Vicky Cristina Barcelona: **** ( 4 STARS) The summer's best (and maybe only) adult comedy was also its biggest surprise: Woody Allen's most entertaining film in a decade. You can't call it a return to form because it's unlike anything else Allen has ever done. It follows the amorous fluctuations of a man (Javier Bardem) and three women (Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz) with an affection and explosiveness that conjure old romantic melodramas, except Allen plays everything for rueful humor. The Spanish settings aestheticize the characters' ups and downs and bring them an erotic sheen. The result is an undiluted delight.
opening next friday
Body of Lies: (Warner Bros.) Ridley Scott directs this story of a CIA operative planning to infiltrate the network of a suspected terrorist leader. Some scenes were shot in Annapolis. With Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.
City of Ember : (Fox Walden) As the lamps of the illuminated municipality flicker and its generator starts to fade, two teenagers try to find the truth behind the burg's mysterious origins. With Bill Murray, Tim Robbins and Saoirse Ronan.
The Duchess: (Paramount Vantage) The 18th-century aristocrat Georgiana presaged her descendant Princess Diana's popularity and public scrutiny. With Ralph Fiennes and Keira Knightley.
The Express: (Universal Pictures) Running back Ernie Davis (Rob Brown) rises from coal country to become the first black to win the Heisman Trophy. With Dennis Quaid and Charles S. Dutton.
Flow: (Oscilloscope Pictures) Filmmaker Irena Salina's look at the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh-water supply.
The Godfather: (Paramount Pictures) Francis Ford Coppola's classic tale of an aging crime boss is remastered and restored. With Al Pacino and Marlon Brando.
Quarantine: (Screen Gems) A TV reporter and her cameraman are trapped in a CDC lockdown when a virus strikes residents of an L.A. apartment building. With Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez and Columbus Short.
Release dates are subject to change.