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Star Turns--What You Should Know About The Current And Upcoming Projects Of Your Favorite Players

By Guy Flatley

C

NICOLAS CAGE

SEASON OF THE WITCH

 

 

 

 

Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Claire Foy, Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen, Robert Sheehan, Christopher Lee (Directed by Dominic Sena; Written by Bragi Schut Jr.; Relativity)

Which witch are we talking about? For the record, her name is unknown, but she is played by Claire Foy, a star who has yet to rise. The girl has been deemed a witch by folks who may be in the know and she is to be delivered to a faraway abbey, one where she’s certain to be judged (and terminated) by a bunch of religious wackos. Will she be able to persuade the pair of macho deserters from the Crusades (Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman) to do the right thing and set her free? If so, what price will the damsel in distress be forced to pay? And do you really care? One thing is certain: it’s time for the genuinely talented Cage to get serious about his career again. Now Playing

MICHAEL CAINE


INCEPTION

Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, Lukas Haas (Written and directed by Christopher Nolan; Warner Bros. Pictures)

Christopher Nolan, the writer-director who intrigued and mystified us in thrillers ranging from “Memento” to “Dark Knight,” gives us plenty to be baffled about in his latest puzzler. The hero, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a man troubled by dreams and by memories of a past dominated by an enigmatic wife (Marion Cotillard) who is evidently no longer among the living. Leo's job in an unethical new world is to break into people's dreams, steal them and turn them over to his boss, who will then use them in his maniacal quest for power.

But that's just for starters. Leo's latest--and most challenging--assignment is to creep into an unsuspecting target's snore-time and plant a whole new dream, one crafted to turn the sleeper into a total loser and to transform his scheming boss into the biggest winner ever.

Sounds tricky, doesn't it? That may be the reason so many critics are saying that to truly grasp the profound meaning of "Inception," viewers must see it at least twice. On the other hand, is that really how you want to spend your down time? Now Playing

HARRY BROWN

Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Charlie Creed-Miles, Ben Drew, Liam Cunningham, Iain Glen, David Bradley, Marky Hathaway (Directed by Daniel Barber; Written by Gary Young; The Samuel Goldwyn Company)

In his youth, Harry Brown was a proud, rugged Royal Marine. No longer young, he is now a beaten-down, seemingly powerless figure standing at the bedside of his wife as she draws her last breath in a shabby London hospital.

Lucky for the new widower, he can count on Leonard Attwell, a long-time friend, for comfort and companionship. But he can’t count on Leonard for long, because the hot-tempered senior has made the fatal mistake of trying to defend himself while being assaulted by a vicious punk in his slum neighborhood. So now Harry has lost both a loving wife and a loyal buddy.

If you are familiar with the lethally vengeful rascals played by Charles Bronson in “Death Wish” and Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino,” however, you know that Harry Brown, played by the invariably masterful Michael Caine, will soon regain his stalking spirit and emerge as dangerous as any two-legged beast prowling the mean streets of London.

Assisting Harry, in one way or another, on his bloody mission are Emily Mortimer as a valiant detective and Charlie Creed-Miles as her relentlessly unsentimental partner in the pursuit of criminals. Now Playing

GINA CARANO

KNOCKOUT

Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Angarano, Mathieu Kassovitz (Directed by Steven Soderbergh; Written by Lem Dobbs; Lionsgate)

Can a stunner celebrated for her Martial Arts achievements make the tricky jump to major movie stardom? We’ll find out when this globe-hopping thriller from ever-innovative Steven Soderbergh descends on our local cineplex. At the center of the intrigue and action is agile Gina Carano, playing secret agent Mallory Kane, a woman who thinks nothing at all about breaking local laws, sometimes lethally, as she flits from tight spot to tight spot, including dark alleys in Spain, Ireland and, yes, the USA.

But, wouldn’t you just know that Our Gal Mal is headed for a heap of deep trouble? It comes in the form of a nasty double-cross, one that is probably engineered by some villainous male. Among the suspects are the gents played by Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas. Opening date to be announced

 

STEVE CARELL

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS

Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis, Jemain Clement, Stephanie Szostak, Lucy Punch, Bruce Greenwood, David Williams (Directed by Jay Roach; Written by David Guion and Michael Handelman; Paramount, DreamWorks and Spyglass Entertainment)

Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, who proved they know how to milk a silly story for whopper laughs in such champs as “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004) and “The 40 Year Old Virgin” (2005) are at it again. In “Dinner for Schmucks,” a reworking of Francis Veber’s French box-office hit “Le Diner de Cons,” Rudd plays the cluelessly insensitive clod who joins his callous boss Lance (Bruce Greenwood) in staging a dinner party/contest, with the prize going to the player who succeeds in bringing the biggest schmuck of the evening as his guest.

