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Film Clips

Capsule reviews for recently released movies


Page 5 of 5

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS in 3-D 4 stars (1993) (PG) The skeletal lord of Halloween gets a serious case of Christmas spirit and decides to replace Santa Claus, with chaotic results, in this stop-motion animated musical produced by Tim Burton. With more big laughs and fewer downbeat Danny Elfman songs, it could be a genuine classic, but as is, it offers such visual delights that nearly every frame qualifies as a work of art. This "special edition" re-release enhances the animation to play up the new 3-D effects. ­-- Holman

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN 4 stars (R) The Coen brothers make a rousing return to form in this Texas crime drama that strips away their trademark irony for brilliant, suspenseful set pieces. Josh Brolin's Vietnam vet, Tommy Lee Jones' aging sheriff and Javier Bardem's ruthless hitman engage in a three-way chase on either side of the Rio Grande. Don't let the anticlimactic ending sour you on the superb filmmaking. ­-- Holman

O JERUSALEM 4 stars (R) Meandering wildly through the events surrounding Israel's controversial creation, this unfocused and poorly handled portrayal of two improbable friends in the midst of war, the Jewish Bobby (JJ Feild) and Muslim Said (Said Taghmaoui), plays out like a forced series of history lessons. Unfortunately, education on Israel's seemingly endless history of violence comes at the expense of a film experience that itself feels endless.-- Allison C. Keene

THE PERFECT HOLIDAY 1 star (PG) An aspiring songwriter (Morris Chestnut), uses his job as a department store Santa Claus to court a divorcee (Gabrielle Union). Despite the charms of Chestnut and Union, The Perfect Holiday, written and directed by Lance Rivera, bestows the gift of contrived plotting, flavorless jokes and holiday whimsy forced down your throat. To call it a lump of coal in your stocking insults the heat-generating usefulness of real lumps of coal. ­-- Holman

P2 (R) The last one out of the office on Christmas Eve, Angela is waylaid by a seemingly friendly security guard in the parking garage. Things turn ugly and Angela must find a way to escape from level P2 in the garage. Directed by Franck Khalfoun.

ROMANCE & CIGARETTES 1 star (R) As an actor, John Turturro is the stuff (Barton Fink, Jungle Fever). As a director, not so much. This unnecessarily coarse film is Turturro's clunky, regressive effort at a blue-collar opera, and has its actors lip-synching their emotions to pop tunes. Susan Sarandon is a Queens wife who can't forgive her husband's (James Gandolfini) philandering with a redheaded woman (Kate Winslet) in this misguided musical featuring some sadly squandered talent such as Steve Buscemi, Eddie Izzard and Amy Sedaris. -- Feaster

RUSH HOUR 3 1 star (PG-13) After an attempted assassination of the Chinese ambassador, the LAPD'S Chris Tucker and Chinese cop Jackie Chan bicker all the way to Paris. Fast-talking Tucker and fast-moving Chan make such a natural comic team that it's a shame three-time director Brett Ratner never built them a vehicle with witty jokes or racial insight. All three films are pretty crummy, interrupting the loud comedy and louder action with some still decent stunt work from Chan (now 53 years old), but even the funny outtakes during the closing credits seem calculated. -- Holman

SAW IV (R) In the follow-up to Saw III, Jigsaw and his apprentice Amanda are dead. Detectives must sift through Jigsaw's latest grisly remains to piece together the puzzle. Darren Lynn Bousman directs.

SUPERBAD 4 stars (R) Jonah Hill and Michael Cera make a classic comedy duo as two nebbischy high schoolers trying to buy beer and score with girls before they go off to separate colleges. Although Superbad pays homage to the horny teen comedies of the 1980s, it's far funnier, warmer and better acted than any of them (except possibly Fast Times at Ridgemont High). -- Holman

THIS CHRISTMAS 3 stars (PG-13) Preston A. Whitmore writes and directs this dramedy about the holiday reunion of an extended African-American family, which includes an indebted musician (Idris Elba) and an abused wife (Regina King). The plotting's a bit familiar and the first act relies almost entirely on exposition, but the likable cast -- particularly Elba, King and Delroy Lindo -- help make This Christmas low-key but pleasing holiday fare. -- Holman

TYLER PERRY'S WHY DID I GET MARRIED? (PG-13) Tyler Perry (Diary of a Mad Black Woman) brings his theatrical production to the big screen where he stars alongside Janet Jackson and Jill Scott. The film explores the difficulties of modern relationships through the stories of eight married college friends.


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