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SCARY MOVIE 4 (PG-13) Another round of random spoofing, David Zucker style, of the latest batch of horror flicks — Saw, The Grudge, The Village, and so on — with much hilarity involving bodily functions and obligatory doses of T & A no doubt abounding. Stars Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Criag Bierko, Carmen Electra and Andre Benjamin. (Not Reviewed)

SEE NO EVIL (R) What would summer be without at least one horror flick featuring attractive but terminally stupid teenagers having sex and then being slashed to bits? This one's for you, gore-hounds, and bon appetit. (Not Reviewed)

THE SENTINEL (PG-13) Kiefer Sutherland seems to be doing a variation of his 24 schtick here, racing around with fellow secret service agent Michael Douglas while the life of the President of the United States is in danger. The bankable cast also features Eva Longoria and, in a major assault to credulity, Kim Basinger as the First Lady. (Not Reviewed)

SILENT HILL (R) Yes, it's yet another scary movie based on a video game. But before you start rolling your eyes as visions of Resident Evil flood your weary brain, consider that the director here is Christophe Gans, whose Brotherhood of the Wolf infused a breath of originality and elegance into the horror genre a few years back. As for a plot, Silent Hill takes place in a town where the inhabitants are battling all sorts of freaky, evil thingies — a set-up that sounds a whole lot like, you guessed it, Resident Evil. Stars Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden and Deborah Unger. (Not Reviewed)

TAKE THE LEAD (PG-13) It's To Sir With Love meets Mad Hot Ballroom, hip-hop style, when a professional ballroom dancer (Antonio Banderas) lands a gig in a New York City high school and finds his old-school methods challenged by modern attitudes. Despite sounding like a fusion of way too many movies floating around in the pop culture ether, Take the Lead insists that it's actually based on a true story. Also stars Alfre Woodard, Ray Liotta, Rob Brown and Dante Basco. (Not Reviewed)

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (R) A sensation at Sundance and at the Toronto Film Festival, Thank You For Smoking doesn't quite live up to the buzz but it's good, nasty fun nonetheless. Aaron Eckhart (The Company of Men) has his moment in the sun as the perfectly named Nick Naylor, a sliver-tongued shill for the tobacco industry who never met a piece of spin he didn't like. Morallly flexible to the max, Nick has made his deal with the devil, but he's also smart and curiously likeable — as is the movie — and both of them eventually have us eating out of their hands. First-time writer-director Jason Reitman (son of perennial Hollywood fixture Ivan) positions Nick at the center of a deliciously non-PC satire of modern-day life and a culture grounded in the notion that everything is for sale. The film fans out in too many directions as it unfolds, and by the end there are at least two or three irons too many in the fire — a kidnapping scheme, a scheming potential love interest (Katie Holmes) and Nick's impressionable son (Cameron Bright) all vie for screen time — but, Thank You For Smoking still gets its job done in style. So far, this is the funniest and smartest American comedy of the year. Also stars Robert Duvall, Adam Brody, Maria Bello and David Koechner. 4 stars

UNITED 93 (R) An unabashedly tough but brilliant film, United 93 is less about suspense and more about provoking something not unlike the debilitating, all-pervasive queasiness that an act of terror strives to instill in us. An account of the one plane hijacked on September 11 that failed to hit its target, United 93 shows us from its opening moments that the worst is in store; from then on, it's all about waiting for the other shoe to drop. Much of the first hour unfolds as a collection of small, seemingly inconsequential details that simply bring us into the reality of what we're observing. By the time the movie skillfully segues from everyday banalities into the chaos of September 11, cutting between events in the air and on the ground, the tension is excruciating. We see things as they actually appeared at the time, imperfectly, piecemeal, through the eyes of various air controllers and military personal struggling to make sense of the situation, with director Paul Greengrass orchestrating the confusion like a mysterious, terrible symphony. Greengrass strives for maximum authenticity here, casting mostly unknowns and capturing details on the fly with agile, highly attentive cameras more concerned with energy and emotion than with painterly compositions or a strict allegiance to focus. The film's final fifty minutes — from roughly the time the hijackers of United 93 start randomly slitting throats to the flight's fiery end — play out in real time, with a level of intensity that's not for the faint-hearted. It's miles from Bowie telling us we can all be heroes, but if every disaster film is ultimately a film about triumph — and the bigger the catastrophe the bigger the glory — then this one is off the scale. Stars David Alan Bashe, Richard Bekins, Ben Sliney, Trish Gates, Denny Dillon, Khalid Abdalla and Susan Blommaert. 4.5 stars

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