And that, of course, is where Carell, cast as the clumsily toupeed, conspicuously buck-toothed Barry—a natural-born goofball if ever there was one—comes in. Obviously, this material could be extraordinarily offensive, but preview audiences (and more than a few critics) have roared their approval. Maybe you should go see for yourself. Now Playing

JIM CARREY

I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS


Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Michael Mandel (Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa; Freestyle Releasing)

How’s this for Meeting Cute? Steven Russell, a severely flawed husband and father who’s rarely encountered a law he didn't try to break, finally lands in the slammer, where his cellmate, a hot blond bachelor named Phillip Morris, turns out to be the love of his life.

And how’s this for Casting Cute? Sex maniac Steven is played by Jim Carrey, and dippy but seductive Phillip is played by Ewan McGregor. If you’re curious about how the decidedly odd couple manages to make whoopee behind bars (and eventually outside prison walls), go ahead and put this carnal comedy on your must-see list.

Here's something else to think about: if you were a big fan of “Bad Santa,” the outrageous, politcally incorrect 2003 laughathon starring Billy Bob Thornton and Bernie Mac, you may want to run, not walk, to the front of the multiplex line. That’s because Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the screenwriters of “Bad Santa,” wrote and directed “I Love You Phillip Morris.” Another reason to catch this flick: Steven's out-of-luck wife is played by the irresistibly zany Leslie Mann (aka Mrs. Judd Apatow).

As you may already know, the bizarre saga of Steven Russell is based on a true-life story which served as the basis for Steve McVicker’s 2003 novel, "I Love You Phillip Morris." Now Playing

HELENA BONHAM CARTER

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS--PART 1

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleason, Richard Griffiths, John Hurt, Rhys Ifans, Jason Isaacs, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, David Thewlis, Toby Jones, Simon McBurney, Peter Mullan, Julie Walters (Directed by David Yates; Written by Steve Kloves; Warner Brothers)

The peerless, mostly fearless kids played by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in the fantastical, hugely profitable “Harry Potter” flicks are back. And in this, the seventh and next to final chapter of the hoary hit, the kids are not only all right; they are all grown up, if a wee bit gloomy. Still, even though the smashing box office receipts make it clear that moviegoers will always be wild about Harry and his chums, it does seem time for this trio to break up and move on. Now Playing

VINCENT CASSEL

BLACK SWAN

Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied (Directed by Darren Aronofsky; Written by Mark Heyman, Andrew Heinz and John McLaughlin; Fox Searchlight)

How does one top the spectacle of Mickey Rourke as a physically battered, emotionally numb, spiritually dumb wrestler lurching bloodily about inside the ring and crashing even more catastrophically outside it?

It can’t be easy, but here’s how Darren Aronofsky, the director who transformed laughable loser
Mickey Rourke into a serious Oscar contender for “The Wrestler,” performed still another impressive miracle. He took the ravishingly cool, ethereal Natalie Portman, heated her up, and then dumped her, feet first, into the cuttingly competitive, sometimes ghoulish, arena of classical ballet.

Portman plays Nina Sayers, an obsessive, self-lacerating, borderline psychotic who simply must be a diva or die. Literally. Living in a cramped Upper West Side apartment with her toxically adoring stage mama (Barbara Hershey), Nina pirouettes her way to the brink of stardom in a bizarre staging of “Swan Lake” slotted for Manhattan’s Lincoln Center.

But a totally unrehearsed twist of plot suddenly casts a sinister shadow on Nina’s fairytale dream: her rogue of a choreographer (Vincent Cassel) insists that the sultry allure she needs to project on stage can best be achieved just a few steps beyond his bedroom door.

What’s a poor virginal girl to do? Possibly the key to Nina’s psychosexual lock may be located in the intimate company of Beth MacIntyre, the incurably high-strung dancer played by Winona Ryder. Or, better still, the sizzly little number named Lily (Mila Kunis), with whom Nina eventually collaborates on a notably uninhibited, strictly offstage, scene.

