Director: Zhang Yimou. With Gong Li, Chow Yun-Fat. (114 min.)
Zhang Yimou's latest extravaganza is about palace intrigue during the Tan Dynasty, and it's exhaustingly action-packed. Gong Li is the scheming empress whose husband, played by Chow Yun-Fat, appears to be poisoning her. Yimou has made some remarkable small-scale dramas, especially "Raise the Red Lantern," but in the past few years, with "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers," he seems intent on being the leading practitioner of high-style martial arts epics. Those last two films were often great fun, but here, the action spins out of control and the bright-hued cinematography can only be described as tutti-frutti. Grade: B
– Peter Rainer
Sex/Nudity: 4 scenes of innuendo. Violence: 15 scenes of martial arts and sword fighting, sometimes bloody. Profanity: None. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: None.
Director: Shawn Levy. With Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson. (109 min.)
Anyone not responding to the trailer for this "Jumanji"-style fantasy-adventure with, "That looks stupid," should enjoy this light entertainment. Ben Stiller plays a loafing, divorced dad whose job as a night guard at New York's Museum of Natural History makes him privy to the magical, nocturnal life of the place. The script by "Reno 911!" creators Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon gives hyperkinetic life to both a fantastic set and comedy legends Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney. Kudos to Robin Williams for playing an over-the-top character like Teddy Roosevelt with uncharacteristic restraint. Grade: B
– Robert Newton
Director: Sylvester Stallone. With Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young. (102 min.)