NEW FILMS FRIDAY

BELLA — **A well-intentioned, clumsy message movie that tries to conceal its far-too-obvious pro-life message. Running time: 91 minutes, PG-13 (violence, brief gore, brief drugs)

BEOWULF — ** All the digital bells and whistles in the world can't conceal how hollow this animated adventure is at its core. Running time: 114 minutes, PG-13 (violence, gore, nudity, vulgarity, profanity, brief sex)

DARFUR NOW — ** It's worthwhile, but this documentary feature about Darfur relief efforts could have been better-focused. Running time: 98 minutes, PG (violence, gore, mild profanity, slurs, vulgarity)

LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA — * 1/2 An overripe melodrama that misses the point of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's best-selling book. Rrunning time: 138 minutes, R (sex, nudity, violence, vulgarity, profanity, brief drugs)

MR. MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM — ***It starts to lose some of its magic about midway through, but this family-friendly comic fantasy has some charms. Running time: 94 minutes, G (slapstick violence, mild vulgarity)

MY KID COULD PAINT THAT — *** 1/2This portrait of a young painting prodigy is one of the most fascinating documentaries you'll see all year. Running time: 83 minutes, PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, nudity)

SLEUTH — ** Supposed "next Michael Caine" Jude Law can't hold his own with the real thing in this dull remake of the 1972 hit. Running time: 86 minutes, R (profanity, vulgarity, violence)

NEW FILMS WEDNESDAY

AUGUST RUSH — Fantasy about a musical prodigy (Charlie Highmore) who's hoping to find his biological parents. To be reviewed when it opens next week, running time: 114 minutes, PG (violence, profanity)

ENCHANTED — Fairy tale princess Amy Adams finds herself trapped in the real world in this romantic comedy/fantasy. To be reviewed when it opens next week, running time: 95 minutes, PG (violence, mild vulgarity, mild profanity, nude art)

HITMAN — Video game-inspired action-thriller starring Timothy Olyphant as the title character. To be reviewed when it opens next week, running time: 100 minutes, R (violence, profanity, sex)

I'M NOT THERE — Heath Ledger, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett play different aspects of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes' tribute to the musician. To be reviewed when it opens next week, running time: 135 minutes, R (violence, profanity, drugs, sex, vulgarity, nudity, slurs, brief gore)

JOE STRUMMER: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN — Julien Temple's documentary profiles the late Clash frontman. To be reviewed when it opens next week, running time: 123 minutes, not rated, probable R (profanity, vulgarity, drugs, violence, slurs)

THE MIST — "The Green Mile" filmmaker Frank Darabont takes on Stephen King's tale about a supernatural storm. To be reviewed when it opens next week, running time: 125 minutes, R (violence, gore, profanity)

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN — The Coen brothers adapt the Cormac McCarthy novel, with Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones starring. To be reviewed when it opens next week, running time: 117 minutes, R (violence, gore, profanity, drugs, vulgarity, slurs)

THIS CHRISTMAS — Yule-themed drama about a fractured family reuniting over the holidays. Regina King and Nia Long star. To be reviewed when it opens next week, running time: 118 minutes, PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity)

SNEAK PREVIEW

AUGUST RUSH — See listing under "New films Wednesday." (Saturday: District, Jordan Commons)

RE-RELEASES

BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT — ***Probably the definitive version of the cultily adored, 1982 science-fiction thriller starring Harrison Ford. Running time: 117 minutes, R (violence, gore, vulgarity, brief nudity, profanity, slurs, brief drugs)

TIM BURTON'S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS — *** 1/2This wonderfully bizarre 1993 animated fantasy-musical is a little dark, but the songs (by Danny Elfman) are terrific. Shown in 3-D format, running time: 76 minutes, PG (animated violence, disturbing imagery)

MIDNIGHT MOVIE

AMERICAN ASTRONAUT — Cory McAbee wrote, directed and stars in this musical-comedy, a parody of 1930s science-fiction films. Black and white, running time: 91 minutes, not rated, probable PG (violence, vulgarity) (Tonight, Saturday and Wednesday: Tower)

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN — The 1949 version of the tale stars Errol Flynn as the title character. Running time: 110 minutes, made before ratings, probable PG (violence) (Tonight, 7 p.m.: Harold B. Lee Library, BYU, Provo)

AFTER DARK HORRORFEST — A national festival spotlighting eight independently produced horror movies. A schedule is available at www.horrorfestonline.com. (Through Sunday: Century South Salt Lake, Jordan Landing)

BEOWULF DIGITAL 3-D — The new animated feature, shown in the digital 3-D format.

