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AUGUST 2007

EL CANTANTE: Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, John Ortiz, Ralph Mercado, Deirdre Lorenz, Tony Devon, Federico Castelluccio) (Directed by Leon Ichaso; Written by Leon Ichaso and David Darmsteder; Picturehouse) Hector Lavoe, who was born in Puerto Rico and became an enormously popular singer after moving to New York City at the age of 17, was sometimes called the Bad Boy of Salsa. And for good reason. The Latin icon had a tough time dealing with success and was soon seeking relief in booze and hard drugs, a habit that caused him to arrive late--or not at all--for sold-out performances. But his fans always forgave him, because they identified so strongly with the music and the spirit of the man they called “La Voz” (“The Voice”). Neither the adoration of his fans nor the loving support of his wife Puchi, however, was enough to pull him through tragic times--his mother-in-law was murdered, his son was shot to death, his house burned down, and he himself toyed with suicide. Physically and emotionally drained, the 46-year-old Lavoe died in 1993, a victim of cardiac arrest and, possibly, AIDS-related complications. Pop performer Marc Anthony plays Lavoe, and his real-life wife, Jennifer Lopez, plays his beloved Puchi. Call them call them Antlope. Now Playing

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM: Matt Damon, Paddy Considine, Joan Allen, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, David Strathairn, Julia Stiles, Edgar Ramirez (Directed by Paul Greengrass; Written by Tony Gilroy; Universal) Jason Bourne, the endlessly intriguing memory-impaired marksman created by novelist Robert Ludlum, is still trying to fill in the blanks from his past. And, fortunately, he is being played by Matt Damon, the subtle, dynamic actor who played him to perfection in “The Bourne Identity” (2002) and “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004). On his latest quest for self-knowledge, he participates in a nasty shootout in Russia and is then pursued by a lethally serious U.S. government agent. Sometimes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. To read about more movies based on books, click here. Now Playing

BECOMING JANE: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, James Cromwell, Laurence Fox, Ian Richardson, Anna Maxwell Martin, Helen McCrory (Directed by Julian Jarrold; Written by Sarah Williams and Kevin Hood; Miramax Films) When Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) was a 20-year-old budding writer, she fell for Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), a sexy, boozy Irish wannabe lawyer who caused her to scrap whatever thoughts she entertained for marrying the rich but boring Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox). In the end, Jane remained single, Tom wived it wealthily in Ireland, and Mr. Wisley grew increasingly stuffy. At least that’s the way this biopic tells it. Special bonus: The great Maggie Smith plays Mr. Wisley’s imperious aunt. Now Playing

THE IITH HOUR: Written and directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners; narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio; Warner Independent Pictures. In a sharp, crisp, moving 91 minutes, producers Leonardo DiCaprio, Leila Conners Petersen, Chuck Castleberry, Brian Gerber and their dedicated crew convey the scope and the urgency of the ills that threaten the life of our planet. New York Times critic Manohla Dargis says this “unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary about our environmental calamity is essential viewing.” And isn’t it nice to discover that, in addition to his phenomenal acting skills, Leo the Lion possesses genuine heart and soul? For Dargis’ complete review, click here; to view the trailer for “The 11th Hour,” click here. Now Playing

STARDUST: Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Peter O’Toole, Sienna Miller, Rupert Everett, Jason Flemyng, Billie Whitelaw, Jake Curran (Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Written by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman; Paramount) Tristan (Charlie Cox), an upstanding Victorian enamored by the conveniently named Victoria (Sienna Miller), has a plan for capturing the undivided attention of this self-absorbed stunner. His happy ending depends on tracking down the glorious star they once observed crashing to earth, and his quest carries him to numerous mysterious, dangerous places. Among the scheming goodies and baddies he encounters on his love-fueled star trek: An eccentric pirate who answers to the name of Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro); a bitch of a witch named Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is not amused by the prospect of lined and wrinkled old age; Lord Stormhold (Peter O’Toole), a nasty, dying S.O.B. whose potential heirs have their own sinister reasons for snaring that fallen star; and a lovely, imperiled lass (Claire Danes), who projects a certain star quality of her own, one that may eventually dim the light of Tristan’s love for Victoria. Based on Neil Gaiman’s fantasy graphic novel, “ Stardust” has been helmed by Matthew Vaughn, who made a strong directorial debut in 2004 with the classy thriller “Layer Cake.” To read Guy Flatley's 1973 interview with Robert De Niro, click here; for Guy's 1972 interview with Peter O'Toole, click here. Now Playing

THE INVASION: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jackson Bond, Jeffrey Wright, Alexis Raben, Veronica Cartwright (Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel; Written by Dave Kajganich; Warner Bros.) Kidman plays a shrink who probably needs a shrink, considering the weird people and events causing her high anxiety in this sci-fi thriller directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, recently acclaimed for his political biopic "The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich." The situation, borrowed at least a little from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," is this: an alien epidemic is threatening the population of planet earth and Nicole's very own son may hold the key to prevention and cure. Daniel Craig, a surprise sensation as James Bond in "Casino Royale," is on hand to provide perhaps a few cuddles for the tormented psychiatrist and possibly to punch out a pod or two. Now Playing

THE NANNY DIARIES: Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti, Chris Evans, Donna Murphy, Alicia Keys, Brande Roderick (Written and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini; The Weinstein Company) Scarlett Johansson, who seems to be signing up for enough projects to carry her into her twilight years, will play the impetuous, wildly inexperienced kid-keeper in a falling-apart Manhattan marriage, as recorded by young authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus in their big-time bestseller. Best news of all is that Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, the inspired scripters of the great “American Splendor,” are responsible for the adaptation, and they also served as co-directors. Now Playing

RESURRECTING THE CHAMP: Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett, Kathryn Morris, Rachel Nichols, David Paymer, Teri Hatcher, Alan Alda (Written and directed by Rod Lurie; Phoenix Pictures) The gung-ho journalist played by Josh Hartnett may be young, but he feels he knows how to sniff out a newsworthy story like an old pro. So when he encounters a mysterious homeless person (Samuel L. Jackson), it doesn’t take him long to conclude the down-and-outer is actually a long-missing boxing champ. But is our cub reporter getting his facts straight, or is the stranger even more mysterious than he seems? To read about more new Josh Hartnett movies, click here and browse the H page of STAR TURNS. Now Playing