," all created by Douglas Adams. Now comes this respectably amusing movie, which has Martin Freeman of the BBC series "The Office" as Arthur Dent. The hapless earthling, with an alien pal Ford Prefect (Mos Def), embarks on a massively epic and wonderfully improbable trip that includes visits to other spaceships and planets. The companions meet a bevy of oddballs, including the two-headed president of the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell); the eternally depressed robot Marvin (voiced by a hilariously misanthropic Alan Rickman); an extremely bizarre quasi-spiritual leader named Humma Kavula (John Malkovich); and a sort of planet construction engineer known as Slartibartfast (Bill Nighy). Given the fact that a quintessentially British show-book-franchise has been peopled with Brits and Americans and spearheaded by a Hollywood studio, this is more than a pleasant surprise. Contains some sophisticated thematic elements and minor strong language. Area theaters.

HOUSE OF WAX (R, 105 minutes) -- In this modern update of the 1953 Vincent Price horror film, a group of friends, including Paige (Paris Hilton), Blake (Robert Ri'chard), Carly (Elisha Cuthbert), Wade (Jared Padalecki) and Nick (Chad Michael Murray), drive south to watch a college football game. Like most horror movie characters, they do their best to place themselves in the jaws of danger. In this case, that's a wax museum in a sleepy town where you can check in but you can't check out, at least not without a nice wax finish to your skin. There's an escalation of twisted killings, as the owner of that wax house emerges. And look for little sadistic touches here and there, especially one involving heavy-duty scissors and a human finger. Yeooow. Contains graphic violence and sexual situations. AMC Hoffman Center.

THE INTERPRETER (PG-13, 135 minutes) -- Sydney Pollack's thriller rides for a long time on a compelling premise: the possibility of an assassination in the United Nations' General Assembly. U.N. interpreter Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman) gets wind of a plan to kill an African leader. But when she contacts the U.S. Secret Service, Silvia is surprised to find herself the target of suspicion by agent Tobin Keller (Sean Penn), the man in charge of investigating her report. As a straight-ahead thriller, the movie is enjoyable and stirring much of the time. But Kidman's character is schematically conceived: a native of (fictional) Matobo and a sophisticate with radical connections to (and formulaically traumatic memories of) Matobo's revolutionary days. And Penn's Tobin, who also carries around his own formulaic mental baggage, makes an interesting but not emotionally involving foil. Contains violence, some sexual content and brief obscenity. Area theaters.

KICKING & SCREAMING (PG, 87 minutes) -- Never one to let weak material stand in the way of getting laughs, Will Ferrell manages to come up with a few great comic bits playing the inept coach of a youth soccer team. Ultimately, though, his anarchic genius is wasted in a kiddie comedy in which everybody learns something in the end -- about teamwork, about how having fun is more important than winning and about the kind of movie not to put someone with Ferrell's slyly subversive humor in. Contains crude humor and language. Area theaters.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (PG-13, 138 minutes) -- Ridley Scott's epic, about the battle of wills between Balian of Ibelin (Orlando Bloom), a 12th-century French crusader charged with protecting Jerusalem from Muslim leader Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), is a powerful visual experience. But at the same time, it's just another digitalized, live-action cartoon that suggests "Lord of the Rings IV: Legolas Defends Jerusalem." Scott and screenwriter William Monahan have assembled a thoughtful (if flawed) antiwar scenario about the religious divisions that pit one great people against another. But the movie's reduced to a backdrop for a boy toy with good hair and excellent backlighting. The real star is Massoud as Saladin, an Islamic hero of deep integrity. To introduce an archetype like this to western audiences may have been worth this whole flawed movie. Contains graphic battle violence. Majestic Cinema, AMC Courthouse and Regal Fairfax.

