What's new in entertainment

A look at what's new in movies, books, music, television, video games and DVDs for the weekend.



The big-screen version of the hit Broadway musical that was itself a stage adaptation of a 1988 movie (whew!) by mischievous indie maverick John Waters. Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) is a plus-size girl in 1960s Baltimore whose attempts to appear on a local dance show cause her to run afoul of snob Amber Von Tussle (Brittany Snow). Tracy fights for diversity with the help of her mother (John Travolta in full drag), her pal Penny (Amanda Bynes) and a new boyfriend. With Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Allison Janney and Brittany Snow. Directed by Adam Shankman. Released by New Line Cinema. Rated PG.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"'Hairspray' is a fizzy and delirious high-camp message-movie musical that may just turn out to be the happiest movie of the summer."

-Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

"This bright, bouncy movie musical is a happy surprise, a candy-colored ode to outsiders that left me with a big grin."

-David Ansen, Newsweek


Adam Sandler and Kevin James play two New York City firemen who claim to be a married gay couple on some forms to get around bureaucratic red tape about life insurance. The ruse has to be carried further when a city official becomes suspicious and the two guy's guys have to move in together and pretend to be enjoying wedded bliss. With Jessica Biel, Ving Rhames and Steve Buscemi. Directed by Dennis Dugan. Released by Universal Pictures. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"The picture delivers 90 minutes of gay caricatures, along with a barrage of fat jokes, and culminates by lecturing the audience about how wrong it is to mock those who are different."

-Lisa Rose, The Newark Star-Ledger

"Relentlessly juvenile and awash in stereotypes."

-Brian Lowry, Variety


Cillian Murphy stars in this science-fiction thriller about a team of scientists trying to keep the sun from dying with the help of a new device, but the stress of the long journey from Earth begins to jeopardize the mission and their sanity. With Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Chris Evans and Troy Garity. Directed by Danny Boyle ("28 Days Later"). Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"An extraordinary film, operating simultaneously at visceral, psychological and spiritual levels as it takes us on a voyage into space with the fate of mankind at stake."

-Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter

"'Sunshine' works despite feeling both over-familiar and over-ambitious."

-Nathan Lee, The Village Voice

OPENING IN LIMITED RELEASE (check local listings):


A historical drama that takes place during the period that saw the end of the Inquisition and Napoleon's invasion of Spain. The great painter Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgard) observes the horrors around him while his muse (Natalie Portman) ends up in prison thanks to a nefarious member of the Inquisition (Javier Bardem) who's trying to save his own skin. with Michael Lonsdale, Jose Luis Gomez and Randy Quaid. Directed by Milos Forman. Released by Samuel Goldwyn Films. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"It's never entirely clear who or what the film is about."

-Wendy Ide, The Times of London

"Sadly, it's as dull as the proverbial ditchwater."

-Neil Smith, The London Paper


"The Host"

A smash hit abroad, this South Korean science-fiction horror film mixes scares with offbeat humor to tell the story of a family battling a giant mutant creature that rises out a river and consumes everyone in its path. When his youngest daughter is snatched by the beast, slacker hero Kang-Du and his family pursue it into the sewers, hoping to rescue the girl before she becomes the creature's next meal. Directed by Bong Joon-ho. Released by Magnolia Pictures. Rated R. Available July 24.

"Land of the Giants"

All 51 episodes of the now-campy sci-fi series come packaged in a box that resembles a cage and features such extras as interviews with cast members, a Mad magazine parody and producer Irwin Allen's home movies. Released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Not rated. Available July 24.

"The Number 23"

Jim Carrey takes on a rare non-comedic role in this supernatural thriller about a man who receives a book that appears to be about his own life, and is even more alarmed to discover that the book describes him committing a murder some time in the near future. With Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston and Rhona Mitra. Directed by Joel Schumacher. Released by New Line Home Video. Rated R. Available July 24.

"Perfume - The Story of a Murderer"A perfume maker in 18th-century France named Grenouille strives to bottle the perfect scent, which can only be captured from a young woman. Resorting to murder to get the perfect scent, Grenouille becomes obsessed with the daughter of a wealthy merchant and decides she'll be his next victim. Starring Ben Wishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Dustin Hoffman. Directed by Tom Tykwer. Released by DreamWorks Video. Rated R. Available July 24.

"Raise the Red Lantern"

This acclaimed film from 1991 concerns a university student named Songlian (Gong Li) in 1920s China who is married off by her stepmother to a wealthy man who already has three wives. Almost despite herself, Songlian becomes embroiled in an ongoing power struggle with the other three wives, one destined to end in tragedy. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Directed by Zhang Yimou. Released by MGM. Rated PG. Available July 24.

"Weeds - Season 2"

A two-disc set of the Showtime series about a young suburban widow (Mary-Louise Parker) who discovers that growing and selling marijuana can be a lucrative business, especially if you're the only breadwinner left in the house. Released by Lions Gate. Not rated. Available July 24.


