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ACROSS THE UNIVERSE


With a love story (involving Evan Rachel Wood) set in the anti-war, peace-loving '60s -- and with an all-Beatles soundtrack -- millions of moviegoers will be muttering "Don't mess it up" (in stronger language) as the lights go down. But if ever a director could pull off a psychedelic visual phantasmagoria, it's Julie Taymor. Don't prejudge this movie; let the experience wash over you. Let it be. (MB) Rated PG-13





ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE


Even though she's fully aware that she's become an assassination target of the Spanish Inquisition, Queen Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) decides to stand and fight. And in the middle of all that, the queen finds herself attracted to the dashing Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen). Directed by Shekhar Kapur, who also made the 1998 predecessor. Visual effects are a little shaky, but solid acting and fantastic set and costume design win out. (ES) Rated PG-13





THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB


Austen's six books; discussions every month for six months; six club members, with six sets of problems. You can just tell the characters will resemble the fictional characters they're discussing, and that all difficulties will be resolved. But with Kathy Baker playing a six-time divorcee, Maria Bello grieving her dog, Amy Brenneman and Jimmy Smits getting a divorce and Lynn Redgrave meddling away, who cares? (MB) Rated PG-13





MICHAEL CLAYTON


George Clooney, looking ragged, plays the title character -- a "fixer" in a Manhattan law firm. He's the guy who cleans up the nasty little messes that the bosses don't want to deal with. But one call involves a litigator in his own office (Tom Wilkinson) who has decided to work against instead of for his client when he realizes that a mega-corporation is very, very guilty. A nail-biting thriller with classy performances and a tight, twisting script. (ES) Rated R





WE OWN THE NIGHT


The Russian Mafia is making lots of inroads in New York of the 1980s. Among those on the force working to contain them are a father and son (Robert Duvall, Mark Wahlberg). But another son (Joaquin Phoenix) is on the payroll of the bad guys. Dysfunctional family business unfolds, but the story -- which we've seen before -- starts to drag early on, and the acting is lackluster. (ES) Rated R





THE FINAL SEASON


Sean Astin encourages the residents of a small town in Iowa to rally behind the high school baseball team and its coach one last time before their school gets merged into another. Predictably inspiring sports drama. (MB) Rated PG





TYLER PERRY'S WHY DID I GET MARRIED


Four couples vacation in Colorado, only to have discussions of adultery intrude on their reverie. Janet Jackson will be causing a marital malfunction this time. (MB) Rated PG-13

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