{sstar} LADIES IN LAVENDER (PG-13, 104 minutes) -- Maggie Smith and Judi Dench give outstanding performances as lonely sisters who nurse an injured young man (Daniel Bruhl) back to health after he washes up on the shore of their Cornish village in this restrained British melodrama about love and letting go. Directed with a sure hand by actor Charles Dance, who clearly knows that the best way to play a scene is often to underplay it, the film never strays into mawkishness, even as it makes palpable the sisters' pain at the memories of love the stranger's presence dredges up and the dignity with which they must ultimately accept what they cannot have. Contains brief crude language. In English, German, Polish and French with some subtitles. Area theaters.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

{sstar} LAYER CAKE (R, 104 minutes) -- Smooth businessman X (Daniel Craig) from London thinks he's got the perfect scheme. A rental agent by day and a cocaine and ecstasy manufacturer by night, he believes he can make the illegal drug trade work for him and not the other way around. But he has underestimated the will and orneriness of the gangsters around him. Debuting director Matthew Vaughn, who produced such Guy Ritchie movies as "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," has made a coolly detached, classic gangster saga about the clashing of rival empires, where the only thing worse than the killer before you is the killer waiting behind him. There's no escape in this world, only moments of personal courage, grace and luck. Ultimately, X realizes, luck is the most precious element of all. As X, Craig is a compelling presence, a brilliant, slick opportunist who is rapidly learning that drug dealing, murder, treachery and blackmail are simply occupational hazards in this world. The principal sin is yuppie arrogance. And he's going to be a very lucky man indeed to get out of this thing alive. Contains graphic violence, obscenity and sexual scenes. Area theaters.

THE LONGEST YARD (PG-13, 114 minutes) -- This remake of the 1974 comedy-drama about a high-stakes football game between vicious prison guards and a ragtag team of out-matched inmates benefits most from the smart-alecky wit of Chris Rock and the smirking slacker humor of Adam Sandler as genial convicts, even as it adds little to the original film. Still, the playing out of its predictable formula -- is there anyone alive who doubts the outcome of the game? -- is not without its rote pleasures. It's like setting up dominoes and watching them fall. There are no surprises, but a certain satisfaction to sticking it to the man -- again. Contains violence, sexual and drug humor and obscenity. Area theaters.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

{sstar} LOOK AT ME (PG 13, 110 minutes) -- This French seriocomedy from Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri (once married to each other, they're a sort of Gallic Nichols and May team) is a movie of biting social observation. Lolita Cassard (Marilou Berry), the slightly chubby daughter of Etienne (Jean-Pierre Bacri), a successful, self-absorbed writer, has a desperate need for Etienne's approval. Her resentment and heartbreak over this permeates the trenchant film like a mournful song. The characters exude moral three-dimensionality; they're not built to behave or please us. And because of this rampant freedom, we watch with a sort of bemused anxiety, not sure what the next moment will bring. But this uncertainty attunes us to the small, passing graces. As the movie's official bad guy, Bacri is something of a rascally pleasure. Contains some obscenity and a sexual reference. In French with subtitles. Landmark's Bethesda Row.

LORDS OF DOGTOWN (PG-13, 105 minutes) -- Written by former skateboarder Stacy Peralta and directed by Catherine Hardwicke of "Thirteen" fame, this fictionalized account of skateboarding's rise in mid-1970s Venice, Calif., is rude, aggressive and disrespectful of authority. It's dirty, loud, randy, obnoxious, destructive and at times clinically insane. In other words, true to its subject matter. But hey, so was the superior 2001 documentary (also by Peralta), "Dogtown and Z-Boys," with the added bonus that the earlier film didn't feel the need to beef up the already inspiring story of gonzo athletic innovation with such melodramatic plot elements as a love triangle, professional rivalries and the bathos of a dying kid. Contains sexual material, drug use, obscenity, brief violence and reckless skateboarding. Area theaters.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

MADAGASCAR (PG, 86 minutes) -- The latest offering from DreamWorks Animation SKG, a tale of citified zoo animals who escape to the wilds of Madagascar from the Central Park Zoo, is high in antic energy but low in charm. Voiced with mostly perfunctory delivery by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith, the quartet of, respectively, Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo experience a rude awakening when Alex's carnivorous nature puts their friendships at stake. But the story, which attempts to laugh its way out the fact that some animals eat one another, never really resolves its central conflict, which arises from the inescapable fact that it's a dog-eat-dog world. Contains cartoon violence, some humor centered on excretory functions, a bit of mild vulgar language and thematic material related to the fact that animals eat one another. Area theaters.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

