9
Voices by Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, Christopher Plummer | PG-13 |

bgwhite bgwhite   



ANIMATION
It's a postapocalyptic world in which giant, marauding machines rule. The clanking heaps of metal hunt down and kill any rival creatures that show a trace of life. Sound familiar? Think Terminator Salvation, War of the Worlds or Transformers. Or even Wall-E. Battling the machines are a tiny, ragtag band of survivors, who rely on their wits and gumption. None of the good guys resemble Christian Bale, Tom Cruise or even Shia LaBeouf. Rather, the film's plucky title character, #9 (voiced winningly by Wood), looks like a Lilliputian Teletubby made of burlap, as do his comrades, creations of a now-dead scientist.

The movie dazzles visually—in 9's publicity handout, first-time feature director Shane Acker refers to his innovative digital animation process as "virtual puppetry"—but its plot and characters, disappointingly, verge on standard-issue. The result is that while 9 succeeds at serving up a fabulous feast for the eyes, it provides far less sustenance for one's heart.

Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church | PG-13 |

    



COMEDY
There are ships, and then there's the Titanic. And there are movies that are turkeys, and then there's All About Steve. This misguided comedy stars Bullock as Mary Magdalene Horowitz (yes, she's half Jewish, half Catholic), a garrulous crossword puzzle designer so inept socially that, early on, I scrawled in my notebook, "Asperger's?" That was before Mary began relentlessly pursuing Steve (Cooper), a TV news cameraman, on whom she fixates after a single disastrous date. Presumably, Bullock, who coproduced Steve, wanted to make a movie about not fitting in and staying true to yourself. But Mary is so off-putting, you just wish she'd go away or—at least—shut up. Better luck to all involved next time.

>The former Frodo gets animated

YOU AND THE NUMBER 9 GO WAY BACK. I do have a relationship with 9 already—I have a tattoo of the number 9 in Elvish [for] the 9 members of the Fellowship [in Lord of the Rings].

WOULD APPEARING IN THE PLANNED HOBBIT FILM BE A NO-BRAINER? Dude, are you kidding me? Yeah. If there was some way that Frodo made sense [in that movie], I would absolutely love to come back.

>BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT A silly remake of a 1956 crime thriller updates the tale of a reporter (Jesse Metcalfe, below) hoping to expose a corrupt D.A. (Michael Douglas). (PG-13)

bgwhite    



THE OTHER MAN Liam Neeson plays a widower who, after learning his wife (Laura Linney, below, with Antonio Banderas) had an affair, tracks down her lover. Never reaches its potential. (R)

bgwhite bgwhite   



>• The Hills alum, 24, who makes her big-screen debut in the horror-comedy, shares her go-to films.

MOVIE THAT SCARES ME The Exorcist. My sister and I watched it together when I was about 12. We slept in the same bed, we were so scared.

MOVIE THAT MAKES ME CRY The Notebook. Even guys cry!

LAST DATE MOVIE I went with [boyfriend Corey Bohan] to see Orphan. I'm a huge horror fan.

FIRST MOVIE I EVER SAW The Little Mermaid. The first horror movie was Child's Play. I was 8. I thought all my dolls were going to come alive and attack me!

>20 YEARS AGO!

• Two decades after the iconic duo found love—and sex—in the city, the rom-com remains "timeless," says costar Billy Crystal. Why? "People will always have trouble falling in love."

Shooting the famous fake orgasm scene at Manhattan's Katz's Deli was a tall order for Meg Ryan, so director Rob Reiner "sat down opposite me and showed her what he wanted," recalls Crystal, 61. "He had a Mighty Joe Young kind of orgasm, and the extras applauded." Today, Crystal is still approached by women on the street moaning, "Yes, yes, yes ...!" and diehard fans of the film hanker for a sequel. But "some things should just be left as they are," says screenwriter Nora Ephron. Counters Crystal: "I would do a sequel in a second if it could feel fresh. It can't be When Harry Left Sally...."