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Capsule Reviews

Baghead - Baghead is a clever, funny and suspenseful film about a group of low-level actors who decide to write their own movie in the hope of getting some attention. Chad (Steve Zissis) wants to use the movie to get closer to Michelle (Greta Gerwig), but Michelle has the hots for Matt (Ross Partridge), even though Matt's ex Catherine (Elise Muller) still has feelings for him. After Michelle dreams about seeing a man with a bag over his head, the group decides to use the dream as the basis for a horror movie. But as tensions in the group grow, they all begin to realize the horror movie they're writing just might be real. The suspense and soap-opera elements of the story are leavened with a fair amount of satire of indie-film clichés and stereotypes. Imagine something like Tropic Thunder making fun of self-absorbed indie-film types rather than self-absorbed Hollywood types, and you'd be pretty close to Baghead. (Robert Ignizio)

Bottle Shock - Directed by Randall Miller, Bottle Shock tells the story of the event that put California wines on the map: the 1976 Judgment of Paris, a blind tasting in which California wines unexpectedly prevailed over some of France's finest vintages. The film focuses on Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman), a struggling vintner who gave up his law practice to run a vineyard, cultivating grapes and meticulously bottling Chardonnay with the help of his long-haired, easygoing son Bo (Chris Pine), his young Mexican American assistant Gustavo (Freddy Rodriguez) and a pretty intern, Sam (Rachael Taylor). Barrett can scarcely keep the winery afloat until his Chardonnay is chosen to compete in the contest by Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman), a supercilious British wine expert and merchant in Paris, who has devised the contest as a means of confirming the superiority of French wines. The movie recreates a mid-'70s vibe with an authenticity seldom seen onscreen, from the cars (an AMC Hornet!) to the jeans to the haircuts and music (Doobie Brothers, Foghat, Bad Company). The beautifully photographed Northern California landscapes and the script's detailed appreciation of the winemaking craft create a palpably sensual experience that cleanses the palate of the insipid, overpraised Sideways. (Pamela Zoslov)

Brideshead Revisited - Why anyone thought it necessary to make another Brideshead Revisited is a mystery. The fondly regarded 1981 British television miniseries should have been the last word on Evelyn Waugh's elegy to friendship, art, aristocracy and religion in Edwardian England. The new adaptation, directed by Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots, Becoming Jane) and written by Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies, is anything but magical. It's a flat-footed, CliffsNotes condensation that strips every last bit of wit from Waugh's novel and leaves the bare bones to rattle about onscreen for two-and-a-quarter hours. It's like a bad term paper by a student who only skimmed the book. (Zoslov)

A Countess From Hong Kong (Great Britain, 1967) - Charlie Chaplin's final film and his only one in color may rate as one of the most disappointing features ever (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace defenders, take heart). It had been 10 years since Chaplin last directed (the fitfully entertaining satire A King in New York), and for this anachronistic comeback he allegedly drew from his 1930s memories of refugee White Russian exiles in the Far East - penniless aristocrats reduced to pulling rickshaws or trolling the dance halls. The beautiful but gravely miscast Sophia Loren plays a fallen Moscow blue blood, who stows away in the luxury-liner cabin of a wealthy American diplomat (Marlon Brando, who unwisely took his part without reading the script - such was his admiration for Chaplin) and toys with charging him with abduction in a blackmail scheme. En route to Hawaii, of course, they fall in love. Chaplin's direction, possibly a deliberate stylistic choice but a woeful one, is straight outta the early sound era; static, stiff and ponderous, with dialogue that seems more like recitation. The real offense is that this will make you think Chaplin had no finesse doing material in which he wasn't the star. Not true: Check out his long-neglected 1923 silent melodrama A Woman of Paris - also a box-office dud in its day but finally revived and reappraised as a masterwork, an unlikely fate for A Countess From Hong Kong. At 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27 and at 6:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29. 1/2 (Charles Cassady)

