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I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER 2 star (PG-13) During his graduation speech, geeky valedictorian Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust, who's in his late 20s and looks it) professes his true feelings to head cheerleader Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere of Heroes), and they subsequently spend one of those "one crazy nights" typical of high school comedies. The painful slapstick and mean-spirited jokes border on contempt for the characters, and director Chris Columbus lost the flair he showed for the genre with Adventures in Babysitting. The script only glances at the idea that Denis's speech shook up high school clique roles. You can find more teen insight in the "Stick to the Status Quo" song from High School Musical. — Holman
ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS (PG) In the third, 3-D entry in the Ice Age franchise, the wisecracking prehistoric mammals discover a subterranean realm populated by dinosaurs. Simon Pegg joins the vocal team of Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, et. al.
IMAGINE THAT (PG) Eddie Murphy eschews latex makeup for this family comedy in which he plays a workaholic finance executive who discovers that his daughters' imaginary friends may be able to advance his career. It sounds kind of like Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories, with fewer special effects.
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS 3 stars (R) In Quentin Tarantino's World War II revenge fantasy, the Basterds are a band of Jewish-American G.I.s, led by Brad Pitt's drawling lieutenant, who murder Nazis behind the lines in occupied France. Inglourious Basterds spends surprisingly little time on the title characters, or even caper-style action scenes of WWII mission movies, and opts for long, talky confrontations involving French, German and British agents. Christoph Waltz's misleadingly polite Nazi lives up to the hype as the villain of the year, but the film's restless approach to its multiple storylines makes it feel less, rather than more, meaningful. — Holman
IT MIGHT GET LOUD 3 stars (PG-13) Having tackled global warming with his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, director Davis Guggenheim turns to global loudening in this portrait of electric guitarists from three generations: Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, U2’s The Edge and the White Stripes’ Jack White. The trio’s “summit” – part rap session, part jam session – includes a terrific cover of a hit from the Band but doesn’t seem to be quite the revelation Guggenheim hoped for. The threesome provides insightful perspectives on rock music, with the younger guitarists seeming ambivalent about the styles of the elders. Plus, their shop talk can be fascinating. — Holman
JULIE & JULIA 3 stars (PG-13) A woman verging on 30 and frustrated in a temp secretary job takes on a yearlong culinary quest: to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She chronicles her trials and tribulations in a blog that catches on with the food crowd.
MY ONE AND ONLY (PG-13) The beautiful Ann Devereaux (Renée Zellweger) leaves her adulterous husband Dan (Kevin Bacon) behind and hits the road. She drags her two teenage sons George (Logan Lerman) and Robbie (Mark Rendall) along for the ride and together they discover a new meaning of family.
MY SISTER’S KEEPER (PG) A young girl (Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin), brought into the world as a genetic match for her ailing older sister, sues her parents for medical emancipation. Cameron Diaz plays the no-doubt conflicted mom and Alec Baldwin plays as the younger sister’s lawyer. It’s hard to imagine any summer movie being a bigger, more overt tear-jerker than this one.
ORPHAN (R) Talented indie actors Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard play a couple who adopt a 9-year-old Wednesday Addams lookalike (Isabelle Fuhrman) who turns out to be a bad seed.
PONYO 4 stars (G) A magical fish-girl (voiced by Noah Cyrus) bonds with a 5-year-old human boy (Frankie Jonas) and throws the natural order out of whack. Compared to his finely detailed animated masterpieces like Spirited Away, director Hayao Miyazaki gives Ponyo a more childlike, pastel-colored style that feels a little more like Hello Kitty. Once you get used to the look, Ponyo offers a loose but wildly creative riff on The Little Mermaid with some of the most rhapsodic set pieces of the year. The voice cast includes Tina Fey, Liam Neeson and Cate Blanchett. — Holman
THE PROPOSAL (PG-13) Sandra Bullock plays a Canadian-born New York book editor who pretends to be engaged to her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to avoid deportation. It sounds like Green Card gives way to Meet the Parents when they fly to Alaska to meet his family.
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