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November 22, 2009

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



The End of Poverty Economists, politicians, activists engaged in anti-poverty campaigns and impoverished citizens discuss whether the true nature of contemporary poverty is rooted in colonialism and its consequences. With Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, Susan George, Eric Toussaint and John Perkins. Narrated by Martin Sheen. Directed by Philippe Diaz. (1:44) NR.

Me and Orson Welles A romantic coming-of-age story about a teenage actor who lucks into a role in "Julius Caesar" as reimagined by a young director named Orson Welles in New York City circa 1937. With Zac Efron, Claire Danes, Christian McKay and Ben Chaplin. Written By Holly Gent Palmo and Vincent Palmo, Jr. Directed By Richard Linklater. (1:49) PG-13.

Ninja Assassin A young assassin on the run from the clan that trained him must team with an Europol agent to save both their lives. Featuring Rain, Naomie Harris, Ben Miles and Rick Yune. Screenplay by Matthew Sand and J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by James McTeigue. (1:39) R.

Old Dogs Two best friends, an unlucky-in-love divorcee and a fun-loving bachelor, are unexpectedly charged with the care of 6-year-old twins while on the verge of the biggest business deal of their lives. With John Travolta, Robin Williams, Kelly Preston, Seth Green, Ella Bleu Travolta, Lori Loughlin and Matt Dillon. Written by David Diamond and David Weissman. Directed by Walt Becker. (1:28) PG.

The Princess and the Frog This animated musical marks the return to hand-drawn animation in this modern twist on a classic tale set in New Orleans. With the voices of Anika Noni Rose, John Goodman, Keith David, Jim Cummings and Jenifer Lewis. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. (1:35) G. Stories on Page D1 and D5.

Red Cliff An historical adaptation revolving around the naval Battle of Red Cliffs during the final days of the Han Dynasty. With Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro. Written by John Woo and Khan Chan. Directed by Woo. (2:28) R. Story on Page D5

The Road A father and son wander through a post-apocalyptic wasteland in this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. With Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McKee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron. Screenplay by Joe Penhall. Directed by John Hillcoat. (1:50) R. Story on Page D1


The Missing Person A private detective is hired to tail a man, on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles, who was presumed dead after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. With Michael Shannon, Amy Ryan, Margaret Colin and John Ventimiglia. Written and directed by Noah Buschel. (1:35) NR.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee A married woman leading a seemingly idyllic life embarks on a journey of self-discovery after moving to a retirement community with her older husband and meets a younger acquaintance. With Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin, Blake Lively, Maria Bello, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore and Winona Ryder. Written and directed by Rebecca Miller. (1:33) R. Story on Page D4

The Sun A portrait of Japan's wartime emperor, Hirohito. With Issei Ogata and Robert Dawson. Directed by Alexander Sokurov. (1:55) 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.

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.

The Damned United Starring Michael Sheen as legendary British soccer coach Brian Clough, this is a compelling sports film because on one level it doesn't seem to be about sports at all. It's about ambition, betrayal and moral blindness, the tale of a complicated, driven, gifted man whose flaws are so striking they flirt with raising his story to the level of tragedy. (K.Tu., Oct. 16) (1:37) R.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox With George Clooney and Meryl Streep as the most urbane couple in the vulpine world, this adaptation of the much-loved Roald Dahl novel animates not only forest animals but the career of director Wes Anderson. (K.Tu., Nov. 13) (1:28) PG.

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