The Golden Compass: Philip Pullman's anti-religious young-adult book has been watered down in this cinematic adaptation, which comes up with some jaw-dropping visuals but loses track of the things that really matter in a fantasy epic: story and characters. Still, Dakota Blue Richards is delightful as the rambunctious girl who will save the world from a repressive dictatorship.
- KENT WILLIAMS
Nanking: Japan's "rape of Nanking" in 1937 holds a special place in the catalogue of wartime horrors, and this painful documentary tells the story with Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway and other actors reading from letters and diaries by foreigners who stayed behind to help care for the people of Nanking. There's also eyewitness testimony by Chinese survivors and, amazingly, candid recollections by former Japanese soldiers.
- KELLY VANCE