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SUZHOU RIVER In present day Shanghai, Mardar falls in love with beautiful Moudan. After being coerced, Mardar attempts to kidnap Moudan to gain money from her wealthy father. Devastated by her love's betrayal, Moudan jumps into the Suzhou River and is lost. Once Mardar is paroled from prison after being convicted of Moudan's murder, he meets MeiMei, an identical look-alike whom he suspects is actually Moudan. Directed and written for the screen by Lou Ye. Through June 12 at GSU's cinéfest.
ALONG CAME A SPIDER (R) Morgan Freeman returns in fine form as world-weary forensic psychologist Alex Cross of Kiss the Girls, likewise recommended as entertainment, not art. When a senator's 12-year-old daughter is kidnapped Alex teams with Secret Service agent Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter), who was assigned to protect the girl, to find kidnapper Michael Wincott -- and the girl -- before it's too late. After an action-packed opening the film slows down until the final hour, which is packed with twists, some more surprising than others. What matters is the plot holds together while you're watching it, even if it falls apart in retrospect. -- SW
AMORES PERROS 1/2 (R) A trio of stories set in a dystopian Mexico City revolve around a life- altering car crash in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's gripping first feature more indebted to the indie free-styling of Tarantino than the art film legacy of Bunuel. --FF
ANGEL EYES (R) Overexposed media diva Jennifer Lopez delivers an OK performance as Chicago police officer Sharon Pogue, who's saved from certain death by a soft-spoken stranger (Jim Caviezel) who's mysteriously drawn to her. The pair fall in love, but his secretive nature puts a strain on their relationship. There's actually a couple of elements to admire in Gerald DiPego's ambitious screenplay -- most notably a sobering subplot about the cycle of domestic violence that exists in Sharon's family - but the central romance is so predictable (you can figure it out from the first scene) that, coupled with the stagnant direction by Luis Mandoki (Message In a Bottle), the film never comes close to making us reach for those tissues. -- MATT BRUNSON
THE ANIMAL (PG-13) When a police cadet (Rob Schneider) nearly dies in a car accident while driving through remote mountains, a strange beast rescues him, performing surgery on him in a barn using animal parts as transplants. When he returns to civilization, he discovers that the influences of the animals within himself are causing him to behave oddly.
BLOW (R) Ted Demme's film version of the real-life rise of pot-to-cocaine drug importer George Jung (Johnny Depp) is all surface flash and Scorsese-cribbed effects. A diverting entertainment featuring some so-bad-it's-good fashion moments, the film is wafer-thin in the originality department, with Demme favoring visual effects over middling details like character development and motivation.--FF
BREAD AND ROSES 1/2 (R) A major disappointment from the respected, talented British political filmmaker Ken Loach, this reality-based story of an invisible workforce of Latino immigrants who struggle to form a janitors' union is pedantic, simplistic and insulting to Loach's usual audience's intelligence.--FF
BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY 1/2 (R) Renee Zellweger manages a convincing British accent and remains defiantly appealing as the loveable loser "singleton" Miss Jones despite this bland, conventional, American-targeted re-working of Helen Fielding's witty, rude best-selling diaries to the screen. -- FF
CROCODILE DUNDEE IN LOS ANGELES (PG) 1/2 Paul Hogan makes a shameless, witless attempt to revive a worn-out franchise with a thin, underdeveloped premise stringing together tired jokes and stretched beyond the breaking point by an unsuspenseful climax that goes on for nearly a third of the movie. With decent material Hogan (who has aged better than his wife, Linda Kozlowski, who plays his still-unmarried partner) might have been able to pull off another culture-clash comedy, but this one's as pathetic as Lethal Agent 3, the bad movie it makes fun of. -- SW
DRIVEN 1/2 More like Drivel. With rare exception, the mini-genre of race car flicks has always been a disreputable one. But if there's anyone who could make a racing movie that at least qualifies as a guilty pleasure, it would be director Renny Harlin, since even his trashy films are presented with a certain degree of style and chutzpah. But Harlin hits the wall with Driven, which is so banal and preposterous that not even his constantly roving camera can disguise the bankruptcy of the project. Sylvester Stallone, who wrote the original story handles the tried & true "veteran" role: He's cast as Joe Tanto, a former racing star who's coaxed out of retirement by crotchety car owner Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds) to provide guidance to Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue), a rookie sensation who's in a dead-heat battle for the season championship with ice-cold defending champ Beau Brandenburg (Til Schweiger). The story itself is packed with too many needless characters, fetid dialogue and ludicrous developments. --MB
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