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Capsules by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach unless noted. Full reviews are at

Evan Almighty -- is a fractured and lamentably unfunny fable about the Good Lord (Morgan Freeman) ordering a latter-day Noah, broadcaster turned congressman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), to build a contemporary ark. It's a colossal dud - a high-concept low comedy made by people who can't tell a pratfall from a pitfall and stumble into every one. (M.S.) PG 95 minutes D-


Evening -- A dying woman, attended by her two daughters, thinks back to the love she lost during one fateful weekend in the Hamptons some 50 years ago. Overly precious melodrama is redeemed by a cast that includes Claire Danes, Vanessa Redgrave, Glenn Close, Natasha Richardson, Meryl Streep and her daughter, Mamie Gummer. (C.K.) 115 minutes PG-13 B-

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer -- In these films, one member ignites and saves the day; that happens here with Chris Evans' Johnny Storm/Human Torch, who sets off comic conflagrations from the start. (M.S.) PG-13 92 minutes B-


1408, -- based on a Stephen King short story about a nonbeliever who comes to believe, stars John Cusack as a travel writer specializing in allegedly haunted locales. Mike Enslin (Cusack) makes it his mission to stay in Room 1408 of New York's Hotel Dolphin, a room that oozes evil. 1408 is a good, solid scare picture, modestly scaled but well-crafted. (Chicago Tribune) PG-13 94 minutes B-

La Vie en Rose -- chronicles the great French singer Edith Piaf as she carries her romantic history into nightclubs, over radio and on records with a pyrotechnic artistry that lifts her listeners to a state of exaltation. As Piaf, who died at 47 in 1963, actress Marion Cotillard delivers such a galvanizing, spend-it-all performance that the character wins your heart as she tests it, toys with it and breaks it. (M.S.) PG-13 140 minutes B+

License to Wed -- stars Robin Williams as a priest who forces soon-to-be-newlyweds Mandy Moore and John Krasinski to pass an emotionally sadistic wedding-preparation course before exchanging their vows. In a film that's an early favorite for worst comedy of the year, Williams completes his descent from innovative comic to cringe-inducing self-parody. (C.K.) PG-13 90 minutes D

Live Free or Die Hard, -- with Bruce Willis' John McClane going up against a demented computer hacker looking to bring this country to its knees by mucking up our infrastructure, is top-notch escapist entertainment. Lots of stuff gets blown up; lots of bad guys do bad things; lots of chances come for McClane to laugh in the face of death just one more time. But Willis' wiseacre Jersey attitude has vanished. McClane is still a New York cop, but he's an old, embittered New York cop. He'll still do the job, still play the reluctant hero, but there's no spring in his step. That may be a realistic portrait of the character; with all McClane has been through, it's understandable he's no longer the life of the party. But somebody in this film needs to be. (C.K.) PG-13 130 minutes B

A Mighty Heart -- has the surface tension of a first-rate docudrama but neither the passion nor the vision to encompass its powerhouse subject, the kidnapping and execution of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The most glaring flaw is that the title seems to refer to Danny's wife, Mariane (Angelina Jolie). Jolie makes the most out of her one soul-crushing shriek of anguish. But she can't keep the film from falling into a bad case of heroine worship. (M.S.) R 103 minutes C+

Ratatouille -- is a sublime dish of a movie: the piece de resistance among Pixar's animated cartoon features. A rat who is a gourmet genius teams with a kitchen cleanup-boy to save a legendary Parisian restaurant. Shakespeare said, "Music is the food of love," but in this movie food is the food of love. And, boy oh boy, does writer-director Brad Bird's play on, or rather cook away. This picture makes your eyes tear with laughter and emotion and your mouth water. (M.S.) G 110 minutes A+

Sicko -- Michael Moore's personal documentary attack on the American health care industry is infuriating and funny, forging a disturbing diagram from the avarice and chaos of s slapdash, heartless system. For once, Moore's anarchic comic bent and his political sympathies appear to be completely in sync. Even his most far-out salvos hit the bulls-eye. (M.S.) PG-13 123 minutes A-

Transformers, -- an action flick about good vs. bad alien robots carrying their squabble to Earth, has so much going for it - namely, the supremely cool spectacle of watching cars and trucks rearrange themselves into giant robots - that its very real problems are easy to overlook. It stars a game Shia LaBeouf, working overtime to pump personality into his role as the Earthling who unknowingly holds the key to everything. (C.K.) PG-13 140 minutes B


Waitress -- Keri Russell is magical as a working woman with a baby on the way and a genius for making pies. It's partly a romantic comedy-drama and partly an inspired riff on artistic temperament. (M.S.) PG-13 107 minutes A-