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What's new in entertainment

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

MOVIES:

Opened Wednesday, July 4th

"LICENSE TO WED"

A comedy about a young couple (John Krasinski of TV's "The Office" and Mandy Moore) who must endure marriage counseling from an over-enthusiastic pastor (Robin Williams) before they can marry in her church. With Christine Taylor and De Ray Davis. Directed by Ken Kwapis. Released by Warner Bros. This film is not yet rated.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"This is the sort of lobotomized, condescendingly lazy movie that leaves you resentful of Hollywood."

-Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

"Will Robin Williams ever divorce himself from the unholy union of silliness and sentimentality?"

-Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

"TRANSFORMERS"

Get nostalgic for the 80s with this big-screen movie based on the popular toy and TV franchise. Good and evil alien robots bring their fight to earth, where lots of things get destroyed. As the war rages on, a young hero (Shia LaBeouf) may hold the key to humanity's survival. With Josh Duhamel, Rachel Taylor and Jon Voight. Directed by Michael Bay ("Bad Boys," "Pearl Harbor"). Released by DreamWorks. This film is not yet rated.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"'Transformers' has some of the best action sequences you'll see all summer."

-Desson Thomson, The Washington Post

"It's goofy fun with a lot of stuff that blows up real good."

-Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

OPENING FRIDAY IN LIMITED RELEASE (check local listings):

"JOSHUA"

A psychological thriller about a well-to-do Manhattan couple (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga) who see their domestic life begin to crumble after the birth of a second child. Part of the problem is nine-year-old son Joshua (Jacob Kogan), a coolly precocious kid who may or may not be utterly evil. With Dallas Roberts, Celia Weston and Michael McKean. Directed by George Ratliff. Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Rated R.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"With deliberate pacing, well-placed scares, and a pitch-black sense of humor, (director George) Ratliff keeps us guessing until the stunner finish."

-Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

"(A) superbly crafted psychological thriller."

-Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter

"Rescue Dawn" opened in limited release July 4th

"RESCUE DAWN"

Filmmaker Werner Herzog ("Fitzcarraldo," "Grizzly Man") directed this drama based on the true story of Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), a Vietnam War fighter pilot who was shot down in Laos and held captive before escaping with a fellow prisoner (Steve Zahn). Fleeing through the jungle, the two men form a deep bond as Dengler ferociously tries to keep his weaker comrade alive through their ordeal. With Jeremy Davies and Marshall Bell. Released by MGM. This film is not yet rated.

Official movie site

What the critics say:

"The film ... is so good it makes you wish that (director Werner) Herzog had gone Hollywood earlier in his career."

-David Edelstein, New York Magazine

"A small miracle - a smart popcorn movie."

-Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter





VIDEO:

"The Astronaut Farmer"

Billy Bob Thornton stars as a man named Charles Farmer who has the long-held dream of becoming an astronaut. So Farmer builds a homemade rocket to launch himself into space, with his family serving as mission control on the ground. Alarmed at the risks he's taking, the government tries to stop him, but Farmer's determined to somehow achieve liftoff. With Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern and Tim Blake Nelson. Directed by Michael Polish. Released by Warner Home Video. Rated PG. Available July 10.

"Beauty and the Beast"

A six-disc collection of the second season of the fantasy show starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman as the leonine, sympathetic beast. Released by Paramount Home Video. Not rated. Available July 10.

"Criterion Collection: Three Films by Hiroshi Teshigahara"

This set of cinema classics by Japanese director Teshigahara includes the eerie "Woman in the Dunes" (1964) plus the features "Pitfall," "Face of Another" and four short films. Released by Criterion. Not rated. Available July 10.

"Extras - Season 2"

The second and final season of the witty, cynical show business comedy finds movie extra Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais) getting his big break by starring in a sitcom that he's created. The network wants to dumb it down, however, and Andy's status as a TV celebrity just brings him more trouble. Released by HBO Home Video. Not rated. Available July 10.

"The Last Mimzy"

A brother and sister develop extraordinary powers after finding a box of toys, one of which is a stuffed bunny that speaks a strange language and bears messages from the future. Starring Timothy Hutton, Joely Richardson, Chris O'Neil, Rhiannon Leigh Wryn and Rainn Wilson. Directed by Robert Shaye. Released by New Line Home Video. Rated PG. Available July 10.

"Sweet Land"

Not long after World War I a Norwegian-American farmer sends away for a mail-order bride to keep him company on his Minnesota farm. The bride (Elizabeth Reaser), however, turns out to be German, much to the distaste of the locals who still harbor fierce antipathies toward America's defeated enemy. With Tim Guinee, Alan Cumming, John Heard and Alex Kingston. Directed by Ali Selim. Released by 20th Century Fox Home Video. Rated PG. Available July 10.

"Shark Week - 20th Anniversary Collection"

This four-disc set of the Discovery Channel's popular program collection includes the episodes "Anatomy of a Shark Bite," "Shark Attack Survivors," "Shark Rebellion," "Prehistoric Sharks," "Bull Shark: World's Deadliest Shark" and "Shark Bite! Surviving Great Whites," among others. Released by Discovery Channel. Not rated. Available July 10.





VIDEO GAMES:

Release dates subject to change.