{sstar} MAD HOT BALLROOM (PG, 95 minutes) -- Marilyn Agrelo's at times stirring documentary follows groups of young participants in American Ballroom Theater's "Dancing Classrooms" program as they prepare for a climactic dance-off with student ballroom dancers from New York City public schools. It's a lot like "Spellbound," the spelling bee documentary, in that it has as much to say about the contestants -- their lives and aspirations -- as it does about the contest. In the end, it isn't only about the dancing (though there's plenty of that, and it's pretty darn good) as it is about living and growing up. Contains some mild references to sex and violence. Area theaters.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

{sstar} MILLION DOLLAR BABY (PG-13, 137 minutes) -- You can almost smell the ringside sweat and old leather punching bags in Clint Eastwood's tribute to the "sweet science" of boxing, and the old-time movies and fiction devoted to it. Based on two short stories in "Rope Burns," by F.X. Toole (the pseudonym of former cut-man Jerry Boyd), it's a gut-stirring tall tale about a boxer (one buff Hilary Swank), her crusty trainer (Eastwood) and the wily old boxing gym proprietor (Morgan Freeman) who narrates the story. As Maggie, Swank is a package of dynamite, a determined soul with too much to prove and too little time to do it in. And Eastwood is so good in this movie, it almost feels like cheating. Contains some brutal boxing violence, emotional intensity and obscenity. Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse.

{sstar} MILLIONS (PG, 98 minutes) -- In Danny Boyle's delightful modern fairy tale, two young English brothers discover a bag of money. Anthony, the 9-year-old (Lewis Owen McGibbon) wants to spend it. But 7-year-old Damien (Alexander Nathan Etel), who happens to experience regular visions of saints, insists on giving it to the poor. Witty, sweet and charming but never sappy, the movie joins the heady company of such extraordinary child-centered movies as "The 400 Blows," "My Life as a Dog" and "Au Revoir Les Enfants" ("Goodbye, Children"). In all these films, reality is seen from a young perspective, but there is no condescension in the exercise. A magical movie. Contains mature themes, some peril and sensuality but ultimately nothing too objectionable. Landmark's Bethesda Row.

MONSTER-IN-LAW (PG-13, 101 minutes) -- It doesn't seem right that Jane Fonda, playing the titular harridan, Viola Fields, allows her character, a woman bent on sabotaging the impending nuptials of her doctor son (Michael Vartan) to an impoverished artist (Jennifer Lopez), to be consistently upstaged by her own wisecracking personal assistant (Wanda Sykes). Shouldn't the character of Viola be a scenery-chewing comic shrew? She's not. Just a tiresome and unpleasant woman who could take some tips on how to diss the competition from her smart-mouthed secretary. Contains some obscenity, sexual humor and comic violence. Area theaters.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

THE PACIFIER (PG, 94 minutes) -- Vin Diesel gets domestic as a Navy SEAL who must protect a fatherless family from ninja forces bent on finding a special disk in the home. This means -- cue canned laughter here -- Vin dealing with baby vomit, screaming kids and petulant teenagers. Diesel, whose acting wouldn't merit a nonspeaking, walk-on role in a dinner theater production, is supposed to be a muscular fish out of water. But unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vin is not endearing for his woodenness. He's all splinters. Contains slapstick violence and Vin Diesel. University Mall Theatres.

{sstar} ROBOTS (PG, 91 minutes) -- A young robot named Rodney (voice of Crawford Wilson and, later, Ewan McGregor) grows up to be a resourceful inventor with aspirations to put together new robots out of old parts. But in this ever-modernizing world, reconditioned robots -- known as outmodes -- are rapidly obsolete. Rodney's dream puts him at odds with the dastardly industrialist Phineas T. Ratchet (Greg Kinnear), who plans to turn everyone into a revamped, expensive model. "Robots," directed by Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha, moves along at an entertaining, if increasingly familiar clip. It isn't superior to such computer-animated hits as "Shrek" and "The Incredibles," but it's still visually inventive; and Robin Williams is amusing as a quippy robot named Fender. Contains slightly risque sexual humor and bathroom gags. University Mall Theatres.

