Outtakes

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CURIOUS GEORGE (G) Apparently aimed squarely at the very youngest of young viewers, this feature-length family affair won't likely reach out to many beyond hardcore fans of that mischievous little monkey who's been around in book form since the 1940s. The trailers display lots of cheap-looking 2-D animation, a few mild mishaps and, if you listen closely, Will Ferrell as the voice of the man in the yellow hat. Also features the voices of Drew Barrymore, David Cross and Joan Plowright. (Not Reviewed)

DATE MOVIE (PG-13) A couple of the screenwriters behind the Scary Movie movies (as the ads and trailers so gleefully point out) are on hand to apply their patented spoof-and-burn formula to the romantic comedy genre. Stars Allyson Hannigan, Jennifer Coolidge and Fred Willard. (Not Reviewed)

DAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY (R) Hip-hop, humor and a whole lot of socially conscious music are featured in this live concert film shot by cutting edge image-maker Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Acts include Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Big Daddy Kane, The Roots, Kanye West and a reportedly stunning reunion of The Fugees, with concert organizer Chappelle making with the funny stuff in between the music. I wasn't able to screen the film in advance, but of the dozen or so colleagues I've talked to who have seen it, not a single one has been less than enthusiastic. Also features Talib Kweli and Jill Scott. (Not Reviewed)

EIGHT BELOW (PG-13) Paul Walker is the nominal star here, but the bulk of the movie is devoted, happily so, to the trials and tribulations of a sled team of dogs stranded and struggling to survive in the Antarctic winter. Don't expect March of the Penguins, but you will find an unexpectedly satisfying sense of authenticity to this project, with moments that are both exciting and (yes, you knew this was coming) inspirational grounded in events that feel not so far removed from real life. There are a few false notes (including an awful CGI misfire) but the story has a nice, Jack London-esque feel, and the film's cinematography is almost as gorgeous as its husky and malamute heroes. Also stars Bruce Greenwood. 3 stars

FAILURE TO LAUNCH (PG-13) Surprisingly quirky, this flick rides the wave of your basic romantic comedy, but with exciting and unexpected twists. While Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker play familiar roles — Matthew as the hot, laid-back leading man content with living at home forever, Sarah as the sexy leading lady hired on by his folks to get him out — the supporting actors, namely Zooey Deschanel, Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates, are luminous. There are a few Ben Stiller-esque moments of physical comedy and one too many shots of middle-aged male ass, but overall, it's a fun movie. 3 stars Erin Rashbaum

FIREWALL (PG-13) 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

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 1950's 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

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