by Inlander Staff & r & & r & BLACK BOOK & r & Put the director of RoboCop and Total Recall to work on a story about the Dutch Resistance during World War II, and you get something like The Revenge of Anne Frank. Someone betrayed the family of Rachel (luminous Dutch actress Carice van Houten) to the Nazis, and now she wants vengeance -- even if it means sleeping with an SS officer. Black Book is a World War II thriller with a central character like Sharon Stone's in Basic Instinct -- which, come to think of it, Paul Verhoeven also directed. In Dutch and German with English subtitles. (MB) Rated R
Where Bug succeeds, it does so by inducing in you the ordinary distress of modern living Agnes (Ashley Judd) lives with on a daily basis. She drinks too much. She does drugs. She has, at best, one friend. She is harassed via telephone by her ex-husband. And she's got other ghosts haunting her, too. There aren't armies of creepy-crawlies all over the screen here -- the creepy-crawlies get into your mind. And yet, the more Bug embraces its ethos of nervous paranoia and conspiracy-spiked secrecy, the less satisfying it becomes, as if putting a concrete name to the madness somehow makes it less mad. (MJ) Rated R
Soccer is huge in Iran, but female fans of the sport have a huge problem. Not only are they forbidden to attend men's games, the women's team was disbanded in the '80s. With no legal way to sate their fandom, they're left to try and sneak into important national matches. From Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon), Offside satirizes gender restrictions in Iran, highlighting the absurdity of bigotry in general. (LB) Rated PG
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END
Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley return to argue, do battle, and (this time) star in a film with a story that makes little sense -- something about "nine pirate lords" and hints of them going up against Lord Beckett, who wants to "rule the seas." Visual effects are great, but add nothing to the story; the soundtrack is ear-splittingly bombastic; Keith Richards pops by for five minutes to give "advice" to his son (Depp) and plunk a tune on a pirate guitar. Arrrgh! (ES) Rated PG-13
Jenna's a waitress and "pie genius" with a really bad husband whom she's reluctant to leave. She vents her frustrations through the invention of maliciously named confections while dreaming about the new guy who just came into her life. Despite the seemingly un-ironic domesticity pictured in Waitress, my girlfriend -- a strong woman with very liberating thoughts on gender roles -- is still dying to see it, saying Keri Russell is "sooooooo cuh-yoooooot!" Something everyone can agree on, then. (LB) Rated PG-13
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.