Reel Picks


Burlesque (PG-13)

A spunky Ali (Christina Aguilera) leaves rural Iowa to find fame and fortune, and stops at The Burlesque Lounge in Hollywood, a down and out musical theater owned by Tess (Cher). Ali starts as a cocktail waitress, makes friends (Julianne Hough) and enemies (a super Kristen Bell), and works her way up to saving the day. The plot is tired, but lavish costumes and musical numbers enliven the movie. With Peter Gallagher, Eric Dane, Alan Cumming, Stanley Tucci.

Conviction (R)

The remarkable true saga of high school drop-out Betty Anne Waters’ (Hillary Swank) 18-year-long effort to exonerate her hard-luck brother Kenny’s (Sam Rockwell) murder conviction. A Massachusetts wife and mother with more than her own share of troubles, Betty Anne puts herself through high school, college, and law school in her mission to gain Kenny’s freedom. With Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher, Juliette Lewis.

Fair Game (PG-13)

A true spy drama. Naomi Watts, brilliant as Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy by the Bush/Cheney administration in retaliation for her husband, diplomat Joe Wilson’s (Sean Penn) outing of the government’s misrepresentation of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The marriage suffers collateral damage.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (PG-13)

The first of the two-part finale — very different, very dark, very hocus-pocus. It’s war, and Voldemort’s Death Eaters, determined to kill Harry, seize control of the Ministry of Magic where Harry, Ron and Hermione, disguised as older wizards, are sneaking around. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson.

Morning Glory (PG-13)

A comic battle of style versus substance. Hyperactive young television producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) has to resuscitate “Daybreak,” a dying morning news show with two cranky and bickering co-hosts (Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton). Would make a great TV sitcom. With Jeff Goldblum, Matt Malloy, Patrick Wilson.

Megamind (PG)

It’s a good guy-bad guy role reversal in this smart DreamWorks animation. The evil Megamind (Will Ferrell), always bested by the caped hero Metro Man (Brad Pitt), finds himself having to defend rather than destroy Metro City. With Tina Fey and Jonah Hill.

The Next Three Days (PG-13)

Long, complicated, and somewhat contrived thriller. Husband John (Russell Crowe) spends years trying to prove his jailed wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) innocent of murdering her boss. Finally, with help from ex-con (Liam Neeson), he stages a prison break and crosses over into the criminal world in a big way.

Secretariat (PG)

Predictable, but polished. Diane Lane is the winner in her portrayal of Penny Chenery, the poised, confident, subtly nuanced housewife who takes over her father’s (Scott Glenn) thoroughbred farm, and discovers a Triple Crown champion. With John Malkovich, Nelsan Ellis, Dylan Baker, Dylan Walsh, and a score of old standards.