THE BLACK PIRATE — Douglas Fairbanks plays the title character in this swashbuckling adventure. Live musical accompaniment, black and white, running time: 94 minutes, made before ratings (1926), probable PG (violence) (Tonight, 7:30 p.m.: Peery's Egyptian Theater, Ogden)

SALT LAKE FILM CENTER SCREENINGS — This week's films include "The Long Walk," "Mansfield Park" and "The Syrian Bride." A monthly schedule is available at www.slcfilmcenter.org. (Saturday, 3 p.m., Monday, 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, 7 p.m.: Salt Lake City Library)

SHREK THE THIRD — **Jokes featured in the first two animated fantasy spoofs are repeated here once, twice, three times or more. Running time: 93 minutes, PG (vulgarity, violence, brief drugs) (Saturday, 1 p.m.: Peery's Egyptian Theater, Ogden)

WESTERNS OF THE WORLD FILM SERIES — This week's selection is the Indian feature "Sholay" (1975). Hindi with subtitles, running time: 162 minutes, not rated, probable PG-13 (violence) (Tuesday, 7 p.m.: Broadway)

LARGE-FORMAT FILMS

BEOWULF3-D IMAX — The new animated feature, shown in the large-screen, 3-D format. (Jordan Commons)

DEEP SEA 3-D — *** — This entertaining documentary is an up-close look at various forms of aquatic life. Running time: 40 minutes, G (animal violence)

DINOSAURS 3-D: GIANTS OF PATAGONIA — *** — The makers of this IMAX science film get us about as close as we'd ever want to be to these enormous creatures. Running time: 48 minutes, not rated, probable PG (violence) —Jeff Strickler, Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)

DINOSAURS ALIVE! — Large-screen documentary featuring computerized re-creations of Jurassic-era carnivores and other creatures. Running time: 40 minutes, not rated, probable PG (violence)

SEA MONSTERS: A PREHISTORIC ADVENTURE — *** — What makes this IMAX mini-feature stand out from the pack is its eye-popping visuals. Running time: 40 minutes, not rated, probable PG (violence) —John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press

CONTINUING FILMS

3:10 TO YUMA — ***The acting duel between Christian Bale and Russell Crowe is the highlight of this remake of the classic 1957 western. Running time: 117 minutes, R (violence, gore, profanity, slurs, vulgarity, nude art, torture)

30 DAYS OF NIGHT — **This comics-based vampire yarn is a real mess — both literally and figuratively. Running time: 110 minutes, R (violence, gore, profanity, drugs, vulgarity)

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE — **The Beatles song covers are the highlight of this muddled, overlong musical fantasy/romance. Running time: 134 minutes, PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, profanity, drugs, nudity, brief sex, slurs, brief gore)

AMERICAN GANGSTER — ** 1/2The performances are terrific (especially Denzel Washington's), but this crime thriller takes too long trying to find the center of its story. Running time: 157 minutes, R (violence, drugs, profanity, gore, nudity, sex, slurs, torture)

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD — ***This "Assassination" offers enough in the way of performance and mood to earn itself a solid place in the ranks of Jesse James movies. running time: 160 minutes, R (violence, profanity, vulgarity) —Mary F. Pols, Contra Costa Times

BEE MOVIE — ***In many respects, this animated comedy starring Jerry Seinfeld is more educational and more exciting than it is laugh-out-loud funny. Running time: 90 minutes, PG (vulgarity, violence, brief drugs)

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM — ***The third Bourne film begins with an exciting foot-chase scene and doesn't let up. Running time: 111 minutes, PG-13 (violence, drugs, profanity, torture, brief gore)

THE COMEBACKS — **One of those parody movies that presume that merely making reference to another film constitutes a joke. Running time: 84 minutes, PG-13 (vulgarity, sex, violence, drugs) —Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Times News Service

CONTROL — ***A bleak but well-acted biography of late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis that will probably be of interest to the band's fans. Black and white, running time: 121 minutes, R (profanity, drugs, vulgarity, brief sex, violence)

DAN IN REAL LIFE — ***A pretty warm, genuine comedy that succeeds, at least in part, because of some gutsy casting choices. Steve Carell stars. Running time: 95 minutes, PG-13 (vulgarity, mild profanity, violence, brief partial nudity)

THE DARJEELING LIMITED — ***It's a little warmer and more dramatic, but Wes Anderson's latest is still rather quirky and goofy. Running time: 92 minutes, R (profanity, drugs, violence, brief sex, brief partial nudity)

DEATH AT A FUNERAL — **A series of good jokes followed by bad jokes, followed by really awful jokes. Running time: 91 minutes, R (profanity, drugs, vulgarity, nudity, violence, slurs)

ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE — **There is little in this "Golden Age'" to distinguish it from other filmed royal soap operas. Cate Blanchett stars. Running time: 114 minutes, PG-13 (violence, sex, nudity) —Eleanor O'Sullivan, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press

FRED CLAUS — **Your enjoyment of this so-so yule comedy may depend on how you feel about motor-mouthed Vince Vaughn. Running time: 114 minutes, PG (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity)

THE GAME PLAN — **This attempt to make Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson "cute and cuddly" is not horrible. But it is overly familiar and too long. Running time: 110 minutes, PG (violence, vulgarity, brief drugs)

GONE BABY GONE — *** 1/2This well-acted thriller based on the best-selling novel is an assured and confident directorial debut for Ben Affleck. Running time: 114 minutes, R (profanity, drugs, violence, vulgarity, slurs, brief gore)

