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STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS 1 star (PG) Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker (voiced by Matt Lanter) and his new apprentice Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Dane) must rescue Jabba the Hutt's kidnapped son, which could tip the scales in an intergalactic war. Set between the events of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, this computer-animated lead-in to an upcoming Cartoon Network series revives all of the most irritating aspects of the Star Wars prequels, including horrible dialogue, infantile characterization and bad jokes, without any of the modest virtues, such as intensity and sci-fi skullduggery. If you thought Jar-Jar Binks was annoying, wait'll you meet Jabba's sissy Uncle Ziro. -- Holman
STEP BROTHERS 2 stars (R) Two immature fortyish men (Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly) become despised roommates after the wedding of their single parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins). Ferrell and Reilly seem to have had more fun making the movie than the audience has watching it, and though Ferrell's and Reilly's sibling rivalry generates some belly laughs, the familiar premise and thin story make the film perfectly forgettable. On the plus side, it's the least unfunny of this summer's big, star-driven comedies. -- Holman
SWING VOTE (PG-13) Due to a ballot error in the presidential election, the fate of the free world hangs on the vote of one man -- apathetic single father Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner).
TELL NO ONE (NR) Pediatrician Alexandre Beck (François Cluzet) finds out his wife, murdered eight years earlier, might still be alive and is instructed to "tell no one" in this adaptation of Harlan Coben's international best seller.
TRAITOR (PG-13) Guy Pierce stars as an FBI agent investigating an international conspiracy, when he finds that all the clues seem to lead back to a former U.S. Special Ops officer named Samir Horn (Don Cheadle).
TRANSSIBERIAN 3 stars (R) A middle-American couple (Emily Mortimer and Woody Harrelson) hope to rekindle their marriage on an "adventurous" trip across Asia on the Transsiberian Railway, but when they meet a mysterious younger pair (Eduardo Noriega and Kate Mara), they find more excitement than they bargained for. Director Brad Anderson proves to be a close student of Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, cultivating a skin-crawling sensation of paranoia amid the former Soviet locations. It's the perfect film for audiences who find the Hostel films too lowbrow, and The Darjeeling Limited too twee. -- Holman
TROPIC THUNDER 2 stars (R) A Hollywood cast and crew (including Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Brandon T. Jackson and Jay Baruchel) on location for a Vietnam War movie gets plopped into real danger thanks to some studio shenanigans. Stiller's script, co-written with Justin Theroux and Idiocracy screenwriter Etan Cohen, delivers spot-on jokes about Hollywood and war-movie clichés, and with comedic talents such as Downey, Black and surprising scene-stealer Baruchel, there's enough hammy fun to last a while. But Stiller's grating dullard character wears thin fast, and the drawn-out conclusion robs the comedy of its zip. -- David Lee Simmons
VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA 3 stars (PG-13) During a summer in Spain, two smart American hotties (Scarlett Johansson and the impressive newcomer Rebecca Hall) become romantically involved with a smoldering artist (Oscar-winner Javier Bardem) who has an unbalanced ex-wife (the superb Penelope Cruz). Perhaps the warm weather and flamenco music invigorated 72-year-old writer/director Woody Allen, whose creative juices were clearly flowing with this film's lively, stormy love affairs. Allen still overthinks his dialogue and ideas, but this time they don't muffle the sensuality of the film's locale or the characters. -- Holman
WALL-E 4 stars (G) "WALL-E," a lonely, trash-compacting machine that might be the last entity on Earth, pursues his love for a sleek, feminine robot to the titanic starship that contains the human race. Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton crafts a story with the intelligence and heart that's the trademark of Pixar Studios (creators of the Toy Story movies), as well as the stunning images and visionary ideas of the best science fiction. Some audiences may be put off by the film's sharp-edged satire of consumer culture, but WALL-E, like its robotic namesake, should last another 700 years. -- Holman
WANTED 2 stars (R) A miserable young accountant (Atonement's James McAvoy) discovers that his long-lost father belonged to an ancient "Fraternity" of assassins with magic hitman powers. Nightwatch director Timur Bekmambetov overdoses on flash in an effort to outmuscle The Matrix without capturing the other film's ingenious sci-fi rules or its sparks of wit. The film features enough outlandish money shots to make it a hit (Angelina Jolie's sexuality qualifies as its own special effect), but Wanted's insolent attitude caters to just the kind of white-collar douchebags the film pretends to make fun of. -- Holman
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