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by Inlander Staff & r & & r & 16 Blocks -- Bruce Willis is a worn-out city cop, Mos Def is the chatty special witness he must escort to a court house and David Morse heads up a group of dirty cops who don't want him to get there. All three are excellent in their parts. Richard Donner's film is gritty and tense, with taut action sequences, but Richard Wenk's script offers a terrific character study of the three men at its center. (ES) Rated PG-13





Ask the Dust -- Revered screenwriter Robert Towne revisits Chinatown territory with this tale, set in 1930s Los Angeles, of a romance featuring Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek. She's a Mexican waitress who dreams of marrying a wealthy American; he's a poor Italian writer who dreams of marrying a beautiful blonde. Naturally, they exchange torrid looks that speak the international language of love. Ethnic prejudice is overcome. Rated R





ATL -- Four teenagers from the wrong side of Atlanta follow their bliss straight toward the ultimate distinction of ... achievement in hip-hop and roller-skating. Lots of switchblades, fast cars and fron' teef wif inset bling alternate with close-up dolly shots of hot women with their backfields in motion. Characters seriously intone advice about following your heart, because that's the only way to avoid any regrets. We can think of one other way. Rated PG-13





Basic Instinct 2 -- What's a girl gonna do when she needs to manipulate the cop who's investigating her for murder? If she's Sharon Stone, she's gonna straddle every chair back and undo every blouse button. David Morrissey plays the Brit detective with his mind on grabbing Stone's black leather lapels and clutching her close, so close, to his paddy wagon. We're pretty sure the speeding car bursting through the plate glass of repression and exploding in a fireball ... that's a metaphor for something really, really hot. Rated R





Eight Below -- So there's, like, this storm, right? Wicked one. In Antarctica or something. And there's this research team. They get out alive, but they're forced to leave their beloved (and intelligent) dog team behind to fend for themselves. Anthropomorphizing ensues. Rated PG





Failure to Launch -- Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) is handsome, wealthy and too lazy to move out of his parents' house. So his folks hire a "consultant" (Sarah Jessica Parker) to lure him away with a promise of romance. There are plot holes galore, along with by-the-numbers storytelling. But the film manages to remain an enjoyable, if fluffy, romp. (ES) Rated PG-13





Forces of Nature -- Showcasing the awesome spectacle of earthquakes, volcanoes, and severe storms as we follow scientists on their quests to understand how these natural disasters are triggered. Narrated by Kevin Bacon! Unrated





Greece: Secrets of the Past -- Continuing their long tradition of making learning fun, the folks at IMAX bring us Greece, wherein you get to "see how the island of Santorini was formed and how the island's volcanic eruption, one of the biggest explosions in Earth's history, occurred. Follow a team of archeologists piecing together the puzzles of ancient history and learn how the field of archeology has progressed. Travel to Athens and see how computer graphic imaging can restore the Parthenon to its original glory. Trace some of our modern society's customs -- democracy, medicine, athletics and theatre back to their roots in the Golden Age of Greece." Unrated





The Hills Have Eyes -- They do, we saw them. Deformed irradiated eyes at that. This is the crap-my-car-broke-down story of a group traveling through New Mexico who get stranded in nuclear test central. Deformed citizens quickly descend with, we're led to believe, grisly intentions. Fallout ensues. Rated R





Ice Age: The Meltdown -- The mammoth, the saber-tooth and the sloth gain sidekicks and a kind of pro-unconventional family, anti-global warming message this time around, but it doesn't work. Aside from being crude, this sequel lacks a genuine antagonist or any real character development. As the movie's marketing campaign tacitly admits, the best part about Meltdown is that silly squirrel Scrat. Rated PG





Inside Man -- Spike Lee regains much of the ground he lost over his last few films. This is a terrific heist movie, with plenty of angles we haven't seen before. Clive Owen has planned the perfect bank job (or something), Denzel Washington is the cool and calm detective trying to stop things before they go too far, and Jodie Foster is the mysterious and powerful woman who can miraculously make the impossible happen ... with discretion. (ES) Rated R





Larry the Cable Buy: Health Inspector -- The year's first redneck star vehicle, the blue-collar comedy tour's Larry the Cable Guy plays way outside his usual acting range, pretending he cares about cleanliness. It'll be "git 'er done," for two hours. Less, if we're lucky. Rated PG-13





The Shaggy Dog -- In the latest in a series of films that didn't need to be remade, Tim Allen plays the namesake shaggy dog. Or rather, a dude who, through strange and unforeseeable circumstances, becomes a dog. What? No, no, this isn't The Animal, that was Rob Schneider. This looks less funny, if that's possible. Rated PG





She's the Man -- Finally, the Amanda Bynes star vehicle all us WB devotees have been waiting for! That girl is so funny. She cross-dresses here, for some reason (OMG other than hilarity!) that's not immediately clear to us, taking her brother's place at a prestigious prep school. Sweet, teeny-bopper gender politics flick ensues. Rated PG-13





Slither -- Few films have successfully married high comedy and full-out horror -- Evil Dead 2 and Eight Legged Freaks come to mind. This one does it perfectly, and with a vengeance. When an icky thing from space lands on Earth, Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) pokes it with a stick. Big mistake! And soon the small-town sheriff (Nathan Fillion) is up to his ears with red, squirmy things that ... change them. Lots of gore, shock and laughs. (ES) Rated R





Stay Alive -- Looks like Malcolm's in the middle of more than he can handle. Yes, Frankie Muniz has gone from crappy 'tween action movies to crappy teen horror flicks. (Horizontal move, if you ask us.) The premise, near as we can tell, is that if you die in this ultra-underground video game, you -- wait for it -- die in real life. Rated PG-13





V for Vendetta -- In a fascist London a couple of decades from now, a masked man named V rekindles the spirit of long ago would-be Parliament bomber Guy Fawkes. He wants the people to destroy the vile government, and grooms young Evey (Natalie Portman) to help with the task. Based on the series of comic books, this is slick, stylized, thrilling and visceral filmmaking. It's violent and thoughtful and fun. (ES) Rated PG-13





The World's Fastest Indian -- Aptly titled, but not for the reason you might think, Anthony Hopkins plays a New Zealander who built, then tweaked, an Indian-brand motorcycle -- turning it, he hoped, into the fastest thing that'd ever set wheels on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. Land speed records ensue. Rated PG-13

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