But where will it all end? Well, have you never seen “The Red Shoes”? Now Playing

DON CHEADLE

IRON MAN 2

Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, John Slattery, Gary Shandling, Christiane Amanpopur, Bill O’Reilly (Directed by Jon Favreau; Written by Justin Theroux; Paramount Pictures

Following his smashing 2008 debut, playful but tough Tony Stark is back, and once again the Marvel comic hero with the high-tech heart is being played by the unaplogetically over-the-top Robert Downey Jr. This time, the aggressive altruist is joined by another Iron Man, an Army Colonel played by Don Cheadle, as well as a battery of good and bad guys and girls that includes Gwyneth Paltrow as spicy Pepper Potts, San Rockwell as an unscrupulous defense contractor, Scarlett Johansson as an intensely athletic spy, Mickey Rourke as a mad Russian scientist and Samuel L. Jackson as a loose cannon named Nick Fury. All this, and Christiane Amanpour and Bill O’Reilly, too! Now Playing

JULIE CHRISTIE

AWAY FROM HER

Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Murphy, Kristen Thomson, Wendy Crewson, Alberta Watson (Written and directed by Sarah Polley; Lionsgate)

At first glance, Fiona and Grant Anderson, husband and wife for 44 years, appear to be leading a blissful life, cross-country skiing during the day and cozying up at night in their lovely country cottage. But they both know that Fiona, disoriented by the onset of Alzheimer’s, may soon lose her husband, her memory, and her very own identity.

Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent have drawn raves on the festival circuit for their performances as the elderly Canadian couple, as has Sarah Polley, the gifted star of Atom Egoyan’s “The Sweet Hereafter,” who makes her screenwriting and directorial debut--at the ripe old age of 28--with this adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story “The Bear Who Came Over the Mountain.” Now Playing

GEORGE CLOONEY

THE AMERICAN

George Clooney, Bruce Altman, Thekla Reuten, Paola Bonacelli, Violante Placido, Filippo Timi (Directed by Anton Corbijn; Written by Rowan Joffe; Focus Features)

In the real world George Clooney is a solid, compassionate mensch, the kind of guy you know will be there when you really need him. Yet, on screen, he is arguably at his best when playing a tough, even ugly, American, a self-absorbed operator determined to chisel and strategize his way to the top of the money heap. In other words, the type of tunnel-visioned careerist he portrayed so memorably in “Michael Clayton” and “Up in the Air,” two gems in which the antihero learns, at long last, to tell wrong from right and to do something heroic about it.

Now, in “The American,” based on novelist Martin Booth’s provocative psychological thriller “A Very Private Gentleman,” Clooney plays his most dangerous villain to date. He’s an American who loves luxuriating in a drowsy little town in southern Italy, where he’s called Signor Farfalla (Italian for butterfly)--because of his conspicuous obsession with the fragile, fluttery winged one. What only Mr. Butterfly’s “clients” know, however, is that he is also an assassin. Not that he actually pulls triggers or ignites fuses himself, but he’s a godsend in the thorny process of supplying the right weapons of destruction to those who can pay the proper price.

Does Farfalla attempt to justify his lethal endeavors, particularly when it comes to the obliteration of evil politicos? Here, from the pages of “A Very Private Gentleman,” is a substantial clue: “My job is the gift-wrapping of death. I am the salesman of death, death's booking clerk, death's bellhop. I am the guide on the path toward darkness...All men want to make their mark, know upon their deathbed the world has changed because of them, as a result of their actions or philosophies...everyone carries a gun in his heart. For want of a rationale, or courage, we are all assassins."

It’s beginning to sound as if we might as well sit back, enjoy the show, and simply let George—or, rather, Signor Farfalla--do it! Now Playing

WHITE JAZZ

George Clooney (Directed by Joe Carnahan; Written by Joe Carnahan and Matthew Michael Carnahan; Warner Independent Pictures)

Not all cops are the same. Some are good, and some are bad. Dave Klein (George Clooney) is a good--well, mostly good--cop making a buck the scary way on the LAPD vice squad in the 1958, and he’s being set up for a calamitous fall by the city’s police commissioner, a bad-to-the-core cop if ever there was one. Will Klein outwit his boss? You can count on it. Nor would you be wrong to count on a full tank of blood, guts, bullets and octane in this adaptation of the James Ellroy novel, since writer-director Joe Carnahan is the man who gave us “Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane,” the 1998 cult thriller, as well as 2003’s police saga “Narc.” Opening date to be announced


ESCAPE FROM TEHRAN

George Clooney (Directed by George Clooney; Written by George Clooney and Grant Heslov; Warner Bros.)

