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by Inlander Staff & r & 300


The Greek-versus-Persian battle of Thermopylae comes to bloody, exciting, eye-popping life in the CGI celebration of the Frank Miller graphic novel. Fierce, fearless and noble King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his band of 300 men face off against the uncountable hordes of the bratty King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). No actors ever left the soundstage in Montreal, but movie magic places them in vast expanses under lightning-filled skies in 480 B.C. Greece. Themes of diplomacy versus war arise, but once the swords and spears and axes come out, there's no escaping the lurid, cartoonish violence. (ES) Rated R





THE ITALIAN


In Russia, where apparently all orphans are desperate to be adopted by foreigners, Vanya has a pretty sweet hookup with an amiable, relatively affluent Italian couple tickled by his impish charm and Slavic features. Vanya, though, is desperate to find his mother. The only problem is that no one seems to know who that is, not the state, not the orphanage, not Vanya. That doesn't stop him from running away in pursuit of the specter of a family most kids like Vanya never dare chase. (LB) Rated PG-13





THE ULTIMATE GIFT


Fresh out the splicer at Fox Faith Movies, The Ultimate Gift is the story of a trust-fund kid who expects a windfall inheritance upon his grandfather's death. What he gets instead are a series of trials meant to strip him of his possessions so he can find real riches. You know, riches like helping people and having friends and stuff. Not like gold or anything. (LB) Rated PG

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