THE A-TEAM 3 stars (PG-13) Four U.S. Army Rangers -- Hannibal (Liam Neeson), Faceman (Bradley Cooper), Baracus (Quinton Rampage Jackson) and Murdock (District 9's Sharlto Copley)who specialize in outlandish operations clear their names after being set up for murder and the theft of plates to make counterfeit $100 bills. Narc director Joe Carnahan frequently favors a fast pace and macho swagger instead of narrative coherence, but gives the film enough high-spirited invention to make The A-Team far more entertaining than the average Michael Bay ear-splitter. Holman
CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY 3 stars(R ) Documentary director Alex Gibney exposes the brazen scandals of super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose misdeeds sunk Republican (and a few Democratic) lawmakers. Casino Jack intriguingly lays out the details of Abramoff's sleazy deals on behalf of Pacific Rim sweatshops and Native American casinos and proves comparable to Gibney's previous financial muckraker, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. The previous film offered more vivid portraits of its rogues gallery, and Casino Jack never quite probes the paradox of devoutly religious political figures worshipping at the golden idol of money. -- Holman
HOLY ROLLERS A Rabbi in training turns drug dealer in this compelling Sundance Film that is based on a true story. Sam Gold becomes the poster boy for Hasidic Jews who in the late nineties were recruited as mules to smuggle ecstasy from Europe into the United States. As Sam battles with the life that's been handed to him, his life changes when he finds ecstasy-literally. His double life unfolds causing a series of unfortunate events for his family and, of course, himself.
THE KARATE KID 4 stars In a remake that is even better than its 1984 predecessor, Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan reprise characters similar to he originals. When Dre Parker (Smith) moves from Detroit to China, he is victim to culture shock, constant bulling, and a complicated romance. To compensate for these complications in his pre-teen lifestyle, the apartment's maintenance man (Chan) takes him under his wing, teaching him how to fight back-responsibly.
KINGS OF THE EVENING 2 stars (PG) A group of African-Americans at a small-town Southern rooming house struggle to maintain their dignity and make ends meet during the Great Depression. This drowsy historical drama touches on the intriguingly odd trend of Kings of the Evening fashion shows, in which penniless men compete to see who can look the most swank Such actors as Lynn Whitfield, Glynn Turman and Linara Washington work hard to enliven the mawkish material, but the film's dreary pace makes glaciers seem as fleet as high-speed rail. -- Holman
PLEASE GIVE 4 stars(R ) Audiences deserve more films like Nicole Holofcener's smart comedy Please Give. New Yorkers Kate (Catherine Keener) and her husband Alex (Oliver Platt), who manage a vintage furniture store, have purchased the apartment next door and plan to expand into it, if only the nasty 91-year-old (Ann Guilbert) who lives there would die already. Holofcener captures New York without turning Please Give into a pushy sales pitch about the Big Apple. With snappy, insightful writing and impeccable acting, Please Give leaves you feeling wiser going out than you did coming in. - Holman
AMERICAN PSYCHO 4 stars (R ) The Plaza Theatre and SCAD Atlanta present this wicked adaptation of (and improvement on) Bret Easton Ellis's notorious novel, which features a career-making performance by Christian Bale as a yuppie from hell whose taste in music is nearly as horrific as his murderous outbursts. June 16, 9:30 p.m. SCAD Atlanta, Events Space, fourth floor, Building C,1600 Peachtree St., Atlanta, Ga. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.
BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR (R ) A must-see for fans of terrible movies like The Room, this thriller about a budding love affair ruined by killer birds is cultivating an enthusiastic cult following. June 15, 18 and 20, 9:30 p.m. $8. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.
REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA (R ) A Rocky Horror Show-style live "shadow cast" accompanies the screening of this bizarre sci-fi rock opera about black market organ transplants in a dystopian future. Featuring Anthony Stewart Head and Paris Hilton. June 12, 10 p.m. $8. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.
ContinuingGET HIM TO THE GREEK 3 stars (R ) A Junior music industry executive (Jonah Hill) has three days to deliver uncontrollable, substance-abusing rockstar Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) from London to a comeback gig in Los Angeles, without overdosing on the sex, drugs and rock & roll lifestyle along the way. Spinning off characters from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him To the Greek builds an amusing comedy team around a lanky, pampered celebrity and his shlubby, harried minder. Despite usually being a sidekick who makes Seth Rogen look sexy by comparison, Hill comfortably carries the film, which marks a funny and welcome comeback not just for Aldous Snow, but for Judd Apatow's productions after last year's Funny People.
KILLERS (PG-13) Katherine Heigl plays a young woman who discovers that her new husband (Ashton Kutcher) might actually be a hit man. The screwball trailer makes it look like a B-list version of the Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz vehicle Knight and Day , due later this month.
MARMADUKE After doing it in newspapers, the comic strip Great Dane takes the big screen in this live-action film in which the oversized canine talks (with the voice of Owen Wilson) and tries to fit in with the dogs of Los Angeles. Sounds kind of like Beverly Hills Chihuahua only, you know, really big.
MOTHER AND CHILD A child is a blessing. Well, unless you're fourteen and logically decide to give the fruit of your womb to someone else since you're too immature to handle a kid. As you spend years regretting your past and the child goes through identity issues more screwed up than the average hormonal teen, there's still comfort in knowing you helped create a special bond. Mother and Child explores the intricacies of many aspects of the mother-daughter bond depicted by the lives of three very different women (Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington, Annette Bening).
NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS (NR) If Prince of Persia failed to satisfy your interest in Iranian culture, check out Bahman Ghobad's film about two young rock musicians in Teheran seeking bandmates and a travel visa to play a London gig.
SPLICE 3 stars (R ) A pair of brilliant biochemists (Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody) tamper in God's domain by creating a new life form that combines human and animal DNA, grows rapidly to adulthood and prove more intelligent and dangerous than they can imagine. Following in the footsteps of David Cronenberg's The Fly, Splice features strong performances, provocative ideas, flashes of humor and disturbing make-up effects. The filmmaker carries the film's reproductive themes to some unfortunate places, but Splice still offers the rare, character-driven horror movie that leaves you with things to discuss after the scares have passed. -- Holman
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