A pretty Parisian widow is menaced by grisly thugs and wooed by a mysterious man who may want only the money she has but can't find. In 1963 this was a recipe for Stanley Donen's romantic thriller Charade, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Now it's a sorry mess called The Truth About Charlie. From Grant and Hepburn in Charade to Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton in Charlie, the charisma drop is steeper than that of Martha Stewart's stock price. Director Jonathan Demme's jittery melange is shot in punishing close-ups by a Ritalin-deprived camera circling the actors like a Formula One driver racing around the Place de la Concorde. Donen got it gloriously right the first time. Why do it again? And why do it like this? --By Richard Corliss
The French continued to make movies during Germany's World War II occupation, and as long as they didn't criticize the Nazis, they did so with surprising freedom. Bertrand Tavernier's Safe Conduct is an epic (almost three hours long) reconstruction of that era comic, suspenseful, romantic. It's a richly populated movie, focusing most intently on a clever assistant director (Jacques Gamblin) who is desperately balancing the demands of career, family and Resistance activities. The film's great set piece is his sober-hilarious overnight flight to Britain on underground business, which must be completed in time for him to be on-set the next morning. It's lovely and winning words that aptly apply to the entire film. --R.S.