Varsity Theatre

Varsity Theatre

Seven Pounds

Ben Thomas is an IRS agent with a fateful secret who embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers. Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Michael Ealy, Barry Pepper, Woody Harrelson. PG-13 for thematic material, some disturbing content and a scene of sensuality/124m/S/Sony

Australia

An epic and romantic action adventure, set on the explosive brink of World War II. An English aristocrat travels to Australia, where she meets a rough-hewn local and reluctantly agrees to join forces with him to save the land she inherited. Together, they embark upon a transforming journey across hundreds of miles of the world's most beautiful yet unforgiving terrain, only to face the bombing of the city of Darwin by Japanese forces. Directed and co-written by Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge"). Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Brandon Walters, David Wenham, Jack Thompson, Bryan Brown. PG-13 for some violence, a scene of sensuality, and brief strong language/166m/S/Fox

Synecdoche, New York

Theater director Caden Cotard is mounting a new play. His life catering to suburban blue-hairs at the local regional theater in Schenectady, New York is looking bleak. His wife has left him to pursue her painting in Berlin, taking their young daughter. His therapist is better at plugging her best-seller than she is at counseling him. A new relationship has prematurely run aground. And a mysterious condition is systematically shutting down each of his autonomic functions, one by one. Worried about the transience of his life, he leaves his home behind. He gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in New York City to create a work of brutal honesty. He directs them to live out their constructed lives in a growing mock-up of the city outside. The years rapidly fold into each other, and Caden buries himself deeper into his masterpiece, but the textured tangle of real and theatrical relationships blurs the line between the world of the play and that of Caden's own deteriorating reality. Directed and written by Charlie Kaufman ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"); Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dianne Wiest, Samantha Morton, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Emily Watson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis, Tom Noonan. R for language and some sexual content/nudity/124m/S/Sony Pictures Classics

Choke

Actor-turned-director Clark Gregg shows he is as adept behind the camera as he is in front of it with "Choke," a wickedly colorful dark comedy. Victor, a sex-addicted med-school dropout, who keeps his increasingly deranged mother, Ida, in an expensive private medical hospital by working days as a historical reenactor at a Colonial Williamsburg theme park. At night Victor runs a scam by deliberately choking in upscale restaurants to form parasitic relationships with the wealthy patrons who "save" him. When Ida reveals that she has withheld the shocking truth of his father's identity, Victor enlists the aid of his best friend and his mother's beautiful attending physician to solve the mystery before the truth is lost forever. Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Brad William Henke, Kelly Macdonald. R for strong sexual content, nudity and language/93m/F/Fox Searchlight

Secret Life of Bees

Based on the New York Times best-selling novel, this is the moving tale of Lily, a 14 year-old girl haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with her caregiver to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping. Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, Nate Parker. PG-13 for /110m/S/Fox Searchlight

Happy-Go-Lucky

Poppy is an irrepressibly free-spirited school teacher who brings an infectious laugh and an unsinkable sense of optimism to every situation she encounters, offering a touching, truthful and deeply life-affirming exploration of one of the most mysterious and often most elusive of all human qualities — happiness. Poppy's ability to maintain her perspective is tested as the story begins and her commuter bike is stolen. However, she enthusiastically signs up for driving lessons with Scott, who turns out to be her nemesis — a fuming, uptight cynic. As the tension of their weekly lessons builds, Poppy encounters even more challenges to her positive state of mind. Directed and written by Mike Leigh ("Vera Drake"); Starring Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Andrea Riseborough, Samuel Roukin. R for language/118m/S/Miramax

Ashland Street Cinemas

Yes Man

A man signs up for a self-help program based on one simple principle: say yes to everything...and anything. At first, unleashing the power of 'yes' transforms his life in amazing and unexpected ways, but he discovers that opening up his life to endless possibilities can have its drawbacks. Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, John Michael Higgins, Molly Sims, Danny Masterson. PG-13 for crude sexual humor, language and brief nudity/104m/S/WB

Four Christmases

Happily unmarried Kate and Brad are socked in by fog on Christmas, their exotic vacation plans dashed. Unable to escape, they trudge to the four crazy relative-choked festivities they had always managed to avoid. Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Mary Steenburgen, Dwight Yoakam, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth. PG-13 for some sexual humor and language/89m/F/Warner Bros.

Tale of Despereaux

A brave and virtuous mouse, Despereaux is simply too big for his small world. Saddled with oversized ears, he refuses to live a life of weakness...believing he was destined to be celebrated in the tales of chivalry he so adores. Voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Kline, Frank Langella, William H. Macy, Emma Watson, Sigourney Weaver. G/94m/S/Universal

Day the Earth Stood Still

See review, Page 11

Starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith, Jon Hamm, Kyle Chandler. PG-13 for some sci-fi disaster images and violence/104m/S/Fox

Bolt

When the canine star of a hit TV show is accidentally shipped from a Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he begins a cross-country journey home with the delusion that his amazing feats and powers are real. Accompanying him are an abandoned housecat and a TV-obsessed hamster. Featuring the voice talents of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton. PG for some mild action and peril/103m(including TOKYO MATER short)/S/Disney

Delgo

The magical land of Jhamora is divided between two cultures — the Nohrin, winged masters of the skies, and the Lockni, who harness the mystical powers of the land. Voice talents of Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Val Kilmer, Chris Kattan, Kelly Ripa, Michael Clarke Duncan, Eric Idle. PG for sequences of fantasy action violence/90m/F/Freestyle

Twilight

When her mother re-marries, Bella is sent to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington, where she meets the mysterious and dazzlingly beautiful Edward, a boy unlike any she's ever met. Edward is a vampire, and sees straight into Bella's soul. Soon, they are swept up in a passionate, thrilling and unorthodox romance. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Cam Cigandet, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene. PG-13 for some violence and a scene of sensuality/122m/S/Summit Entertainment