Based on the true story of the killer who terrorized San Francisco in the late 1960s and early 1970s, "Zodiac" follows three men whose lives become intertwined with the case, which damages their lives in different ways as leads turn into dead ends and the pursuit of the killer becomes an obsession. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, Brain Cox and Chloe Sevigny. Directed by David Fincher ("Seven," "Fight Club"). Released by Paramount Home Video. Rated R. Available July 24.


Note: Release dates subject to change.

"Alien Syndrome"

Inspired by the original arcade game, this version combines role-playing with action as players battle hordes of alien enemies and their nasty bosses. Published by Sega of America for Nintendo Wii. Rated T. Available July 24.

"Enemy Engaged 2"

This sequel to the helicopter combat simulator lets players undertake missions in three different theaters of war - Taiwan, Korea and Lebanon. Published by Strategy First for PC. Rated T. Available July 24.

"Escape from Bug Island"

A horror-action game that has players to help a stranded camper escape from an island populated by monstrous bugs, humanoid mutants and other horrifying creatures. Published by Eidos Interactive for Nintendo Wii. Rated M. Available July 24.

"Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80's"

Play songs by such luminaries as Twisted Sister, the Scorpions and the Go-Gos while draping your virtual guitar hero in heinous '80s clothes. Published by Activision for PlayStation 2. Rated T. Available July 24.


Another racing game. This one lets players modify their car to suit their driving style as they race the NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation 3. Rated E. Available July 24.

"Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3"

A role-playing game in which a high school student who has just arrived at a boarding school on an island finds it plagued by malevolent spirits that turn their victims into zombies. Includes characters from previous "Persona" games. Published by Atlus USA for PlayStation 2. Rated M. Available July 24.

"Ultimate Puzzle Games: Sudoku Edition"

This game promises a virtually infinite number of Sudoku games thanks to an algorithm capable of generating millions of puzzles. Published by Telegames for Nintendo DS. Rated E. Available July 24.


Trey Anastasio, "The Horseshoe Curve": The latest solo release from the former Phish guitarist has a distinctly Afro-Cuban sound. Released by Rubber Jungle Records. In stores July 24.

Marc Anthony, "El Cantante" soundtrack: Music from the upcoming film starring Anthony's wife, Jennifer Lopez. Released by Sony International. In stores July 24.

Johnny Cash, "The Great Lost Performance": An hour-long concert the Man in Black gave in 1990, now available for the first time. Released by Island. In stores July 24.

Prince, "Planet Earth": The artist still known as Prince recaptures some of his old sound, mixing genres in a way that's distinctly his own. Released by Sony. In stores July 24.

Brian Setzer, "Red Hot & Live!": Setzer revisits some of his past hits in a way that is red, hot and live. Released by Surfdog Ada. In stores July 24.

Sum 41, Underclass Hero": The band's fourth album is different because, as front man Deryck Whibley said recently, "We care about the craft of it now." Did they not care before? Released by Island. In stores July 24.

Tegan and Sara, "Con": The twin Canadian singer-songwriters' fifth album features guest appearances by Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie, Matt Sharp of The Rentals and Hunter Burgan of AFI. Released by Vapor/Sire. In stores July 24.


All times are EDT/PDT.

Friday, July 20

"Stargate SG-1": The science-fiction show ends its 10-year run with this series finale. 8 p.m., Sci Fi.

Sunday, July 22

"The Simpsons": In anticipation of the 'Simpsons" movie, Fox airs a generous two-hour sampling of shows from this season. 8 p.m.

"The Kill Point": John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg star in this eight-episode drama about a group of Iraq war veterans whose plan to rob a bank goes wrong. 9 p.m., Spike.

Monday, July 23

"CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock": Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood are among the artists participating in this prime-time special. 9 p.m., ABC.

"Saving Grace": Holly Hunter stars in this new series as a troubled police detective who finds herself being visited by an angel named Earl. 10 p.m., TNT.

Tuesday, July 24

"Damages": Glenn Close stars in this new legal drama about a tough New York litigator. First up: A tycoon (Ted Danson) who apparently cheated a group of employees out of their pensions. Not just money is at stake, though, as layers of deceit and murder begin to add up. 10 p.m. Tuesday, FX.

Wednesday, July 25

"HairWorld: The Pursuit of Excellence": It's not a new reality show, but a documentary that follows an American team of stylists as they compete in the 31st HairWorld Championships in Russia. 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Thursday, July 26

"Who Wants to be a Superhero?": Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee returns to weed through a group of wannabee superheroes. 9 p.m. Sci-Fi Channel.


Sylvia Browne, "Psychic Children: Revealing the Intuitive Gifts and Hidden Abilities of Boys and Girls": The author examines what she believes to be the psychic abilities of children. Published by Penguin Group. In stores July 24.

Jasper Fforde, "Thursday Next: First Among Sequels": Fforde's literary detective Thursday Next returns for a fifth satirical outing. Published by Penguin Group. In stores July 24.

J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows": Looks like a sequel in some fantasy series ... dunno, maybe you've heard of it. Published by Scholastic, Inc. Goes on sale Saturday, July 21 at midnight.