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Opening Films 

by Inlander Staff & r & & r & 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

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

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

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

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