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· V FOR VENDETTA 4 stars. (R) Like 1984's George Orwell taking a stab at a Batman tale, this futuristic thriller depicts a caped crusader called "V" (Hugo Weaving beneath a grinning mask) who targets a totalitarian police state in a near-future England. Although the creators of the Matrix movies adapt the cult comic book series with fast-paced panache, the film's radical politics -- which, among other things, seem to glamorize terrorism -- feel naive in a post-9/11 landscape. Natalie Portman lends a human touch and moral center as a meek young woman gradually radicalized by V's example. -- Holman
· WHEN DO WE EAT? (R) A Passover Seder takes an unusual turn with the patriarch (Michael Lerner) unwittingly takes a hit of Ecstasy. This dysfunctional family holiday comedy features Lesley Ann Warren and Jack Klugman.
· THE WILD 1 star. (G) Comparisons to Dreamworks' similar (and superior) Madagascar prove unnecessary to point out the myriad shortcomings of The Wild, which manages to be abysmal on its own terms. Apart fromm the impressively lifelike CGI animation, everything about this toxic toon is intolerable, especially the sidekicks who accompany Samson the lion (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) as he leaves the comforts of the New York zoo to search for his wayward son in a faraway jungle. Nigel the koala (Eddie Izzard) rates a special mention, emerging as the most loathsome animated character since Martin Short's insufferable robot in Treasure Planet. -- Brunson