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FINAL DESTINATION 3 (R) All gore and no heart, this third stab at a movie that didn't even deserve a sequel is just painful to watch. Exposition is skipped under the assumption that the viewer has seen the previous Final Destination films, thus allowing a calculable, yet ridiculously brutal bloodfest to ensue without delay. Characters are one-dimensional, dialogue is inane and high school clichés abound. 1.5 stars Erin Rashbaum

FIREWALL (PG-13) "Machine-like precision" is usually something filmmakers aspire to, but the by-the-numbers thriller Firewall is so lacking in excitement or imagination that it feels mechanical in the worst possible sense. The movie often seems to have been written and performed exclusively by barely-functioning robots. Harrison Ford stars as a bank security expert forced to hack into his own computer system by bad guys who have taken his family hostage. A toothless and generic fusion of home invasion movie and high-tech heist flick, Firewall is mainly notable for its numerous plot holes and bizarre leaps in logic that will have audience members scratching their heads or tittering. There's a paltry pay-off to the slog in the last 30 minutes, at which point Ford gets to haul his grizzled carcass across the screen for a few scenes in an unconvincing attempt to make like an action hero. Also stars Virginia Madsen, Paul Bettany, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Robert Patrick. 2 stars

FREEDOMLAND (R) There are at least two or three interesting stories that bump up against each other like strangers in the night and never quite gel in the overstuffed and undercooked drama Freedomland. Each of these stories contains moments worth watching, but none of the individual tales is strong enough to carry the entire movie. On one hand, you have the racial tensions complicating the investigation of the reported abduction of a white child in a black neighborhood in New Jersey. On the other hand, you have a character study of the missing child's mother, a flakey ex-junkie played with blotchy white-trash gusto by Julianne Moore. And then there's the story of the investigating detective (Samuel L. Jackson), a well-intentioned black cop who's trying to play both sides of the racial divide, and who has one or two secrets of his own. Things take an even more unsatisfying turn at the midpoint, when Freedomland drops the ball on its racial angle and turns its attentions to the back stories of a group of concerned women also searching for the missing child. Price and director Joe Roth eventually attempt to fuse all of their disparate elements into a rambling lament for abused and neglected children everywhere, but by this point the movie is already 20 minutes too long, and none of it is particularly convincing. Also stars Edie Falco and Ron Eldard. 2.5 stars

GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK (PG-13) Ostensibly, actor-turned-director George Clooney's remarkable new film is a more-or-less true account of that pivotal moment in American politics when CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow dared speak out against Joseph McCarthy, the Commie-hunting U.S. Senator who turned paranoia into a national pastime. David Strathairn is an effective presence as Murrow, a 1950s proto-liberal media star (Murrow might just be the Anti-O'Reilly) who spoke his mind and crusaded tirelessly for the truth, brow furrowed earnestly and a burning cigarette permanently wedged between his fingers. Clooney chose to shoot in black and white, a wise decision that lets us know that Good Night and Good Luck is art, too, while blending seamlessly with the extensive archival footage of McCarthy incorporated into the film. Also stars Robert Downey Jr, George Clooney, Ray Wise, Patricia Clarkson and Frank Langella. 4 stars

HOODWINKED (PG) A clever but overly convoluted kiddie flick that re-envisions the Red Riding Hood story as a Rashomon-like conundrum of competing and overlapping narratives. Featuring the voices of Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, Jim Belushi and Andy Dick. 3 stars

THE MATADOR (R) Director Richard Shepard's new movie is nothing if not image conscious, with Pierce Brosnan chewing the scenery as an eccentric professional assassin who takes the piss out of his famous 007 persona at every opportunity, and Greg Kinnear. who seems to have found his niche in the movies playing straight men, doing just that in grandly bland style. A half-humorous, half-serious study in contrasts, The Matador features Brosnan as a seedy, burnt-out hitman who meets up with a thoroughly average businessman (Kinnear) and can't resist rocking his world by telling him what he does for a living. What ensues is an inconsequential but mostly appealing odd-couple buddy movie bolstered by likable performances from Brosnan and Kinnear. The movie strains a bit mixing its black humor with some thoroughly sudsy dramatics, but it all looks very nice, with vibrant pop-py colors and lively editing, and some fine chemistry between its leads (which, in movies like this, is at least half the battle). Also stars Hope Davis. 3.5 stars

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