SAHARA (PG-13, 124 minutes) -- Master explorer Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) is determined to unearth an ironclad battleship from the Civil War era that somehow wound up near Africa's Niger river. With his quippy sidekick, Al Giordino (Steve Zahn), and a sultry Spanish doctor (Penelope Cruz), he goes after it, with the army of a corrupt military leader and Tuareg tribesmen on his trail. The movie, based on a novel from the Dirk Pitt series by Clive Cussler, "Sahara" is pretty much an excuse for McConaughey (one of several executive producers) to flex his gym-toned assets and play tough on boats, trains and camels. But despite a plethora of high-action chases, gun battles, boat battles and the various exotic locales, the movie's a lame Indiana Jones episode. Contains action violence. University Mall Theatres.

THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS (PG, 120 minutes) -- Four teenage girls. One pair of secondhand jeans that clearly could not possibly fit -- but somehow, miraculously, does -- four very differently sized derrieres. What might have worked on the pages of Ann Brashares's best-selling novel, about the life-changing experiences of four friends who share a single pair of pants as an emblem of their friendship, emphatically does not in living color. While America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and Blake Lively are fine actresses, I never bought the fact that they could all squeeze into the same trousers, let alone that they would even be friends with each other. Consisting of the sporty blonde sexpot (Lively), antisocial punk (Tamblyn), volatile Latina (Ferrera) and mousy artist (Bledel), the quartet is more like a group of underage Spice Girls, archetypes rather than real people. Contains thematic material related to teen sexuality and the death of loved ones. Area theaters.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

STAR WARS: EPISODE III -- REVENGE OF THE SITH (PG-13, 140 minutes) -- In this final installment of the "Star Wars" mega-ology, we learn about the circumstances that led to the creation of Darth Vader. But this most potentially compelling episode of all is marred by the disappointingly ordinary Hayden Christensen, whose evolution from Anakin Skywalker to the baddest, heavy-breathing villain in sci-fi popular culture, amounts to a sort of tizzy fit. It seems he just can't get invited to the inner circle of Jedi knights, run by Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and all, so he joins forces with Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who doubles as the hissable Sith Vicious, uh, Darth Sidious. There are some enjoyable spectacles involving lightsaber battles between Obi-Wan and Anakin. But the whole subplot between Anakin and his wife, Padme (Natalie Portman), is dramatically flat, and the story shows us nothing that we didn't expect. Contains sci-fi violence. Area theaters.

UNLEASHED (R, 103 minutes) -- Martial arts star Jet Li plays Danny, a kind of human pit bull belonging to Bob Hoskins's vicious loan shark in a drama that, despite some spectacularly intense fight sequences, has more conversation than action. Li, who finally took some acting lessons for this film, plays a man who seems, by turns, a short-fused lethal weapon and a vulnerable child. Interestingly, though, it isn't Li's character who saves people here, but who is saved by people, in this case a blind, old piano turner (Morgan Freeman) and his stepdaughter (Kerry Condon), who take him Danny and reshape him into a thoughtful human being. Contains strong violent content, language, some sexuality and nudity. Area theaters.

-- Richard Harrington

{sstar} WALK ON WATER (Unrated, 94 minutes) -- The black-and-white moral world of an assassin (Lior Ashkenazi) working for Israel's Mossad intelligence agency starts to look mighty gray when his assignment to track down and terminate a fugitive Nazi leads him to befriend the old man's grandchildren, a pretty young German woman living on a kibbutz (Caroline Peters) and her gay brother (Knut Berger). Eytan Fox's film is rich with ideas about what ethical living means, making connections between homophobia, Nazism and the desire for -- and spiritual costs of -- revenge. It's a beautiful, complex film about friendship, letting go of the past and embracing forgiveness. Contains obscenity, some violence (both actual and theoretical), nudity and discussion of sexuality. Landmark's Bethesda Row.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

Repertory

AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM/DOWNTOWN -- At the Lockheed Martin Imax Theater: "Fighter Pilot," daily at 11:25, 2, 4 and 6. "Space Station (3D)," daily at 10:25, 12:25, 3 and 5. "To Fly!" daily at 1:25. At the Albert Einstein Planetarium: "Infinity Express," daily at 10:30, 11, 11:30, 12:30, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30, 4, 4:30 and 5. "The Stars Tonight," daily at noon. Seventh and Independence SW. 202-357-1686.

AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM/DULLES -- "Fighter Pilot," daily at 11:30, 1:30, 3:30 and 5:30. "Straight Up: Helicopters in Action," daily at 2:30. "Magic of Flight," daily at 12:30 and 4:30. 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly. 202-357-2700.

