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LETTERS FROM IWO JIMAThe island of Iwo Jima stands between the American military force and the home islands of Japan. Therefore the Imperial Japanese Army is desperate to prevent it from falling into American hands and providing a launching point for an invasion of Japan. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi is given command of the forces on the island and sets out to prepare for the imminent attack. General Kuribayashi, however, does not favor the rigid traditional approach recommended by his subordinates, and resentment and resistance fester among his staff. In the lower echelons, a young soldier, Saigo, a poor baker in civilian life, strives with his friends to survive the harsh regime of the Japanese army itself, all the while knowing that a fierce battle looms. When the American invasion begins, both Kuribayashi and Saigo find strength, honor, courage, and horrors beyond imagination. Clint Eastwood’s Oscar winner.BREACHThe true story of the U.S. government’s investigation into FBI operative Robert Hanssen’s work as a double agent is viewed through the eyes of a young agent (Ryan Phillippe) who is asked to gain the trust of Hanssen (Chris Cooper). With Laura Linney, Dennis Haysbert, Caroline Dhavernas, Gary Cole and Kathleen Quinlan. Screenplay by Adam Mazer and William Rotko. Story by Mazer, Rotko and Billy Ray. Directed by Ray. PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service
PREMONITIONSandra Bullock plays a woman with a seemingly perfect life until she gets a vision from the future that says her husband (Julian McMahon) will die in a car wreck. With Nia Long, Kate Nelligan, Amber Valletta and Peter Stormare. Written by Bill Kelly. Directed by Mennan Yapo. PG-13 for some violent content, disturbing images, thematic material and brief language.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceMUSIC &LYRICSA weird little hybrid of a romantic comedy that’s simultaneously too fluffy and not whimsical enough. Writer-director Marc Lawrence is definitely aiming for a retro ’40s feel, with his bustling New York setting and witty characters who repeatedly burst into song. But he’s infused the movie with a forced contemporary flavoring, including a Britney Spears-style pop diva and references to performers like Shakira and Justin Timberlake, and he gets too bogged down with industry types and their business meetings. The songs are catchy, though – especially “Way Back Into Love,” the tune Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore’s characters craft together, which will be stuck in your head like a psychotic episode for days if not weeks to come. And it’s nice to see Grant aging gracefully. Yes, he’s only 46, but he’s learned to wear his years well. As washed-up ’80s singer Alex Fletcher – formerly part of a band called PoP that’s clearly and hilariously modeled after Wham! – Grant is self-deprecating but he’s also not afraid to look pathetic, lonely and a little sad. It actually makes him more attractive. PG-13 for some sexual content. 95 min. Two and a half stars out of four.- Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic
WILD HOGSBiker buddies Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy are not all that wild, and more importantly, not all that funny. The road romp from director Walt Becker is like his “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” on Maalox, the humor and hijinks tame and tranquil as though it were a middle-aged epilogue to that raunchy campus comedy. The filmmakers simply fashion an excuse to send their weekend motorcyclists onto a cross-country road trip, then string together uninspired encounters with some fellow travelers and a hardcore biker gang headed by Ray Liotta, whose enthusiastic bad-boy performance is wasted in a woefully underwritten role. Marisa Tomei, Jill Hennessy and Tichina Arnold barely register as wives or lovers of our heroes. Most of the jokes and gags are boring or outright annoying, but the movie does have a surprise guest appearance that will amuse biker-film fans. PG-13 for crude and sexual content and some violence. 99 min. Two stars out of four.- David Germain, AP Movie Writer300This ultraviolent action extravaganza is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, but did it have to be so cartoonish? Director and co-writer Zack Snyder (the “Dawn of the Dead” remake) painstakingly recreated the comic-book panels by placing actors in front of virtual backgrounds, similar to the technique used in the superior film version of Miller’s “Sin City” in 2005. Clearly he’s not aiming to reflect reality on any level. But Snyder’s depiction of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, in which 300 Spartans fought off a much larger Persian army, is so over-the-top it’s laughable – so self-serious, it’s hard to take seriously. The effects are extremely cool at first; Snyder has very much created his own unique world – dark, dramatic and visually gripping, with increasingly imaginative foes along the way. But the gimmick wears off quickly and ultimately becomes overbearing. Gerard Butler, who’s buffed up significantly since starring in the film version of “The Phantom of the Opera,” comes off as a poor-man’s Mel Gibson in “Braveheart.” As King Leonidas, he leads his meager but muscular troops into battle with repeated roars of “This is where we fight! This is where we die!” and such, ad nauseam. Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro and Dominic West co-star. R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity. 117 min. Two stars out of four.- Christy Lemire, AP Movie CriticREIGN OVER MEAdam Sandler and Don Cheadle play former college roommates who run into each other by chance and rekindle their friendship, providing aid through trying moments in both men’s lives. With Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows and Donald Sutherland. Written and directed by Mike Binder. R for language and some sexual references.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceTMNTAfter an absence from the big screen for nearly 14 years, the pizza-loving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles make a return, not to live action, but to computer animation, once again fighting their archrival, the Shredder. Written and directed by Kevin Munroe. PG.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceTHE NUMBER 23Jim Carrey stars as a man who becomes obsessed with a book that leads him to believe the number 23 plays an eerie significance in his life. It’s a Stephen King-like scenario and if handled with a little nuance might have made for a nice, scary ride. Instead, the filmmakers get it all wrong from the get-go. Everyone seems to be approaching the material from a different direction with unintentional humor seeping in from all angles. The story is maddeningly convoluted, and for the little narrative logic that eventually emerges, it might as well have been improvised. Every twist and turn — none of which really add up in the end — appear to exist strictly for the sake of plot with no thought given to character motivation. Carrey has never looked so uncomfortable on-screen. (1:35) R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service
WILD HOGSTHE ASTRONAUT FARMERTHE LAST MIMZYMimzy is the name of a beat-up stuffed rabbit two children find in a mysterious box of toy-like objects. As they play with the toys, they begin to get smarter, but bizarre things start to happen. With Timothy Hutton, Joely Richardson and Rainn Wilson. Based on the short story by Lewis Padgett. Directed by Bob Shaye. PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and language.SHOOTER”Shooter” is an action-thriller starring Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger, ex-Army marksman fighting for justice, and his life. The film also stars Danny Glover and Michael Pena, and was directed by “Training Day”‘s Antoine Fuqua.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service
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