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BLOOD WORK (R) For a good while, Blood Work looks like Clint Eastwood's best picture in years, with the star-director-producer playing a former FBI agent who, after getting a heart transplant, seeks to solve the murder of the person whose ticker he received. Watching an undying screen icon like Eastwood acknowledge his own mortality adds a resonance to this picture, but heading into the final turn, the movie turns preposterous, culminating in a routine climax that goes on forever.--MB
BLUE CRUSH PG-13. Director John Stockwell (crazy/beautiful) weaves what could have been lightweight teen fodder into gold yet again in this tremendously entertaining film about three surfer girlfriends whose ostensible goal is to have Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) win the Pipe Masters surf competition. But the film manages to squeeze in enough of a message about the class divide on Oahu, female friendship and heroism to make this a tale of girl adventurism and independence for the ages.--FF
THE BOURNE IDENTITY (PG-13) Go director Doug Liman's spy thriller starts well, with amnesiac Matt Damon discovering that he's got spy skills and hitmen on his trail. But the film forgets the best plot twists of Robert Ludlum's original novel and falls into a repetitious cycle: Chris Cooper's nasty CIA man yells at underlings, Damon hesitantly romances love interest Franka Potente, and action scenes unfold in a workmanlike manner.--CH
CITY BY THE SEA (PG-13) Coincidences and emotional baggage are piled on to predictably numbing effect in director Michael Caton-Jones' workmanlike tale of crime, urban decay and familial dysfunction. Robert De Niro stars as a Manhattan cop who moved away from the now-deteriorating community of Long Beach when his marriage went bad. Many years later, De Niro's character is emotionally distant to his current girlfriend (Frances McDormand) while investigating a murder in which the primary suspect is his estranged, junkie son (James Franco) .--Lance Goldenberg
THE COUNTRY BEARS (G) Disney turns its Country Bear Jamboree ride into a live-action oddity, in which a talking bear cub (voiced by Haley Joel Osment), raised by humans, rediscovers his ursine roots upon meeting the title musicians, here depicted as a roots-rock band a la Lynyrd Skynyrd. Don Henley and John Hiatt provide singing voices, while Elton John and Willie Nelson appear as themselves.
FEAR.COM (R) Stephen Dorff plays a detective investigating a web site linked to several deaths. The cast includes such quirky character actors as Udo Kier and Jeffrey Combs.
FULL FRONTAL (R) Steven Soderbergh opts for self-referential style over storytelling substance in his look of a handful of navel-gazing Los Angelenos. Or is the director lampooning narcissistic films like Time Code -- and himself? With the sincere scenes invariably undercut by inside jokes, it's hard to tell what the Oscar-winning directorr is playing at. It helps that laughs are plentiful and supporting players like David Hyde Pierce and Catherine Keener do nice work, but Full Frontal seems at least half empty.--CH
THE GOOD GIRL (R) For their follow-up to Chuck and Buck, director Miguel Arteta and writer/actor Mike White offer an underwritten, white-trash version of Madame Bovary. Jennifer Aniston plays a small-town department store employee torn between fidelity to her pothead husband (John C. Reilly) and passion with a brooding younger man (Jake Gyllenhaal). Instead of finding pathos in its roles' ignorance, the film merely condescends to them, and Aniston never conveys the anguish and desperation as the character of the sarcastic title.--CH
IMAX Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West (NR) Jeff Bridges narrates this sweeping documentary that traces the famed explorers' 8,000-mile trek across America. Sept. 16-March 14. Australia: Land Beyond Time (NR) Check out the kangaroos, koalas and other denizens of Down Under in this travelogue of the world's biggest island. Through Sept. 15. Cirque du Soleil (NR) See dizzying acrobatics in the IMAX film of the renowned French circus. Fridays Through Sept. 15. Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa (NR) Everest director David Breashears' latest IMAX documentary follows an expedition through five distinct climate zones to the top of Africa's highest point. Through Sept. 20. Fernbank Museum of Natural History IMAX Theater, 767 Clifton Road.
K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER (PG-13) If there's anything to add the venerable sub-genre of sub flicks, hack director Kathryn Bigelow and writers Christopher Kyle and Louis Nowra don't come close to finding it, preferring to trot out a creaky vessel stitched together from past underwater adventures. Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson employ now-you-hear-them-now-you-don't accents as the two top dogs on a Soviet submarine sent out to sea under perilous conditions during the height of the Cold War. A half-hearted Mutiny On the Bounty knock-off ensues.--MB
A new film group centered around the Golden Age of Comedy is being organized in…