Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan | PG-13

bgwhite    



ACTION
Two innocent strangers, Jerry (LaBeouf), a copy store clerk, and Rachel (Monaghan), a paralegal, suddenly find themselves thrown together and forced to serve as operatives in what would seem to be a major terrorist attack against the U.S. An all-knowing, all-seeing female voice—turns out it's Big Sister we need to be worried about, not Big Brother—on the other end of their cell phones is commanding them to drive here, steal this high-tech gizmo, board that plane to Washington, D.C., etc. When they try to rebel, even though their own lives and those of loved ones are at stake, she coolly tells them, "Desertion is not an option." Maybe not for these two, but that certainly would be the wisest choice for moviegoers.

Eagle Eye is a preposterous thriller, directed by D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) as if he's hoping to be the next Michael Bay, that's stuffed to brimming with let's-blow-up-stuff action scenes. Apparently, all these high-decibel chase scenes, vehicle pileups, shoot-outs and yet more car crashes are intended to keep us too distracted to notice that the characters are as thinly drawn as a child's stick figures and the plotting laughably ludicrous. LaBeouf and Monaghan are required mostly to rush about, panting hard and looking panicked. Psssstt, you two, the exit is this way.

Richard Gere, Diane Lane | PG-13

bgwhite    



DRAMA
When you spend more time focused—and not in a "that's so hot" way—on the snug fit of a male character's jeans than on what else is happening onscreen, it's a good indication that a movie is in trouble. Would the 50-something ace surgeon whom Gere plays in this mawkish romantic drama really sport denims this suffocatingly tight? And isn't he uncomfortable walking in them?

Nights in Rodanthe is based on yet another bestselling tearjerker by author Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook). It tells how the divorced doc and an artist-housewife (Lane), who's separated from her cheating husband (Christopher Meloni), find a second shot at love while ensconced at a scenic inn on North Carolina's Outer Banks. Pros Lane and Gere know how to turn up the heat, but Nights is just a limp Lifetime TV movie dressed up with movie stars.

The Notebook actress, 31, returns to the screen in the drama The Lucky Ones.

IN LUCKY, YOU TAKE A ROAD TRIP. ANY MEMORABLE ONES IN REAL LIFE?
My family drove to Disney World and played 'Name That Tune' all the way there and back.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT?
I live in an old house and am trying to do green remodeling. It's keeping me busy.

WHY LIVE IN ONTARIO AND NOT L.A.?
I grew up in a small town and love the life. I have a terrible sense of direction, so it's good to live in a place where you know how to get around.

"HE WAS WILLING TO STAND UP AND DO SOMETHING"
TOM CRUISE Talks About Playing a Real-Life War Hero in Valkyrie

ONLY IN People

After playing a vulgar movie producer in Tropic Thunder, Tom Cruise is returning to his day job—action hero—in Valkyrie, opening Dec. 26. He stars as Col. Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, a real-life German army officer executed in 1944 after plotting (unsuccessfully) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. "It's a suspense thriller," says Cruise, 46, "about heroism and making the right choices."

WORTH CHECKING OUT

THE LUCKY ONES
Three Iraq War vets, upon returning home, embark on an impromptu cross-country drive in this genial road movie. Playing a feisty optimist, Rachel McAdams (below, with Michael Peña; Tim Robbins also stars) is especially touching. (R)

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  



MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA
Director Spike Lee fails to give adequate shape to a story about a quartet of black G.I.s stuck behind enemy lines in Italy during WWII, allowing the film to lurch off in too many directions. Derek Luke (above, right) stars. (R)

bgwhite