"Cookie & Cream"

An adventure game for all ages that has players guide a team of bunnies who must navigate a harsh landscape in their attempt to solve the mystery of the missing moon. Published by Agetec for Nintendo DS. Rated E. Available July 10.

"Let's Ride: Friends Forever"

An equestrian simulation game that allows players to choose one of 15 different horses, enter the animal in beauty contests and feed, water and exercise it the way a conscientious owner does. Published by ValuSoft for PC. Rated E. Available July 11.

"Riviera: The Promised Land"

This fantasy role-playing game mixes Norse legend with Japanese graphic style in a storyline that has warrior angels preparing for a war against demons, with the fate of the world (naturally) in the balance. Published by Atlus USA for Sony PSP. Rated T. Available July 10.

"Sword of the New World: Granado Espada"

Mixing history with role playing and action, this game takes players on a journey into the New World at the time when Europeans had just begun to explore the Americas. Published by K2 Network for PC. Rated T. Available July 10.





MUSIC:

Crowded House, "Time on Earth": The rock band reunited after 11 years apart for their first studio recording since 1993. Released by ATO Records/Red. In stores July 10.

Nick Drake, "Family Tree": This disc collects material the late singer-songwriter recorded before the release of his first album, including early versions of his own songs and covers of other artists such as Bob Dylan and Blind Boy Fuller. Released by Tsunami Label Group. In stores July 10.

Nicholas Hooper, "Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix": The score to the upcoming film, with composer Hooper stepping in for the busy John Williams. Released by Warner Bros/Wea. In stores July 10.

Interpol, "Our Love to Admire": The band's first major label release finds them just as dark and grumpy as always. Released by Capitol. In stores July 10.

Kim Richey, "Chinese Boxes": This album of 10 songs is the singer's first release of all-new material in five years. Released by Vanguard Records. In stores July 10.

Marc Shaiman and others, "Hairspray": The score to the upcoming musical comedy sung by cast members John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, Nikki Blonsky, Brittany Snow and others. Released by New Line Records. In stores July 10.

Ulrich Schnauss, "Goodbye": The German electronic artist completes his trilogy of melodic works that began with "Far Away Trains Passing By." Released by Domino. In stores July 10.

Smashing Pumpkins, "Zeitgeist": After seven years apart, the alt-rockers reunite for this album that shows some of their hard edges have remained intact. Released by Reprise/Wea. In stores July 10.

They Might Be Giants, "The Else": The duo teamed with L.A.'s Dust Brothers for this new disc that still retains their catchy riffs and eccentrically funny lyrics. Released by Zoe Records. In stores July 10.

Various artists, "Saturday Night Fever": A remastered re-release of the soundtrack to the classic 1977 disco film that features Kool & the Gang, the Trammps, Yvonne Elliman and, of course, the Bee Gees. Released by Rhino/Wea. In stores July 10.





TV:

All times are EDT/PDT.

Sunday, July 8

"The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter": If you just can't wait for the movie, this special that features interviews with cast members and film clips may help tide you over. 10 p.m., A&E.

Monday, July 9

"Spielberg on Spielberg": Time magazine film critic Richard Schickel produced this documentary about Steven Spielberg, who, in his own words, takes us through his career and offers candid revelations about what he would do differently now in his most famous films. 8 p.m., TCM.

"Age of Love": The prurience factor rises as the female contestants try to impress former tennis star Mark Philippoussis with antics on the beach. 9 p.m., NBC.

"The Bronx Is Burning": Oliver Platt portrays larger-than-life N.Y. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in this eight-part series that dramatizes the team's 1977 championship season that saw never-ending battles between superstar Reggie Jackson (Daniel Sunjata) and manager Billy Martin (John Turturro). 10 p.m., ESPN.

Tuesday, July 10

"Eureka": The science-fiction show about a town full of geniuses and its regular-guy sheriff begins its second season. 9 p.m., Sci-Fi.

Wednesday, July 11

"Synchronized Swimming: The Pursuit of Excellence": A documentary that shows how much sacrifice and hard work goes into this much-maligned sport. 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

"Don't Forget The Lyrics": A new reality/performance show that has contestants try to remember the words to famous songs in the hope of winning $1 million. 9:30 p.m. Fox.





BOOKS:

Glenn Kaplan, "Evil, Inc.": A plastics company executive takes on his bosses when a plant explosion kills hundreds, including his own wife and child, but the company is more than ready to defend itself by whatever means necessary in this corporate thriller. Published by St. Martin's Press. In stores July 10.

Nora Roberts, "High Noon": A hostage negotiator for the Savannah, Ga. police department finds herself and her family being stalked by a mysterious man who assaulted her. Published by Penguin Group (USA). In stores July 10.

John Twelve Hawks, "Dark River: Book Two of the Fourth Realm": The second volume in the fantasy series has two brothers with mystical powers searching for their lost father and becoming enemies as they travel through our world and strange parallel dimensions. Published by Doubleday. In stores July 10.

Alan Weisman, "The World Without Us": This book looks at the way the earth would change if the human race was suddenly wiped out. Within a short time, Weisman writes, farms would revert to wild growth, bird populations would explode and cities such as majestic as New York would begin to see rapid decay. Published by St. Martin's Press. In stores July 10.

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