Creation marks Paul Bettany's second go-round as a 19th-century naturalist in a movie from screenwriter John Collee. In Master and Commander, Bettany was the proto-Darwin whose findings about how animals use camouflage to elude predators had immediate application during the Napoleonic Wars. In Creation, he is Darwin himself, decades pregnant with the research for his seminal On the Origin of Species, but too hopeless to deliver the manuscript.
A youth learns by accident that he possesses extraordinary powers, is dispatched to a special academy for those of his kind, and undertakes a quest with his two best buds to defeat the dark powers. Luke Skywalker? Harry Potter? Guess again: Percy Jackson, archetypal hero for the modern, emo middle schooler.
Look before you Leap Year. A humdrum rom-com about a marriage-minded American bound for Dublin to propose to her noncommittal boyfriend, Leap Year boasts charming actors, ravishing Irish scenery, and a director of taste and talent. The mystery is how all these pluses add up to a minus experience.
How much does Pedro Almodóvar love Penélope Cruz? To infinity and beyond in Broken Embraces, a tribute to the actress' beauty and brio. The film exists for Almodóvar and his fans to worship at the shrine of Santa Cruz, cast here as a secretary who climbs the social ladder to become an industrialist's mistress and, ultimately, a director's muse.
Visual Acoustics is a captivating portrait of Julius Shulman, the venerable architectural photographer who died in July at age 98. You might not recognize his name, but almost certainly you've gasped at his iconic images of modernist buildings. Shulman photographed buildings as if they were movie stars: He found their best angles and immortalized them.
Carrie Rickey was born in L.A. around the time the Jennifer Jones/Laurence Olivier movie Carrie hit screens. Hence her name. Since then she's seen more than 12,000 films without losing her love of movies -- or wordplay. But don't envy her job too much. She has to sit through the likes of Battlefield Earth just so she can warn you not to.