AMERICAN CITY DINER -- "Deliverance," Friday at 8. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," Saturday at 8. "Breakfast at Tiffany's," Sunday at 8. "Donnie Brasco," Monday at 8. "Sea of Love," Tuesday at 8. "Anatomy of a Murder," Wednesday at 8. "The Verdict," Thursday at 8. 5532 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-244-1949.

BOWIE BAYSOX DRIVE-IN MOVIES -- "Beauty and the Beast" and "Atlantis: The Lost Empire," Friday at 7. "The Tigger Movie" and "Teacher's Pet," Saturday at 7. 4101 NE Crain Hwy., Bowie. 301-464-4865 or 301-464-4806.

HIRSHHORN -- "Skagafjodur" and "Ice/Sea," Thursday at 8. Free. Ring Auditorium, Seventh and Independence SW. 202-633-4674.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS -- "The Aristocats" and other cat cartoons, Friday at 7. "Porgy & Bess," Tuesday at 6:30. "Bell, Book & Candle," Thursday at 7. Free. Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. 202-707-5677.

MARYLAND SCIENCE CENTER -- Imax Theater: "Titanica" and "Hubble: Galaxies Across Space & Time," Friday at 12:10, 3:10 and 7:15; Saturday-Sunday at 12:10, 2:10 and 6:15; Monday-Thursday at 12:10 and 3:10. "Bugs! (3D)," Friday at 2:10, 4:10 and 6:15; Saturday at 11, 1:10, 3:10, 5:15 and 7:15; Sunday at 11, 1:10, 3:10 and 5:15; Monday-Thursday at 2:10 and 4:10. "Antarctica," Friday at 5:15; Saturday-Sunday at 4:10. Davis Planetarium: "The Sky: Live!" Friday and Sunday at noon, 3 and 5; Saturday at 3 and 5. "Rockets & Robots," Friday-Saturday at 2, 4 and 6; Sunday at 2 and 4. "The Sky Above Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," Friday-Sunday at 1. 601 Light St., Baltimore. 410-685-5225.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES -- "Preserving the Charters of Freedom," daily at 10:30, 11, 11:30, noon, 12:30, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30 and 4. Free. William G. McGowan Theater, Constitution Avenue between Seventh and Ninth streets NW. 202-501-5000.

NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART -- "Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre," Friday and Sunday at 11:30. "Open a Door," Saturday and Wednesday at 10:30 and 11:30 (children's film). "The Cloud-Capped Star," Saturday at 3. "Shree 420," Sunday at 4. "Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time," Thursday at 2. Free. East Building, Fourth and Constitution NW. 202-737-4215.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN ART -- Lecture Hall: "The Luggage Is Still Labeled," Saturday at 2. "Bloom," Thursday at 7. Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW. 202-357-4600.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN -- "Hand Games," Friday at noon. "Spirit of the Game," Saturday at noon. Free. Rasmuson Theater, Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW. 202-633-1000.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY -- Johnson Imax Theater: "Into the Deep (3D)," Friday-Saturday at 10:20, 12:10, 2, 3:50, 5:40 and 7:30; Sunday-Thursday at 10:20, 12:10, 2 and 3:50. "T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous (3D)," Friday-Saturday at 11:10, 1, 2:50, 4:40 and 6:30; Sunday-Thursday at 11:10, 1, 2:50 and 4:40. Baird Auditorium: "The Disappearing of Tuvalu: Trouble in Paradise," Friday at noon. 10th and Constitution NW. 202-633-7400.

NATIONAL THEATRE -- "Pride of the Yankees," Monday at 6:30. Free. Helen Hayes Gallery, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. 202-783-3372.

PSYCHOTRONIC FILM SOCIETY -- "The Ebola Syndrome," Tuesday at 8. Dr. Dremo's Taphouse, 2001 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington. 202-736-1732 or 202-707-2540.

ST. ELMO'S COFFEE PUB -- "Resistance at Home," Tuesday at 8. Free. 2300 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 703-739-9268.

SHEPHERDSTOWN FILM SOCIETY -- "To Skate or Not to Skate . . . and Other Existential Questions," Friday at 7. Free. Shepherdstown University's Reynolds Hall, King Street, Shepherdstown, W.Va. 304-876-1837.

