JUNE 2008

THE HAPPENING: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Spencer Breslin, Betty Buckley, Tony Devon, Jeremy Strong, Victoria Clark (Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan; Fox) There’s a new Philadelphia story on the way to your neighborhood cineplex. But don’t expect the kind of witty, urbane frolic that proved the perfect 1940 vehicle for director George Cukor and the deft starring trio of Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart. We’re in a whole new century now, one in which Philadelphia and the rest of the planet seem to be on the way out. In this eco-shocker from M. Night Shyamalan, the prankster who teased and rattled us so mercilessly in “The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable,” “Signs,” “The Village” and “Lady in the Water,” takes us to a Philly where the vast majority of citizens are deliberately driving through plate glass windows, slashing their wrists, or hanging themselves from trees. Apparently, this mass madness has been caused by a form of air pollution unknown even to Al Gore. Mark Wahlberg can’t figure out how he’s going to keep his family alive--but he does know he must get the hell out of Philadelphia. Now Playing


THE INCREDIBLE HULK: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Lou Ferrigno, Ty Burrell, Christina Cabot, Peter Mensah, Robert Downey Jr. (Directed by Louis Leterrier; Written by Zak Penn; Universal) As Marvel Comics junkies know, obsessive physicist Bruce Banner suffered a setback when his laboratory experiment went sour, leaving him with a severely split personality. Sometimes he’s sturdy, reliable Bruce and then, without warning, he is the Incredible--and incredibly dangerous--Hulk. Can Bruce (Edward Norton) shuck his hulk and return to being a straight-arrow scientist? That’s a goal he hopes to achieve, though he certainly can’t count on the support of Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a KGB agent who holds Bruce responsible for an overdose of radiation that reduced him to a hideous mess widely known as The Abomination. Nor will the malevolent General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) be of any assistance to Bruce, though his radiant daughter Betsy (Liv Tyler) might lend a helping hand and heart. A special bonus: Robert Downey Jr. slips into his Tony Stark/Iron Man character during the elaborate end credits. Now Playing

GET SMART: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin, Terence Stamp, Bill Murray, James Caan (Directed by Peter Segal; Written by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember; Warner Bros.) It all began in the fertile, funny minds of scripters Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. The date was September 18, 1965, and the premiering show--a weekly spoof about the misadventures of secret agents--was called “Get Smart.” It starred Don Adams as fumbling agent Maxwell Smart and Barbara Feldon as his truly smart partner, and it aired 138 episodes, ending on September 11, 1970. “The Nude Bomb,” a 1980 film returning Adams to the role of Smart, turned out dumb, a bomb in the showbiz sense of the word. But perhaps a new generation of moviegoers will get the 2008 Smart, played by Steve Carell, a cinematic champ in “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” Anne Hathaway is Agent 99, the character first played to perfection by Barbara Feldon but booted by the misguided packagers of “The Nude Bomb.” Click here to read about more new movie comedies. Now Playing

TRUMBO: Joan Allen, Brian Dennehy, Michael Douglas, Paul Giamatti, Nathan Lane, Josh Lucas, Liam Neeson, David Strathairn, Donald Sutherland (Directed by Peter Askin; Written by Christopher Trumbo; Samuel Goldwyn Films) Dalton Trumbo remembered it all, and pity those who tried to prevent him from speaking--and writing--the truth. Among the legendary screenwriter's most vivid memories: the war to end all wars, the witch-hunt that landed him behind bars, and the spectacle of Ginger Rogers' mom tearfully addressing a Congressional committe and denouncing him as a commie. This documentary, alternating rare footage of Trumbo, his friends, family and foes with excerpts from his letters and published works read by distinguished actors, was enthusiastically received at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. To read Guy Flatley’s review of “Trumbo,” click here; for Guy's 1970 New York Times interview with Dalton Trumbo, click here. Now Playing

WALL-E: The voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, Macintalk, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy, Sigourney Weaver (Written and directed by Andrew Stanton; Titles by Jim Capobianco; Walt Disney/Pixar Animation) The year is 2700, and the earth is a virtually uninhabitable wasteland, unless you count the occasional cockroach or the robotic trash-collector known as Wall-E. One of the questions weighing upon Wall-E is will he ever find the robot of his dreams. The other, more pressing, question is can he find a way to make this planet a place bursting with life once again. There is no question, however, about this animated feature’s enormous impact on audiences and critics alike. Click here for The New York Times article by bowled-over Op Ed columnist Frank Rich. Now Playing

WANTED: James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Chris Pratt (Directed by Timur Bekmambetov; Written by Derek Haas, Michael Brandt, Dean Georgaris and J. G. Jones; Universal) Following his standout turns in “The Last King of Scotland” and “Atonement,” James McAvoy plays a clueless young man who is stunned to learn his long-missing father has been murdered. As if that weren’t enough of a shock to handle, he is also informed that daddy was an extraordinarily accomplished assassin. So, naturally, McAvoy says yes when he’s invited to sign up with the old man’s former employers, and to take lessons from lethal champ Morgan Freeman in the fine art of killing. As for Angelina Jolie, anyone who caught her hit-woman act in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” won’t be surprised if she teaches McAvoy a few tricks of her own. To read about more new murderpix, click here. Now Playing