The Dark Knight - Writer/director Christopher Nolan took over the Batman franchise with 2005's Batman Begins, giving the character back the dignity he had lost in Joel Schumacher's execrable Batman and Robin. As the story begins, Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has been making some real headway in cleaning up Gotham City, thanks in part to the help of policeman Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and new district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who has more than just a working relationship with Wayne's ex, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal). But with this success comes unintended consequences. The Joker (Heath Ledger), a dangerous new criminal, offers to help Gotham's crime bosses get rid of Batman. But perhaps the most interesting story arc belongs to the character of Harvey Dent. Dent is exactly the kind of decent man the Joker wants to corrupt, and Aaron Eckhart makes the most of the part. Co-writing the screenplay with his brother Jonathan, director Christopher Nolan has crafted a complex and thematically rich story that will bear up to repeated viewings long after the CGI thrills of lesser movies have dissipated. (Ignizio)

Death Race - With guns blazing, tires squealing and cameras convulsing, Paul W.S. Anderson's Mortal Kombat-on-wheels careens onto the screen like a motorized Running Man. The plot goes something like this: In the distant future, the most popular show is the internet-broadcast Death Race, where prison inmates drive gnarly speed machines and kill each other to win back their freedom. Loosely based on 1975's Death Race 2000, Anderson's Death Race won't surprise you with its man-wrongly-accused-of-murder-and-forced-to-race plot, but it might catch you off guard with its stunts, which were performed by real stuntmen in real cars (when every other film resorts to cruddy computer-generated effects). Unfortunately, Anderson's cinematographer shakes more than a speed junkie, and no shot lasts longer than 20 seconds. Blink and you'll miss the stunt team's hard-earned car crashes. (Jason Morgan)

Eden and After (France/Czechoslovakia, 1970) - When a bunch of college students meet a mysterious stranger at a café, they're in for one trippy psychedelic adventure after the man opens their eyes to a whole new surreal world. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 9:55 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30. Elegy - Philip Roth's novella The Dying Animal is a strange choice for a movie adaptation. A brief coda to Roth's Professor of Desire series about the sex-obsessed David Kepesh, it's basically a monologue in which college professor Kepesh recalls his affair with a Cuban American student 38 years his junior. Director Isabel Coixet apparently saw a tender romance in this slender phallocentric story and has made it into a glossy drama with the unusual casting choice of Ben Kingsley as Kepesh. Kingsley is a fine actor, but making Kepesh an Englishman is a bad idea, as he sounds a bit awkward at times. Penélope Cruz is lovely as Consuela Castillo, the object of Kepesh's desire, though she doesn't quite evoke the voluptuous siren whose breasts drove Roth's Kepesh into an erotic frenzy. The supporting roles fare better: Peter Sarsgaard is intense as Kepesh's resentful son, Patricia Clarkson is fine in the small role of Kepesh's longtime bedmate and Dennis Hopper is delightful as Kepesh's friend, poet George O'Hearn. The cinematography is beautiful and the soundtrack is filled with tasteful classical music, but there isn't enough story to sustain a feature film. 1/2 (Zoslov)

Fly Me to the Moon - Made exclusively in 3-D, this feature film tells the tale of three ordinary tween-aged flies - Nat, I.Q. and Scooter - who courageously decide to hitch a ride aboard Apollo 11 after being inspired by heroic stories told by Nat's well-respected grandfather. After successfully stowing away in the helmets of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the flies are in for more than they bargained for when they realize "contaminants" are aboard the mission. Some sleazy Soviet flies with counteractive plans also add to the mess when a race to the moon commences. There's no doubt that 3-D makes this movie. Prepare to be slapped in the face with startling graphics that will have you wanting to swat those lovable insects buzzing above your head. A catchy title and fantastic music also add to the film's charm. However, the movie's filled with stereotypical characters, questionable obesity remarks, repetitive life-or-death situations and passable jokes. Oh, and there's nothing like having a live action/animation cameo by Buzz Aldrin to inform audiences that basically, the whole plot of the movie is scientifically impossible - something that will surely burst any 6-year-old's bubble. Although it may have its faults, Fly Me to the Moon is still a successful, whimsical tale that does encourage kiddies to keep reaching for the stars. 1/2 (Lauren Yusko)

