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December 06, 2009

Capsule reviews are by Kenneth Turan (K.Tu.), Betsy Sharkey (B.S.) and other reviewers. Compiled by Anthony Miller.



According to Greta A rebellious girl on a path headed for trouble spends time with her grandparents at the New Jersey shore where she promises to kill herself. Instead, she begins a romance and discovers a family secret. With Hilary Duff, Ellen Burstyn and Melissa Leo. Written by Michael Gilray. Directed by Nancy Bardawil. (1:28) PG-13.

Broken Embraces A blind writer working under a pseudonym must heal from a car accident that took his wife and directing career before he can move on with love. With Penélope Cruz, Blanca Portillo, Lluís Homar and Ángela Molina. Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. In Spanish with English Subtitles. (2:09) R.

Four Seasons Lodge A community of Holocaust survivors come together every summer in the Catskills to celebrate their lives. Written and directed by Andrew Jacobs. (1:37) NR.

Invictus The inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. With Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Screenplay by Anthony Peckham. Directed by Clint Eastwood. (2:12) PG-13. Story on Page D8

The Lovely Bones A young girl who has been murdered watches over her family and her killer from heaven. With Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan. Screenplay by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, based on the novel by Alice Sebold. Directed by Jackson. (2:16) PG-13.

The Misfortunates Belgium's entry in the Oscar Foreign Film category is a humorous tale of debauchery, pathos and growing up that finds hope and resurrection amid the moral depravity and lecherous behavior that a 13-year-old's father and uncles indulge in daily. Based on the novel by Dimitri Verhulst. Directed by Felix van Groeningen. (1:48) NR.

Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year An impossible love story between a geek and college hottie. With Ranbir Kapoor, Shazahn Padamsee, Sharon Prabhakar, and Gauhar Khan. Written by Jaideep Sahni. Directed by Shimit Amin. In Hindi with English subtitles. (2:35) NR.

A Single Man Set in 1962 Los Angeles at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, a British college professor struggles to find meaning to his life after the death of his longtime partner. With Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. Written by Tom Ford and David Scearce. Directed by Ford. (1:39) NR. Story on Page D5

Until the Light Takes Us A examination of the black metal music scene. Directed by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell. (1:33) NR. Story on Page D6

The Vicious Kind A bitter construction worker's life is turned upside down one Thanksgiving weekend. With J.K. Simmons, Adam Scott, Alex Frost and Brittany Snow. Written and directed by Lee Toland Krieger. (1:32) NR.

Yesterday Was a Lie A young girl with a sharp mind and a weakness for bourbon finds herself on the trail of a reclusive genius and discovers that the most powerful force in the universe -- the power to bend reality, the power to know the truth -- lies within the depths of the human heart. With Kipleigh Brown, John Newton and Chase Masterson. Wriiten and directed by James Kerwin (1:29) NR.

Critics' Choices

An Education Invariably funny and inexpressibly moving in the way it looks at a young girl's journey from innocence to experience, this film does so many things so well, it's difficult to know where to begin cataloging its virtues. What's easy is knowing where you'll end up, which is marveling like everyone else at the performance by Carey Mulligan that is the film's irreplaceable centerpiece. (K.Tu., Oct. 16) (1:35) NR.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Cold-blooded reptiles are lurking everywhere in this slick new noir, with snakes, iguanas, gators and especially Nicolas Cage at their slithering and cynical best. Cage is the bad cop who director Werner Herzog pushes into the deep bayou muck, human and otherwise, that Hurricane Katrina has left behind. The filmmaker has done well by noir too, giving us exactly what he should -- crime, corruption, sarcasm, sex, sleaze and shadows all through the glass darkly. (B.S., Nov. 20) (2:01) R.

Bright Star Writer-director Jane Campion has turned the romance between poet John Keats and girl-next-door Fanny Brawne into an exquisitely done, emotional love story that marries heartbreaking passion to formidable filmmaking restraint, all in the service of the unapologetically romantic belief in "the holiness of the heart's affections." (K.Tu., Sept. 18) (1:59) PG.

Good Hair Chris Rock tries to untangle a question posed by his young daughter: "Daddy, why don't I have good hair?" The result is an amusing, poignant and surprisingly candid look at the issues and implications tied to "black" hair -- as in ethnic -- with a disarming Rock coaxing answers from an eclectic cross-section of African Americans. (B.S., Oct. 16) (1:35) PG-13.

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