NEW RELEASES THIS WEEK

District 9

When aliens reach Earth in a derelict ship, distruct and disgust arises between humans and aliens. An eye-popping yet cannily intelligent blast of social commentary from director Neill Blomkamp.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Eric Bana plays a guy who jumps around time with no control over where or when he goes. Unfortunately, the time-travel gimmick supersedes any sort of substance, depth or character development.

Bandslam

High School Musical clone tells a well-worn tale about music, high school, guilt and fitting in. If you’re too young to know the original “I Want You to Want Me,” Bandslam might tickle your tweenage heart.

Ponyo

The most broadly accessible anime film to reach these shores. It’s too long, and the ending is abrupt and contrived, but Hayao Miyazaki‘s film has been translated in a way that grasps his playfulness.

Adam

A quirky woman (Rose Byrne) meets a quirky man (Hugh Dancy) with Asperger’s syndrome. Rom-com is a tad tasteless in the way it reduces Asperger’s to a cutesy plot device.

Spread

A nihilistic man (Ashton Kutcher) seduces older women and then holes up in their luxury LA homes. What could have been a Shampoo for the age of cougars winds up a bungled opportunity.

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

Comedy about a soulless used-car salesmen strains desperately for raunchy, politically incorrect laughs. Robert Zemeckis covered the same ground in Used Cars, but it was far superior to this clunker.

More movie reviews

OPENING FRIDAY, August 21 From Guidelive.com

Inglourious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino directs this movie about a group of Jewish-American soldiers whose sole purpose is to kill Nazis.

Post Grad: A college graduate (Alexis Bledel) faces a change of plans as she moves back in with her quirky family.

Shorts: A town is rocked when a rainbow-colored rock falls from the sky, granting the wishes of whoever holds it.

Cold Souls: Paul Giamatti, starring as himself, wants to lose his soul and finds a mysterious lab that can help.

Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love: African pop musician Youssou N’Dour is profiled in this film from Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.

Afghan Star: Documentary follows four contestants in the popular American Idol-type show in war-torn Afghanistan.

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