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Capsule Reviews of Current Movies

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Atonement (R) Keira Knightley stars in the adaptation of Ian McEwan's best-selling novel. See a full review online here.

The Bucket List (PG-13) Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are terminally ill men loving life as long as they can. See a full review here.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (PG-13) Jason Statham is a family man whose wife is captured by an evil sorcerer (Ray Liotta). John Rhys-Davies and Burt Reynolds also star.

First Sunday (PG-13) Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, and Katt Williams star in a comedy about church robbers coming face to face with the Almighty.

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (G) The kids' faves from the popular TV show about talking produce embark on another movie about pirates with motivational issues.

27 Dresses (PG-13) Katherine Heigl plays a bridesmaid but never a bride — 27 times. Oh, if she could only find that legendary, elusive creature called Mr. Right.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (R) According to friends of mine, I'm supposed to think this sequel to the cheesy Alien Vs. Predator is better because it goes for the R rating. What this actually results in is cheese with more blood — and the obnoxious delusion that it's better than its parent film. If anything, it's worse. What was simply silly junk is now mean-spirited and ineptly made. It has a simple premise — Aliens are loose in a small Colorado town with a Predator in hot pursuit, but it's padded-out with a dreadful soap-opera plot. Worse, the whole mess is shot in such low light that it's largely impossible to tell what's going on. —Ken Hanke

Atonement (R) See a full review here | The story opens in 1935 at the English country estate of the Tallis family. Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and the housekeeper's son Robbie (James McAvoy) feel attraction after being acquainted for years. Meanwhile, Cecilia's 13-year-old sister, budding writer Briony (Saoirse Ronan), is about to become preoccupied with both intercepting a letter from Robbie to Cecilia and catching them in a compromising position she's not quite old enough to understand. Joe Wright's adaptation of Atonement works — and doesn't work. As a piece of film craft, it's undeniably impressive, the kind of movie that gathers Oscar nominations by the score. At times, though, it presents itself as though auditioning for its own Cliff's Notes: an ambitious, thoughtful, thoroughly literary story that practically dares you not to recognize that it is Art. —Scott Renshaw

Juno (PG-13) It's a familiar tale: Juno MacGuff, high schooler (Ellen Page), finds herself preggers after some sexual experimentation with her best friend, Paulie Bleeker (sweet-faced Michael Cera). Her dad and stepmom are stunned for only a brief moment, then immediately supportive. Right from the get-go, and on through the whole film, there's a refreshingly nonpanicky approach to the whole situation: Yes, having a baby, especially at a young age, can dramatically impact the rest of a young woman's life, and yes, it's nothing to be taken too lightly, but on the other hand, it's not the end of the world. Just ask Jamie Lynn Spears. —MaryAnn Johanson

Margot at the Wedding (R) Margot (Nicole Kidman) ain't happy. Or perhaps she's only happy, and then only briefly, when she's spreading her misery around, like a particularly virulent contagion. Margot's carelessness is Kidman's genius here. The actress makes no attempt to ingratiate herself with us, which ends up making Margot thoroughly unlikeable but totally fascinating. —MaryAnn Johanson

No Country for Old Men (R) Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) is Evil itself. Bardem performs with such casual mastery that it feels as though he has originated the concept of a sociopathic killer. In a film full of exceptional performances, his stands out not because his role is flashy, but because he makes it precisely the opposite of flashy. He is the bad thing that happens indiscriminately to the sinner or to the saint, its own logic oblivious to constructed human morality. —Scott Renshaw

One Missed Call (PG-13) Nevermind the missed call, worry about the 87 minutes that sitting through this low-rent horror movie will rip out of your life. Here's the pitch. You receive a voice mail from a day or two or three in the future, and said voice mail is — get ready — the sound of your own death. (Cue the ominous music.) The result is a day or two or three of increasing hallucinatory experiences (mostly "scary faces" and a preponderence of centipedes) leading to your death at the exact time of that futuristic message. Go rent The Ring instead. —Ken Hanke

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (R) It's impossible to feel very strongly one way or the other about this one. It's not great. It's not terrible. It's just sort of there. I never felt like I was wasting my time, but it's doubtful I will remember much about it a year from now. Granted, the presence of Helen Mirren classes things up a bit, but it's kind of a wash. Nicolas Cage is after a treasure that will clear his name. At bottom it's a mildly pleasant diversion that has the bonus of being a family-friendly PG-rated affair like its predecessor — and there's something to be said for that. —Ken Hanke

P.S. I Love You (PG-13) Holly (Hilary Swank) and Gerry Kennedy (Gerard Butler) are a movie-style cute couple in the throes of movie-style young love, living in glamorously art-directed "poverty" on the Lower East Side of New York. They're the ideal couple, except that Gerry expires during the opening credits. This is the sort of thing known for its ability to put a damper on your romance, but not in this case, since Gerry has cleverly mapped out the next year of his grieving widow's life to help her get over him. It's not very romantic and it's not very funny, but the whole premise of "letters from beyond the grave" is a little creepy. So for that matter is Ms. Swank's performance, since she has zero flair for this sort of thing. —Ken Hanke

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (R) Dicrector Tim Burton cast two leads who can barely carry a tune in a bag. When Depp opens his mouth to sing, he gives away his amateur status. Meanwhile, Helena Bonham Carter plays Mrs. Lovett, the proprietor of a meat-pie shop housed below Sweeney's old apartments and anyone who can sit through her trilling of "The Worst Pies in London" without wincing simply doesn't grasp the insinuating splendor of Stephen Sondheim's music. —Scott Renshaw

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (R) Walk Hard tears into the clichés of the biopic genre with hilarious, near-relentless ferocity. It takes us back to the 1940s Alabama childhood of young Dewey Cox, when the accidental death of his brother earns him the enmity of his father (Raymond J. Barry) and gives him the drive to make something of himself. But even as the grown-up Dewey (John C. Reilly) begins to find success as a singer and songwriter, he finds it hard to escape his traumatic past. From the first minute to the final payoff, Walk Hard mercilessly skewers the conventions of the biopic. —Scott Renshaw

Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (PG) Alex Etel stars in this beguiling fantasy about a lonely Scottish boy in World War II who finds a mysterious egg that hatches to reveal a baby Loch Ness Monster. Surprisingly complex in terms of characterization and with considerable emotional resonance, it's one of those rare movies that will appeal to kids without causing the adults in the audience to keep looking at their watches. The early scenes with the creature are a little too precious and slapsticky, but once rapidly growing beast is transported to the loch, the film finds its footing and never loses it. —Ken Hanke

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