MARCH 2009

WATCHMEN: Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, Matthew Goode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Maliln Akerman, Carla Gugino, Stephen McHattie, Matt Frewer (Directed by Zach Snyder; Written by David Hayter and Alex Tse; Warner Bros)

1985 doesn’t seem all that long ago, yet nothing in this dark, heavily plotted thriller seems remotely familiar. With bizarrely-costumed superheroes and supervillains competing for our attention as they flit through the Cold War landscape of the U.S. and the Soviet Union, we fail to realize that the Doomsday Clock is ticking toward midnight and that by dawn’s early light we’ll have been blown to smithereens. Did I mention that the superhero with the mostest on the ball is named Rorschack? This adaptation of Alan Moore’s popular comic-book series made a spectacular opening weekend bow at the box office, followed the next weekend by a spectacular b.o. plummet. OPENED 3/10

DUPLICITY: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson, Tom McCarthy, Oleg Stefan, Rick Worthy, Denise O’Hare, Kathleen Chalfant, Khan Baykal, Wayne Duvall (Written and directed by Tony Gilroy; Universal)

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, who sizzled memorably as an oversexed couple in Mike Nichols’ “Closer,” will turn up the heat again, this time in Tony Gilroy’s “Duplicity.” Gilroy, the classy screenwriter who made a smashing directorial debut with “Michael Clayton,” gives Roberts and Owen a chance to spar in the boardroom and snuggle in the bedroom as a pair of corporate competitors who are having a hot top-secret affair. Just wait till Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson, the industrialists who’ve been paying them big bucks to make war, not love, find out. OPENED 3/20