SUPERCROSS: THE MOVIE (PG-13, 80 minutes)
"Supercross: The Movie" (as opposed to the best-selling book, popular television series and long-running Broadway musical) is a poor man's "Lords of Dogtown," substituting hard-core motorcycle racing for extreme skateboarding and featuring a young cast of television-bred actors. The key players: stylistically divergent, ultimately dream-convergent "chopper trash" brothers, the undisciplined punker Trip (Mike Vogel of "Grounded for Life") and the cautious but ambitious K.C. (Steve Howie of "Reba"), along with their girlfriends (Sophie Bush of "One Tree Hill" and Cameron Richardson of "Point Pleasant," the latter quite charming as a tomboy who looks like a compressed version of another Cameron, Diaz). But this film is not about romance, except with those bikes incessantly flying through the air after hitting aptly named "whoops" (the big bumps that send bike and rider skyward) or loudly making dirt-strewing hairpin turns while trying to service a plot as predictable as the motocross courses. Supercross, which combines asphalt and dirt racing, is reportedly the second fastest-growing motor sport in the United States behind NASCAR. Besides familial conflicts and battles with mean-spirited champs Rowdy (Channing Tatum) and Tyler Evans (as himself!), the film features a battle for supremacy between a "factory" (sponsored) team and unsponsored "privateers." Robert Carradine and Robert Patrick, playing opposing team leaders, are the only "adults" in the film and are probably the only adults who want to watch what is essentially an IMAX-style promotion for the sport (the result of a partnership with Clear Channel Entertainment's motor sports division). Contains profanity and some sexuality. Area theaters.
-- Richard Harrington
ASYLUM (R, 90 minutes)
Like some dramatization of a chapter from "Smart Women, Foolish Choices," "Asylum" tells the story of a very, very unwise relationship. Stuck in a provincial backwater, where her cold-fish husband (Hugh Bonneville) is the assistant director of a mental institution, lonely housewife Stella Raphael (Natasha Richardson) soon begins an affair with one of the sanitarium's criminally insane patients, a handsome former sculptor named Edgar (Marton Csokas) who has been locked up there for many years after brutally butchering his wife in a fit of jealous rage. I repeat: after brutally butchering his wife in a fit of jealous rage. Clearly, Edgar's not the only crazy one around here. I know it's all about erotic obsession, not logic. Still, it's just so darn annoying to watch this attractive, seemingly smart woman throw her life away for some (admittedly rather hot) sex in the greenhouse, where Edgar has been granted work-release, when it's so obvious, at least to the audience, that he's an emotional volcano about to blow. In due course, Stella and Edgar have run off to establish a love nest in a squalid dump in London with Edgar's former studio assistant, Nick (Sean Harris). By the time Edgar starts "turning" into the violent green-eyed monster we've always known him to be whenever Stella and Nick smile at each other, you may feel like shouting at the screen, "My God, woman, what were you thinking?" But wait. It gets worse, as when Stella's love jones causes her to do something unspeakable -- and, quite frankly, dramatically implausible -- involving her young son (Augustus Jeremiah Lewis). The one thing that makes "Asylum" at all interesting, however, is not the relationship between Edgar and Stella, but between Edgar and his doctor, Peter Cleave (Ian McKellen), a creepy, manipulative villain if ever there was one. There's a hidden twist to this tawdry tale of what Dr. Cleave would call "sexual pathology and its associated catastrophes." It's a deliciously dark one, if less than a completely satisfying counterpoint to the film's infuriatingly bimbo-like tragic heroine. Contains sex, nudity and violence. At Landmark's E Street Cinema and Bethesda Row and the Cineplex Odeon Shirlington.
-- Michael O'Sullivan