Henry Poole Is Here - When he can't purchase the home he grew up in, Henry Poole (Luke Wilson) settles for the next best thing - a place on the same block. But why he's come back to his old Southern California 'hood is a bit of mystery for the first half of this slow-moving film. Things start to come together as he opens up to the single mother (Radha Mitchell) living next door, telling her he might not have long to live because of a terminal illness. When a neighbor sees what appears to be an image of Christ on the wall of his home, nosy neighbors he'd rather have nothing to do with start to bombard him. And when strange "miracles" occur to those who touch the impression, Henry begins to question even his own skepticism. Ultimately sentimental (there are some cheesy flashback scenes), this film takes too many predictable turns in imparting its message about hope and the strength of the human spirit. (Jeff Niesel)

The House Bunny - Although it's refreshing to see Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production company make its first female-driven comedy, The House Bunny is as skimpy as Anna Faris' wardrobe. Orphaned as a child, the only home Shelley (Anna Faris) has ever known is the Playboy Mansion. After Hef boots her out following her 27th birthday (that's 59 in Bunny years), she winds up becoming the house mom of Zeta Alpha Zeta, a sorority full of socially inept girls who might lose their house. With some senseless inspirational words from Shelley and a major makeover, the group of misfits (played by Emma Stone, Rumer Willis and Katharine McPhee) soon become the sought-after girls on campus, discovering who they really are along the way. Written by the women behind Legally Blonde, The House Bunny is not nearly as smart. Faris has proved herself as a comedic actress, but pulling off an entire movie on her own is questionable. Although this is supposed to be Faris' breakthrough role, the real one to keep an eye on is Superbad's Emma Stone, who continues to impress with her witty personality. (Yusko)

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D - In this day of overly convoluted popcorn movies filled with countless subplots, characters and explanations for everything, Journey feels downright minimalist. There's no angst or edginess; this is just fun, classic pulp adventure. Trevor (Brendan Fraser) is a scientist carrying on the research into seismic activity started by his brother Max, who went missing years ago. Trevor is your classic absent-minded professor type, having forgotten that Max's 13-year-old son Sean (Josh Hutcherson) is coming to stay with him for 10 days. Sean's mother brings along a box of Max's possessions, including a copy of Jules Verne's classic fantasy novel Journey to the Center of the Earth in which Max has written notes. Journey doesn't have the frenetic ADD feel of so many modern effects-heavy films. Instead, it takes its time to get going, letting the audience know the characters before thrusting them into the action. These aren't especially complex characters, but they aren't cardboard, either. This isn't a great movie, but there's definitely a place for this kind of family-friendly (though not strictly for the kiddies) adventure film. (Ignizio)

The Long Shots - Based on a true story, this film about the first girl to play in a Pop Warner football super bowl is inspiring enough, I suppose. Jasmine (Keke Palmer) is the geeky bookworm that everyone at school picks on, and Curtis (Ice Cube) is her delinquent uncle living on the dole. When Curtis, a former standout high-school football player, has to watch over his niece, he learns she's got a rocket for a throwing arm and convinces the coach to give her a try. She makes the team, and it isn't long before she's got the starting job and is leading the guys to last-second victories. While the story is plenty believable, the transitions that both Jasmine and Curtis go through happen so suddenly, you have to think the filmmakers have taken some liberty with the narrative. And the film's countless platitudes about winning and having heart grow thin pretty quickly too. (Niesel)

Mamma Mia! - Inspired by the music of '70s Swedish pop group ABBA, Mamma Mia! features an all-star cast in this film adaptation of the Broadway musical phenomenon. Donna (Meryl Streep) is a single mother to 20 year-old Sophie (Mean Girls' Amanda Seyfried), who runs a villa on a picturesque Greek island. When young Sophie decides to get married, she also secretly decides to invite her father to the wedding. There's only one problem: three men (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard) are potentially the baby's daddy, and they all arrive at the island unbeknownst to Donna. Add Donna's two kooky, lifelong friends and fellow members of Donna and the Dynamos (Julie Walters and Christine Baranski) to the mix and you have one hell of a celebration. Mamma Mia! is a fun, campy guilty pleasure about mothers and daughters, old friends and revived flames. (Yusko)

