by Inlander Staff & lt;BR & Dark Water -- Hideo Nakata (Ringu, The Ring 2) writes, Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) directs and Jennifer Connelly stars in this horror-thriller about a mother and daughter, living in a run-down apartment building and trying to heal after a bitter custody dispute. Adding to their angst is the spirit of their apartment's former resident. Bad things happened here, you bet. For Connelly, it represents her first horror role since she played the lead in Dario Argento's stylish 1985 cult classic, Phenomenon. Rated PG-13
Fantastic Four -- This latest transfer from comic book to film misfires at every step on every level. The plot: Four people have their molecules rearranged after a cosmic storm hits them in outer space, and they come back able to stretch or catch on fire or turn invisible or be ugly. Comic history is rewritten by also placing Victor von Doom onboard. But it's shoddy filmmaking, with hokey effects, a villain that's more angry than villainous, and actors -- especially the pretty but talentless Jessica Alba -- caught standing around waiting to deliver their lines. Anything but fantastic. (ES) Rated PG-13
Mad Hot Ballroom -- Director Marilyn Agrelo brings us dozens of 10-year-olds in her documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, a wildly enjoyable look at the fifth-grade ballroom-dance competition held annually in New York City. By focusing on three schools -- PS 150 in trendy Tribeca, PS 112 in Bensonhurst, and PS 115 in Washington Heights -- and their quests for the top prize, Agrelo paints a warm-hearted, hilarious picture of the city's riches: its ethnic diversity, its fervent support of the arts and, beautifully, its investment in children. (Melissa Levine) (Playing at the Met Cinema July 12-20 at 5:30 pm and 8 pm)
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.