In the wake of the WMD blunder that started the War in Iraq ball rolling, the CIA is in desperate need of an image makeover. Perhaps it will get the p.r. boost it needs with this real-life comedy-drama set not in Iraq, but in Iran. Co-producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov are basing their screenplay on Joshua Bearman’s investigative report in Wired magazine about the astonishing 1980 rescue of six Americans in Tehran by CIA operative Tony Mendez.

Wacky as it seems, Mendez convinced Iranian officials that he and his U.S. colleagues were actually Canadian filmmakers with plans to shoot a major epic in Tehran. Not only did they manage to fool the Iranians, but they also put one over on Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, both of which did dead-earnest reports on the making of the movie.

As was the case with “Good Night, and Good Luck,” the previous Clooney-Heslov collaboration, Clooney is expected to direct and act in “Escape From Tehran.” He sounds like the perfect Mendez to us. Opening date to be announced

SACHA BARON COHEN

DOWNSIZING

Paul Giamatti, Reese Witherspoon, Sacha Baron Cohen (Directed By Alexander Payne; Written By Alexander Payne And Jim Taylor; Fox Searchlight)

“The movies didn’t get smaller—I did,” is what Paul Giamatti may be saying in this comedy-drama-fantasy directed and co-written by Alexander Payne, the man who made him a star to reckon with in 2004’s “Sideways.”

Here Giamatti plays a serial loser who, in an effort to become a winner, submits to an experimental procedure that will turn him into a teensy but deliriously happy, enormously successful person. And as he shrinks and then shrinks some more, he hooks up with some other tiny folk, including Reese Witherspoon (an actress who first made it big in 1999, playing a predatory teenager in director Payne’s “Election”) and Sacha Baron Cohen, who proved in “Borat” (2006) and then again in “Bruno” (2009) that he will stoop as low or jump as high as necessary to get the camera's close-up attention.

This could be the start of something small! Opening date to be announced

JENNIFER CONNELLY

THE DILEMMA

Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum, Queen Latifah (Directed by Ron Howard; Written by Allan Loeb; Universal)

They are so close that they could be mistaken for Siamese twins. Ronny and Nick, played by Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, certainly look alike, though one is chubbier than the other. Clearly, they act and think alike, which is to say they are both addicted to rough-housing, beer swilling, fistfighting and making gross jokes at the expense of one another. Down deep, however, these long-time buddies and business partners are as tender and protective as lovers can possibly be.

So, are Ronny and Nick literally lovers? No way! When not zanily engaged in punching and maiming each other, they have a whole other agenda. Ronny concentrates on wooing and summoning up the nerve to propose to sexy Beth (Jennifer Connelly), and Nick marvels at the fact that he’s been lucky enough to bed and wed the classy, if complicated, Geneva (Winona Ryder). Since this situation merely proves that even though boys will be boys, they still need girls to complete the picture, what is the problem here?

Well, the catastrophic truth is that Ronny has accidentally glimpsed Geneva kissing a musclebound male (Channing Tatum), a guy who bears no resemblance whatsoever to his pal Nick. So what is Ronny to do? Be honest and break the bad news to his best friend? Or remain selfishly mum so his business partner doesn’t go berserk and screw up a major deal they're on the verge of sealing with Chrysler? That is the problem—and the crucial dilemma--in this sad-at-heart comedy. For the record, Queen Latifah is on hand to serve up some strictly upbeat laughs. Now Playing

CHRIS COOPER

THE TOWN

Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper (Directed by Ben Affleck; Written by Ben Affleck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard; Warner Bros. Pictures)

Having made a striking directorial debut with “Gone Baby Gone,” the harrowing 2007 thriller starring his kid brother Casey, Ben Affleck recently decided he was ready for his own close-up. So he took on the weighty challenge of directing, co-writing and starring in “The Town,” an adaptation of Chuck Hogan’s tension-packed crime novel “Prince of Thieves.“ In the film, Affleck plays Doug MacRay, a tough dude who, like his best buddies in Charleston, a blue-collar section of Boston, grooves on robbing banks and armored cars, routinely terrorizing innocent bystanders in the process.

