The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner| PG-13 |

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DRAMA

Romeo and Juliet have nothing on lovebirds Bella and Edward, who pointedly are seen studying Shakespeare's tragedy in a high school English class in New Moon, the stylish but water-treading sequel to 2008's Twilight. When it comes to star-crossed teenage love affairs—though to be literal, the immortal Edward (Pattinson) is 104 but passes for 17—this chaste duo didn't pick the easy road. She's human and he's a vampire. If that wasn't problematic enough, it turns out that her best bud and would-be beau, Jacob (Lautner), is a werewolf, the sworn enemy of vampires. What's a girl to do?

In Moon, based on the second novel in Stephenie Meyer's bestselling series, Bella (Stewart) seems almost pained as she listens to constant swoony protestations of undying love from both boys ("I just couldn't live in a world where you didn't exist!"). Though the battles between good and evil vampires and between vampires and wolves generate excitement, mostly Moon is a stilted, soapy supernatural romance. You'd have to be an already ardent Twilight fan—girls and moms, you know who you are—to get moony over this teen twaddle.

The Blind Side

Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron| PG-13 |

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DRAMA

Think of The Blind Side as Precious for jocks. Though it lacks the gut-punch power of the new indie hit, this more homogenized, true-life inspirational tale also shows how education and self-esteem, plus a dose of familial love, can change a life. Here, a prosperous, football-loving white family (led by Bullock and McGraw) in Memphis takes in a homeless, husky, underachieving black teen and helps him to earn a college football scholarship. The youth is Michael Oher (Aaron), now a star rookie for the Baltimore Ravens. Blind scores a touchdown for worthy intentions and Bullock is feisty fun, but it's all a little too, well, white bread.

>Michael Sheen, 40, sinks his teeth into the role of evil, ancient vamp Aro in New Moon

IF YOU COULD READ MINDS LIKE ARO, WOULD YOU?

God, no. It would take all the mystery out of things.

HOW DID THIS COMPARE TO PLAYING TONY BLAIR?

There's a charming authority about [both]. On the surface [Aro] is very nice, but there's something else going on.

WAS YOUR DAUGHTER LILY, 10, EXCITED YOU TOOK THIS ROLE?

When I told her, she froze and tears started pouring. It was a very satisfying reaction.

>1 IT'S CROSS-GENERATIONAL

Kids and grandparents will both enjoy this fish-out-of-galaxy lark about a pretty-boy astronaut stuck on a planet still in its Eisenhower era, with milkmen and candy-colored hovercraft.

2 THE ROCK IS COOKING

Former wrestler Dwayne Johnson has a blast voicing the Frappucino-craving Paris Hilton of modern space travelers.

3 IT'S FUN KEEPING UP WITH THE REFERENCES

From pets that look like the chest-busters from Alien to countless winks to classic sci-fi movies of the 1950s, 51 is a filling pop-culture smorgasbord.

>• Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy adopted homeless-teen-turned-NFL-star Michael Oher, 23.

HOW DID THE FILMMAKERS DO?

Leigh Anne: I was so pleased it came off the way it did.

SEAN, LEIGH ANNE IS PORTRAYED AS THE BOSS. ACCURATE?

Sean: Let's see ... I think they hit it right on the head.

DID YOU MEET SANDRA?

Leigh Anne: She shadowed us in our house. She's a lady of integrity and character.

HAVE YOU HELPED MICHAEL ADAPT TO NFL LIFE?

Leigh Anne: I spent the entire month of August with him. But he's becoming independent, which is hard on me.

WHAT DOES MICHAEL THINK?

Leigh Anne: He's seen parts of it. He needs to focus on football now. He's in the running to be Rookie of the Year!

>• Penélope Cruz, reuniting with director Pedro Almodóvar, blazes bright in Broken Embraces.

Put the Spanish actress into a movie directed by Pedro Almodóvar, her friend and countryman, and magic happens. The latest shining example is Broken Embraces, a ravishing, soapy melodrama (blindness! fatal accidents! secret offspring!) in which Cruz shines as a tempestuous would-be actress carrying on a torrid clandestine affair with a film director. She again demonstrates in the Spanish-language movie that, speaking in her native tongue and embracing Almodóvar's female-centric, emotionally supercharged world, she hits acting high notes barely hinted at in her pallid Hollywood forays (2005's Sahara and 2001's Vanilla Sky). The notable exception: her hilarious turn in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona last year. Then again, it was set in Spain and half of her dialogue was en Español.