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BE COOL

(PG-13, 2005, 112 MINUTES, METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER)

This sequel to "Get Shorty" marks the return of John Travolta as lovable loan shark Chili Palmer. This time, Chili has gone into the music business teaming with record label owner Edie Athens (Uma Thurman). When he hears the R&B pipes of Linda Moon (Christina Milian), a great singer who's in contract hell with music manager Raji (Vince Vaughn), Chili figures he's found his meal ticket. But everything that was enjoyable, funny and edgy about the 1995 "Get Shorty" has been rehashed and reshaped into an overwrought, insipid wiener. The movie's only life comes from Vaughn as a hip-hop-talking wannabe and the Rock as his supple, Afro-headed, gay bodyguard. Contains violence and obscenity.

-- Desson Thomson

BEYOND THE SEA

(PG-13, 2004, 118 MINUTES, LIONS GATE FILMS)

Kevin Spacey's vainglorious biopic about Bobby Darin is really about what the '60s pop singer and actor means to Spacey, who co-produces, co-writes, directs, stars in, dances and sings his way through this movie. It's all Kevin, who plays an older Darin looking back at his life and making a movie about it. But the movie-within-a-movie, a mixture of song-and-dance numbers, fantasy sequences and realism, never goes beyond Spacey's ability to imitate. Nor does it solve the central problem of a forty-something actor (Spacey) with prosthetic nose enhancement playing a star (Darin) whose heyday was in his twenties. Kate Bosworth is effective as Darin's wife, Sandra Dee. But the supporting cast, including Caroline Aaron as Darin's older sister, Nina; Bob Hoskins as Nina's husband; and John Goodman as Darin's friend and manager, Steve, is never more than that. Contains obscenity and sexual situations.

-- D.T.

IMAGINARY HEROES

(R, 2004, 117 MINUTES, SONY PICTURES CLASSICS)

Sigourney Weaver is Sandy Travis, a jaded mom who has an unusually frank, close relationship with her son Tim (Emile Hirsch). The family has to weather many troubles, most particularly the suicide of son Matt. Hardest hit is Sandy's husband, Ben (Jeff Daniels), who insists on laying a place for Matt at the dinner table. Writer-director Dan Harris's movie is another in a long-standing era of suburban angst films that include "The Ice Storm," "American Beauty," "Welcome to the Dollhouse," "Donnie Darko," "Thirteen" and "Garden State." In these films, dark, wayward and dysfunctional impulses are counterpointed with the faux paradise of suburban America. Harris should be commended for attempting to make a movie about the offbeat and the unusual, except that this subject (or the way it's treated) has become very on-beat and very usual. Contains nudity and graphic obscenity.

-- D.T.

{sstar} THE MACHINIST

(R, 2004, 102 MINUTES, PARAMOUNT CLASSICS)

Much has been written about Bale's physical transformation for this film, a remarkable display of starving for one's art that should go into the moviemaking record books on the page opposite Robert De Niro and Vincent D'Onofrio's legendary weight gains for "Raging Bull" and "Full Metal Jacket." While the results of Bale's shocking, special-effect-free emaciation occasionally threaten to become a distraction for the audience, especially when the previously healthy-looking actor has his shirt off, they are an essential visual metaphor for the film's message, which comes into full, dark flower only in a clever twist at the end. Contains obscenity, sexuality and disturbing, violent imagery.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

SEED OF CHUCKY

(R, 2004, 87 MINUTES, ROGUE PICTURES)

If there are moments of camp in this fifth installment of the "Chucky' franchise, they are momentary interruptions to a shoddy, low-budget and pointlessly grisly show. It seems Chucky (as always, the voice of Brad Dourif) and his malignant, blonde girlfriend, Tiffany (Meg Tilly), have somehow begotten a child, a gender-unspecified Chucky doll who sounds and looks like his real dad may be David Bowie. Their plan is to transfer the soul of their doll-child into the real body of a desperate B-movie actress (Tilly again) who will do almost anything to get roles. Most of the movie is taken up with self-referential gags and Tilly's excruciating performance. This is for really, really diehard fans of the Chucky films only. Contains gore, violence, obscenity and sexual scenes.

-- D.T.