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· PRIDE & PREJUDICE HHH (PG) Director Joe Wright and screenwriter Deborah Moggach have done an exemplary job of making us care all over again about the plight of the Bennet sisters, whose busybody mom (Brenda Blethyn) sets about finding them suitable husbands against the backdrop of 19th century England. The oldest daughter Jane (Rosamund Pike) immediately lands a suitor, but the independent Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) finds herself embroiled in a grudge match with the brooding Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen). Romanticists who fell hard for Colin Firth's Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries may or may not warm to MacFadyen (who's fine in the role), but there's no quibbling over Knightley's intuitive, note-perfect work as Elizabeth. -- Brunson
· PRIME HH (PG-13) Meryl Streep admirably underplays the role of the kvetchy Jewish mom, a therapist who's distraught when she learns that her 23-year-old son (Bryan Greenberg) is dating one of her patients, a 37-year-old divorcee (Uma Thurman). The stakes might seem greater if Greenberg's character were stepping out with a woman played by, say, 70-year-old Judi Dench, but after a shaky start that promises a rehash of Monster-In-Law (please, God, no), the movie eventually finds some rhythm not so much in the expected spats between the lovers but in the genuine bond between the conflicted therapist and the damaged flower placed in her care. Ultimately, Streep and Thurman do more for the movie than the movie does for them. -- Brunson
· THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE OHIO (PG-13) Julianne Moore confirms that she's cornered the market on roles as oppressed 1950s housewives in her latest film, in which she makes ends meet by writing award-winning jingles. It's written and directed by Jane Anderson, scripter of The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
· SAW 2 (R) "Parts is parts" in this sequel to last year's hit low-budget dismemberment thriller, as the sadistic "Jigsaw Killer" traps his latest victims in a booby-trapped shelter.
· SHOPGIRL HH (R) With two shallow characters and a blandly gloomy story line, this adaptation of Steve Martin's novella feels like Pretty Woman putting on airs: a wistful, therapy-culture fairy tale for the New Yorker crowd. Martin, who is 60, plays a wealthy man who sweeps a pretty Saks Fifth Avenue clerk (Claire Danes, age 26) off her feet -- a lingering mystery considering Martin's performance as a corpse-like, unctuous moneybags. The only pleasure comes from Jason Schwartzman as a clueless slacker who vies with Mr. Big for the shopgirl's affection. -- Feaster
· THE SQUID AND THE WHALE HHH (R) It's a hard fact of life whether crowed by Tammy Wynette or Park Slope eggheads: breaking up is hard to do. Filmmaker Noah Baumbach offers a semi-autobiographical remembrance of divorce's toll on the kids. The year is 1986, two bookish Brooklyn intellectuals (Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels), based on Baumbach's film critic mother and novelist father, split, shuttling their two sons (Owen Kline and Jesse Eisenberg) between their homes and unleashing some major anguish and anxieties. Often darkly funny in charting the effects of D-I-V-O-R-C-E for the over-analytical set not supposed to experience such mundane traumas, the film is too emotionally distant and too inconclusive to offer more than that age-old assertion that divorce sucks. -- Feaster
· TWO FOR THE MONEY HH (R) Al Pacino's back in full manic mode in this malnourished morality tale not dissimilar in structure to other Pacino vehicles in which he serves as a shady mentor to a hot young actor (The Devil's Advocate, The Recruit, etc.). Here, he plays Walter Abrams, the head of a sports consulting firm who finds his protégé in Brandon Lang (Matthew McConaughey), a naïve guy with a near-psychic ability to accurately handicap gridiron match-ups. Brandon's picks make both men rich, but personality conflicts threaten to derail both their careers. The film's entertainment value can be found in its incoherence -- this movie is so ludicrous on so many fundamental levels that it almost crosses into camp territory. -- Brunson
· WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT HHH (G) Inane inventor Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his silent, sensible dog, Gromit, take on an oversized rabbit-monster before their town's beloved vegetable competition. Compared to Chicken Run and the claymation duo's short films, Were-Rabbit's script feels thin and puns feel forced, but the film's brilliant set-pieces wittily lampoon horror-film clichés. -- Holman
· THE WEATHER MAN HHH (R) Divorced, depressed TV weatherman David Spritz clings to career advancement as the key to improving his relationship with his ailing father (Michael Caine) and unhappy children. Despite outbursts of humor -- including a funny running joke involving Spritz being pelted with junk food -- the film maintains a surprisingly quiet tone as it examines the weather man's life of unquiet desperation. The film may not be as profound as director Gore Verbinski believes it to be, but you appreciate its effort to criticize hollow American values. -- Holman
In the latest 'Emory Looks at Hollywood' episode, Judith Evans Grubbs, Emory Professor of Roman…
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