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BE KIND REWIND (PG-13) A lovable loser (Jack Black) accidentally erases all the videos at the rental store where his best friend (Mos Def) works. The duo decides to recreate any movie that the loyal customers ask for, filming their own versions of classic films. Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) directs.
BEE MOVIE 2 stars (PG) After discovering life outside the hive and meeting a human florist (Renee Zellweger), a young bee (Jerry Seinfeld) sues the human race for the honey industry's exploitative practices. The closer Bee Movie hovers to Seinfeld's appealing brand of observational humor, the bigger laughs it finds, but the script flits in so many different directions, we can't help but remember that story wasn't always the strong suit of Seinfeld's eponymous "show about nothing." -- Holman
BONNEVILLE 2 stars (PG) Not inoffensive, just a little on the corny side, this sistahood-is-powerful road movie follows a trio of middle-aged friends (Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen) driving to California so Arvilla (Lange) can deliver her dead husband's ashes to his daughter. It's about friendship. It's about saying goodbye. It's about appealing to the Chico's and "Oprah" crowd and getting them into the theater with a kinder, gentler Thelma & Louise. -- Feaster
THE BUCKET LIST 3 stars (PG-13) A high-maintenance zillionaire (Jack Nicholson) and a dignified mechanic (Morgan Freeman) become mismatched buddies as roommates on a cancer ward, then decide to live their last months crossing items off "the bucket list" of things to do before death. Despite both actors' penchant for self-parody, here they play off each other like old pros, and director Rob Reiner, improving significantly from flops such as Rumor Has It..., makes the predictable humor and platitudes go down easy. -- Holman
CARAMEL 3 stars (NR) A Beirut beauty shop provides a central meeting place for five diverse, vivacious women in writer/director Nadine Labaki's agreeable chick flick. Like the films of Pedro Almodovar, Caramel's camera gravitates to expressive female faces and warm, richly colored cinematography, and the film's charming, loose structure compensates for its predictability. -- Holman
CHARLIE BARTLETT (R) Anton Yelchin stars as Charlie Bartlett, a rich kid joining the ranks in public school after being kicked out of multiple private schools. Using the advice, and prescription medication, given to him by his own shrink, Charlie becomes the self-appointed school psychiatrist, setting up shop in the boys' bathroom.
CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR 4 stars (R) In the early 1980s, a playboy congressman (Tom Hanks) resolves to fund the Afghan rebels against the Soviet invaders, and finds allies including a former Texas beauty queen (Julia Roberts) and a grumpy CIA operations guy (Philip Seymour Hoffman). If you miss "The West Wing," writer Aaron Sorkin's script will provide you with a bracing cocktail of screwball comedy and policy-wonk detail. The film's American point of view keeps it at arm's length from some of the third-act drama, but its witty, wise perspective on foreign policy shows how good intentions can reap short-term triumphs and subsequent disasters. -- Holman
CITY OF MEN 3 stars (R) See review.
CLOVERFIELD 4 stars (PG-13) A Manhattan yuppie's going-away party gets an inconvenient interruption when a giant monster lays waste to New York City. Once the bad stuff starts going down, no one in the theater takes a breath for an hour, and Cloverfield easily lives up to months of online hype and even offers a fairly touching story of callow Manhattanites who find love and meaning in the teeth of disaster. The single-camera POV gimmick works brilliantly at generating terror and immediacy, but if you're prone to motion sickness, sit in the back row. -- Holman
DEFINITELY, MAYBE 2 stars (PG-13) If you're into men as bland as a mayonnaise sandwich, then this limp rom-com piffle starring the strapping slab of white bread Ryan Reynolds might be supertasty. Essentially a chick flick for dicks, Reynolds is a sweetly bland about-to-be-divorced dad recounting the highs and lows of his romantic life to his adorable 11-year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin). Once this was called a lack of boundaries. Now it's called cute. -- Feaster
DIARY OF THE DEAD 2 stars (R) George Romero's zombie franchise (which began in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead) attempts to make a cutting commentary on video voyeurism when a film student obsessively records his friends' efforts to survive the undead. Cloverfield's scarier use of the camera-as-narrator device beat Diary to the punch, while Romero's leaded speeches and cartoonish characters undermine his serious intentions and the film's fitfully exciting bits. It's the Redacted of horror movies, and that's not a compliment. -- Holman
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