Director: Jeremy Brock. With Laura Linney, Rupert Grint, Julie Walters. (98 min.)
Laura Marshall's teen son, Ben (Rupert Grint), will do almost anything to escape her suffocating love. He finds summer work as factotum to an eccentric former actress (Julie Walters). Besides helping Ben cut the apron strings, it gives him confidence behind the wheel of a car – and in life – as well as a better appreciation of his father. This understated comedy-drama allows Walters and Grint a great opportunity to step out of their familiar roles as mother and son Molly and Ron Weasley in the "Harry Potter" films. Grade: B
– M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes of innuendo, 1 of implied sex. Violence: 1 scene. Profanity: 19 instances. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 11 scenes of drinking.
Director: Michael Meyer. With Maria Bello, Alison Lohman, Tim McGraw. (94 min.)
Katy McLaughlin (Alison Lohman) seems adept at getting on the wrong side of her rancher father (Tim McGraw). Grounded after flunking history class, she disobeys orders by adopting a mustang. But the real burr under Dad's saddle is Katy's desire to run the ranch one day – a job he'd reserved for her brother. If fans of the "Flicka" books and movies can accept a teen in place of the 10-year-old boy, and that Flicka is now the ornery mare instead of the mare's foal, they may enjoy this movingly told variation on an old story. The Wyoming scenery helps. Grade: B
Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of innuendo. Violence: 8 scenes of strong violence. Profanity: 3 instances of mild profanity. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: None.
Director: Christopher Nolan. With Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson. (128 min.)
After the surprise success of "The Illusionist," "The Prestige," about dueling magicians in 19th-century England, may not seem like such a commercial long shot. I wasn't nuts about "The Illusionist" but, because I love magic on film, I was reasonably entertained. I'm also not crazy about plot-heavy "Prestige," but it has its moments, too. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play the two rivals, Scarlett Johansson is the magician's assistant who shuttles between them, and Michael Caine, easily the best in the bunch, plays their mentor. Christopher Nolan, fresh from his pitch-black Batman, once again goes heavy on the chiaroscuro. Grade: B
– Peter Rainer
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes of innuendo, 2 of implied sex. Violence: 14 scenes of strong violence. Profanity: 1 instance of a harsh profanity, 6 instances of mild profanity. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 12 scenes of drinking.
Directors: Adam Del Deo, James D. Stern. With George W. Bush, John Kerry. (90 min.)
This evenhanded documentary about the 2004 countdown in Ohio between President Bush and John Kerry is not exactly an eye-opener. It presents no grand conspiracy theory to explain why Kerry failed to carry the state. Instead, supported by commentary from both Republican and Democratic operatives, the movie confirms what most of us have known all along: Electability is all about staying on message. The truth and verifiability of that message is something else again. As the Bush/Cheney media director says, "A flawed strategy that's consistent is better than an inconsistent strategy." Grade: B+