LUXURY CRUZ

For other gems she made with Almodóvar (inset, top left), seek out 1999's All About My Mother and 2006's Volver. Next up for Cruz: the musical Nine, due Dec. 18.

>• In Did You Hear About the Morgans?, out Dec. 18, Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker saddle up.

THE WILDLIFE

Bart, their 8-ft. grizzly bear costar, is a trained actor. Still, "we were terrified," says director Marc Lawrence, who shot much of the comedy—about a Manhattan couple who enter a witness protection program—in New Mexico. "It's a testimony to Hugh's dedication that he seemed completely willing to be eaten."

THE WARDROBE

Manolos were out, boots were in for Parker's character: "She embraced that," says Lawrence.

THE WEATHER

"It was hot, it was cold," he says. "SJ and I are New Yorkers, so we would commiserate. Hugh has an Englishman's fascination with the West."

>Michael Sheen, 40, sinks his teeth into the role of evil, ancient vamp Aro in New Moon

IF YOU COULD READ MINDS LIKE ARO, WOULD YOU?

God, no. It would take all the mystery out of things.

HOW DID THIS COMPARE TO PLAYING TONY BLAIR?

There's a charming authority about [both]. On the surface [Aro] is very nice, but there's something else going on.

WAS YOUR DAUGHTER LILY, 10, EXCITED YOU TOOK THIS ROLE?

When I told her, she froze and tears started pouring. It was a very satisfying reaction.

>1 IT'S CROSS-GENERATIONAL

Kids and grandparents will both enjoy this fish-out-of-galaxy lark about a pretty-boy astronaut stuck on a planet still in its Eisenhower era, with milkmen and candy-colored hovercraft.

2 THE ROCK IS COOKING

Former wrestler Dwayne Johnson has a blast voicing the Frappucino-craving Paris Hilton of modern space travelers.

3 IT'S FUN KEEPING UP WITH THE REFERENCES

From pets that look like the chest-busters from Alien to countless winks to classic sci-fi movies of the 1950s, 51 is a filling pop-culture smorgasbord.

>• Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy adopted homeless-teen-turned-NFL-star Michael Oher, 23.

HOW DID THE FILMMAKERS DO?

Leigh Anne: I was so pleased it came off the way it did.

SEAN, LEIGH ANNE IS PORTRAYED AS THE BOSS. ACCURATE?

Sean: Let's see ... I think they hit it right on the head.

DID YOU MEET SANDRA?

Leigh Anne: She shadowed us in our house. She's a lady of integrity and character.

HAVE YOU HELPED MICHAEL ADAPT TO NFL LIFE?

Leigh Anne: I spent the entire month of August with him. But he's becoming independent, which is hard on me.

WHAT DOES MICHAEL THINK?

Leigh Anne: He's seen parts of it. He needs to focus on football now. He's in the running to be Rookie of the Year!

>• Penélope Cruz, reuniting with director Pedro Almodóvar, blazes bright in Broken Embraces.

Put the Spanish actress into a movie directed by Pedro Almodóvar, her friend and countryman, and magic happens. The latest shining example is Broken Embraces, a ravishing, soapy melodrama (blindness! fatal accidents! secret offspring!) in which Cruz shines as a tempestuous would-be actress carrying on a torrid clandestine affair with a film director. She again demonstrates in the Spanish-language movie that, speaking in her native tongue and embracing Almodóvar's female-centric, emotionally supercharged world, she hits acting high notes barely hinted at in her pallid Hollywood forays (2005's Sahara and 2001's Vanilla Sky). The notable exception: her hilarious turn in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona last year. Then again, it was set in Spain and half of her dialogue was en Español.

LUXURY CRUZ

For other gems she made with Almodóvar (inset, top left), seek out 1999's All About My Mother and 2006's Volver. Next up for Cruz: the musical Nine, due Dec. 18.

>• In Did You Hear About the Morgans?, out Dec. 18, Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker saddle up.

THE WILDLIFE

Bart, their 8-ft. grizzly bear costar, is a trained actor. Still, "we were terrified," says director Marc Lawrence, who shot much of the comedy—about a Manhattan couple who enter a witness protection program—in New Mexico. "It's a testimony to Hugh's dedication that he seemed completely willing to be eaten."

THE WARDROBE

Manolos were out, boots were in for Parker's character: "She embraced that," says Lawrence.

THE WEATHER

"It was hot, it was cold," he says. "SJ and I are New Yorkers, so we would commiserate. Hugh has an Englishman's fascination with the West."