HAIRSPRAY — ***John Travolta's turn is the one sore-thumb element in this musical comedy. Running time: 107 minutes, PG (vulgarity, profanity, racial epithets, violence)

HALLOWEEN — * 1/2Adding sex, nudity, blood and a lame back story does not make a better "Halloween" movie. Running time: 109 minutes, R (violence, gore, profanity, nudity, vulgarity, sex, slurs)

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX — ** 1/2For diehard Potter-philes only. Running time: 138 minutes, PG-13 (violence, mild profanity, vulgarity)

INTO THE WILD — ****Sean Penn's adaptation of the best-selling book is touching, thoughtful, sad, funny, sweet and ultimately redemptive — all at once. Running time: 149 minutes, R (violence, profanity, nudity, gore, brief sex, vulgarity, brief drugs)

LARS AND THE REAL GIRL — ***This quirky comedy treats some potentially offensive material with surprising taste and restraint. Running time: 106 minutes, PG-13 (vulgarity, mild profanity, brief drugs, slurs)

LIONS FOR LAMBS — **Robert Redford's talk-heavy, Iraq war screed has a terrific cast (which includes Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise) but is simply preaching to the converted. Running time: 88 minutes, R (violence, profanity, brief gore, vulgarity, slurs, brief drugs)

MARTIAN CHILD — **The second half of this comedy-drama starring John Cusack gets pretty messy and is a little too dark. Running time: 108 minutes, not rated, probable R (violence, gore, profanity, nudity, brief drugs)

MICHAEL CLAYTON — ***Taut, well-written and directed thriller that provides a quality vehicle for George Clooney. Running time: 119 minutes, R (profanity, drugs, violence, vulgarity)

MR. BEAN'S HOLIDAY — **The second big-screen Mr. Bean adventure is a slight improvement over its predecessor. Running time: 84 minutes, G (violence, vulgarity)

MR. WOODCOCK — * 1/2A painfully unfunny, mean-spirited comedy that feels like a series of mismatched parts. Seann William Scott stars. Running time: 87 minutes, PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, profanity, sex, slurs, brief drugs)

THE NANNY DIARIES — **Scarlett Johansson can't pull off this patronizing comedy-drama's pivotal role. Running time: 106 minutes, PG-13 (profanity, vulgarity, brief sex, brief drugs, brief nudity)

NO RESERVATIONS — ***Cinematic comfort food, something that goes down easily and doesn't leave you with heartburn. Running time: 104 minutes, PG (vulgarity, mild profanity)

P2 — *A thriller so graphic and bloody that it's an endurance test for anyone with even a shred of taste. Running time: 98 minutes, R (violence, gore, profanity, brief drugs, brief sex, vulgarity)

PASSAGE TO ZARAHEMLA — *This locally produced adventure-fantasy is laughably awful at times, with some jaw-dropping dumb plotting. Running time: 107 minutes, PG-13 (violence, gore, brief drugs, slurs)

RATATOUILLE — *** 1/2The newest Pixar animated comedy lets the humor flow naturally from the story's details. Running time: 110 minutes, G (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity)

RUSH HOUR 3 — *Easily the most unnecessary and least inspired "three-quel" so far this year. Running time: 91 minutes, PG-13 (violence, profanity, vulgarity, slurs, torture, brief sex, brief partial nudity)

SAW IV — * The hit, "torture-porn" movies have "bled out," growing weaker and weaker in their excruciating, squirm-inducing scenes. Running time: 108 minutes, R (violence, gore, torture, profanity) —Roger Moore, The Orlando Sentinel

THE SIMPSONS MOVIE — *** 1/2This film spin-off of the irreverent TV cartoon has big action and bigger laughs than most of the competition. Running time: 87 minutes, PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, profanity, nudity, brief drugs)

STARDUST — ** 1/2The amusing supporting cast helps save this less-than-magical fantasy. Running time: 128 minutes, PG-13 (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity, brief gore)

SUPERBAD — ***The preoccupation with teen sex will turn off many, but parts of this buddy comedy are laugh-out-loud funny. Running time: 113 minutes, R (vulgarity, profanity, nudity, sex, violence, drugs, slurs)

SYDNEY WHITE — ** 1/2This cutesy, collegiate "Snow White" tale, which stars Amanda Bynes, has some charm. Running time: 95 minutes, PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, profanity, drugs)

UNDERDOG — * 1/2A live-action version of the old cartoon series that's juvenile and ill-conceived. Running time: 84 minutes, PG (violence, vulgarity, drugs, mild profanity)

WE OWN THE NIGHT — **James Gray's crime thriller squanders a lot of opportunities, as well as a first-rate cast. Joaquin Phoenix stars. Running time: 116 minutes, R (violence, profanity, drugs, sex, gore, vulgarity, nudity, slurs, torture)

WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY — **This meandering comic fantasy flat-lines because it can't quite decide on a tone. Running time: 88 minutes, R (profanity, violence, vulgarity, brief drugs, brief gore, slurs)