{sstar} Batman Begins

PG-13, 140 minutes, Warner Home Video. Contains intense action violence and disturbing images.

Director Christopher Nolan and co-writer David S. Goyer have taken the bubble gum out of those previous "Batman" movies and returned to the dark spirit of comic book creator Bob Kane's work. This prequel about the early days is slow-moving in many respects, but it's more narratively entrancing than the other flicks. And Christian Bale makes a credible Bruce Wayne, who undergoes rigorous training under the tutelage of mystical warrior Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson). It's fun to watch how this Wayne creates Batman from scratch.

* Extra: Batman Begins mobile game video.

-- Desson Thomson

{sstar} dot the i

R, 91 minutes, Warner Home Video. Contains obscenity, a steamy bedroom scene or two, and violence.

Take a classic love triangle tale (boy meets girl who is engaged to another boy), add the element of a psychological thriller, then turn it inside out until it looks more like a satire of our obsession with "reality" TV, and you'll have some sense of what "dot the i" is like. Without giving away too much of this intriguing film's killer twist ending, "dot" concerns the romance between Kit (Gael Garcia Bernal), an out-of-work actor who videotapes everything, and Carmen (Natalia Verbeke), who's about to marry Barnaby (James D'Arcy). Matthew Parkhill's film is at once cynical and romantic, morally disturbing and deeply aesthetically satisfying.

* Extra: Theatrical "trailer" for the movie within the movie.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

George A. Romero's Land of the Dead

R, 94 minutes, Universal Studios Home. Contains plentiful gore, violence, some obscenity, toplessness, brief sexuality and drug use.

There are two types of zombie movie fans: those for whom the trappings alone -- all the staggering about, bullets to the brain and dripping intestines -- are enough and those who still want to be, you know, frightened. It's not that "Land," the latest sequel in Romero's "Living Dead" franchise, doesn't look like a horror film. It's just not especially horrible. Revolting and violent, yes. Scary, no.

* Extra: Scream tests: zombie casting call.

-- M.O.

{sstar} Mad Hot Ballroom

PG, 95 minutes, Paramount Home Video. Contains some mild references to sex and violence.

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.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

{sstar} Saving Face

R, 97 minutes, Columbia Tristar. Contains sexual content, partial nudity and brief obscenity.

Ambitious doctor Wilhelmina Pang (Michelle Krusiec) and dancer Vivian Shing (Lynn Chen) meet cute but awkward in writer-director Alice Wu's affecting tale of overcoming love's obstacles. Set in the Chinese immigrant community of Flushing, Queens, where Wil, as she's known, faces quiet parental disapproval for her lesbianism -- even as her divorced mother (Joan Chen) is ostracized for getting pregnant by a mystery man -- "Saving Face" is really about showing face, or, in other words, about being who you really are.

* Extra: Sundance diary featurette.

-- Michael O'Sullivan