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THE HITCHER


The latest '80s horror film to be remade casts Sean Bean as the hitchhiker of the title. Bean makes a great heavy and he wears a trench coat well. Sophia Bush, as one half of the hapless couple who picks him up, gets a chance to flaunt the evil-fighting skills that are making her the top actress in consideration for the next Wonder Woman. (MD) Rated R





LAST KING OF SCOTLAND


Big Forest Whitaker steals this fictional film with his portrayal of the monstrous real-life Ugandan dictator General Idi Amin. But James McAvoy (the faun in Chronicles of Narnia) holds his own as a na & iuml;ve young Scottish doctor who settles in the African country to help villagers and then becomes, against his will, Amin's personal physician. The ending is flawed, but just about everything leading up to it is spellbinding. (ES) Rated R





LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA


In this companion to Flags of Our Fathers, director Clint Eastwood presents the same battle (for Iwo Jima, obviously) as Flags, but from the other side. Rather than a tale of victory and homecoming, then, Letters From Iwo Jima is about soldiers who, after fighting bravely with few supplies and little support, must confront the prospect of never seeing their families again. (LB) Rated R





THE PAINTED VEIL


Based on W. Somerset Maugham's novel of broken marriage against the backdrop of a cholera epidemic. Ed Norton and Naomi Watts play the blustery couple who go to China looking to heal some Chinese people, but who might just end up, you know, healing themselves. (LB) Rated PG-13





VOLVER


Pedro Almodovar humanizes society's margins, presenting people as they are and letting the humanity come as it will. His new film's about a mother, killed in a tragic house fire, whose ghost decides to go live with her daughter's family, which is a bit of a mess. Volver means "to return," referring to the mother, but also her family, which slowly returns to the night of her death to get closure. Also: Penelope Cruz is hot. (LB) Rated R

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