Yet MacRay is not all thug. More and more, his daydreams revolve around life in the slow lane of 9-to-5 employment and connubial cuddling with Claire (Rebecca Hall), a potentially dangerous witness to one of his uglier assaults. Sometimes people decide to make their daydreams come true, but that is not likely to be the real deal for MacRay, whose sense of loyalty to old friends is strong and seemingly unwavering. Besides, if he decides to go legit, he has reason to believe his trigger-happy colleagues in crime--especially "Hurt Locker's" Jeremy Renner as an itchy-fingered gun lover--will brand him a traitor and show him no mercy. So will it be a case of “Stick to Your Own Kind”? Or “Gone MacRay Gone”? Now Playing

THE COMPANY MEN

Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Craig T. Nelson Rosemarie DeWitt, John Dorman, Liam Ferguson, Dana Eskelson, Tonye Patano, Scott Winters, Candy Huffman (Written and directed by John Wells)

How’s this for typecasting? Three first-rate actors who do not get as many gigs as they deserve are starring as a trio of macho, blithely confident employees abruptly sacked by the hot-to-downsize honchos of a Massachusetts shipbuilding firm.

Not that you should think of these wannabe careerists played here by Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper as the brethren of the low-level laborers so triumphantly terminated by George Clooney in “Up in the Air.” Ben, Tommy Lee and Chris are—make that were—lavishly paid executives thoroughly accustomed to a life of luxury. That's why having to make do without mansions, pools, Porsches, country clubs, sybaritic getaways and marketable resumes is such a bummer for them.

If the rapturous response to this ripped-from-the-headlines flick at the 2010 Sundance Festival is a sign of things to come, ace TV writer-director John Wells, making his big-screen debut, and his three key players (plus Kevin Costner as a savvy survivor of the economic storm), will soon find themselves at the top of the Hollywood job heap. Now Playing

KEVIN COSTNER

THE COMPANY MEN

Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Craig T. Nelson Rosemarie DeWitt, John Dorman, Liam Ferguson, Dana Eskelson, Tonye Patano, Scott Winters, Candy Huffman (Written and directed by John Wells)

How’s this for typecasting? Three first-rate actors who do not get as many gigs as they deserve are starring as a trio of macho, blithely confident employees abruptly sacked by the hot-to-downsize honchos of a Massachusetts shipbuilding firm.

Not that you should think of these wannabe careerists played here by Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper as the brethren of the low-level laborers so triumphantly terminated by George Clooney in “Up in the Air.” Ben, Tommy Lee and Chris are—make that were—lavishly paid executives thoroughly accustomed to a life of luxury. That's why having to make do without mansions, pools, Porsches, country clubs, sybaritic getaways and marketable resumes is such a bummer for them.

If the rapturous response to this ripped-from-the-headlines flick at the 2010 Sundance Festival is a sign of things to come, ace TV writer-director John Wells, making his big-screen debut, and his three key players (plus Kevin Costner as a savvy survivor of the economic storm), will soon find themselves at the top of the Hollywood job heap. Now Playing

MARION COTILLARD

INCEPTION

Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, Lukas Haas (Written and directed by Christopher Nolan; Warner Bros. Pictures)

Christopher Nolan, the writer-director who intrigued and mystified us in thrillers ranging from “Memento” to “Dark Knight,” gives us plenty to be baffled about in his latest puzzler. The hero, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a man troubled by dreams and by memories of a past dominated by an enigmatic wife (Marion Cotillard) who is evidently no longer among the living. Leo's job in an unethical new world is to break into people's dreams, steal them and turn them over to his boss, who will then use them in his maniacal quest for power.

But that's just for starters. Leo's latest--and most challenging--assignment is to creep into an unsuspecting target's snore-time and plant a whole new dream, one crafted to turn the sleeper into a total loser and to transform his scheming boss into the biggest winner ever.

Sounds tricky, doesn't it? That may be the reason so many critics are saying that to truly grasp the profound meaning of "Inception," viewers must see it at least twice. On the other hand, is that really how you want to spend your down time? Now playing

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen, Carla Bruni (Written and directed by Woody Allen)

In the oddball 1996 musical comedy “Everyone Says I Love You,” Woody Allen was a notably uncomfortable American in Paris. Indeed, none of his American fellow-travelers—including Goldie Hawn, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore and Natalie Portman—seemed to be having much fun in the City of Light. Now, in “Midnight in Paris,” Woody won’t have to worry about looking out of place. That’s because, as usual these days, the writer-director will not be performing in his own film.

And even though his latest comedy-drama already has a title—a rarity for an Allen project yet to go before the camera—we still know very little about the plot, except that it deals with various members of a family who discover some surprising truths about themselves while traveling abroad together.

