6 video rentals nm
Due next week
"August Rush" — Drenched in sentimentality, but it’s supposed to be. Freddie Highmore plays a boy who runs away from an orphanage to find his parents. He has learned that they (Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers) were musicians and believes that through his own music he can find them. The movie is sincere and good-hearted, and really loves music. Yes, it depicts an impossibly sentimental world, but younger viewers will really like it. With Robin Williams, Terrence Howard. Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild violence and language. Three stars.
"Bee Movie" — Jerry Seinfeld does the voice for a rebel bee who refuses to settle down to a lifetime of drudgery before he explores outside the hive. That leads to a lawsuit against the human race for exploiting honey. We learn at the outset of the movie that bees theoretically cannot fly. Unfortunately, in the movie, that applies only to the screenplay. It is really, really, really hard to care much about a platonic romantic relationship between Renee Zellweger and a bee. Rated PG for mild suggestive humor and a brief depiction of smoking. Two stars.
"Dan in Real Life" — Steve Carell ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") is a widower with three girls who goes home to Rhode Island for Thanksgiving and meets a woman (Juliette Binoche) in a bookstore; they fall into the early stages of love, but it turns out she’s the girlfriend of his brother (Dane Cook). Makes for an awkward weekend. With John Mahoney and Dianne Wiest as the parents. Sweet, low-key, a good time. Rated PG-13 for some innuendo. Three stars.
"Nancy Drew" — Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts’ niece, shows her star quality as teen sleuth Nancy Drew, who leaves her cozy River Heights home with her dad for Los Angeles. Despite good performances, the film suffers from poor direction and a senseless storyline. Rated PG for mild violence, thematic elements and brief language. Reviewed by Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times. Two stars.
"No Country For Old Men" — Regards a completely evil man with wonderment, as if astonished that such a merciless creature could exist. He is Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), who travels Texas and kills people with a cattle stun gun. He is one strand in a plot involving a drug deal gone bad. Another is a sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) and a third is a hunter (Josh Brolin), a poor man who comes across $2 million in drug money. A masterpiece based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, written, directed and edited by Joel and Ethan Coen. As good as their "Fargo," which is saying something. Rated R for strong graphic violence and some language. Four stars.
"Awake" — Hayden Christensen as a rich kid dominated by his mother (Lena Olin), in love with Jessica Alba, and undergoing heart transplant surgery — during which, to his horror, he finds he can hear and feel everything going on. The medical procedures are preposterous, but for me, the suspense worked. Rated R for language, an intense disturbing situation, and brief drug use. Three stars.
"Into the Wild" — Freshly graduated from college with a promising future, 22-year-old Christopher McCandless instead walked out of his privileged life and into the wild in search of adventure. What happened to him on the way transformed this young wanderer into an enduring symbol for countless people. Starring Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Hal Holbrook and Catherine Keener. Rated R for language and some nudity. Not reviewed.
"Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium" — Dustin Hoffman plays the 243-year-old proprietor of a magical toy store, and Natalie Portman is the young salesclerk he hopes will take over the store when he moves on to his next adventure. The store itself almost steals the movie; it’s a wonderful place. Younger kids will likely love it, but the plot is a little too cut-and-dried for older audience members. Rated G. Three stars.
"Things We Lost in the Fire" — A new widow (Halle Berry) is moved to invite her late husband’s best friend (Benicio Del Toro) to live in a room in her family’s garage — an improvement from his life as a recovering heroin addict. No, not a love story, but the portrait of two damaged people who loved the same man more than anyone else did. A perceptive view of how grief affects us, and an accurate look at the best friend’s experiences in a 12-step program. American debut of Danish director Susanne Bier ("Open Hearts," "Brothers"). Rated R for drug content and language. Three stars.
Reviews by Roger Ebert unless otherwise noted.