If I were a woman, I would be deeply offended by a movie like White Oleander, which posits that female strength is necessarily tied to violence, control freakery, and frigid sexuality, and furthers the insulting notion that being an artist means being an inscrutable, pretentious hypocrite. Since I am not a woman, however, I will say that Oleander is a waste of talent (Michelle Pfeiffer and Renée Zellweger may not be great actresses, but they're better than this movie lets them be) as well as time. When the main character (a teenage girl whose artist mother goes to jail for murdering her boyfriend) is adopted by white-trash Christians, the film comes momentarily alive, but is marred by stereotypes that can't outstretch the cast's valiant efforts to transcend them. SEAN NELSON

Fuck Everlasting is more like it! Disney has gotten its hands on the award-winning young person's book by Natalie Babbitt with gorgeous but creepy results. Set in 1915, the story concerns Winnie, a tightly corseted girl quivering on the cusp of maturity (played by luscious crumpet Alexis Bledel). When her parents threaten to send her to a "School for Young Ladies," she tears off into the forest and right into the arms of Jesse Tuck (Jonathan Jackson), a strapping young lad slurping straight from the Fountain of Youth. In fact, his whole family done drunk from it, more than 80 years before! The Everly Hillbillies (played by Sissy Spacek and William Hurt) gently kidnap Winnie in order to keep her from spilling their secret and also presumably to give her and Jesse plenty of time to frolic through fields of daisies in slow motion. Meanwhile, an oily fellow dressed in yellow (played by Ben Kingsley--having a ball, as usual) lurks in the forest. A wonderful cast, lovely cinematography, and an almost Zenlike pace cannot overcome the fact that this story is about a 104-year-old guy who's doing it with a teenager! He is approximately six times her age! Yuck! TAMARA PARIS