Brendan Fraser, Maria Bello, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Luke Ford
PG-13

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ACTION
This is the time that heat exhaustion starts setting in at the multiplex. Prolonged exposure to the relentless onslaught of would-be summer blockbusters causes sluggish fatigue. The cure requires something truly special, which the latest—and least—Mummy is not.

The third movie finds explorer Rick O'Connell (Fraser) and archaeologist wife Evelyn (Bello, a bland fill-in for Rachel Weisz) finished with mummy-wrangling, and bored to pieces. Or maybe they're just mystified by the script, which gives them a 21(!)-year-old son (Aussie actor Ford, a Matt Damon doppelganger). The trio chase a new resurrected relic: an ancient Chinese emperor (Li, muffled behind a clay mask) who, as usual, wants to enslave mankind. The Mummy films have always played like a low-rent Indiana Jones, but a genuine sense of adventure was always underneath all that crummy CGI. Little of that playfulness remains, other than some enjoyable Yeti attacks and a battle featuring two undead armies. The O'Connells' retirement may have been dull, but this is hardly an improvement.

Kevin Costner, Madeline Carroll, Kelsey Grammer
PG-13

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COMEDY
No matter how dirty our presidential race gets, it's unlikely to be as repellent as the dopey, sappy Swing Vote. Costner plays a beer-guzzling loafer who thanks to a voting machine snafu is single-handedly left to pick the next President as New Mexico's deciding vote in a deadlocked race (um, wouldn't the state's absentee ballots in fact break the tie?). The film claims to be about rediscovering patriotism but hypocritically lets Costner slide even though his initial vote was illegally cast by his tween daughter (Carroll). Hooray for voter fraud! Costner is coasting, and the ridiculously earnest score will have you in a diabetic coma long before he makes his choice.

PG-13

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CRITIC'S CHOICE

DOCUMENTARY
Alfred Hitchcock couldn't have crafted a tale as taut as this documentary about French acrobat Philippe Petit's daring tightrope walk across the Twin Towers in 1974. From the heart-pounding tension one feels watching Petit execute his secret plan to the contagious euphoria of seeing him step into the void, Man on Wire is a moving valentine to the fallen towers.

I wasn't fond of their new movie, but the reuniting of X-Files stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny still thrills.

1 CHEMISTRY 101
Too few screen pairings generate real sparks. But the X-Files investigators sizzle in a Victorian-style romance, turning intertwined fingers and chaste pecks into startling displays of intimacy.

2 THE EYES HAVE IT
Stuck with leaden dialogue in X-Files: I Want to Believe, the pair do their best acting through shared soulful gazes.

3 MISERY LOVES COMPANY
Whether they're uncovering vast sinister conspiracies or mired in a mediocre plot, these are actors who always give their best—even when things are at their worst.

The Match Point actor, 30, appears in next March's comic book adaptation Watchmen. But first, the Brit stars in Brideshead Revisited, based on the 1945 novel.

WHAT WAS YOUR COSTAR EMMA THOMPSON LIKE?
She cooked a roasted chicken for us before filming, and lays down a load of wine and tells great stories. She's like a naughty aunt.

NEXT YOU'RE IN WATCHMEN. WERE YOU A COMIC BOOK FAN?
Not at all. It's more of an American thing. If I would have known it existed, I would have gotten into it a lot earlier. It's extraordinary.

DO YOU ENJOY BEING RECOGNIZED? I suppose celebrity comes from going to parties and "Oops, I forgot to wear my trousers" or people like the work. I only fit into the latter—I wear my trousers out.