Man on Wire - On the morning of August 7, 1974, New Yorkers watched in awe as an unstoppable Frenchman by the name of Philippe Petit pirouetted on a tightrope between the magnificent Twin Towers without a net. Inspired by an article about the towers when they were still under construction, Petit, a juggler and tightrope walker, made it his goal to journey between what would be the two tallest buildings in the world. Directed by James Marsh, the documentary focuses mainly on the obsessive planning of Petit and his accomplices. It includes actual footage, black-and-white reenactments and intimate interviews. Man on Wire is a fearless example of following one's dreams and facing the ultimate obstacle in life, and unveils a gripping story about a mad genius and exactly how he made it to the top of the World Trade Center without any detection. At times, listening to him recount his stunt is like watching the heist in Ocean's Eleven unfold. Yeah, the story drags on and the introduction of different characters is confusing, but the adventure is continuously intriguing. Only a small portion of the film is dedicated to actual tightrope walking, but images of Petit 1,350 feet above ground are priceless: He spends 45 minutes in the air, lying down, kneeling and saluting. A photograph of Petit with an airplane flying above is equally eerie. Although 9/11 is never once mentioned, watching Petit dance on top of the world becomes a beautiful and emotional memorial. 1/2 (Yusko)

The Man Who Lies (France/Czechoslovakia, 1968) - Director Alain Robbe-Grillet plays brilliant mind games in his film about a stranger whose identity is a mystery to a Czech village post-WWII; is the man a hero or is he merely a traitor? Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, and at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31.

Mirrors - Mirrors starts off promisingly enough, with Kiefer Sutherland as a recovering alcoholic ex-cop forced to take a job as a security guard in a creepy, burned-out department store. The first third of the movie may be fairly standard-issue ghost-story stuff, but it creates an effectively creepy atmosphere. As the movie goes along, however, the viewer's suspension of disbelief gets strained to the breaking point as the film gets more and more ridiculous and Sutherland's performance starts to veer into William Shatner territory. This was co-written and directed by Alexandre Aja, who previously directed High Tension and the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. As in those two films, Aja shows that he has great visual style but could care less about logic and believability. And yet, as truly bad as this movie is, I had a hoot watching it. Probably not for the reasons Aja intended, but a hoot nonetheless. 1/2 (Ignizio)

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - The O'Connells (Brendan Fraser reprising the role of Rick and Maria Bello stepping into Rachel Weisz's shoes as Evelyn) find themselves bored in post-WWII England. But when their son Alex (Luke Ford) unwittingly unearths the immortal Emperor Han (Jet Li), they get all the excitement they can handle. Michelle Yeoh and Isabella Leong provide support as an immortal mother/daughter team, and John Hannah returns from the first two films to provide comic relief as Evelyn's brother Jonathan. The mix of action and comedy we've come to expect from this series is here, and Fraser is his usual heroic self. There are also some pretty cool monsters, including a group of yeti and a three-headed dragon. On the downside, the movie takes too long to get started, Jet Li's character is mostly CGI, Maria Bello doesn't have any chemistry with Fraser and Luke Ford's Alex is just annoying. It's probably best for all concerned if the Mummy franchise stays buried after this. 1/2 (Ignizio)

Pineapple Express - Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) has got it good. He might drive around in a beater car and wear a dingy, decidedly unfashionable brown suit, but he dates a hot high-school chick (Jeanetta Arnette) and holds down a job that doesn't require too much effort (he serves subpoenas). Hell, he spends half his day getting stoned. So when his drug dealer, Saul (James Franco), offers him a blend of weed called "pineapple express," he goes for it. It's at this point that the trouble begins in Pineapple Express, a stoner caper produced by the ubiquitous Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin). In the end, the chemistry between Rogen and Franco overcomes the movie's flaws, bringing to life the quips and banter (Rogen co-wrote the script) in such a way that the film's likely to become the kind of thing you'd watch again and still find something worth laughing at. (Niesel)

