DIRTY PRETTY THINGS: Director Stephen Frears creates an atmosphere of risk in this gripping dramatic enterprise that’s quite difficult to pigeonhole, which means it’s a must-see movie for adults yearning not to be insulted. Okwe, superbly acted by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is a kind-hearted and quite gentle Nigerian doctor who has moved to London for secret personal reasons. He ends up working at a West London Hotel along with Senay, a Turkish chambermaid. She’s played by the magnificent Audrey Tautou (Amelie). The hotel, the sort of place where drug dealing and prostitution are winked at, is supervised by a questionable chap. And when Okwe finds a human heart in one of the toilets, he uncovers events much more sinister than anything he could imagine. The very well-acted film delights in keep you guessing. Stephen Knight’s tight screenplay also offers an interesting look at the immigrant culture in England. In Dirty Pretty Things, Frears has concocted a fascinating tale, one that takes you along like some sort of strange amusement ride. The movie has comic moments, but with each new situation and each new character, its mystery deepens and you eagerly await what’s coming next.

FREDDY VS. JASON: Look, you can interpret this as high praise, but this movie is better than it has any right to be. Those 1980s horror icons, Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare On Elm Street movies and Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th features are back and battling each other for preeminence in the world of shockeroo cinema. To get the boys together, a clever idea has been utilized; the supernatural Freddy is upset that he’s become a forgotten figure. To bring his name back into public consciousness, he invades Jason’s dreams and convinces him to murder some young people on Elm Street, which is the site of Freddy’s unspeakable crimes. Jason does what he’s urged to and Freddy is once again a known entity. Needless to say, the whole town’s talking and the film-ending collision between evil and evil might not satisfy considering the pedigree of these two lunatics. Freddy Vs. Jason has solid pacing, but that unfortunately leads to a clunky conclusion. The usual horror movie music and screaming Mimi types abound, and the gore gets a tad out-of-hand, but for folks who want to get their thrills from seeing how truly ugly Freddy has become and how quietly creepy Jason has remained, there have been worse movie fright fests this year alone.

MY BOSS’S DAUGHTER: Just in case you wondering how to get ahead in Hollywood, even though you make truly bad movies, consider the suddenly hot career arc of Ashton Kutcher. Fame often has nothing to do with talent. Instead, Kutcher showed up on Saturday Night Live in jockey shorts revealing a lot of everything. He then stole Allen Funt’s Candid Camera idea (an oft-stolen idea in these reality TV times) and decided to play hidden camera pranks on his fellow celebrities on MTV. Then the twenty-something Kutcher hooked up with fortyish Demi Moore and supposedly the duo is a hot sexual item. See, easy attention, instant fame. Those who suffer are people who are forced to sit through his movies, and believe me, although he may have his fans; nobody is forced to sit through his movies unless they are a movie reviewer. The latest Kutcher goof on good taste and common sense is My Boss’s Daughter and it’s a mess. I don’t care how personable people are; you can’t enjoy cesspool cinema when you know the talent on screen is capable of much, much better. And I’m specifically referring to Terence Stamp. Vulgar and insufferably boring, the movie stars Kutcher as a nice guy who wants to be close to his boss’s sexy daughter (the untalented Tara Reid), so he offers to baby-sit the boss’ (Stamp’s) pet owl. And you thought there were no signs of intelligent life in Hollywood. Anyway, stupid and failed comic situations abound and the movie mercifully ends. By Michael Calleri ALT Movie Editor

LE DIVORCE: Something a little bit different from Merchant-Ivory productions. Americans in Paris are the subject of this breezy comedy-drama about love, marriage, divorce, the price of a good painting, and those interesting French. James Ivory directed, his partner Ismail Merchant produced, and their team screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (along with Ivory) wrote the script based on a novel by Diane Johnson. Instead of Merchant-Ivory’s usual stuffy Brits, we get a pair of California sisters (Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts) who discover that romance doesn’t necessarily mean loyalty. They are well-to-do; therefore, they’ve got lots of free time to discuss men, melancholy, and merde. Watts discovers her marriage to a Frenchman is over, but that’s just the beginning of this charming comic adventure, one in which Hudson has an affair with a sexy older man (not that old) and Matthew Modine shows up to wreck havoc on everyone’s peace and quiet. Stephen Fry has a good bit as an art auction appraiser (the sisters’ family owns a painting that might be important) and the legendary Leslie Caron proves beauty is more than skin deep as a Gallic in-law. Le Divorce also features Stockard Channing, Sam Waterston, Bebe Neuwirth, Thierry Lhermitte, and Glenn Close doing a fantastic impression of literary lioness Susan Sontag. All-in-all, a sprightly bit of late summer fun filled with wonderful performances and a terrific feel for the icon that is Paris.