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Capsule Reviews of Current Movies

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The Eye (PG-13) Jessica Alba stars as a blind concert violinist who gets an eye transplant. After the operation, she finds she can see into the world of the dead. Spooky.

Over Her Dead Body (PG-13) Eva Longoria, Paul Rudd, and Lake Bell star in a romantic comedy about a psychic who must compete for love with her boyfriend's former girlfriend. Oh, and by the way — she's dead.

Strange Wilderness (R) Steve Zahn and a company of animal lovers want to boost the ratings of their ailing TV show. The solution is obvious, of course. Let's go find Bigfoot!

Hannah Montana (G) A film about the concert tour of Miley Cyrus and friends. Fun.

27 Dresses (PG-13) 27 Dresses is not the kind of movie I'd see of our my own volition. Lots of women, I imagine, reject the notion that human validity for women comes only through heterosexual marriage. And marriage is what 27 Dresses offers us as the ultimate fulfillment of female life. The movie gives us two options of adult womanhood: You can either be a mousy, insecure, wedding-obsessed workaholic or a trampy, irresponsible liar/drunk (who's only that way to cover up how sad she is because she doesn't have a man). —Conseula Francis

Atonement (R) 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. —Scott Renshaw

Charlie Wilson's War (R) Aaron Sorkin, the creator of The West Wing, has never been a man of few words. Here, he's improbably done exactly the opposite. Charlie Wilson's War is beefy real-world politics stripped down to skin and bones. —Scott Renshaw

Cloverfield (PG-13) See a full review at www.charlestoncitypaper.com. | The dialogue sucks and the character development is next to nil. Think about the day-to-day conversations you have with your loved ones or your friends. Penned by Aaron Sorkin it's not. Even worse, our personal dramas are pedestrian; they lack pizzazz. We're lame. We're petty. We're boring. And because Cloverfield focuses on us as we appear in daily lives and not as we appear up on the big screen, the film feels as insubstantial as a text message, or even worse an episode of Laguna Beach. : ( —Chris Haire

First Sunday (PG-13) Despite a pleasant cast and a workable premise involving a plan to rob a church that, it turns out, has already been robbed, this is simply a mess of loose ends and meandering plotlines. Worse, for a comedy, it's conspicuously laugh-free. —Justin Souther

How She Move (PG-13) The story of a teenager forced to join a step-dancing crew to win money she needs to pay her tuition at a private school, How She Move fancies itself a grittier version of Stomp the Yard. And while there are some strong performances from its cast of unknowns and attempts at making likable, sympathetic characters, the film ultimately becomes too steeped in melodrama and lackluster direction to completely work, not to mention how it simply looks and feels like an afterschool special. How She Move can't escape the cliches and inherent silliness of the genre it inhabits. —Justin Souther

Mad Money (PG-13) Despite the combined talents of Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and director Callie Khouri, this lightweight comedy is at best an exercise in painless mediocrity. I sat through it without squirming. I chuckled a couple times. I admired the stylishness of a handful of scenes, no one actually disgraced themselves, and I all but forgot the film in about 24 hours. —Ken Hanke

Meet the Spartans (PG-13) In their deeply-ingrained tradition of something less than mediocrity, filmmakers Jason Freidberg and Aaron Seltzer make their annual locust-like descent on theaters leaving a trail of ruthlessly murdered brain cells in their wake. This time it's with a supposed parody of 300. The approach is as simple as it is simple-minded: throw as many pop-culture references (even if the pop in the culture long ago went flat) at the viewer and make him or her laugh on sheer recognition value. It has nothing to do with satire or parody — just recognition. Tasteless, tactless, and pretty much laugh-free, it's little more than a parade of homosexual panic jokes mixed with a juvenile passion for gags involving bodily fluids. It also looks like it was made for a buck and a quarter on left over sets from the original Star Trek TV series. Absolutely awful. —Ken Hanke

The Orphanage (R) Simon is adopted, and he gets lonely while he waits for his parents to reopen the orphanage and bring in some new kids with special needs. Like a lot of bored, friendless sprogs, Simon invents some imaginary chums — or are they the ghosts of past orphans? Above all The Orphanage proves that it doesn't take a whole load of CGI or a histrionic music score to create an atmosphere of psychological terror. Less is more. —Nick Smith

Rambo (R) This is one of those rare things: an action flick with a moral center. Stallone, as director and actor in the title role, revisits the shell-shocked special forces character of the early 1980s. Only this time, instead of being pushed to his limits by a maverick sheriff, he finds an opportunity to put the past behind him by helping a group of missionaries stop a government-sponsored genocide in Burma. Stallone admirably avoids the pitfalls of action genre cliché and instead opts for real characters who understand the profound consequences of violence, especially when it's so great no amount of idealism (the Christian fervor of the missionaries, for instance) can overcome it. But neither is idealism given the short shrift: At one point Rambo gives voice to the movie's credo: Living for nothing or die for something. It's a choice with no good outcome. —John Stoehr

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (R) When Johnny 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 Sondheim's music. —Scott Renshaw

There Will Be Blood (R) Director Paul Thomas Anderson just makes you forget There Will Be Blood is fiction. It's as effortless as the oddly stilted yet deeply, coldly expressive performance by Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview, a turn-of-the-century oilman who comes into a small California desert town and pumps out its oil. It's a mythology of oil, a fairy tale for the industrial age. —MaryAnn Johanson

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