*** ( 3 STARS)
Running time: 107 minutes
What it's about: A failing action star (Ben Stiller, above), a drug-addicted comic (Jack Black) and a celebrated Australian actor (Robert Downey Jr.) stumble onto real guerrillas while making a war film.
Our take: Downey is daringly funny as a white man from Down Under playing an African-American soldier. At its best, this movie wrings divine madness from wretched excess.
** 1/2 ( 2 1/2 STARS )
Running time: 97 minutes
What it's about: The members of a struggling sorority have a thing or two to learn from a banished Playboy bunny (Anna Faris, above), and vice versa.
Our take: The underdog plot isn't anything new. Faris, as the ditzy but good-hearted ex-bunny, delivers a flat-out hilarious performance.
Running time: 89 minutes
What it's about: A souped-up destruction derby auto race, played to the death, on the grounds of Terminal Island, a prison for extreme violent offenders.
Our take: Jason Statham (above) and Joan Allen waste their talents on this tapestry of bent metal, shredded flesh and spurting blood.
The Dark Knight
** ( 2 STARS)
Running time: 152 minutes
What it's about: Citizens, lawmen and criminals - and an anarchistic freak called the Joker - respond to the emergence of the Caped Crusader.
Our take: As the Joker, Heath Ledger (above) detonates a savage sick joke or two, but the whole movie is set up for him to be the jiving put-on artist of destruction, outwitting the squares.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
** 1/2 ( 2 1/2 STARS)
Running time: 98 minutes
What it's about: Lucasfilm's new feature-length cartoon gives fanboys and fangirls their chance to see sweeping big-screen images of the Jedi (including Yoda, above) using their clone armies to protect the Republic.
Our take: It's not exactly thrilling, but its good humor and faith in the Force will put adults in a Saturday-morning frame of mind.
* 1/2 ( 1 1/2 STARS)
Running time: 111 minutes
What it's about: A stoner (Seth Rogen) and a dealer (James Franco, above) are on the run from a loathsome drug kingpin (Gary Cole) and a crooked cop (Rosie Perez).
Our take: The plot is an excuse for the audience to get a giddy hit off heady secondhand smoke while laughing and cheering at cartoon sadism that attempts (and fails) to put the slap back in slapstick.
* ( 1 STAR)
Running time: 110 minutes
What it's about: In a remake of a Korean horror film, a security guard (Kiefer Sutherland, above) at a burnt-out old department store finds that the mirrors are home to evil, murderous spirits.
Our take : An empty enterprise that provides a few moments of goofy fun, it reflects back nothing.
* 1/2 ( 1 1/2 STARS)
Running time: 108 minutes
What it's about: In this clunky version of the international stage smash showcasing ABBA's greatest hits, Meryl Streep (above) plays a former pop-rock star who runs a decaying Greek tourist hotel.
Our take: It's like a party where everyone is so desperate to have a good time that it makes you miserable.