**1/2 stars (out of four)
by Fritz Esker
Director Roman Polanski's latest film, Carnage (adapted from the stage play God of Carnage), is a partially successful film that runs out of gas in its final act. The movie takes place almost entirely in the apartment of an affluent couple (Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly) whose young son was injured in a playground fight. They're hosting the parents of the other child (Christoph Waltz and Kate Winlset) in an effort to settle the dispute. What starts off as two couples trying to be polite under strained circumstances gradually deteriorates into out-and-out viciousness, first one couple against the other, then the husbands and wives turning on each other as cracks in their marriages are exposed. For roughly the first hour of the film (it only runs 1 hour, 20 minutes), there are darkly comedic moments as the tensions start bubbling to the surface and all four actors acquit themselves very well. However, the last 20 minutes of the film deteriorates into the four principals shouting at each other and the film struggles to find the right note to end on, resulting in a rather abrupt conclusion. Ultimately, Carnage might have worked better as a short film.
Beauty & the Beast 3-D
by David Vicari
Beginning January 13, Walt Disney's 1991 animated classic Beauty & the Beast returns to movie theaters - in 3-D. I feel weird giving a synopsis of a film everyone knows, but here's the gist: Young, uncaring prince (voice of Robby Benson) is cursed and transformed into a hideous creature. His only hope at redemption comes in the form of the pretty, book smart village girl, Belle (voice of Paige O'Hara). Beauty & the Beast still holds up. Good characterizations combined with the unforgettable songs by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken) make this something special. The 3-D conversion is acceptable, although there are some oddities, like characters faces sometimes looking distorted with eyebrows or noses appearing detached. Yeah, the 3-D isn't really necessary, but it's always such a joy to see Beauty & the Beast on a big screen in a theater.