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SHAFT (R) In the best of the pre-solstice "summer movies" John Singleton reinvents '70s "blaxploitation" films for the new millennium. Samuel L. Jackson is perfectly cast as the coolest motherfucker on the planet and supporting players -- especially scene-stealer Jeffrey Wright, Toni Collette and Christian Bale -- get a chance to shine. Richard Roundtree's on hand to pass the torch to his nephew (Jackson), who quits the NYPD to enforce the law his way. The script has wit and intelligence, even as the action sequences get progressively wilder and more absurd, and racial humor we can all laugh at together. -- SW

SUNSHINE (R) A dramatic saga written and directed by Istvan Szabo, Sunshine chronicles three successive generations of Sonnenscheins, a Jewish family from Budapest, Hungary. Ralph Fiennes portrays grandfather, father and son, narrating the family's history beginning with Franz Josef's Austro-Hungarian monarchy, continuing under the reign of Hitler's Third Reich and carrying through the rise and fall of Stalin's paranoiac, communist regime. When grandfather Ignatz Sonnenschein decides to change his obviously Jewish surname to the more socially acceptable Sors, he bequeaths to his heirs a legacy of cultural betrayal and assimilation. -- KL

FF is Felicia Feaster, CH is Curt Holman, RJ is Richard Joseph, Kate Lueker is KL, EM is Eddy Von Mueller, SW is Steve Warren.

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