The Rocker - In his first starring role, The Office's Rainn Wilson plays Robert "Fish" Fishman, a drummer in an awful '80s hair-metal band who gets the boot right before the group strikes it rich. Twenty years and many crappy cubicle jobs later, Fish joins his teenage nephew's pop-punk band and finally realizes his rock 'n' roll dreams. Like Will Ferrell's stable of clueless and often naked misfits, Wilson's Fish is one of those guys who screws up about a dozen times before he finally learns his lesson. The Rocker eventually settles into a believe-in-yourself, feel-good studio comedy, but there are some genuine laughs sprinkled throughout, especially when Fish unleashes two decades' worth of horndog partying around his underage bandmates. Arrested Development's Will Arnett, Curb Your Enthusiasm's Jeff Garlin and Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis provide stellar support. Best of all for Clevelanders, our city makes a grand appearance in the movie. Look for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a stretch of Euclid Avenue and even a copy of Scene as Fish and his bandmates begin their climb to backstage parties and hotel-trashing. 1/2 (Michael Gallucci)

Rooster's Breakfast (Slovenia/Croatia, 2007) - A comedy-thriller about an apprentice mechanic who initiates a series of dramatic events when he falls for the wife of a local criminal. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 - Lena (Alexis Bledel), Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Carmen (America Ferrera) and Bridget (Blake Lively) reunite for this surprising but most welcome follow-up to 2005's Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Based once again on the novels of Ann Brashares, the sequel picks up the sisterly quartet's individual and collective stories a year after the first movie ended. Tibby and Lena have elected to take summer classes (at N.Y.U. and the Rhode Island School of Design, respectively), and Bridget is headed off to Turkey for an archaeological dig. To avoid helping her pregnant mom (Rachel Ticotin) and stepdad move into their new house, Carmen decides to enroll in a Vermont theater camp. Nothing goes quite according to plan for the girls. Like Traveling Pants 1, there's nothing particularly subtle or even original about the soapy, schematic plot. What makes the films special, though, is the delicacy of emotions so vividly and movingly conveyed by these four wonderful young actresses. (Milan Paurich)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - In the Star Wars universe, the Clone Wars were a three-year skirmish involving the Republic and the burgeoning Empire that filled the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Back in 2003, Dexter's Laboratory mastermind Genndy Tartakovsky created a 25-episode series that became a cult hit and remains a more satisfying experience than any of the later Star Wars movies. The new Clone Wars isn't quite that stellar. Tartakovsky's anime-style drawings are replaced by sleek CGI videogame-like images. Characters are rail thin, with heads too big for their bodies, but the terrific battle scenes benefit from the angular design. The story sidetracks to smaller adventures featuring Anakin Skywalker, his protégé and a dual-lightsaber-wielding female baddie named Asajj Ventress, while many old faves appear throughout the movie. Like the live-action films, The Clone Wars doesn't really offer a tidy ending. Some of that has to do with the lack of narrative; some of that has to do with the fact that a new TV series based on the movie will be launching in the fall. Still, fans will have fun spotting all the new droids, ships and characters that buzz through the action, but George Lucas' knack for finding ways to milk a series peaked a long, long time ago. 1/2 (Gallucci)

Step Brothers - From the start, Brennan (Will Ferrell) and Dale (John C. Reilly), two adults forced to live with each other after their single parents marry, have it out for each other. Because space is limited, they have to share a room, and on their first night together, they threaten each other with extreme forms of bodily harm before falling asleep. Initially, it's all good, foulmouthed fun, with Ferrell and Reilly delivering the physical comedy and offbeat antics for which they're known and really reveling in the fact that they get to play characters who never matured into adults. It all comes to a screeching halt when the two make up due to their mutual hatred for Brennan's younger brother Derek (Adam Scott), a successful sales guy. While the language and sexual situations push the film's R rating in ways that would make John Waters proud, it all grows a bit tiresome by the film's end, especially since many of the jokes seem lifted from other comedies associated with Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up), who serves as the film's producer. 1/2 (Niesel)

