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Movie Guide

Film critic Peter Rainer follows a romance driven by 'Crazy Love,' and jumps on the detective trail with 'Nancy Drew.'

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New in theaters Nancy Drew (PG)

Director: Andrew Fleming. With Emma Roberts, Tate Donovan, Barry Bostwick, Laura Elena Harring. (109 min.)

In order to like "Nancy Drew," it probably helps if you're a fan of the "Nancy Drew" books. Since I've never dipped into one, my only frame of reference is other movies about young girl detectives, of which there are precious few. (In a way, the "Harry Potter" movies have their "Nancy Drew"-ish side.) Clearly the producers of this new film are hoping to start a franchise, but the results are so tepid that even Nancy Drew loyalists may take a pass on any further cinematic adventures. Emma Roberts, as Nancy, investigates the long-ago death of a famous movie star (Laura Harring) in Hollywood. She is squeaky-clean to a fault and so is the movie. Grade: C–

– Peter Rainer

Crazy Love (PG-13)

Directors: Dan Klores, Fisher Stevens. With Burton Pugach, Linda Riss, Jimmy Breslin. (92 min.)

Dan Klores's astonishing film is about a subject so bizarre it could only work as a documentary – as a drama, it would be dismissed as being too far-fetched. It's about the obsessive relationship between Burt Pugach, a married attorney, and Linda, whom he met and wooed in the '50s in the Bronx. Spurned by her, he hired two men to throw lye in her face, rendering her bald and almost completely blind. Jailed, he continued to reach out to her and, in time, they married, and remain so. (He's 79, she's 68). Klores captures a notorious, headline-making crime without sensationalizing it. As he has stated, his movie is really about the incredible lengths that people will go to avoid loneliness. Grade: A–

– P.R.Sex/Nudity: 5 scenes of innuendo; 2 scenes of frank sex talk. Violence: 3 scenes. Profanity: 17 instances of strong language. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 4 scenes with alcohol; 2 scenes with tobacco.

Still in theaters La Vie En Rose (PG-13)

Director: Olivier Dahan, Sebastien Caudron. With Marion Cotillard, Clotilde Courau, Jean-Paul Rouve. (109 min.)

The great French singer Edith Piaf, who died at 47 in 1963, gets the biopic treatment in "La Vie En Rose." Cross-cutting back and forth across the decades, writer-director Olivier Dahan takes in practically her entire life, which was often tragic, and ends up elevating Piaf the archetype over Piaf the artist. Although I question this approach, I'm not sure it could have been done any differently, at least given the facts of Piaf's life. If there is such a way, Dahan didn't find it. Grade: B

– P.R.


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