Shining ‘Star’

Jessica Boullion
Chris Tucker, please stop. (Courtest of New Line)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Stardust”
At Quality 16 and Showcase
Paramount

Just because you’ve already seen this summer’s “Harry Potter” grind and “The Golden Compass” is still months away, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get some big-screen fantasy satisfaction. And “Stardust,” based on the not-quite-for-kids fairytale by perennial cult favorite writer Neil Gaiman, certainly satisfies.

Downtrodden shop boy Tristran Thorn (newcomer Charlie Cox) goes in search of a fallen star to impress his beloved. To his surprise, the star is a young woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes, “Shopgirl”), and as they dodge witches bent on eating Yvaine’s heart for immortality and power-hungry, fratricidal princes, Tristan learns what it really is to love, and how a shop boy may just be a boy who temporarily works at a shop.

Although not without its flaws – some sequences go on a bit too long – “Stardust” is a huge irresistible charm with the spirit and sly sense of humor of “The Princess Bride.” Its earnest sentimentality and cheerful performances make it the perfect film for a date, or for any adult who doesn’t think that growing up means losing his imagination.

MATT RONEY

Time to give up and slow down, and give up the franchise

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
“Rush Hour 3”
At Quality 16 and Showcase
New Line

It’s been reported that Chris Tucker earned $25 million to star in “Rush Hour 3.” Given that it’s been a decade since he’s had a role in any movie that doesn’t have the words “rush hour” in the title, that’s a pretty inexplicable amount, but that’s not the real mystery here. Even in a summer that has seen new movies in no fewer than nine franchises, who really thought there was a need for a third “Rush Hour” installment?

Actually, don’t answer that. Whatever the case, the money here clearly went into Chris Tucker’s salary and not into the film’s creative force. The plot resembles that of the first two with the considerable difference that this one makes absolutely no sense. So many loose ends remain by the film’s end that another movie would have to be made just to clarify everything.

Granted, it would be hard to recreate the unexpected magic that was the first “Rush Hour.” But it’s an insult to the audience’s intelligence that the director Brett Ratner (who also made the first two) deems it unnecessary to include anything that hasn’t been done in the others “Rush Hour” films, and done better.

The real proof of the movie’s utter failure comes in the end credits. Outtakes roll, showing Tucker and Jackie Chan, basically his sidekick at this point, having a great time and actually making the audience laugh. When the outtakes are better than the entire movie that comes before it, it’s time to retire the franchise.

SHERI JANKELOVITZ

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