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Arts and Entertainment

New Movie Friday: Grindhouse, Are We Done Yet?, Black Book, The Reaping

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Grindhouse - I've already reviewed this movie, so I won't bother rehashing it, but trust me, Grindhouse totally freakin' rocks! Three full hours of beautiful cinematic mayhem.

Are We Done Yet? - Ice Cube stars as a beleaguered urban dad who moves with his new wife (Nia Long) and her two kids to their dream house in the 'burbs and is terrorized by a contractor (John C. McGinley from Scrubs).

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Black Book - Dutch-born director Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Showgirls and Starship Troopers) returns to his native country for this thriller about the Dutch resistance during WWII. Friends of mine who have seen it say one of the nice ahem… perks is that you get to see Carice Van Houten doff her top. Nazi fighters and a great set of knockers? Now, that's a win-win.

Firehouse Dog - Todd Holland (Malcolm in the Middle, The Larry Sanders Show) directs this family-friendly film. The IMDB description: "Rexxx, Hollywood's top canine star, gets lost and is adopted into a shabby firehouse. He teams up with a young kid (Hutcherson) to get the station back on its feet."

The Hoax - Lasse Hallstrom directs and Richard Gere stars in what is supposed to be a terrific movie about Clifford Irving, the guy who almost succeeded in publishing a totally faked autobiography of Howard Hughes.

Hoboken Hollow - Jason Connery (son of Sean) stars in this horror film as a drifter who winds up at Hoboken Hollow, a remote West Texas ranch run by the brutal Broderick family. Look for C. Thomas Howell, Michael Madsen, Dennis Hopper and Robert Carradine in small supporting roles.

Killer of Sheep - In celebration of this film's 30th anniversary, Charles Burnett's 1977 classic of American independent cinema begins a week-long run at the Nuart complete with a new 35mm print. A neo-realistic portrayal of 1970s black urban life, specifically 1970s black Los Angeles urban life, that stars Henry Gayle Sanders as Stan, a depressed insomniac trying to support his family working at a slaughterhouse.

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience - A documentary centered on firsthand accounts of American troops through their own words. The film is based on an NEA project that collected the writing of soldiers and their families who have participated in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Actors including Robert Duvall, Josh Lucas, Beau Bridges, Blair Underwood, Justin Kirk and Aaron Eckhart were conscripted to give dramatic readings of their words.

The Prisoner: Or How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair - When Yunis Khatayer Abbas, a pro-Western, freedom-loving Iraqi journalist, was mistaken for Tony Blair's would-be assassin and sent to Abu Ghraib Prison, he learned the true meaning of "liberation" and lived to make a darkly comic documentary about his experiences.

The Reaping - The description of this movie -- a miracle-debunking professor discovers what appear to be the 10 Biblical plagues in a small Texas town -- makes one thing very clear: Hilary Swank has got to stop dating her agent. Is she on some special diet? For every Oscar she wins she has to do penance by starring in half a dozen crappers.

Sacco & Vanzetti - The trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants with anarchist leanings who were accused of murdering a shoe factory paymaster and a security guard, was the political cause célèbre of its day (the 1920s). Their trial an subsequent execution in 1927 is considered by many to be "most notorious miscarriage of justice of the 20th century." Peter Miller resurrects the controversial case with a thorough documentary with actors John Turturro and Tony Shalhoub providing the voices of the condemned men.

Totally Baked: A Pot-u-mentary - This spoof features Thomas Lyons as an uptight dad who flips out when his teenage daughter has a joint in her pocket but "faces his own hypocrisies" so he can he have "the open and honest discussion needed for father and daughter to understand each other and reconnect." In the meantime, a marketing firm teams with a major snack food manufacturer to convince the public that smoking pot inhibits homosexuality, which leaves red-blooded Bible-thumpers scrambling to get their kids high.

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The TV Set - Writer/director Jake Kasdan (son of Lawrence) has made a dark comedy about the soul-crushing world of network television. David Duchovny stars as a writer who sells his TV pilot then watches as it gets bastardized by evil execs like Sigourney Weaver.

Wild Tigers I Have Known - Executive produced by Gus Van Sant and directed by relative newcomer Cam Archer, this coming-of-age tale stars Malcolm Stumpf as Logan, a 13-year-old boy trying to cope with his homosexuality and his unrequited crush on the coolest boy in school.

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