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STAR TREK 4 stars (PG-13) In the 23rd century, young James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the Enterprise crew come together to stop a time-traveling Romulan (Eric Bana). Director J.J. Abrams takes an approach similar to his treatment of Mission: Impossible III, offering a Trek that's bigger, louder, younger and above all, faster than any previous model of the Enterprise. If conspicuously low on the humanism that originated with Gene Roddenberry and informed the rest of the films, the new, odd-numbered Star Trek provides superb escapist entertainment and will enlist the next generation of fans. — Holman
STATE OF PLAY 4 stars (R) Following the mysterious death of a young researcher for a U.S. congressman (Ben Affleck), reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) uncovers a conspiracy that throws his personal relationships and professional ethics into conflict. Director Kevin McDonald (The Last King of Scotland) respectably boils down the terrific six-hour BBC miniseries into a simplified but still gripping newsroom thriller. The U.S. State of Play pays tribute to the ailing newspaper industry and features a lively turn from Helen Mirren as the newspaper editrix and an effective (if slightly condescending) mentor-pupil relationship between Cal and a spunky blogger (Rachel McAdams). — Holman
SUGAR 3 stars (R) "Sugar" (Algenis Perez Soto), a rookie pitcher from the Dominican Republic, struggles with the pressures of minor league baseball and the culture shock of Middle American life. Writers/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck take eager turns at bat following their 2006 indie-hit Half Nelson and offer the kind of tale that reveals the difficulties of professional sports and pursuing the American dream. The film emphasizes the language barrier so much, it's almost less about baseball than how much it sucks to be in America without knowing English. The film scores without being quite a grand slam. — Holman
SUNSHINE CLEANING 3 stars (R) Sunshine Cleaning explores the hygienic challenges of crime scenes but, surprisingly, shows conspicuous amounts of restraint. The film's story involves two mismatched sisters who seek their fortune in the unlikely venture of crime scene clean-up, and it's all too easy to imagine Hollywood's take on the material. It debuted at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and hews a little close to the funny-sad formula of indie dramedies like Garden State and Little Miss Sunshine. Still, there are worse formulas it could follow as it shows the messiness of violent death as well as everyday life. — Holman
TOKYO! Three filmmakers (Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon-Ho) team up for this frenetic vision of overpopulated urbanity in Tokyo.
12 4 stars (NR) Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov adapts the classic jury deliberation drama 12 Angry Men with spellbinding results. The skeleton of the story remains the same – a sole hold-out (Sergei Makovetsky) stands against the rest of the jury but gradually sways the others that the defendant is not guilty. The case now involves a Chechen youth accused of stabbing his adopted Russian father, casting harsh light on Russia’s treatment of Chechnya as well as the nature of civic responsibility in a country that traded Communism for corrupt capitalism. The colorful character actors all play their theatrical roles to the hilt. — Holman
TWO LOVERS 2 stars (R) Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre recent behavior upstages his performance in director James Gray's romantic triangle about a depressed would-be photographer (Phoenix) who vacillates between his attraction to an unstable, alluring neighbor (Gwyneth Paltrow) and the nice Jewish girl (Vinessa Shaw) hand-picked by his parents. Phoenix's Brando-esque method acting suggest that family ties and bipolar disorder have blunted his role's true passions, but he also falls prey to a habit of overplaying his characters as innocent or "slow." The actresses make stronger, more relaxed impressions, including Paltrow’s self-destructive beauty and Isabella Rosellini's loving, unpretentious mother. — Holman
TYSON 4 stars (R) Director James Toback coaxes remarkably candid interviews from disgraced former boxer Mike Tyson, who offers a veritable monologue about his life, intercut with still-impressive fight footage and vintage interviews. Tyson accepts responsibility for some of his bad behavior (his failed marriage to Robin Givens) while finding excuses for other misdeeds (the ear-biting of Evander Holyfield). Tyson forces the audience to ponder whether a man should be judged by his worst actions or his best ones. — Holman
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE 2 stars (PG-13) The X-Men franchise fills in the backstory of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), born with claws and super-fast healing powers, but the metal skeleton and amnesia came later. Director Gavin Hood trades the social metaphors of the previous films for high-testosterone, low-intellect paramilitary action scenes, which include some admittedly neat-o set pieces. Jackman owns the role and Danny Huston and Liev Schreiber (as Wolverine’s similarly powered, psycho brother) make for effective villains, but they can’t compensate for the terrible dialogue, perfunctory plotting and fakey effects. — Holman
In the latest 'Emory Looks at Hollywood' episode, Judith Evans Grubbs, Emory Professor of Roman…
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