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Halloween: Resurrection (R) The studio decided not to have any advance screenings of this eighth and latest edition of the Halloween horror franchise, and that's not good news for anyone hoping that this movie is going to be anything other than sheer crap. Stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks.
The Importance of Being Earnest (PG) Oscar Wilde's signature piece was, in its day, the ultimate case of identity both mistaken and assumed, but the play is also the ultimate bauble — and frankly, it hasn't aged particularly well. The Importance of Being Earnest still contains some of the wittiest one-liners around — most of which survive in this latest film version — but the plot machinations just seem sillier and more convoluted with each passing decade. Director Oliver Parker (An Ideal Husband) does his best to goose things up with fantasy interludes and a sprinkling of modern flourishes, but most of it just seems overly coy and obviously transplanted.
Insomnia (R) One of the darker films you'll see this year, Insomnia is also one of the brightest, with the movie taking place in Alaska during that time of year when the sun hovers in the sky for 24 hours a day. Al Pacino stars as a cop who makes some very bad decisions and then becomes so sleep-deprived that he is unable to tell when he's crossed the line from good guy to bad guy. Also stars Hilary Swank, Robin Williams, Maura Tierney and Martin Donovan.
Juwanna Mann (PG-13) Dull-witted, low-brow comedy about a selfish, arrogant pro basketball star who gets suspended for his nasty ways, only to resurface in drag as a player in the women's league. Tootsie it ain't. Also stars Miguel A. Nunez Jr, Vivica A. Fox, Kim Wayans and Kevin Pollak.
K-19: The Widowmaker (R) K-19 boasts a powerhouse teaming of movie stars — Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson — and a director who, while not exactly an A-List name, has made some great little films in her time (Kathryn Bigelow, who helmed Near Dark and Strange Days). Now if only this was anywhere near a good movie, we'd really have something to talk about. The film tells what is basically a true story of the ill-fated voyage of a Russian nuclear submarine in the early 1960s, giving the whole thing the feel of some bleak, epic Dostoevskian tragedy. Into this murky picture come Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson as a pair of commanding officers whose significantly different styles of leadership put them on a collision course. The mood of K-19 is so pointlessly somber (and occasionally sanctimonious) that it's rarely able to muster any sort of real energy, much less suspense. Poor pacing and erratic storytelling rob it of much of its remaining potential for dramatic impact. Also stars Peter Sarsgaard.
Lilo and Stitch (PG) Another hit from the Disney team, although not quite out of the ballpark. Lilo and Stitch is basically a brightened-up, kid-friendly reinvention of the Frankenstein story, in which a manmade monster (or, in this case, alien-created critter) comes to grips with his own, um, uniqueness and, in the process, finds something not unlike a soul. Disney's extraterrestrial Frankenstein is Stitch, a big-eyed, genetically altered experiment who crash lands on earth and hooks up with a lonely little Hawaiian girl named Lilo.
Like Mike (PG) Hip-hop mini-icon Lil' Bow Wow makes his, um, acting debut as a tiny teen who dons a pair of magical sneakers to become a great NBA star. Also stars old-timer Morris Chestnut and Jonathan Lipnicki.
Lovely and Amazing (PG-13) Although it's probably too close to an archetypal chick flick to win over much of a male audience, Lovely and Amazing is a significant improvement over director Nicole Holofcener's debut feature Walking and Talking — a self-indulgent waste of time that really was an archetypal chick flick in every sense. The characters are more fully drawn and interesting this time around, and the snippets of stories are told in a way that, for the most part, keeps us engaged. The mostly female ensemble includes Brenda Bethyn as a mother undergoing a liposuction procedure, Catherine Keener as one emotionally damaged daughter and Emily Mortimer as the other. The movie's humor, like its drama, is low-key but generally workable.
The Master of Disguise (PG) Dana Carvey gets a chance to showcase his considerable skills at mimicry as a multi-morphing sleuth battling a brilliant criminal mastermind. Expect lots of special effects and big, fat, physical comedy. Also stars Brent Spinner and Jennifer Esposito. Opens Aug. 2 at local theaters.