Tropic Thunder - While shooting on location in the jungles of Vietnam, the cast and crew of a "Rambo"-esque adventure movie are attacked by a real band of guerrilla fighters/heroin dealers. The ensuing stand-off between the feral Flaming Dragons and the clueless, girly-man actors is a meta-hoot, even when (especially when) it's spurting enough blood to keep Count Dracula in plasma for several lifetimes. Only the fourth movie directed by Ben Stiller in the past 14 years, this acid-tinged valentine to Hollywood sends up a particular mind-set of Tinseltown player to a fare-the-well. Not since Borat has a comedy been so eager to make you cringe - and chuckle - at the same time. The mostly terrific cast includes Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. as an Aussie Method actor who undergoes a pigment dye job to play an African American soldier. In an extended cameo appearance, a foul-mouthed, prosthetics-laden Tom Cruise generates the film's biggest laughs playing a studio boss equivalent to Austin Powers' Fat Bastard. (Paurich)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - Vicky Cristina Barcelona finds director Woody Allen in a lighter mood, telling the story of two friends: dark-haired, sensible Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and blond, impulsive Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), who share a summer vacation - and a lover, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) - in Barcelona. After a weekend trip to Oviedo, Juan Antonio, to Vicky's disappointment, takes up with Cristina, who moves in with him. Vicky resigns herself to marrying the ambitious and reliable Doug (Chris Messina), who seems, by contrast, hopelessly dull. Cristina and Juan Antonio's romantic idyll is interrupted when he is forced to rescue his suicidal ex-wife Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz), who moves into the house. After some initial mistrust, the three fall into a comfortable ménage. Later, Vicky tries to reignite the flame with Juan Antonio, resulting in an absurd twist of fate. It's a mere wisp of a movie, but the clever, talky script and fine cast make it go down like a cool glass of limonada. (Zoslov)

Wall-E - For 700 years, WALL-E - a Waste Allocation Load Lifter robot, Earth Class - has been doing the job he was programmed to do. Left behind on an earth no longer inhabitable by humans, the solar-powered WALL-E gathers and compacts garbage, stacking the cubes in skyscraper-sized towers, over and over, all day long. But he's not so single-minded that he's unable to find wonder in the mountains of trash surrounding him. In WALL-E, director Andrew Stanton recognizes that his little robot has developed a soul because of what he does that's not part of his mundane routine. Being human, he reminds us, is about the ability to recognize beauty - the kind of beauty you find in a work of art like this breathtaking little miracle of a movie. It seems almost absurd in the presence of such lyrical filmmaking to draw attention to Pixar's ongoing pushing of the computer-animation envelope, except that those advances become part of the storytelling. As impressive as it may be to watch the flicker of a flame grow ever more realistic, it's even more wonderful when the reflection of that flickering flame in WALL-E's eyes represents the spark of love. The details in this universe matter, because this universe itself comes to matter. WALL-E holds out a hope that we can find the best in ourselves. (Scott Renshaw)

When I Close My Eyes (Slovenia, 1993) - A female post-office worker with a dark past soon becomes suspected of a robbery in this psychological thriller. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 9:25 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe - The good news about the latest movie spin-off of the once-hot X Files TV show is also the bad news. Even with original creators Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz at the controls, there are no flying-saucer conspiracies. No black oil, no Smoking Man, no Lone Gunman. There's just a creepy, slow-moving, small-scale mystery/ICU thriller with borderline psychic elements and some of the heavy Catholic angst that infused the show. Ex-FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are a cohabiting couple (but still haven't warmed up enough to start calling each other by their first names), haunted by the loss of their son. Scully is now a surgeon in a grim hospital called Our Lady of Sorrows; Mulder is unshaven and unemployed until he gets a summons from the FBI to find a missing agent in snowy West Virginia. Enigmatic clues derive from an outcast pedophile priest (Billy Connolly), now suddenly afflicted with visions. Scully doesn't hide her disgust for the clergyman or her annoyance at her common-law spouse plunging into the case as though he can discern the very fingerprints of God in it. Plotline ends up being a hair too gruesome for prime time -- a cross between Robin Cook's medical thrillers and the lighter side of torture porn. Conceivably, utter strangers to the TV mythos will enjoy the flick's mood and grown-up drama more so than fanboys expecting Incredible! UFO! Revelations! In any case, sit through the closing credits for a nice closing shot. 1/2 (Cassady)

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