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A MIGHTY WIND (PG-13) Three soulful Sixties folk acts gather for a reunion concert in New York City, with the attendant tensions and personal traumas in Christopher Guest's (Best in Show) latest mockumentary. The film is a study in very low-key comedy that offers a pitch-perfect rendition of folky social protest anthems, behavioral tics and dress codes, but which may be a little too under-the-cultural-radar for a large audience. --FF
PHONE BOOTH (R) Following a co-starring role in The Recruit and a supporting turn in Daredevil, for his third film of 2003 Colin Farrell finds himself top-billed in this efficient drama about a New York publicist who gets pinned in a phone booth by a sniper (Kiefer Sutherland). With a crisp running time of 80 minutes, this taut psychological thriller (directed for maximum impact by Joel Schumacher) knows exactly when to clear the line. --MB
THE PIANIST (R) Though less stylish and darkly humorous than typical Roman Polanski fare, this true story of Polish pianist and Holocaust survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman (the Oscar-winning Adrien Brody) will be fascinating stuff for Polanski fans who will find copious allusions to the director's life and films in this somber and enlightening story. --FF
POKEMON HEROES (G) The children's game / toy / card / television / merchandising phenom still hasn't given up the ghost, as demonstrated by the fifth and latest big-screen spin-off adventure.
THE SHAPE OF THINGS (R) Neil LaBute is back in his misanthropic In the Company of Men groove, this time with a gender twist. Attitudinal art school babe Rachel Weisz who takes up with frumpy Paul Rudd and makes him over into her ideal, first with weight loss and new wardrobe, then with more disturbing alternations. LaBute makes poor Rudd into such a spazzy victim and Weisz into such a castrating viper, it's hard to see LaBute's larger point beyond stacking the deck against this vile woman and offering a strange evisceration of conceptual art, stranger still coming from an artist who has also made shock and outrage central features of his work. --FF
SPELLBOUND (G) Director Jeffrey Blitz and his team followed eight students as they crammed for competition in the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. What results is a curiously engaging and tension-filled peak into a rarely documented subculture. With a cast of oddball characters reminiscent of Best in Show or A Mighty Wind, the documentary manages to transform what should be a snooze-inducing subject matter into a fascinating fable of the American Dream. --TB
SWEET SIXTEEN (R) Director Ken Loach takes a scruffy, heavily-improvised foray into the grim life of working-class Scottish teenagers, with Martin Compston playing a young man who tries to find a better life while waiting for his mother to be released from prison for dealing drugs. At Lefont Plaza Theatre.
WHAT A GIRL WANTS (PG) Colin Firth gets a Hugh Grant-style role as an Englishman who meets the teenage American daughter (Amanda Bynes) he never knew he had. The title comes from a Christina Aguilera song.
WRONG TURN (R) Eliza Dushku -- known to "Buffy" fans as Faith the Vampire Slayer -- stars in this thriller about six teens beset by cannibals in the West Virginia woods.
X2: X-MEN UNITED (PG-13) The sequel marks a step forward in the evolution of a satisfying superhero franchise by being more x-pensive, x-pansive and x-citing than the first. It's a half hour longer than X-Men, and that half hour has saggy pace and false climax problems, but the film's rival super-powered "mutants" each, in effect, provide their own money shot, especially Hugh Jackman's blade-fisted Wolverine and Alan Cumming's teleporting Nightcrawler. --CH
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