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Pan's Labyrinth / **** (R)
by Jim Emerson Editor, RogerEbert.com Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" is one of the cinema's great fantasies, rich with darkness and wonder. It's a fairy tale of such potency and awesome beauty that it reconnects the adult imagination to the primal thrill and horror of the stories that held us spellbound as children. If you recall the chills that ran down your spine and the surreal humor that tickled your brain in the presence of "Alice in Wonderland," "Little Red Riding Hood" or "The Wizard of Oz" when you were a child (or, later, in the nightmarish dream-films of Luis Bunuel, Jean Cocteau, F.W. Murnau or David Cronenberg), you'll discover those sensations once again, buried deep in the heart of "Pan's Labyrinth."

December 29, 2006 / * ()
The Painted Veil
Family Law

The Good Shepherd / ** ()
by Jim Emerson Editor, RogerEbert.com If you think George Tenet's Central Intelligence Agency was a disaster, wait until you see Robert De Niro's torpid, ineffectual movie about the history of the agency, "The Good Shepherd." Once again, responsibility for the large-scale failure does not lie with the valiant and hard-working operatives in the field (or the actors on the screen), but with the mismanagement of the director himself. It is unlikely, however, that any awards -- including Presidential Medals of Freedom -- will be bestowed upon De Niro or his plodding writer, Eric Roth, for their misfeasance.

Great Movie: The Rules of the Game (2006)
I've seen Jean Renoir's "The Rules of the Game" in a campus film society, at a repertory theater and on laserdisc, and I've even taught it in a film class -- but now I realize I've never really seen it at all. This magical and elusive work, which always seems to place second behind "Citizen Kane" in polls of great films, is so simple and so labyrinthine, so guileless and so angry, so innocent and so dangerous, that you can't simply watch it, you have to absorb it.

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Night at the Museum tops Thursday's box office with $11.4 million

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