Daredevil Directed by Mark Steven Johnson (20th Century Fox, in release)
Blinded as a child, Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) is a lawyer by day and a vigilante in red leather by night, his sightless world mitigated by heightened senses and agilitynot that one needs a superhuman olfactory apparatus to catch the reek of this would-be franchise starter. Dubbed "the man without fear," the Daredevil nevertheless has doubts about his avenger's zeal to clean up Hell's Kitchen (controlled by Michael Clarke Duncan's nefarious Kingpin), which means a lot of Rodin-inspired vogueing on the precipices of the vertical city and periodic visits to the confessional. Affleck and impressively amazonian Alias star Jennifer Garner (as the ninjitsu-savvy daughter of a wealthy tycoon) are lankier than Spider-Man's Maguire and Dunst, which is good if you like lanky, but their relationship substitutes cliché for chemistry. Worse, the numerous fight scenes have been filmed in Confuse-o-Rama, a headache-inducing technique that mixes a dozen too many cuts per minute, projectile P.O.V., and intermittent glimpses of the hero's sonar sensorium. It's enough to make one long for immersion in Murdock's nighttime sensory-deprivation tank. Ed Park
Love at Times Square Directed by Dev Anand (Media Partners, at the Loews State)
It takes an abundance of nerve or an impressive miscalculation of vision to situate the guileless, frenzied glitz of a Bollywood musical in gloomy NYC. Both seem to motivate octogenarian Indian auteur Dev Anand's Love at Times Square, which mixes bourgeois moralizing with chaste rom-com shenanigans and song-and-dance numbers that would make the Solid Gold dancers weep with envy. Anand plays a self-described "compassionate Silicon Valley billionaire" whose daughter, Sweety, contends with dual suitors in pseudo-swank Manhattan (or a Calcutta soundstage facsimile thereof). When the pressure mounts, she pops over to Dad's spray-paint-and-pasteboard San Jose mansionwhich appears to be about a day's drive from midtownto belt out a tune or two. Anand manages to work in shamelessly exploitative September 11 footage between numbers, but aside from this sequence, Love couldn't be more giddily benign. Mark Holcomb
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