'The DaVinci Code'
(Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, et al / NR / 87 mins / Sony Pictures)
Overview: In Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Hanks) is summoned to the Louvre — a museum employee has been murdered. Near his body is a strange cipher. To solve the riddle, Langdon joins with the victim's daughter, French cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Tautou), and learns of a centuries-old conspiracy surrounding the Priory of Sion, a secret society dating back to the days of Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli and Leonardo Da Vinci. The brainy duo must race through Paris, London and elsewhere to solve the puzzle and the ancient conspiracy before the answer is lost forever.
Verdict: One of the few screen versions of a book that may take longer to watch than to read, 'The Da Vinci Code' is unfortunately overstuffed and overlong, and yet intrigingly brainy and irresistible! Definitely playing better on the page than the screen - buy the book and find out for yourself - one of the ongoing best parts was Paul Bettany as the albino monk who constantly jumps out of the shadows to stab people! Then he goes home and flogs himself, which is even more hilarious. True that it's not quite as bad as watching your grandmother put together a puzzle of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for two and half hours, but it does have some similar butt-numbing elements!