The sad story of what happened when Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman) was kidnapped by jihadists while on assignment in Pakistan with his pregnant wife Mariane (Angelina Jolie) makes for a riveting film that focuses on her reactions while going through the ordeal, and on the hard-working local and international law enforcement folks who were trying to find him. Director Michael Winterbottom puts us in the middle of the emotional chaos, and though things ended tragically for Pearl, the film leaves us with a ray of hope. (ES) Rated R
Jim Carrey wasn't interested in reprising his role as a wacky newscaster endowed by God (Morgan Freeman) with superhuman powers in Bruce Almighty. God doesn't look too far afield in his search for a successor though, settling on Bruce's newsroom rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carrell), who's become a congressman. He now has the God-given charge to build an ark, he is growing hair at an exponential rate and suffers the bafflement of his family and congressional colleagues, who believe he's lost his mind. With the ark-building, the requisite flooding and the scores of animals involved in shooting, the L.A. Times reports, Evan could be the most expensive comedy of all time. Judging by the bonehead slapstick humor in the trailer, it doesn't look like it's going to pay off. (JS) Rated PG
1408 is a movie about a hotel room, which makes it unique. It's also a movie based on something written by Stephen King, which makes it a far-from-unique thing in Hollywood. John Cusack stars as a paranormal investigator who checks into a supposedly haunted hotel room, then talks to... something on the telephone. Samuel L. Jackson gets a chance to be creepy and ominous as the hotel manager who doesn't want things to get bad.
(MD) Rated PG-13