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by Inlander Staff & r & & r & Accepted & r &


Steve Pink's directorial debut (he was the screenwriter on John Cusack's great black comedy Grosse Point Blank) is a slight but punchy comedy of college-aged misfits that starts out strong before slipping down a greasy narrative slope into a lackluster third act that denies most of the earlier laughs. (CS) Rated PG-13








& r & Beerfest & r &


Perfectly timed for both the onset of the fall semester and the approach of Oktoberfest, Beerfest is a one-note ode to all those things every college guy is supposed to love: beer, girls, pot, beer, bad German accents, filthy language and beer. There's a thin plot in there (old boozing buddies reunite to compete in a drinking competition in Deutschland), but it's little more than the framework for a string of sometimes lame, sometimes hilarious gags. (Watch for the scene involving a naked Jay Chandrasekhar and a dead deer). It's not the Broken Lizard troupe's best work (Super Troopers was), but it's a must for their fans. (JPS) Rated R





& r & THE BLACK DAHLIA & r &


The excellent, based-on-fact James Ellroy novel about the grisly murder of a beautiful wannabe actress (Mia Kirshner) in late-1940s L.A. starts off as a terrific film adaptation, then gets four flat tires as it suddenly grows to overly melodramatic proportions, needlessly adding in plot elements that didn't exist in the book. Good acting from Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart as two cop partners, and from Hillary Swank as a mysterious rich gal. But Scarlett Johansson once again overacts. (ES) Rated R





& r & THE COVENANT & r &


In this man-witches-meet-drug-references high-school-dude flick, awesome supernatural powers are juxtaposed with heroin, but not for any greater moral purpose. It's merely the synergistic intersection of (a) an absolutely necessary devil's bargain (what makes you strong kills you); and (b) the co-opting of drug jargon to make a threadbare conceit (power-mad high schoolers) sexy. Renny Harlin, one of the few remaining practitioners of the cloyingly phallic hard rock montage sets, directs. No wonder it's a decade and a half behind the cinematic times. (LB) Rated PG-13





& r & EVERYONE'S HERO & r &


Everyone's hero is a small but scrappy baseball-loving New York youth (named Yankee) who embarks on a journey to retrieve a stolen bat and thus clear his (working-class, obviously) father's name?! He has a talking baseball for a sidekick?! How delightfully American! Rated G





& r & GREECE: SECRETS OF THE PAST & r &


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 history, occurred. Unrated





& r & GRIDIRON GANG & r &


All right, here's some complicated arithmetic, but see if you can follow along with me. We're going to combine some terms to see where it gets us: The Rock + prison + football + troubled minors (low self-esteem + no one to believe in them) = World Wrestling Entertainment + The Longest Yard + Bad News Bears = best sports flick ever? Hmm, we must've forgot to carry the one or something... so... Worst Sports Movie ever? That looks a little better... Rated PG-13





& r & HOLLYWOODLAND & r &


This is the true, mystery-shrouded story about the death of George Reeves, the actor who played Superman on the 1950s TV series. Was it suicide or murder? That's the question, and it's investigated by a sleazy but smooth private detective (Adrien Brody), who can't seem to connect any of the myriad puzzle pieces. With Diane Lane as a jealous lover, Bob Hoskins as a powerful studio executive and, in possibly his best role to date, Ben Affleck as Reeves. (ES) Rated R








& r & THE ILLUSIONIST & r &


A complex story simply told, it's the tale of a magician pulling rank and class to get the girl. Cleanly crafted, subtly acted and dulcetly shot, it's a film so conspicuously evocative of time and place you forget, for long stretches, it was made in a cinematic world run by overwrought CGI. (LB) Rated PG-13








& r & Invincible & r &


The latest in an endless series of true "inspirational" sports stories that Hollywood likes to pump out with regularity. The Philadelphia Eagles suck so bad they decide to hold open tryouts. Enter 30-year-old Vince, a schoolteacher and bartender who knows how to catch and run and save the day at every local sandlot football game with the guys. It won't surprise anyone that he tries out and survives cut after cut and ... well, there's no point in giving away an ending that everyone will know is coming well before they sit down. Sometimes formula works, but not very often. And Invincible is certainly no Friday Night Lights. (ES) Rated PG





& r & THE LAST KISS & r &


Michael (Zach Braff) and Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) are at the center of this dramedy about the Peter Pan ideals of the modern twentysomething. Since we're supposed to identify with these people, the film's success hinges on screenwriter Paul Haggis' ability to walk between inchoate universality and alienating specificity, a fundamental compromise of storytelling. While the satellite characters are interesting (I'd love to watch a film about Jenna's parents, or Michael's loser buddies), Michael and Jenna are complete ciphers, and the film bogs down in indeterminacy. (LB) Rated R





& r & Little Miss Sunshine & r &


A roadtrip in which six not-so-different family members are forced into a VW bus and made to fight out their differences en route to a state beauty pageant, Little Miss Sunshine is about the contemporary American archetypes that make much of our country such a deeply unhappy place. It's a good film, but an incomplete one. (LB) Rated R








& r & PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST & r &


Cast, director and writers are back for the midsection of the raucous trilogy about Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), William Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). This time, everyone is after Sparrow, including the ghostly Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) who wants to swallow his soul. Depp overdoes it to perfection, and all is set up beautifully for next year's conclusion, which will feature Keith Richards as Depp's dad. (ES) Rated PG-13





& r & THE PROTECTOR & r &


Kham grew up with elephants. When bad people kidnap his elephants and kill his dignified grandfather, Kham wants revenge -- on the bad guys, and apparently on every building in Australia. He plans to get it by using every gol-darn helicopter and speedboat and flying, double-arching, stop-action martial arts gut-punch that he can mete out to these suckers. Biff, crunch, ka-pow ... Muy Thai fighting techniques look like they really hurt. Rated R





& r & TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY & r &


Will Ferrell finally gets a script that's worthy of his comic talents. He plays the title character, a loose cannon on the NASCAR circuit who becomes a star, falls upon hard times, then must attempt a comeback. But he's up against a former partner (John C. Reilly), a smarmy French challenger (Sacha Baron Cohen), and a newly developed fear of speed. Lots of exciting racetrack scenarios and raucous humor. (ES) Rated PG-13





& r & WIRED TO WIN & r &


A kind of meditation on the mental components of physical success, the film uses an upcoming touchstone, the Tour de France, as a way to get people thinking about the way our brains work in conjunction with our bodies. (LB) Unrated

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