Just imagine the epiphanies that chronically depressed clan in “Interiors” might have experienced on a trip to Gay Paree! Opening date to be announced

DANIEL CRAIG

DEFIANCE

Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, George MacKay, Alexa Davalos, Jodhi May, Mark Feuerstein (Directed by Edward Zwick; Written by Edward Zwick and Clayton Frohman; Paramount Vantage)

During Germany’s ruthless World War II occupation of Poland, four brave brothers escaped their captors and took refuge in a forest. Eventually, they joined a band of Russian resisters in an effort to combat Nazis and free imprisoned Jews. They succeeded to an astonishing degree, as this adaptation of Nechama Tec’s non-fiction book will no doubt make clear. Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell and George MacKay play the brothers under the direction of Edward Zwick, who demonstrated that war is never less than hell in “Glory,” “Courage Under Fire” and “Blood Diamond.” Now Playing

RUSSELL CROWE

ROBIN HOOD

Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Matthew Macfadyen, Kevin Durand, Danny Huston, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Addy, Scott Grimes, Oscar Isaac, Eileen Atkins, Lea Seydoux, Bronson Webb, Robert Pugh, Alan Doyle (Directed by Ridley Scott; Written by Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris; Universal Pictures)

Is Russell Crowe the new Errol Flynn? Perhaps not. Still, nobody could stop the hot-tempered Australian from donning the duds of Robin Hood, the legendary bow-and-arrow hero so fondly identified with Flynn. Even if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Michael Curtiz’ 1938 classic “Adventures of Robin Hood,” you undoubtedly know that it established Flynn, a gentle-tempered but seriously sexy Australian, as a major Hollywood draw and the definitive Bandit of Sherwood Forest.

In helping us forget Flynn, Crowe has had the good fortune of reteaming with Ridley Scott, the forceful director who pushed him into the arena and on to an Oscar as Best Actor of 2000 in “The Gladiator.” Which leaves us with question of who would dare to follow in the delicate, thoroughly proper British footsteps of Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian? Hint: one more Aussie.

That’s right, it’s Cate Blanchett, who will turn up the heat several notches in the role of the fiery blueblood who regards Robin Hood as just another out-of-control low-life--until that giddy moment when she discovers precisely how cool this straight-arrow rogue truly is. Now Playing

BILLY CRUDUP

EAT PRAY LOVE

Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, James Franco, Billy Crudup, Viola Davis (Written and directed by Ryan Murphy; Paramount)

Depressed, nearly suicidal, Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the memoir upon which this film is based, as well as its best-selling sequel, "Committed") decides to take a year off from her successful literary career in an attempt to get over her divorce from a seemingly ideal husband and her stressful love affair with a man who was definitely not ideal. Her plan is to flee Manhattan and spend one third of the year seeking pleasure in Italy, another third searching for spiritual serenity in India, and the final third striking a balance between the two extremes in Indonesia.

And, yes, Elizabeth, portrayed by Julia Roberts, will not say no if a suitable bachelor pops up somewhere along the way and pops the right question. Two of the presumably available gents encountered by the adventurous Elizabeth are a somewhat elderly mystic played by Richard Jenkins, who was Oscar-nominated a few seasons ago for his performance in "The Visitor," and a red-hot man of mystery played by super-cool Javier Bardem. Now Playing

TOM CRUISE

THE HARDY MEN

Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller (Directed by Shawn Levy; Fox)

Boys will be boys. And then, if they pull themselves together and stop the kid stuff, they will be men. That is precisely what happens to cut-ups Tom and Ben in this comic updating of the “Hardy Boys” mystery series. What’s the hook? It seems the lads had a silly falling out on their journey to maturity and, in a huff, went their separate ways, never to co-sleuth again. But then something shocking happened, so they’re back together, pooling brains and brawn on a truly big, life-or-death criminal case. And is that “The Hardy Men 2” we see on the horizon? Opening date to be announced


JOHN CUSACK

WAR, INC.

John Cusack, Hilary Duff, Marisa Tomei, Joan Cusack, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Ben Cross, Montel Williams (Directed by Joshua Seftel; Written by John Cusack, Mark Leyner and Jeremy Pikser; First Look International)

Something’s rotten in Turaqistan, and that something is Brand Hauser (John Cusack), the hit man dispatched to the war-ravaged Middle East nation by the former U.S. vice president. What is Brand’s mission? To bump off the CEO of a company that’s competing with the VP’s company for a spectacular outsourcing military contract. Cusack, in a twist on his memorable portrait of a professional terminator in “Grosse Pointe Blank” (1997), is joined by sibling Joan Cusack, also doing a “Pointe Blank” encore, this time playing the assassin’s nutty assistant. Marisa Tomei is a relentlessly snoopy journalist and Hilary Duff’s a shallow celeb who plans to wed wealthily in Turaqistan. Now Playing