Brothers. (R) This provocative drama from Denmark is superficially intimate and self-contained, but director Susanne Bier (Open Hearts, The One and Only) asks some big questions about love, war, and conscience -- the kind of painfully relevant questions not often asked these days at the White House or the Pentagon. When an upright army officer and family man from Copenhagen (Ulrich Thomsen) is reported killed in action in Afghanistan, his sullen ex-con brother (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) transforms himself by bonding with his nieces, comforting his grieving sister-in-law (Gladiator star Connie Nielsen), and taking responsibility. But when his older brother, who's actually been imprisoned by the Taliban, unexpectedly returns home with a dark secret, the certainties of absolutism collide with questions of moral judgment. A beautifully acted, graceful, and intelligent film that usefully dramatizes the gulf between Fortress Bush and the relativist politics of Western Europe. (Bill Gallo)
Howl's Moving Castle. (PG) Reviewed in this issue.
The Perfect Man. (PG) We're not betting types, but smart money says: Expect some fluff and a few chick-flick platitudes. That said, this movie starring serial single mom Jean (Heather Locklear) and well-intentioned daughter Holly (Hillary Duff) should be harmless enough -- a good popcorn film for teens and tweens. (Not Reviewed) ARN, CGX, CW10, CC12, DP, J14, NW, OF, RON, STCH, STCL, WO